Every morning, particularly in the spring, you can catch me scampering around my front lawn in my bare feet. Yes this is fun and yes, this is good for you (for at least 5 reasons I can think of) but no, this is not march madness nor spring maypole dance thing going on.

The reason I’m out there on my lawn is because I’m harvesting dandelions for my breakfast smoothie.

There are at least 7  reasons why I am digging up dandelions which include:

1.     It keeps my neighbors happy. I think dandelion flowers look great – that perfect solitary yellow bloom against a background of green… but if there was too many flowers, my neighbors who don’t like them, might revolt.

2.     It helps the environment. Assuming you do want to stay friendly with your neighbors, pulling up dandelions is an alternative to soaking up the ground and water table and general environment with deadly toxic chemicals.

3.     I’m thrifty. I don’t have to pay for herbicides.

4.     I’m very thrifty! (cheap) Using dandelion reduces the amount of greens I have to buy for my smoothie. Spinach, the main ingredient of smoothies, is a great value considering all the nutrition and benefits but dandelions are … well… FREE!

5.     I like to feel great. There is tremendous health benefits to dandelions. The dandelions’ scientific name Taraxacum officinale, means the “Official Remedy for Disorders”. It has such a long list of benefits that I have to list them latter.  There is benefits to the root, the leaf, the flower and the stem.

6.     Dandelions are tasty. The leaves when young are not too bitter, the flowers are sweet. Even the root, if roasted, is white palatable. Some people use it for substitute for chicory.

7.     I’m efficient! (lazy) With one small act, I reduce grocery shopping, I reduce weed killer shopping, I reduce herb remedy shopping,  I save money, I get healthy, I enjoy the sun, I enjoy the fresh air, and it feels good on my feet!

A short list of the health benefits of dandelion are:

  • Prevent or help with liver diseases, such as hepatitis or jaundice.
  • Act as a tonic and gentle diuretic to purify your blood, cleanse your system, dissolve kidney stones, and otherwise improve gastro-intestinal health.
  • Assist in weight reduction.
  • Cleanse your skin and eliminate acne.
  • Improve your bowel function, working equally well to relieve both constipation and diarrhea.
  • Prevent or lower high blood pressure.
  • Prevent or help with anemia.
  • Lower your serum cholesterol by as much as half.
  • Eliminate or drastically reduce acid indigestion and gas buildup by cutting the heaviness of fatty foods.
  • Prevent or help with various forms of cancer.
  • Prevent or help control diabetes mellitus.

Because most parts of the dandelion help your liver and because the liver has at least 50 functions in the body, the benefits could go on for pages.   Some people also consider that the dandelion is nature’s long term mechanism for balancing out your soil. It’s roots go down far deeper than the lawn and bring up lots of minerals which help your soil when they die. It’s those minerals that are good for your liver and rest of your body. Pretty good …. and did I mention its FREE!

Just a few days ago I sat down to a meal with friends that had  leaves and greens in the salad.  Another friend is on a two week liver cleanse of just dandelion stalks right now and still another puts dandelion flowers in her omelets.  You get the idea.  For my green smoothie I just substitute SOME of the spinach or just add some instead of Swiss chard. If you used too much dandelion leaves it would be too bitter. I also add all the flower petals that I dug up.

A final point to note is that Dandelion is just one edible weed (or plant that you didn’t intend to eat) growing in your yard right now.  Do you know others?  I’m from the Sask. prairie where often the biggest plant is caragana bushes. The yellow flowers taste like honey.  It takes a lot of work to fill up even partially but it is fun trying!

Please post your favourite interesting plant that you eat or have eaten from your yard in the comment section below.  I hear  that Trudy on the east coast has bamboo growing like a weed in her yard.  Too bad it wasn’t sugar cane.  I could eat that!

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