By Pernilla Gäverth 6:21 pm PST

Spring is one of my favorite times in the middle of Sweden where I live. The yellow blooms have recently become one of my favorite weed since I learned how nutritious they are. It may sound strange to have a favorite, but dandelion has so many virtues that it is an easy choice. Dandelion is a generous plant in that every part of it can be used as food or medicine. Blowing on a dandelion ”seed puff” offers both children and adults cheap entertainment – and, some say, a free wish!

Because this is such a delicious and medicinal plant it completely confounds me that so many people despise it. Instead of rushing out with their harvesting tools to enjoy this free food and medicine, they spray harmful chemicals to kill them. I say it is time to end our war on dandelions and embrace them for the many benefits they so freely offer.

Dandelion (Photo: (Photo:Pernilla Gäverth/Middle Land)


Botanical name:

Taraxacum officinale

Family: Asteraceae

Parts used: root, leaves, flowers

Taste: bitter



Dandelion leaves are among our most nutrient-dense greens. The tender spring leaves are full of nutrients, including vitamin C, vitamin K1, potassium, magnesium and beta-carotene. It is a tradition in many countries in Europe to pick those spring greens and eat them, not only for their valuable nutrition, but also for their ability to stimulate healthy digestion.

When harvesting the leaves, you will find the young, tender leaves of the spring to be most tasty. If you sample mature leaves, you will find that they are very bitter and perhaps not even edible.

The flowers are also edible and they can be made into a lovely jam and even wine.

Dandelion root offers powerful support to the liver by increasing function and decreasing inflammation. Traditionally, herbalists have recommended dandelion root to support the health of people with cancer. In recent years scientists have started to take note, and there are a handful of studies showing dandelions promising results in supporting the immune system and even fighting against cancer cells.

Bumblebee on a dandelion (Photo: Pernilla Gäverth/Middle Land))

More than 80 million pounds of herbicides are used on lawns, most specifically against dandelions each year. Many of these chemicals either have not been tested for safety or have been shown to have a strong correlation with cancer. If harvesting your own dandelions, be sure to harvest in an area free from harmful chemicals.

Enjoy spring, health, beauty and dandelions!