Spring Super Herb
Suppose someone tells you that there is a miracle herb that if eaten as a part of your regular diet will prevent liver disease, act as a blood tonic and gentle diuretic, cleanse your system, dissolve kidney stones, and improve gastro-intestinal health; assist in weight reduction; eliminate acne; prevent or lower high blood pressure; prevent anemia; lower your serum cholesterol; eliminate or drastically reduce acid indigestion and gas buildup by cutting the heaviness of fatty foods; prevent various forms of cancer; and, at the same time, have no negative side effects and selectively act on only what ails you. If I also told you that it tastes good in both food and tea, would you beg me to get the name of this herb?
Well, you don’t have to do it! I am voluntarily sharing this precious information with you.
Peter Grail, an herb specialist, says that all the above curative functions, and more, have been attributed to one plant known to everyone, Taraxacum officinale, which means the “Official Remedy for Disorders.” We call it the common dandelion.
Peter also notes that according to the USDA Bulletin #8, “Composition of Foods” (Haytowitz and Matthews 1984), dandelions rank in the top 4 green vegetables in overall nutritional value. According to these data, dandelions are nature’s richest green vegetable source of beta-carotene, from which Vitamin A is created, and the third richest source of Vitamin A of all foods, after cod-liver oil and beef liver! They also are particularly rich in fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and the B vitamins, thiamine and riboflavin, and are a good source of protein.
Ayurveda puts dandelions into a category of bitter greens that stimulate liver, release toxins and reduce Kapha which usually get aggravated in the Spring. Modern research supports the power of dandelion to stimulate weight loss. Laboratory research with laboratory mice and rats indicates that a fat loss of up to 30% of body weight in 30 days was possible when the animals were fed dandelion extract with their food. Those on grass extract lost much less. The control group on plain water actually gained weight.
Spring is here and it is the perfect dandelion harvesting time. When I was 5 years old I picked bright yellow dandelion flowers to braid then into a pretty little crown. Now I am hunting Farmers Markets for dandelion greens! Our love affair is never ending!
Dandelions are amazing sauteed, in salads, or steeped as a tea! Here is one simple dish to include this amazing Spring green into your menu:
Dandelions with Green Garlic
adapted from Uncommon Fruits and Vegetables by E. Schneider
- 3 Tablespoons ghee
- 2 stalks minced green garlic (use the white and light green part, as you would a leek)
- 1 large bunch dandelion greens, cleaned and trimmed, cut into bite sized pieces
- about ½ cup stock of any flavor
- Salt & Pepper to taste
- optional: hot sauce or pepper vinegar
- Heat ghee in a large skillet; add garlic and stir. Add greens and stock and cook over moderate heat, partly covered, for 2 minutes.
- Uncover and continue cooking until greens are tender and liquid has almost evaporated. (Timing can vary considerably – from 3-4 minutes to 15, depending upon the age and size of the leaves.) If liquid evaporates before leaves are sufficiently tender, add stock.
- Season to taste with salt and pepper, and hot sauce or hot vinegar if you like. Serves 4
Article republished with permission.