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Dandelion (Taraxacum)

Updated: Jun 15, 2021

Let me begin by saying that if you are spraying herbicides on your lawn to get rid of the dandelions growing in your yard, you are poisoning yourself and are partly responsible for accelerating the demise of life on Earth. I know that sounds extreme, but the fact is that dandelions are one of the most important early spring flowers for bees. Without the sweet precious nectar from these incredible healing plants, honeybees can starve and continue to die off rapidly. At this point in time, we need every single bee to continue to have the plants that provide oxygen and the food we all need to live. So let them grow!!

If you learn to change your mindset on dandelions you will inevitably begin to understand how amazing they truly are. One of the oldest flowering species known, they have been estimated to have evolved in Eurasia about 30 million years ago! That's why they are so good at evading your extermination. These little plants are time tested, have survived global catastrophes, and will continue to thrive in spite of your meager attempts to remove them.

Instead of wearing yourself out by pulling them and then spraying poison on top of it, allow me to preach to you the benefits of the dandelion plant. I apologize for my soapbox speech, but I find it astounding that we live in an age where people spray cancer causing herbicides on plants that have been shown effective in curing cancer!

Dandelions have been a part of ancient cultures worldwide for their healing abilities. Native Americans, ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, and Chinese alike have known about the strength of these plants in regards to the overall health of humans. The flowers contain phytochemicals, which is a fancy word for something with unknown characteristics to modern science. Phytochemicals are produced by plants to resist the effects of fungi, diseases, and parasites, and can either be a poison or a medicine depending on the amount ingested by a human being. For the most part, dandelions are completely safe for people to use as a medicine or as a dietary supplement.

The roots of a dandelion contain inulin, a carbohydrate known to improve kidney health as well as actively fight diabetes, a prevalent health concern in the modern world. The greens have notably high amounts of vitamins A, C, and K. They are also decent sources of calcium, potassium, iron, and manganese. Not to mention they don't taste half bad! Use dandelion greens as an addition to salads, smoothies, and stir fries as an easy and cheap way to significantly improve your health!

Dandelions can be made into tinctures, extracts, teas, and wine, among other concoctions. The flowers can also be used for natural dyes too. The versatility of this wonder "weed" should be readily apparent to you by now.

In case you need more convincing, dandelions are actually quite helpful to a garden as well. They're taproot helps to draw important nutrients closer to the surface to help shallow rooted plants. They have been shown to be great companions for beans, tomatoes, and nearly every kind of fruiting plant in existence! They can also be turned into a liquid fertilizer, providing a powerful punch of potassium for all your other garden plants.

So, at the risk of over-exhausting myself, I wholeheartedly implore you to change your mind on growing dandelions in your garden. While there is often a need for pulling certain unwanted plants from prime places, there is in turn many benefits to behold for simply allowing these power packed wild plants the freedom to grow.

Dandelions grow in nearly every climate, every elevation on Earth. They have been utilized for their health benefits for as long as humankind's known history. Not to mention, a sea of golden yellow blossoms is a breathtaking sight after a hard winter, ushering in the growing season.

As a child I was told that blowing the seed heads was a way to make a wish. When I became a homeowner, I believed my yard overrun with dandelions was a cruel joke as a result of how many wishes I had made back then. But when I finally matured into my permaculture passionate self, I realized just how blessed I was to be surrounded by such an incredible plant.


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