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Vitamins and Minerals Found Inside Dandelion Greens

vitamins and minerals in dandelion greensDandelion Greens are loaded with magnesium, a mineral our bodies seek for energy and stamina production, Dandelion Greens can be nutritious and delicious when juiced with other ingredients. Here are a few of the questions we attempt to answer about Dandelion Greens.

  • What vitamins in Dandelion Greens make Dandelion Greens so good for us?
  • What is the best method for juicing Dandelion Greens?
  • What are some great buying tips for Dandelion Greens?

Plus, we'll do our best to provide some general information about Dandelion Greens that you might not find so easily elsewhere on the Internet.

Let's begin our exploration of Dandelion Greens...

Vitamins and Minerals in Dandelion Greens

Dandelion Greens aren't well known as a source of nutrition, however in recent years it has finally been achieving recognition. In fact, these easy-to-gather plants can be a valuable addition to your juice diet.

For example, dandelion greens contain nearly as much iron as spinach and four times the provitamin A of lettuce.

Here is a snapshot of the vitamins and minerals contained in dandelion greens.

Vitamins in Dandelion Greens

  • Vitamin C
  • Trace amounts of Vitamins B-1, B-5, B-2, B-3, B-6
  • Folate
  • Pro-Vitamin A
  • Vitamin E

Minerals in Dandelion Greens

  • Calcium
  • Iron 
  • Magnesium 
  • Phosphorus 
  • Potassium
  • Sodium
  • Trace amounts of Zinc, Copper, Manganese and Selenium

The next time you think about Dandelion Greens... think about how they might boost your daily nutrient intake through juicing.

Juicing Tips for Juicing Dandelion Greens

Juicing Dandelion Greens can add valuable nutrients to most any home-juiced cocktail... or it can result in a not-so-palatable drink that is difficult, if not impossible to swallow.

Here are a few tips for juicing Dandelion Greens that may help turn your juicing experience into something you look forward to and thoroughly enjoy.

Both the green leaves and the roots are great for juicing.

Because of their greenness and their bitterness, which increases as the summer progresses and the plants become more firmly entrenched and mature, you'll want to juice them with another vegetable such as carrots to add sweetness to the juice.

As dandelion greens taste mildest in the spring, serious juicers usually use juices from dandelion greens as an excellent spring tonic capable of cleansing the system and strengthening the blood and bones.

Perhaps most important, dandelion greens are a superior source of magnesium which helps the body's natural abilities for energy and stamina. If, like us, you tend to increase your physical activities during the summer months, adding dandelion greens to your spring juicing routine is an excellent idea.

Purchasing Tips for Buying Dandelion Greens

Being such a common "weed" in spring, you may be tempted to forage for your own dandelion greens in lieu of buying them. If you do, be sure to choose areas that have not been tainted by chemicals, animals (pets, etc.) and/or too close to roads. Look for crowns that have not flowered yet and try to dig up the full root with the greens.

If you are unable to forage for and/or harvest your own dandelion greens, here are a few tips for buying Dandelion Greens that may help you get the freshest ingredients. We'll also include a few storing tips for Dandelion Greens that you might find helpful.

First off, when buying dandelion greens look for fresh-looking greens in the market and farm stand. They are also sometimes easy to find in health food stores in season (late spring and early summer).

Rinse them well, and if necessary, soak the greens in a biodegradable produce wash.

Store them when perfectly dry in large Zip loc plastic bags and use them within a few days.

General Information About Dandelion Greens

This article wouldn't be complete if we didn't include a little general information about Dandelion Greens, as well as a few helpful links if you want to explore Dandelion Greens further.

dandelion flower with honey beePeople troubled with digestion may find it helpful to eat a few dandelion leaves--the fresher the better--about 20 minutes before eating. The bitter taste, largely absent from the American diet (except for coffee and beer), will stimulate secretion of digestive enzymes, making the meal easier to digest.

In addition to their cleansing abilities, dandelion greens get high marks for weight loss support.

