Dandelion: Overview, Benefits, Recipes

Dandelion can be found everywhere in the world. I’m sure that you have it in your place too. This is maybe because it’s a part of everyday life that we don’t notice it so much. You will be surprised how many vitamins and minerals are contained and how much it’s healthy for your body. I will share a few recipes on how we use this plant in my country.

Also, there is an interesting study about does dandelion helps with cancer and I will go through that later in this post. It has been traditionally considered a natural remedy, with good popular knowledge, but with low commercial applicability.

Here we go!

What Are Dandelions?

Dandelions are species common for the large genus of flowering plants in the family Asteraceae. The scientific name is Taraxacum.

They have yellow-colored flower heads with leaves that are 5-25cm long, and the flowers open during the daytime but are closed at night. This yellow plant has a high amount of vitamin A, C, and K and is a source of manganese, potassium, iron, and calcium. The whole plant is edible, from the root to the flower, and it is good for the human body. It’s eaten raw like a salad or cooked like syrup and tea.

It looks like a gentle plant, but believe me, it’s not. Once the dandelion settles down in one place, that place becomes a dandelion territory. And when you notice one yellow head appearing, be sure that in a few days, all fields or gardens will be colored yellow. It will survive, and it will try everything not to perish to bad weather.

You can even eat them raw before their flowers become seed heads. In the past, people used the roots as a caffeine-free coffee alternative.

It is everywhere because it’s easy for them to colonize disturbed soil. After their season, the flower starts to dry, and after two days, the flower becomes like fluffy “parachutes” that easily drop off and are carried by the wind. Interestingly, one head of a dandelion flower produces 12 000 seeds.

There are false dandelions too. Similar looking flowers from the family Asteraceae are an example of this. Some of them are coltsfoot, hawkweeds, and hawksdeards.

That’s all the basic things that you should know about this plant. Next, are the benefits of consuming dandelion.

Dandelion fluffy seed head.

What Are Dandelion’s Benefits For The Human Body?

As I mentioned before, dandelions have lots of vitamins and minerals that are good for our health. Early April is the ideal time to pick dandelions and begin with the Spring cleaning of the body. It can help with many problems like inflammation, blood sugar levels, cholesterol, blood pressure, liver; it can help with the immune system and cancer. I will start with the scientific aspect and after that about how and what was dandelion used for in folk medicine.

Dandelion Extract Against Cancer

PubMed made research about how dandelion root extract affects cancer cell models. And they conclude that

“this natural extract could engage and effectively target multiple vulnerabilities of cancer cells. Therefore, dandelion root extract could be a non-toxic and effective anti-cancer alternative, instrumental for reducing the occurrence of cancer cells’ drug-resistance.”

That’s good. It means that dandelion extract can help with beating cancer cells. I believe that high potent antioxidants from the plant are the reason for this. For sure there will be a need for more research on humans to prove that though.

You can read more about this on the NCBI website.

You can check the recipes for dandelion root too below.

Dandelion Can Help with Urinary Tract Infections

Dandelion can reduce inflammation. PubMed made a study and it shows that dandelion has anti-inflammatory activity on cells.

People used dandelion especially about infections of the kidney, bladder, and urethra. It contains chemicals that can prevent crystals in the urine and decrease inflammation.

The same PubMed has a study about how dandelion works on lung inflammation and it showed a significant reduction in that inflammation.

These studies were made on animals. For humans, more research is needed.

Can it help with weight loss?

Studies show that dandelion greens and root can improve carbohydrate metabolism and reduce fat absorption and that can lead to weight loss.

The other study shows that chlorogenic acid in dandelion was reducing body weight and fat storage hormones.

This research was made on animals. For humans, these benefits are not yet proven.

The recipes for dandelion salad and tea about which folk people believed help them with weight loss are later in this blog.

Dandelion Can Have an impact on Blood Sugar

Plant-based medicine is very helpful for diabetes type 2. PubMed in their research say that dandelion is offering a compelling profile of bioactive components with potential anti-diabetic properties and is used in some countries as therapeutics for the control and treatment of T2D.

Nevertheless, more research on the effects of dandelion components in human clinical trials is required to prove this.

