Think Twice Before Cutting Your Dandelions

Last week, a fellow Community Acupuncturist in Leominster, MA, reminded her friends not to mow our laws for a few more weeks because the bees need the dandelions. I happily obliged and took my bike out of the garage for a spin instead of the lawn mower.

It turns out that it’s not just bees that need the dandelions. Other pollinators like butterflies, beetles, and different birds are in need of dandelions right now, while we wait for other flowers to bloom later in the season. You can read more about that in this article from the Guardian.

Everything from the root to the flower of a dandelion can be used as medicine. They are a vitamin-packed food source, or helpful remedies when applied topically for skin conditions, such abscesses or nodules. Dandelions are a part of the Chinese Materia Medica, in the category of herbs that 'clear heat' and 'relieve toxicity'. Basically what that means is that they are good for treating inflammation, especially when red, swollen or painful. Dandelion tea can also be a good remedy for red, swollen, painful joints. According to Paul Pitchford’s book, Healing with Whole Foods, dandelions are a mild diuretic and a mild laxative that will not deplete your body of potassium.

Earlier this morning, I discovered patches of dandelions growing in a wooded area in my neighborhood. I am not picking dandelions in public parks, which are more likely to be sprayed with weed killer or fertilizer. But I did forage a bundle of greens, leaving plenty behind to share with our pollinator friends. After I rinsed the greens, I put them in a pot and poured a tea kettle’s worth of hot water over them to make tea. They are steeping as I write this.

You can also dry dandelions in bundles or put them in a food dehydrator. If you are feeling really ambitious you can make a blooming dandelion tea ball, like in this video.

For more information about the benefits of dandelions, you can read more here. I don’t know about you, but I am ready to enjoy a cup of dandelion tea.

 - MAS acupuncturist Elizabeth Ropp

Posted in Acupuncture Blog


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