Dandelions are just dandy!

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It might be a bit early in our neck of the woods to be celebrating this, but April 5 is National Dandelion Day.

Regarded by many as either bright harbingers of spring or annoying pests, dandelions are found just about everywhere. Dandelions, however, aren’t indigenous to North America. They were brought over from Europe and Asia specifically for their medicinal benefits. Intrigued? Know that there are several alternatives to mowing, tearing and spraying these sunny-hued flowers to try, all of which provide numerous health benefits.

According to Carlie Timbie of Vermont State Parks, dandelion greens have been a long-time summer salad accent, and with only 25 calories per cup, they pack in a lot vitamins and minerals – over 100% of your vitamin A requirement, 30% of your vitamin C and 10% of your needed calcium and iron for each day.

They’re great sources of vitamin B6 and K as well, and contain more protein than spinach. Dandelions also contain significant amounts of copper, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium. As the greens can be slightly bitter by themselves, they work well in smoothies partnered with sweeter fruits like bananas strawberries and mangoes.

The dandelion flowers have long been used as liver cleansers since they contain high levels of luteolin (good for your brain) and lecithin (a mixture of fats essential to cells in the human body). Plants with these flavonoids have been used in Chinese medicine for centuries to treat diseases such as hypertension, inflammatory disorders and cancer.

And remember that mammals aren’t the only ones that produce milk! (Well, sort of.) Dandelion stalks produce a sap commonly called “dandelion milk,” which is both antimicrobial and antifungal, which makes it a great remedy for skin conditions. The sap can be applied to and reduce the symptoms of itches, ringworm, eczema and acne.

Curious about what else dandelions can be used for, besides polka-dotting your lawn this spring? Check out this post from Heathline.

And try this recipe too!

Dandelion Fritters

These are basically little pancakes with dandelion flowers in them. If you’re interested in ingesting dandelion, this is an easy way to try!

  1. Pick some flowers.
  2. Cut off their stems and pluck the downward-facing greens from the bases of the flowers.
  3. Wash the flowers.
  4. Dunk the dandelions in homemade batter (flour, milk, egg, baking soda and any seasoning of your choice).
  5. Pan fry the flowers.

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