Dandelion Against Cholesterol

There was research about how dandelion works on cholesterol, and if you are curious about the details, you can see more on the study made by PubMed.
They do studies on rabbits and they were fed with dandelion root and leaves. After a certain time, the results show that dandelion has effects and works against cholesterol on rabbits.

Sadly, here too there aren’t enough studies about how dandelion works on humans.

The next benefits are the ones that come up from folk medicine or for what health problems elders believed that dandelion helps with. These benefits and recipes are told by old people in my town, who during almost their entire lifetime, this herbal medicine was the only alternative for medical care.

Dandelion Root Tea Benefits

Dandelion root cleanses the liver, bile, kidneys, and lymph system and encourages the kidneys to expel toxins through the urine (root extract increased urine flow five hours after the use.)
This root is also used to treat many diseases, such as hard stool, but also cleanses the skin of acne and edema, cures arthritis, rheumatism, hepatitis, and gallstones.

Dandelion root is particularly good for female diseases, especially in the prevention and treatment of various breast diseases, such as cysts, cancer, various tumors, swollen breasts and problems with breastfeeding and breast milk.

To use the full potential of dandelion root, it is best to brew tea from it. The recipe for dandelion root tea is later in this blog.

The Best Dandelion Leaves Salad and Benefits From It

Dandelion leaves are a great solution for salad. It goes well with boiled eggs and potatoes, and its richness of vitamins exceeds spinach and tomato.

It stimulates yolk formation, cleanses the liver, helps with allergies and lowers cholesterol, and is also used as a dietary supplement for pregnant women (still, you should consult with a doctor) and postmenopausal women.

Interestingly, dandelion contains more carotene than carrots and is a rich source of various minerals and vitamins.
Dandelion flower yellow color with leaves in the garden.

Dandelion Stalks and Milk Benefits

Dandelion stalks speed up the digestion of bile, regulate metabolism, and purify the blood and stomach. Folk medicine recommends them against diabetes, and in my country, stalk milk is used for removing warts.

Although some believe that the “milk” of dandelion is poisonous, this is not true, and the truth is quite the opposite – it has healing properties!

Dandelion Flower Syrup and Benefits from It

With the flowers of this herb, we can produce syrup, which is sometimes called honey. It cleanses and strengthens blood, digestion, and helps with coughs. In folk medicine, dandelion syrup is used for colds, bronchitis, coughs and it is good for kids. It is good to take it in the spring to boost your immunity.

The dandelion syrup recipe will be included in this blog too.

Dandelion Root Side Effects

This study shows that dandelion is safe for humans in general. Experiments on some animals show no significant or visible signs of toxicity.

This research shows that

“while evaluating dandelion root extract efficacy in drug-resistant human melanoma cells, the root extract was revealed to be non-toxic to normal human cells (while it was toxic to human melanoma cells).”

Well, that means that dandelion is safe for healthy people, and will cause reactions on sensitive individuals.
However, it contains allergens, and it is possible for it to cause allergic reactions. People who have eczema or are allergic to plants like daisies, chrysanthemums, marigolds, and ragweed have a high chance to have an allergic reaction on dandelion too. To be safe, before taking dandelion consult with your doctor if you have allergies.

Dandelion can interact with some antibiotics and diuretics and if you are taking prescription medications to consult with your doctor first.

Dandelion Dosing

These are the recommended range of doses for dandelion :

  • Fresh leaves: 4-10 g daily
  • Dried leaves: 4-10 g daily
  • 2-5 ml of leaf tincture, three times a day
  • Fresh leaf juice, 1 teaspoon twice daily
  • Fluid extract 1-2 teaspoon daily
  • Fresh roots 2-8 g daily
  • Dried powder extract 250-1000 mg four times a day

These recommended doses are rudimentary, they are providing an alternative and affordable treatments when conventional medicine is unattainable. Dandelion shows promise in treating T2D, but so far, research hasn’t proven its effect.

Folk Recipes with Dandelion

The whole herb dandelion is the easiest to harvest. Grab it under its base and pull the plant along with the root because all parts of this wild plant are usable.

