Many consider the dandelion a pesky weed, cluttering up a nice green grass lawn. Something to be removed and thrown away with other yard clippings. What most people don’t realize is the lowly dandelion is a powerhouse of nutrition and benefit for the human body. It’s easy to grow and easy to put into salads or make into a juice.
According to the USDA Bulletin #8, “Composition of Foods” (Haytowitz and Matthews 1984), dandelions rank in the top 4 green vegetables in overall nutritional value. They are nature’s richest green vegetable source of beta-carotene, from which Vitamin A is created, and the third richest source of Vitamin A of all foods, after cod-liver oil and beef liver! They also are particularly rich in fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and the B vitamins, thiamine and riboflavin, and are a good source of protein.
Dandelion has been recognized as one of the best liver cleansers and restorers. They are considered very safe and effective as a general tonic for the gallbladder, pancreas, spleen, stomach, and intestines, improving bile flow and reducing inflammation in cases of hepatitis and cirrhosis. Dandelions also help to dissipate gallstones and are believed to improve kidney function, thereby improving overall health and clearing skin problems like eczema and acne.
Dandelion acts as a diuretic but does not deplete the body of potassium because it contains high levels of the mineral. Those suffering from low blood sugar or diabetes can benefit by consuming dandelions each day and has also been shown to help with digestive disorders, sluggishness, general fatigue and indigestion.
Use dandelion in your favorite vegetable juice combination as well as in salads. We recommend starting off with only a small number of leaves or small handful in the beginning because of it’s powerful detoxifying properties. As you work up to a higher tolerance, add more to your green juice combos and enjoy the many benefits of dandelion. Look for organic bunches of dandelion leaves at your produce store or co-op. If you do not see it in stock, as the manager if it’s available from his distributor.
Green Juice with Dandelion:
- Dandelion leaves, handful (start small and build up tolerance)
- Spinach, handful
- Celery, 1 or 2 stalks
- Carrots, 5
- Lime, 1/4 to 1/2 with green skin
- Apple, 1