Is the weed with the yellow flower in your backyard nutritious? Yes. Dandelion greens are a great source of many vitamins and a good source of many minerals. One serving has five times the recommended daily dose of vitamin K. Essential for bone health by increasing ratio of bone matrix development to bone breakdown, especially in the presence of calcium. Antidote for coumarin poisoning (rodent poison) since coumarins block liver production of vitamin K and cause internal bleeding. Greens loaded with antioxidant vitamins A and C, preventing buildup of harmful free radicals in water soluble areas of the body and promoting healthy cardiovascular function. Maintain elasticity in blood vessels and assist in blocking biochemical pathways that lead to plaque buildup. Potassium aids blood pressure by helping blood vessels relax. Enhance liver function, eyesight, immune system function and synthesis of connective tissue. Riboflavin and small amounts of other B vitamins assist in metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids and protein to provide energy or help develop body structure. Diuretic components cause kidneys to produce more urine, removing excess toxins, lowering high blood sugar and lowering blood pressure.
Vitamin and Mineral Content
Vitamins – K, A, C, E and B (Riboflavin)
Minerals – Calcium, Iron, Manganese, Potassium, Magnesium and Copper
High content of vitamins and minerals may help delay or prevent heart disease, atherosclerosis, rheumatoid and osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and cell damage leading to many types of cancer.
How to Grow
We know it as a common weed, but dandelions have an attractive flower. Very tolerant and grow in most soils. If growing to eat, increase nutrition by selecting sunny site, amend soil with compost or planting mix and check drainage. Sow seeds in spring; water during dry weather. Thin out to 6 inches or more between plants to reduce disease risk and provide room for leaf growth. Harvest leaves like other leafy lettuce before they flower and/or go to seed, which leads to bitter taste.
No common pests for dandelions. Usually dandelion is the pest by growing as weed interfering with other plants. Strong taproot makes them hard to remove, which requires completely digging up roots without breaking off.
When gone to seed, they spread rapidly and germinate. Alternative approach: grow in container to prevent spreading to undesired locations. Many highly nutritious juices and teas come from dandelion. Give them a try.