Health Ministries: Dandelions Part 1

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“He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth” Psalm 104:14

When we were living in North Dakota our yard had lots of yellow flowers – dandelions. I tried to eradicate them either by pulling them or spraying them with weed killer. Ah….bad me using weed killer and of course it not only killed the dandelions but it killed the grasses around them! I never ever used weed killer after that and also after discovering that weed killer has killed millions of wild birds, bees and many other wildlife. Whether you love them or hate them dandelions are everywhere and among the most familiar plants in the world. They are one species that just about anyone can identify at a glance, as familiar to humans as the dog. Dandelions are, quite possibly, the most successful plants to exist, masters of survival worldwide.

I encountered some elderly Korean ladies picking these dandelions in my girlfriends’ yard in Canada and and shared with them that dandelions are a bounty of food and medicine. Indeed, they are loaded with vitamins A, C, K, iron, phosphorus, potassium and calcium. But somewhere in the twentieth century humans decided that the dandelion was a weed.

What would you think if someone told you one of the world’s most ultimate superfoods was tasty, free to grab and easy to find? I know what I’d do: I’d run and grab some! Well, that food is dandelions! Right now, some of you are crinkling your noses, and saying, “Ick!” Others probably think I’ve gone crazy. But it’s true. Dandelions, those pesky weeds with bright yellow flowers that you’ve grown up thinking are the enemy of perfect lawns, tidy sidewalks, and weed-free gardens or flower beds are actually food.

Dandelions have deep roots in history throughout the ages. Ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans enjoyed the flowers, and they have been used in Chinese traditional medicine for over a thousand years. Many herbalists used them for liver cleansing, as a treatment for scurvy and to heal many ailments great and small in the olden days.

Dandelions probably arrived in North America on the Mayflower – on purpose – with those who knew what a valuable food source they are and their medicinal benefits. They helped keeps early settlers alive; they made the pioneers more healthy; they even helped make family food budgets stretch during the Great Depression and World War II.

Many years ago in Florida I was buying groceries and I saw a gentleman picking a bunch of dandelions leaves and placing into his grocery basket. I was so curious what he would do with them and so I asked. He gladly answered me and stated he sautéed and mixed them in a pasta with some garlic and olive oil. He said “dandelion leaves are delicious and very nutritious”. I thanked him for sharing his dandelion leaves recipe but thinking in mind, “Hmm…..really!”

Today, dandelions have returned to American culinary dishes. Gourmet restaurants serve up dandelion greens, charging a hefty sum. Health food stores and high-end grocers carry dandelion leaves. All parts of the plants are edible too!

You will be pleasantly surprised by this super food at the mere cost of taking a few minutes to pick and wash them and discovering what you can do with them. Whether you make jam, salad, mashed potatoes, soup, noodles, tea to name a few… you can be adventurous and use dandelions!

To be continued next month…


Yin Schaff, Health Ministries Coordinator


1 “Dandelion greens, raw Nutrition Facts and Calories” SELFNutritionData. http://

An excerpt from the Ultimate Dandelion Cookbook by Kristina Seleshanko