The Star of the Weeds: The Dandelion
The common weed that often springs up willingly in your lawn or garden, the dandelion, is actually one of the best things you could be eating in addition to all of your other springtime foods. In the plant kingdom the proper terminology for the dandelion is Taraxacum. I like this because it makes me think of the hindu goddess, Tara. Tara is known as one of the wisdom goddesses and is a form of Shakti. Tara, like the goddess Kali, helps to slay all of our inner demons! Like the goddess Tara, the dandelion acts similarly in its ability to remove and clear toxins out of the body. Tara also stems from the root word star which also channels the Dandelion perfectly: the star of all the weeds.
The Dandelion is so incredible because it’s loaded with properties that help to boost your immunity and overall wellness. It’s packed with vitamins (A, B complex, and C) and minerals (iron, potassium, and zinc) and it is because of its tremendous healing properties that it has been used in many and differing ancient medicinal practices as a liver tonic, a digestive tonic, and even a skin tonic. It can also help with water retention with its natural ability to pull fluid from the body.
Benefits of Dandelion
- Decreases Water Retention and Bloating The dandelion has diuretic properties that help to relieve fluid from the body
- Detoxes the Liver The polysaccharides in dandelion help to detoxify the liver
- Blood Detoxifier The vitamins and minerals in the dandelion plant help to filter and cleanse the blood
- A Powerful Antioxidant with its heavy beta-carotene content
- Prevents UVB Sun Damage The flower of the Dandelion and the lead actually help with oxidative stress from the sun and can help to reduce aging skin
Dandelion was used for its therapeutic benefits in Native American practices for the skin and the stomach. In Traditional Chinese Medicine it’s used for combating inflammation, stomach ailments, and detoxification. In Ayurveda dandelion is most used in detoxification, liver cleansing, and for kapha dosha imbalances. It is best used in the springtime when excess kapha has accumulated from the winter.
Dandelion is bitter in flavor and can be used in a variety of culinary dishes. It’s so delicious sauteed with a little ghee and spices, brewed as a tea, or (my personal favorite) made into a pesto! Check out this amazing dandelion pesto recipe below.
- 2 cups of dandelion (chopped)
- 1 cup of fresh basil leaves
- ½ cup pine nuts (or walnuts)
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese (grated)
- *option to substitute vegan parmesan or nutritional yeast here
- 2 cloves of garlic
- ¼-½ cup of olive oil
- Juice from ½ a lemon
- 1 tsp sea salt
Add all ingredients to a high powered blender or food processor *except for the parmesan. Blend until it has reached your desired consistency. Add in the parmesan and blend until it is fully incorporated.
Add to your favorite pasta dish, salad, or use a dip!