With some 250+ varietes, dandelions are common and easily recognized. The serrated green leaves are basal, "meaning they don't grow up on stems, but emerge from the crown of the plant at ground level".  The flowers extend on a hollow stalk that oozes when pierced or cut.
Dandelions are in the family Asteracea. They are a relative of calendula, which we covered in last week's Wildcrafted Medicine blog! Each petal on the sweet yellow flower head is actually a tiny, specialized flower unto itself called a floret.
Dandelions are dishonored by many gardeners, treated as common weeds and even sprayed with toxic chemicals for attempted eradication. This perception is an absolute travesty, because dandelion is a powerful all-around remedy.
- supports digestive system
- stimulates channels of elimination
- promotes detoxification
- great source of vitamins and minerals
- protects cardiovascular system
- calms irritation
- encourages liver health
- purifies the blood
We have a great recipe for Dandelion Pesto:
a couple handfuls of dandelion greens
good bunch of basil
small handful of sunflower seeds
olive oil, 0.5-1 cup
up to a head of garlic
small handful of parmesan cheese
Blend everything in a Vitamix or food processor. Exact amounts aren't that important; experiment to find the relative volume of each ingredient you prefer!