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Dandelion: Much More Than a Pesky Weed!


We’ve blown on them as kids, we’ve stepped on them by accident numerous times, we’ve even spent time and money trying to get rid of them; but are we vastly underestimating the flower that can potentially kill cancer cells?  A common plant found in many fields and generally considered as just a weed, dandelions are more beneficial than what we give it credit for.

Let’s debunk one misunderstanding at a time shall we? Yes, dandelions are a weed, but they are a beneficial weed. The presence of dandelions actually provides a range of uses in our ecosystem. As you know, insects such as bees and butterflies depend heavily on dandelions for pollen and nectar. But if you’re a gardener, the taproots of the dandelion can help bring nutrients to more shallowly rooted plants, while adding minerals and nitrogen to the soil!

So now you know that keeping a few dandelions might help your garden flourish, but a lot of gardeners actually grow dandelions for culinary purposes! You might have heard of putting dandelions leaves in your salad or sandwich, but there’s a lot more this plant is used for. Dandelions have been used as food since prehistoric times. Its leaves are either eaten raw or blanched to remove its bitterness. The roots can substitute any vegetables as a side dish, its texture and taste are similar to spinach. The petals can be used for dandelion wine as it adds a delicate, flowery aroma to the beverage. Dandelion roots can even be roasted and brewed into a flavour and appearance that resembles coffee. This versatile plant is also one of the ingredients in root beer.

Dandelions are edible, great. But WHY should I eat them?

Good question. Dandelion leaves contain an abundance of nutrients such as vitamin A, C, K, and is a good source of calcium, potassium, iron and manganese. Because this plant contains so many nutrients, it has been linked to helping with scurvy, skin problems, blood disorders, and even depression. It can even aid in digestion, stimulate appetite, improve liver functions, and prevent gall stones. A study done at the University of Windsor has even stated that “…dandelion extract has a good potential to kill cancer cells”! The comment was made when a cancerous blood cell was forced to commit suicide due to a dandelion root extract. Repeated treatment in lodandew doses showed effective results in killing most cancerous cells!

 

References:

"30 Patients to Test Dandelion's Cancer-killing Potential." CBCnews. CBC/Radio Canada, 17 Feb. 2015. Web. 30 Dec. 2015.

D. Ehrlich, Steven. "Dandelion." University of Maryland Medical Center. 22 June 2015. Web. 30 Dec. 2015.

Dunseath, Paul. "Dandy Dandelion Wine." WineMaker Magazine. 1 July 2002. Web. 30 Dec. 2015.

Group, Edward. "What Are the Health Benefits of Dandelion Root?" Dr Groups Natural Health Organic Living Blog. Global Healing Center, 12 Dec. 2012. Web. 30 Dec. 2015.

Mercola, Joseph. "What Are Dandelion Greens Good For?" Mercola.com. 1 Aug. 2012. Web. 30 Dec. 2015.