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Dandelions for the Downtrodden

Who knew they were superheroes?
Who knew they were superheroes?

So the cold going around Kitsap finally got me. After tra-la-laing to my boyfriend for a year and a half about how I never get sick, I now can cry in my coffee that I was sick on the first sunny days of spring.

Waaah.

I’m not one to sit around crying in my coffee, though. Instead, I started putting dandelion greens in tea and smoothies, which I swear helped me from getting the worst of the nastiness going around.

I woke up with a little bit of a sore throat on Sunday, and by that afternoon I was a blob of jello on the couch. The blobbiness may have partly been due to leading 18 people on my Birding Kayak Tour, but this was not my normal after-tour fatigue!

As I lay on the couch feeling sorry for myself as the first spring sunshine poured in the window, I remembered how dandelions are supposed to be super-duper healthy, especially the new growth in the spring. I decided to delve into it a little more.

I learned that the nutritional content of dandelion roots and leaves make them a living multivitamin! Middle Eastern physicians first wrote about using dandelions for healing in the 10th century, and they’re still being studied today by doctors around the world.

Here’s a fun fact you can wow someone with: dandelion is from the French origin: dent de lion, meaning “tooth of the lion,” likely because of the deep “teeth” on the leaves.

The vitamins packed in these greens completely changed my view of these little buggers. Rather than yank them all out, I’m now going around plucking their leaves and looking forward to them growing so I can dry their roots for tea!

Some of the vitamins dandelions contain:

  • High vitamin A: good for the skin, mucus membranes and vision
  • High fiber: helps your body get rid of waste
  • High vitamins C: natural antihistamine, boosts the immune system & many other benefits…even touted as helping asthmatics and possibly preventing cancer, cataracts and heart disease!
  • High in vitamin B6: important for proper metabolism and immune function
  • Iron: generates red blood cells
  • Potassium: helps regulate heart rate and blood pressure
  • They also contain Thiamin, Riboflavin, Calcium and Manganese

OK, sold. I went straight outside, picked some greens and made myself some dandelion tea. I’m kind of an herb fiend, so I added a few things to my tea to make it even more healing and tasty.

tea1

I kid you not, my sore throat was soothed by the time I went to bed, and by the next night it was completely gone. I had two more cups throughout the next day, just to make sure.

Tuesday I was ridiculously tired, but no more sore throat. I still drank tea throughout the day.

Wednesday I was a little tired, but was raring to go to kick off Spring Cleaning (my new business, I’ll tell more later!) and I helped a friend get his house all sparkly and organized for four hours.

That night I felt like an elephant was sitting on my chest. Back to the tea. Thursday I fought off a cough all day – lots of rest and more tea!

Here’s Spring’s Magical Tea Blend – if you don’t have the ingredients, mix and match with what you have, or just make pure dandelion tea…

  1. Small handful of dandelion leaves – new growth is best and make sure to rinse them
  2. Few sprigs of lemon thyme – any thyme will do – they’re throat soothing expectorants
  3. Few lemon verbena leaves
  4. Few peppermint and/or spearmint leaves – tear and crush them to release the flavor
  5. Few rosemary leaves – tear and crush with the mint

Then:

  1. Put all in a tea strainer (see my tea post for the one I think releases the most flavor)
  2. Pour boiling water over them
  3. Let sit for at least three minutes
  4. Add honey and fresh lemon juice for added healing and flavor
  5. Sip
  6. Take a nap

🙂

I actually started just throwing all the herbs and leaves into my tea pot and letting them sit, then I’d use that water for tea and in my water glass. I kind of love my teapot. Yep, Goodwill score, and it fits perfectly in my house in the woods…how do you like it?

Here’s a little closeup in case you didn’t fully appreciate it the first time…

How can tea NOT be good when brewed in this guy?!
How can tea NOT be good when brewed in this guy?!

According to Mercola.com, dandelions are: “proven as an antioxidant that also lowers blood sugar, but it may also be useful in treating jaundice, cirrhosis, edema, gout, eczema, and acne. There’s even evidence that dandelion greens might prove helpful in treating AIDS and herpes. Highly nutritious as an ingredient in salads, its roots show ever-increasing possibilities in the fight against cancer.”

I take all scientific studies with a grain of salt, but I still think dandelions are A.MA.ZING. All those health benefits helped convince me to put them in my smoothies, in salads, and in anything I can think of, really.

I’m off to make some tea now!

What do you do to ward off and fight colds? 

3 thoughts on “Dandelions for the Downtrodden

  1. And the flowers are amazing! They open up in the morning and close at night…how cool is that? And they follow the sun like sunflowers. What’s more, they turn into mind-blowing toys for kids, and for us adults with kids inside…..here’s a time lapse (if I can include a link here) http://youtu.be/w38agXID0J4

  2. So cool! Thank you John 🙂 And thank you to those who posted on my facebook page about your dandelion love…

  3. Youngsters in the WCG (Winslow Cohousing Community) have taken to plucking dandelion flowers to make jelly this Spring Break week.

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