Beneficial Herbs You Can Collect Anywhere: Dandelions

There are many beneficial herbs that grow wild across the US. One of the most common of them is dandelion. Dandelions are originally from Europe, but they have established themselves worldwide in meadows, lawns and alongside roads. They are a perennial herb with jagged “toothy” leaves that grow in a rosette close to the ground. The have a bare, hollow stem. There is only one flower per stem, a yellow flower that turns into the recognizable “seed puff ball”.

The dandelion is both a food and a medicine. Its leaves contain a number of nutrients including iron, zinc, boron, calcium, silicon, and they are especially high in potassium. It is also high in vitamins A, B complex, C and D. Dandelion is a general herb for all ailments, the latin name translating to “official cure for disorders”. Salts present in dandelion seems to reduce the acidity on ones blood, making it useful as a tonic. Dandelion is also praised as a diuretic and shows effectiveness in lowering high blood pressure.

All parts of this plant are edible. The leaves are usually collected early in the season, as they become more bitter after flowering. Leaves can be used as bitters in a fresh salad, or as cooked greens in pasta dishes or stir-fry. The root can be eaten as a baked or boiled vegetable, or can be dry roasted and ground to make a naturally sweet, caffeine-free coffee. The flower is the most bitter part and is usually reserved for making dandelion wine.