START A PETITION 25,136,189 members: the world's largest community for good
START A PETITION
x
560,066 people care about Real Food

5 Reasons Dandelions Don’t Deserve to Be Called a Weed

5 Reasons Dandelions Don’t Deserve to Be Called a Weed

If your goal is an unblemished green carpet of a lawn, you probably regard dandelions as a scourge. It’s a reputation unjustly deserved: dandelions have been called the good weed for good reason.

Dandelions are native to Eurasia and to North and South America. While many of us would shun the thought of eating a weed, dandelions have been used as a food and an herb since prehistorical times. A perennial plant, dandelion leaves will grow back if the taproot is left intact.

But eating dandelions is just one way to use them.

1. Dandelions can be a source of rubber

Yes, rubber can be extracted from dandelions to make, among other things, tires. Scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology IME, in cooperation with the automotive supplier, Contunental, have built a pilot facility in Münster in Germany that can make natural rubber by the ton. They are also cultivating several hectares of a dandelion variety which is particularly rich in rubber.

The scientists have already produced a high-grade natural rubber in the laboratory and are seeking to do so on an industrial scale within a few years. The goal is to, one day, no longer have to import rubber from subtropical countries; shipping rubber from far away adds to CO2 emissions.

2. Dandelion roots make a decent coffee substitute

Higher temperatures, prolonged droughts followed by intense rainfall and crop diseases — the effects of climate change — have all reduced coffee supplies in recent years. Modern growing practices, including the use of pesticides, could also be killing off coffee plants by spreading “coffee rust,” a fungus that has been affecting coffee plantations in Central America and Mexico.

The taste won’t be quite the same but dandelion roots can be roasted and made into an herbal tea that somewhat resembles coffee. Dandelion tea is said to have health benefits for your liver; it is being researched as a cancer treatment.

3. Dandelions contain compounds with curative properties

Dandelions contains chemicals that may reduce inflammation and (though there is insufficient research to prove any of these) has been used to treat a wide variety of ailments: upset stomach, stimulating the appetite, intestinal gas, gallstones, joint pain, muscle aches, eczema and bruises. In Canada, dandelion root is a registered drug and is sold mostly as a diuretic, to help the body get rid of excess fluid..

Dandelion is available as a supplement in tablet or capsule form or as a liquid extract. As with any supplement, make sure to consult your physician if you’re taking dandelion along with other medications such as antibiotics as dandelion can reduce their effectiveness.

4. Dandelions can be made into soup, salad and jam

Dandelion leaves are high in vitamin A, vitamin C and iron, with more iron and calcium than spinach. The leaves (called dandelion greens) are foraged or grown on a small scale and can be turned into soup or salad (though beware, the raw leaves have a slightly bitter taste).

In parts of Poland and Silesia, dandelion flowers are used to make a honey-substitute syrup that is thought to have medicinal value. The leave and buds are eaten in traditional Sephardic, Chinese and Korean cuisine; certain varieties (including one found only at high altitudes) are eaten on the island of Crete and Greece.

5. Why worry about a predicted wine shortage when you can drink dandelion wine?

Dandelion is a traditional ingredient of root beer. The flowers (just the petals or in their entirety) can be made into dandelion wine by steeping them with water, sugar or honey and citrus fruit; yeast is added and the mixture fermented for a few weeks. As Robin Shreeves writes on MNN, a friend who tried making dandelion wine ending up with something more like dandelion turpentine and used it as an “all-natural weed killer” — presumably not on dandelions!

Read more: , , , , ,

Photos from Thinkstock

have you shared this story yet?

some of the best people we know are doing it

315 comments

+ add your own
8:13AM PDT on Jul 18, 2014

I have eaten cooked dandelion leaves, they are not too bad, a little bitter, add a little sweetner and they are fine.

8:35PM PDT on Jun 15, 2014

Thanks for the info!

4:20AM PDT on Mar 9, 2014

Thank you

12:52PM PST on Dec 6, 2013

There’s no such thing as a ‘weed’ in the Nature. The word sounds disrespectfully, especially towards dandelions. They are lovely!
As for eating them.. hmm, I think I'll try to add them to my salad. Thanx.

9:17AM PST on Nov 27, 2013

If anyone wants some they can come over and get all they want.

12:26PM PST on Nov 26, 2013

dandelion syrup is AMAZING

6:37AM PST on Nov 17, 2013

Grazie

4:00PM PST on Nov 16, 2013

ty

12:25PM PST on Nov 15, 2013

Wow.

4:20AM PST on Nov 15, 2013

very interesting post - thanks Kristina

add your comment



Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

ads keep care2 free

Recent Comments from Causes

This article meant to be a "joke", where the writer gives a good excuse to omnivores to make even more…

meet our writers

Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches ancient Greek, Latin and Classics at Saint Peter's University in New Jersey.... more
Story idea? Want to blog? Contact the editors!
ads keep care2 free



Select names from your address book   |   Help
   

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.