The lowly dandelion has been used for hundreds of years in China, Europe, and the Americas for medicinal purposes. Native Americans used it to treat kidney disease, indigestion, and heartburn. Traditional Chinese Medicine uses dandelion to treat upper respiratory tract infections, including bronchitis and pneumonia. Dandelions have been used to help stabilize blood sugar (root), antiviral properties (root), digestion aid, gallbladder cleansing (root and/or juice from the leaves), heart (as it relates to cholesterol balancing properties), kidneys (leaves as a diuretic) and to alleviate bloating associated with PMS.

Even today, dandelion roots are used for what many naturalists consider their medicinal properties. Dug in fall or early spring and tinctured (soaked in a jar of brandy or vodka for four weeks or more to extract the medicinal components), a dropperful of this alcohol extract twice a day is a time-honored remedy for liver complaints.

Many naturalists also make dandelion compresses by taking the full dandelion flower head (green parts plus flower parts) putting them into a short mason jar (8 oz.) and pouring boiling water over them, then letting them "steep" for about 1 hour. After an hour the mixture is strained. Keeping both the flowers and the liquid, the flowers are used for things like sunburns and/or facials. Just put the flowers directly on the skin and leave on for about 20 minutes, then take them off and rinse. The liquid is often used for a nighttime "splash" as a skin toner to rejuvenate the skin.

Making an oil using virgin olive oil and the florets (flower heads - no green parts) soaked over 4 to 6 weeks (topped off with more dandelion florets daily) creates a dandelion oil which many naturalists use as a topical application to abate the effects of everything from sinus complaints to sore, aching muscles to sunburns and even wrinkles.

For eating, you can use the young raw greens to replace arugula, watercress, or other peppery greens in salads. You can also treat dandelion like a cooking green, and throw it in a pan with garlic and butter.

Dandelions are important plants for bees. Not only is their flowering used as an indicator that the honey bee season is starting, but they are also an important source of nectar and pollen early in the season. They are also used as a source of nectar by the Pearl-bordered Fritillary (Boloria euphrosyne), one of the earliest emerging butterflies in the spring.

The name dandelion comes from the French dent de lion, meaning 'lion's tooth,' a reference to the jagged-edged leaves. In Turkish the dandelion is called karahindiba meaning "black endive".

Dandelion Coffee, Dandelion Tea and Dandelion Wine

This section on dandelion greens would not be complete without at least a mention of its historical uses for beverages such as dandelion coffee, dandelion tea and dandelion wine. Dandelion coffee was mentioned in a Harpers New Monthly Magazine story in 1886. In 1919, dandelion root was noted as a source of cheap coffee.

harvested dandelion rootsLarge "true" dandelion plants (Taraxacum) that are 3–4 years old, with taproots approximately 0.5 inches (13 mm) in diameter, are harvested for dandelion coffee. These taproots are similar in appearance to pale carrots.

After harvesting, the dandelion roots are dried, chopped, and roasted. They are then ground into granules which are steeped in boiling water to produce dandelion coffee.

A mixture of dandelion tea is thought by many alternative health practitioners to be good for the fibromyalgia sufferers. They recommend you brew a tea of dandelion, burdock root and red clover. For best results, they recommend you drink between 4 and 6 cups a day. Alternatively, you can also take 1 tbsp. of dandelion juice twice a day.

Dandelion tea is most often made from dried dandelion greens/leaves but some naturalists also make another dandelion tea variety from dandelion flower heads - florets (petals) only... no green parts. After removing all greens from the flower heads and separating the florets, they pour boiled water over the florets and let it steep about twenty minutes. It is believed to help for headaches and back aches.

April and May are considered the best months for harvesting dandelions in the northern hemisphere for making dandelion wine.

To make dandelion wine: first wash and clean the blossoms well, then remove all green parts... then soak the florets for 2 days before "preparing" them with other ingredients for the wine making process. There are several different recipes for dandelion wine. We've included a link in the resource section below for one of them.

Other Sources/Resources for
Dandelions and Dandelion Greens

Recommended Reading for
Dandelions and Dandelion Greens

     

sources and resources for dandelions and dandelion greens

Be sure to check out both our "Juicing" and our "Smoothies" sections for delicious recipes and more using Dandelion Greens!