The best time to collect dandelions is in April. You need to pick them from a clean place with no dust because for these recipes, you should use them unwashed. I say unwashed because we want to keep the pollen and all the good things in this plant. Also, it is important to collect them in the morning because later in the day insects start feeding on them, and it may be difficult for you to collect them.

Recipes For Dandelion Flowers – Dandelion Syrup

The flowers of this herb produce syrup, sometimes called honey. It cleanses and strengthens blood and digestion, and helps with coughing. The preparation is easy.

Ingredients:

  • 2 glasses of dandelion flowers (around 300 head flowers)
  • 2 Liters of water
  • 1 kg honey
  • 2 lemons ( or one lemon and one orange)

Instructions:

  1. Put the glasses of dandelion flowers in the container with 2 liters of water and let it boil
  2. When the boiling is over, drain it through a gauze
  3. In the drained liquid, add the juice from the two lemons and honey. Mix all that and put the mixture to boil again on a low temperature while stirring constantly.
  4. When you notice that the liquid is becoming syrupy, turn it aside
  5. Wait it to cool and pour the syrup into a bottle or glass jar.
  6. Close it and take one tablespoon, two to three times a day.

Notes:

To make sure the jam is ready, you need to drop it on a clean plate. If the drop retains its shape when the dishes are tilted and the dandelion nest runs very slowly, then the product is ready.
In the preparation, you can use copper and stainless steel but iron and aluminum are categorically prohibited.
If the mass does not thicken for a long time, then you probably gathered plants with high fluid content. This happens if you collect them in humid weather or places with high humidity. In this case, you just need to increase the amount of sugar and boil for an additional 20 minutes.
For your dandelion syrup to get a nice bright color, it is possible to add mint, apricot pomegranate juice, and raspberry.
Natural acid (lemon or any fruit) helps the jam to become thicker.
This syrup should be good for use until the end of December
I use it sometimes like dressing for pancakes it is very delicious.

Recipes with Dandelion Greens

We use Dandelion salad to help us with spring fatigue. It doesn’t have calories, eliminates cellulite and it is good for weight loss.

Dandelion salads were used a long time ago on the menu on both the poorest and the richest people. Today, it is used especially in France’s kitchen and slowly returns to the table in the whole world. And that’s well deserved.

The dandelion greens have a bitter taste. When preparing your salad, to remove that bitterness, leave the greens in water one night before preparing. If you don’t have the time to do that, put them in water with salt (or water with lemon juice) for 6-8 minutes then wash them and follow the rest of the recipes’ steps.

French recipe with dandelion greens

This salad is perfect for cold days. There will be bacon in this recipe, but don’t worry, dandelion will eliminate all unwanted fat from your body.

In France, people have a little trick about the preparation of a dandelion salad. The dandelion greens are covered with special containers for a week. After that, the greens become less bitter, pale green and juicy. You don’t have to do that for this recipe in your home. Instead of doing that, you can leave the greens in water the whole night, wash them and they are ready for preparation

Ingredients:

  • 2 full hands dandelion greens
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Half teaspoon of mustard
  • Olive oil
  • Wine vinegar
  • Salt
  • Paper
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 150 grams bacon
  • Rusk

Instructions:

  1. Cut the dandelion greens and put them into a bowl
  2. Add half a teaspoon of wine vinegar, crushed garlic clove and half teaspoon of mustard
  3. Drizzle with two tablespoons of olive oil and pepper and salt by test
  4. Put everything in a bowl and mix it well.
  5. Cut the bacon on cubes, put them in a frying pan, and fry them until they become crispy. Add the bacon frayed cubes in the bowl with the salad.
  6. Add one tablespoon wine vinegar into the pan where the bacon was frayed, mix it with what is left there and pour over the salad.
  7. You served it warm, with rusk. Enjoy your healthy and tasty meal.

The whole recipe for dandelion greens recipe with eggs and potatoes you can see itthis part of my blog.

The recipe with dandelion greens for weight loss and cellulite you can see itthis part of my blog.

Dandelion greens and cheese recipe see this part of my blog

Healthy salad with dandelion greens and roots recipe see this part of my blog.

Dandelion greens with potatoes salad see this part of my blog.

