A good example of survival skills if ever there were one is the dandelion. These scrappy yellow flowers are often dismissed as weeds and treated with weed killer to stop their growth, yet return time and time again they do. Perhaps we should stop and take notice of their ability to fight for survival and look to them instead of away. After all, there is nary a sidewalk or field on this earth without a dandelion present.
Dandelions are an invasive and pervasive plant, much to the dismay of gardeners everywhere. Survivalists, on the other hand, have an ability to be much more open-minded and it is to them that the dandelion's true benefits are known. The many things the dandelion has to offer include iron, calcium, potassium, vitamin C, zinc, phosphorous, magnesium, B vitamins, vitamin D, and other trace minerals. Additionally it contains proteins and has been used for many years to treat many medical conditions.
The dandelion can be grown easily in your own garden or planter as well as scavenged for in nature. The flowers, leaves, and roots are all edible although slightly bitter to the taste. The bitterness can be minimized by cooking or harvesting in the spring or fall. Once you have a collection of dandelions, what benefits will you get from them? Here are just a few:
1. Bring blood pressure down with the diuretic dandelion, which is known to increases urination. Further blood pressure regulation is possible thanks to the presence of potassium and fiber in the dandelion. Since it acts as a diuretic, it also cleans out the kidneys and urinary system as well as removing toxins from the liver.
2. If antioxidants are what your body needs, the dandelion can help as the plant as a whole is rich in antioxidants which block free radicals and prevent cell damage. In the same vein, dandelions have also been shown to slow the growth of cancer.
Photo: Gardening KTSA
3. Digestion can be aided by the dandelion which acts as a mild laxative. Additionally it makes the digestive process more optimal through appetite stimulation and regulation of good bacteria in the intestines.
4. If pain and swelling are a problem, dandelions can help thanks to the essential fatty acids they contain which provide natural relief.
5. Bile production can be increased and inflammation reduced to ease the suffering of those with gallbladder issues. Dandelions also help with blockages as well.
Photo: Wild Cookery
As with all things medical in nature, it is best to follow the advice of a healthcare provider when possible, taking on alternative medicine at your own risk. That said, it has been widely reported that the dandelion has had a positive impact on many health conditions. They are generally safe at a medicinal and food level but allergic reactions are possible. Dandelion should not be consumed by those who are pregnant or nursing and could interact with prescription medications. If you wish to try dandelion without growing or picking your own, it is possible to acquire them in capsule or freeze dried form. If you do choose to pick them, avoid areas where pesticides are present.
Have you tried dandelions in the past? Did you find that they did or did not help eradicate health issues? Let us know in the comments.