When I was a kid, one of my jobs was to rid the lawn of dandelion weeds. It was tough work. The roots reached deep into the soil and didn’t want to come out.
Even though I associated dandelions with this yearly struggle, I was still always delighted to see the bright yellow flowers pop up every spring. I give them credit for piquing my lifelong curiosity about plants.
Fast-forward 55 years and I rediscovered dandelions in Damanhur, a magical 40-year-old eco-village nestled in the foothills north of Piedmont, Italy.
Huge, bright dandelions decorated the walls of the community. You see, every citizen of Damanhur takes on the name of an animal as their first name and a plant as their second. The dandelion was the founder’s second name; Falco Tarassaco (tarassaco is Italian for dandelion).
It was his symbol.
For hundreds of years people all over the world have been using them as medicine. They’ve been used for muscle aches, upset stomach, gallstones, and eczema.
But Skelly and I love what dandelions do for your bones.
For one thing, dandelions have an alkalizing effect on your body. They help balance out acidic foods that could weaken bones by leaching out minerals.
They are also rich in calcium. In fact, just a cup of cooked dandelion greens has about as much calcium as a half cup of yogurt.[i]
And dandelions provide lots of other minerals you need for strong bones including potassium, manganese, magnesium, iron, zinc, selenium, and phosphorus.
But these weeds pack a real punch when it comes to vitamin K. Just one cup of raw dandelion greens gives you more than 500% of your daily needs. Vitamin K is a key actor in bone mineralization and blood clotting. Studies show that when you don’t get enough vitamin K bone mineral density drops and risk of fractures goes up.[ii]
They are a strong diuretic and help eliminate toxins in the kidneys. In fact, dandelions are such a powerful diuretic that in France this plant is called “pissenlit,” which means “pee in bed.”
You can harvest fresh dandelions from your yard starting in the spring. But only do that if you have a lawn that doesn’t get treated with any chemicals. And remember to pick them young. Once they put out yellow flowers the greens become more bitter. That’s not a problem for me but you might like a milder flavor.
I like to sauté dandelion greens like spinach with a little olive oil and garlic. You can also use the raw greens to make a salad with red onion and lemon vinaigrette. If a whole dandelion salad is too much of a good thing for you, just add a few leaves to your regular salad.
You can also use the dandelion root, stems and flowers to make a delicious and healthy tea. Or look for dandelion tea bags from the health food store. I like the one made by Traditional Medicinals. But remember – dandelion tea is a strong diuretic, so don’t drink it in the evening before bed.
And one last thing. Like other greens high in vitamin K, dandelion contains blood-thinning compounds called coumarins. If you are taking the drug Warfarin or any anti-coagulant drugs, check with your doctor before drinking dandelion tea.
How are your bones?
Kindly take a moment to tell me more.
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You can tell me more HERE
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[i] http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2857/2 [ii] Adams J, Pepping J. “Vitamin K in the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis and arterial calcification.” Am J Health Syst Pharm August 1, 2005 62:1574-1581.