Recipes for Dandelion Tea

This part of the recipes is how to make dandelion tea from roots and greens.

Tea Recipes With Dandelion Dried Greens

This tea is also good for weight loss, like the salad from greens.

Ingredients:

  • 2 dl boiling water
  • One teaspoon of dried dandelion greens

Instructions:

In 2dl of boiling water, add one teaspoon of dried dandelion greens. Live it to rest for 10-15 min, and drain it. That’s it.

Note:

This tea is used in folk medicine for chronic bladder inflammation. You can drink it for 2 weeks, 2-3 times a day.

Dandelion Root Tea Recipe

If you want to use dandelion root in a tea, you should dry it first. Peel it carefully, cut it into pieces, and put it to dry in a place with a good flow of air. The place also needs to be cool and dry.

The root will be dry in 14 days. If it breaks on your fingers, then the root is dry enough. Put it in a glass jar and leave it in a dry, dark place. The dried root should last for about 1 year.

Ingredients:

  • 30 g dry dandelion root
  • 60 g fresh root
  • 2.5 dl water
  • salt

Instructions:

  1. Mix the dry and fresh root
  2. Then, add salt and water
  3. All that needs to be boiled. Cover the pot and cook slowly for about 20 mins
  4. Drain and enjoy

Notes:

You can drink this tea max 3 times a day for 2 weeks.

Dandelion Coffee Recipe

For the dandelion coffee recipe, you will need dry dandelion root. This is how you dry a root. Peel it carefully, cut it into pieces, and put it to dry in a place with a good flow of air. The place also needs to be cool and dry.

The root will be dry in 14 days. If it breaks on your fingers, then the root is dry enough. Put it in a glass jar and leave it in a dry, dark place. The dried root should last for about 1 year.

First, the dry root needs to be overbaked and ground. The powder that you will get is a substitute for caffeine-free coffee.

Dandelion Wine Recipe

The wine from dandelion is very sparkling, strong and has a light yellow color. You can drink one glass a day, and it will help you boost your metabolism.

Ingredients:

  • 10 cups of dandelion head flower
  • 1.5 kg of sugar
  • 2 lemons and 2 oranges
  • 1 bаg of wine yeast
  • 10 cloves of cinnamon
  • Grated ginger

Instruction:

  1. Put the dandelion fresh flowers in a large pot, peel the oranges and lemons, and add sugar. Then mix all that.
  2. In another pot, boil water and pour it in the pot where dandelion is and cook for another half hour. After that, remove and let it cool.
  3. When the cooling is over, find a double gauze and drain.
  4. Add the squeezed juice of oranges and lemons to the liquid
  5. In half a cup of lukewarm water, add 1 bag of wine yeast, and when it starts to foam, add it to the mixture with stirring.
  6. For better taste, add 10 cloves of cinnamon and grated ginger.
  7. Cover it with gauze and leave it in a warm place for 5 days
  8. After 5 days drain the mixture with double gauze and put it in closed glass bottles
  9. Keep them in a cold, dark place, and after 6 months, the wine is ready. That’s it, enjoy!

Brandy or Rakija (Raki) from Dandelion

Rakija is a traditional alcoholic drink in the Balkans that is very similar to brandy. Traditional rakija is made from grapes and plums. This recipe with dandelion is just to improve or to give the brandy a specific taste.

Ingredients:

  • 4 full hands of fresh dandelion
  • 1l of rakija or brandy

Instructions:

In a bigger jar, add 4 full hands of fresh dandelion root that’s been previously sliced and pour it with 1l brandy.

Close and leave it in a dark spot for two months. After that time, drain again.

Notes:

Drink one little cup before dinner to aid digestion.

Final Words About Dandelion

It appears that this everyday yellow flower has a lot of benefits for the human body. Also, you can prepare it in so many ways. It can help you with urinary infections, coughing, bronchitis, weight loss, and it can help fight cancer. There are so many benefits and so very little side effects. It is generally safe, but can cause problems with allergic and sensitive persons. You have the recipes, so wait until April, and go on a walk on the meadow. I’m sure that you will find it. Just pick that beautiful herb. It will contribute to your health!

Other dandelion salad recipes that might interest you:

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