My dad always used to talk up putting dandelion leaves in salads, and in my head I thought, “Why though?” I never understood the powerful benefits this common weed carries. I figured if the world was ending and I was starving, sure, I’d eat a dandelion salad. But now that I how to use dandelion in a way that supports my body and its natural functions, you may catch me throwing dandelion on everything I can! Okay, maybe that’s a… slight exaggeration.
Many people see the dandelion plant as nothing but a relentless pest. I get it. They pop up everywhere (here in Tennessee, anyway) and are difficult to get rid of. This may mean that you have decided to chemically treat your lawn. If that’s the case, don’t take my advice here and suddenly start eating or taking the dandelion growing in your yard. The benefits of the dandelion will not outweigh the negative affects of the poison you would be consuming.
MEDICAL DISCLAIMER: Hopefully you know this, but I’m just a mama with no formal medical training. This post is not intended to be medical advice, as that is something that should be tailored specifically to you from your doctor. I’m just sharing a bit of knowledge that I’ve gleaned over the years, along with some natural remedies that have worked well for my own family.
What Is In Dandelion Leaf?
Dandelion leaves are nourishing in the sense that they contain high amounts of vitamins A, B, and C. They are also a good source of calcium, phosphorus, and iron. Consuming them can aid in detoxifying the body.
What Can It Be Used For?
You may be wondering what exactly dandelion leaf can be used for medicinally. It can be used for:
- Promoting healthy digestion
- Reducing insulin resistance
- Supporting normal liver & kidney functions
- Resolving urinary tract issues
- As a mild diuretic
- Improving circulation/reducing blood pressure
Most interestingly, it has also recently been shown to inhibit the SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19) spike protein. It has the potential to keep you from getting sick if you think you have been exposed to Covid-19.
Hopefully now you can see what a great “free” medicine this useful plant has the potential to be!
Where To Find Dandelion Leaf
Obviously, if you live in the US, it’s likely that you have an abundance of this plant right in your own backyard. You can wash, dry, and use it fresh. If you do want to use it fresh, I recommend using the young dandelion leaves found during spring. Older plants become very bitter. If you have a dehydrator, you can also make your own dried form of the herb.
If you’d rather find an easy source for dandelion, my favorite herb company, Mountain Rose Herbs, carries dried dandelion leaf that is ready to use! At the end of this post, I’ll share a quick list of ideas on how to incorporate either fresh or dried dandelion leaf into your diet or supplement regimen.
Dandelion Leaf Tincture
A powerful, and my most favorite way to consume dandelion is in tincture form. If you’ve never heard of tincture, it is basically a concentrated herbal extract that puts the benefits of a plant in liquid form. It can be glycerin, oil, or alcohol based. Personally, I have only used the alcohol method. I much prefer it because alcohol gives a tincture a much longer shelf life. It also has a greater extractive ability than any other medium.
I do have a video of me making echinacea tincture (different herb but same process). If you’d like to see that process in action click here. Making an alcohol tincture is simple, but doing it the traditional way does take time. For this reason, many people choose to purchase dandelion leaf tincture (or extract) instead of making their own.
Oddly, it seems to be harder to come by dandelion leaf extract compared to other herbal remedies. This is interesting since dandelion leaf is so readily available here in the US. Many people have only more recently learned of the health benefits, so my theory is that its popularity will be taking off in the near future.
More Ways To Use Dandelion Leaf
Not too interested in making or consuming tincture? There are other ways to get this powerful green into your system.
- Use it in herbal teas: If you like to make your own mixed herbal tea, dandelion leaf makes a great addition. You can also get these tea bags for a quick, simple option. (Dandelion root is great in teas also!)
- Saute fresh greens as a tasty side dish: Have your kids go out and pick as many dandelion greens as they can find, give them a quick wash, and throw them into any dish using sauteed greens!
- Add it to salads: As I started out saying, you can wash, dry, and chop dandelion greens to throw in any kind of salad. Just know that they taste a little bitter when raw.
- Put it in soups: You can do this with the fresh or dried leaf form. Dried dandelion leaf is usually more fine and super easy to throw into soups without anyone even noticing.
This sunny yellow plant can amount to pure gold as a holistic remedy. Do you have any other tips for using dandelion leaf? Share them in the comments!
More Natural Health & Wellness from Growing Dawn:
How To Make Echinacea Tincture from the Fresh Plant
All-Natural & Effective Sore Throat Gargle
Why Sourdough Starter Is The Most Amazing Natural Gut Health Food In The History of Ever