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Botanical Spotlight: Dandelion - May 26th 2021

I am celebrating because the dandelions are blooming here in Teton valley and they are the first food for the bees in the spring! They are most tender and sweet (although still bitter) early in the season. This is the best time to harvest the leaves for tea. Be sure to save some of the flowers for the bees though! The roots are a delicious alternative to coffee. Although they are not stimulating, they are detoxifying. Every part of the dandelion is edible. They work to stimulate digestion after a long winter. They are potent plants to detoxify the liver and the entire body. It’s amazing that what is considered a weed could have so many health benefits. I find this ironic. It’s truly fascinating.

Dandelions are nutrient dense and contain magnesium, calcium, potassium, iron and vitamins A, C, K and E. This little power plant even contains B vitamins! This plant also is full of antioxidants like Beta- carotene that help neutralize free radicals in the body. One study showed that dandelion root dramatically slowed the growth of cancer cells in the liver, colon and pancreas. Given the natural healing abilities of so many plants and herbs, I believe that they should be prioritized in medical research. Personally, if a natural remedy can cure something before a chemical treatment, I would much prefer a natural remedy. This is why I love exploring the health benefits of plants for myself.

I have dried the roots, leaves and flowers of my dandelion harvest this season. I plan to make dandelion root and leaf tea. It is drank often in Australia as a coffee replacement or supplement. I'm thinking they have the right idea with all the health benefits of this underestimated plant. After all, the only thing that makes a plant a weed - is a judgement. I am also going to use the buds to make a hand salve. Stay tuned for the recipes!

I feel as though I have been hibernating like a bear this long and extra cold winter. I am ready to begin sowing seeds and harvesting what is to come. I am very excited for the change of pace and to rise to the occasion of “the busy season”. I am ready to continue to learn about plants that are -perhaps misunderstood- like dandelion. I am excited for greater health with beneficial plants that may be overlooked. I truly believe that the earth provides all that we need and it’s our job to tend to, and be aware of its rhythms. I believe that the “weeds” that grow are messengers for the body and the earth about what is needed.

When we tune in, the wisdom of the earth is beyond that of our minds. (We would not have a mind without the earth- nor would we exist) I think that the dandelions represent that it’s a great time for a liver detox. They also serve as a reminder to plant some more flowers for the bees. I take great pride in planting seeds and propagating plants as I go. I want to make sure the bees have an abundance of pollen for their long winter to come. This is just the same as wanting to make sure my hearth and home are stocked each season. As spring emerges with more warmth and light, I am excited for the possibilities of growth!

Some interesting sources:

Effect of Methanolic Extract of Dandelion Roots on Cancer Cell Lines and AMP-Activated Protein Kinase Pathway - PubMed (

Selective induction of apoptosis and autophagy through treatment with dandelion root extract in human pancreatic cancer cells - PubMed (

Dandelion root extract affects colorectal cancer proliferation and survival through the activation of multiple death signaling pathways - PubMed (

13 Potential Health Benefits of Dandelion (

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