newcomersGuide2019

The Herb Shop – Dandelion

Plants have always been a part of my life. Since I could remember, my father would bring my little sister and I into his small garden. It only took up a small square of land in our backyard but to us it felt like another world. He would spend all day out there, and then come in to teach us about the different vegetables, fruits and herbs he was growing. He knew so much and made sure to share it with his girls. The plants followed us inside, growing from clay pots and glass vases. My mother believed in the holistic elements to certain plants and was always quick to look there first. My parents worked hard to create something to pass on to us, which is why I decided to start the Herb Shop! I want to share where I’m from, where a lot of our medicinal fixes originated from, as well as, shine a light on the multifaceted uses of common plant life that we look past every day.

Taraxacum Officinale or Dandelion

It is suspected that the origin of this plant’s name is French, “dent de lion” or “the lion’s tooth”, which was named after the tooth-like serrations on the plant’s leaves. It can be hard to see the Dandelion plant, or taraxacum officinale, as more than a pesky weed sometimes, but it has been used for centuries as a healing herb. Every part of the plant can be used to heal numerous ailments and provide several different types of nutrients, vitamins and minerals to the consumer.

Health Benefits

There are many different health benefits to dandelions. Dandelion is a good source of Vitamin A, Riboflavin and Vitamin K, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Potassium and Thiamin. Scientists have found that dandelion root may show promise as an anti-cancer agent. In a 2012 study on pancreatic cancer cells, researchers observed that dandelion root extract may combat pancreatic cancer by inducing apoptosis (a type of programmed cell death essential for stopping the proliferation of cancer cells) and slowed the growth of pancreatic cancer cells and stopped the spread of prostate cancer cells. While these studies demonstrated anti-cancer activity, further research is needed before dandelion root extract can be recommended for the prevention or treatment of cancer. Here is a brief list of some ailments that are said to be curable/treatable with the use of dandelion (root, leaves, or the plant as a whole):

  • Contains potent antioxidants
  • Induces laxative and diuretic functions
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Treats liver and gallbladder pains
  • Increases appetite
  • Reduces weight
  • Protects the immune system
  • Helps control cholesterol levels in the blood
  • Helps regulate heart rate and blood pressure

WARNING: Dandelion is usually safe when taken in low doses. However, an allergic reaction has been seen:

  • Ragweed allergy (Dandelion can cause allergic reactions when taken by mouth or applied to the skin of sensitive people. People who are allergic to ragweed and related plants (daisies, chrysanthemums, marigolds) are likely to be allergic to dandelion. If you have allergies, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking dandelion.

There isn’t enough recorded about how dandelion effects pregnancy or breastfeeding; therefore it is not advisable for pregnant women to take any supplemental dandelion.

Other Uses

Dandelion has been utilized in so many different ways over the centuries. The plant has been used in soaps, scrubs, cleanses, oils, creams, lotions, and more. The nutrients of dandelion can help detox the skin as well as reduce signs of aging and scars. Since dandelion has natural vitamins, vitamins A, B, and D, it is beneficial to all skin types. Truly, this essential “weed” is so much more than your common backyard nuisance. If you suffer from sleepless night, this Dandelion Root Coffee Scrub will help brighten up your face.

Ingredients Needed:

  • Raw Honey
  • Dandelion Root
    • grab a box of dandelion root tea and the packets will work
  • Coffee Grounds

Steps:

  1. Add dandelion root straight from the tea bag to honey and fresh coffee grinds. Caffeine can stimulate circulation, which helps brighten up your skin after a sleepless night.
  2. Mix the ingredients together and rub the mixture onto the face/body. The dandelion root exfoliates and gives you all the wonderful benefits mentioned earlier.
  3. Rinse off face/body.

Recipe of the Day

Dandelion has been said to have an earthy, nutty, and pleasantly bitter taste, similar to arugula. While I searched for a suitable recipe, I couldn’t help but be curious about what food critics said was the best pairing for dandelion when it came to creating a delectable dish. That is how I settled on Savory Stuffed Toast for the recipe of the day. It takes an interesting spin on the standard grilled cheese, which I felt was perfect.

Ingredients Needed:

  • 4 slices bacon, cut crosswise into large (about 1 inch) pieces
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1 onion, halved lengthwise (with the grain) and sliced into very thin lengthwise strips
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • 3 cups chopped dandelion greens, cut crosswise into large (2- to 3-inch) pieces
  • 2 teaspoons wine vinegar, preferably sherry or Banyul’s, more to taste
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 8 (1/2-inch thick) slices sourdough bread
  • 4 teaspoons whole-grain Dijon mustard, or as desired
  • 1/2 pound thinly sliced Gruyère cheese

Steps:

  1. In a large skillet, fry the bacon over medium-high heat until crisp, about 10 minutes. Drain the bacon (discard or save the fat for another use) and set aside.
  2. In a large, heavy-bottom saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring frequently, until they soften and start to brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Add the white wine and continue to stir, scraping any flavoring from the bottom of the pan.
  3. When the wine is almost completely absorbed, stir in the greens and cook just until they start to wilt, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the vinegar, then taste, and season with one-fourth teaspoon salt and several grinds of black pepper. Stir in the bacon bits, then taste again and adjust the seasoning or vinegar if necessary.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and milk, along with the Parmesan cheese. Whisk in a pinch of salt and several grinds of black pepper to season the eggwash. Place the eggwash in a large shallow baking dish or pie plate and set aside.
  5. Soak the bread slices in the eggwash until just soaked on each side, about 2 minutes per side. Gently spread one-half teaspoon mustard over the one side of each of 4 slices. Onto the other 4 slices, divide the sliced Gruyère, then top with the onion and greens mixture. Sprinkle over the bacon bits, then press the remaining slices of bread (mustard on the inside) onto layered cheese-onions-bacon to form a sandwich.
  6. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat until melted and hot.
  7. Reduce the heat to low and pan-fry the sandwiches, 2 at a time, until crisp and golden and the bread is cooked through, about 5 minutes per side. Cover the skillet while each piece is frying to allow the toast to fully cook and the filling to heat and melt. Adjust the heat as needed to keep each stuffed toast from burning.
  8. Serve each piece of stuffed toast immediately or hold the finished toast in a warm oven until all of the pieces are fried.

 

 

Sources:

https://www.verywellhealth.com/the-benefits-of-dandelion-root-89103

https://www.nutrition-and-you.com/dandelion-herb.html

https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-706/dandelion

https://www.bustle.com/articles/154670-these-dandelion-beauty-recipes-will-put-that-pretty-weed-to-good-use-photos

https://www.latimes.com/food/la-fo-frenchtoastrec3-20110127-story.html

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