Dandelion the misunderstood herb
Joanna Gotwald @Furkidlover
By Bow Wow Fashions, LLC
Dandelion the misunderstood Herb
When I was little I remember picking the bright yellow dandelion flowers and putting it under someone’s chin and saying “If your skin drinks up the color, you like butter.” and who didn’t run home to Mom with a collection of dandelion flowers to give her because you love her?
Growing up dandelion greens accompanied many of our meals. As a salad with Olive Oil and Vinegar it adds a peppery – slightly bitter taste to any meat dish. We called the greens “cicoria” however I learned that the word translates in English to Chicory and dandelions are actually called “dente di leone” or Dandelions. Chicory is actually interchangeable with dandelion greens and often when dandelion greens were unavailable, chicory easily stepped in to fill the void on many Italian tables.
The plants are actually herbs and the entire plant is edible from the flower to the root and everything in between. For example; the root of the Chicory plant and the Dandelion is often roasted and ground up as cheap filler for coffee and may be used as a coffee substitute for people who can’t have caffeine. It actually gives a wonderful flavor to coffee and many cafe style restaurants use chicory in their dessert coffee as it aids in digestion.
So when my first dog a miniature schnauzer named Mitzi started eating grass and then vomited on my rug I was not at all happy. After cleaning the mess up time and time again, not only was I worried for my little baby and wondering what to do, I also wanted to find some way to curb the vomit. The vet suggested I keep her on a bland diet and if I needed I could give her a half of a TUMS® to help settle the acid in her stomach.
In a quick effort to prevent her grazing on grass, I thought of my father who loved the dandelion green salads telling us that it is good for your stomach. I picked a few tender leaves and fed them to her, she ate them up like crazy and she polished of the whole plant of all of its tender leaves. When we got inside she didn’t vomit. I waited for an hour thinking it was going to happen anytime now but it never did. She lay down and a few minutes later she got up and was her old self. No vomiting and she wanted to eat and drink. I was amazed. Now my Furbaby Brenna has taken to the plant easily too and on those rare upset tummy occasions, there is no vomiting.
After all this I did some research and found that the dandelion was a good idea. It has been used for many years in homeopathic medicine to treat liver disease, inflammation, and it is also used to treat stomach and digestive issues.
Next time your dog wants to eat grass, pick some dandelion greens and feed them to your dog. You don’t need a lot and you want to make sure that the plants have not been treated with any chemicals; so maybe a quick wash would be a good idea.
As with any natural remedy out there, you need to limit the use of herbs, you don’t want to over do it. As Mom always said “…sometimes you can have too much of a good thing.”
Large amounts of dandelion greens can have some unwanted side effects such as diarrhea so just small amounts to start would be best. Use common sense, if you have a small dog it would be best not to let them eat the whole plant. My 20 pound miniature schnauzer eats a whole plant worth of greens and does well, but smaller dogs require much less achieving the same effect.
So give the remedy a try the next time your little one has an upset stomach, I would bet that you will see a change in your Furbaby almost immediately.
NOTE: Stool may be a little loose the next time they have a BM, but that will level itself out pretty much immediately. As with all good things, DO NOT OVERDUE IT!!! A LITTLE BIT GOES A LONG WAY! Also, a note from my VET after she read this was that Dandelions are oxalate heavy, so Miniature Schnauzers and smaller dogs who are prone to bladder crystals (stones) may not be a good candidate for a lot of dandelions on a regular basis. It will be okay for occasional use but not on a regular basis.
I hope you will give it a try and come back here to let us know your opinions and results!
Remember: never pick dandelions in an area that has been treated with chemicals. And make sure you wash your greens well in room temperature water with a spoonful of white vinegar. This helps get the dirt off and critter out. I also wash the flowers and let them drain on paper towels and lightly pat them dry with paper towels.
Dandelion Fritter Recipe
By Kimberly Gallagher
This time of year, one of my favorite activities is making and eating dandelion flower fritters. The simple dandelion is one of our family’s favorite herbs. Did I just say herb in reference to dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)? Yep! This plant is tenacious, despite many folk’s best efforts to eradicate her from their lawns, and thankfully so since she has so much to offer. But, I was going to tell you about fritters.
First of all I love gathering the dandelion flowers – just the tops for fritters. They are easy to pick and so bright and cheery on a sunny day. Usually, I want to pick more than I need, just because the gathering is so fun. Do pick them in the sunshine when they are open, and when you have time to make the fritters right after gathering.
Bring your basket of flowers inside, find a bowl, and mix together one egg and one cup of milk. Stir in a cup of flour and your fritter batter is ready to go. (If you like your fritters sweet you can add a little maple syrup or honey.)
Now, prepare a skillet on the stove with gently warmed olive oil – keep it over medium heat.
Take one of the flowers and hold it by the greens at the base of the flower petals. Dip the petals into the batter and twirl until the flower is covered.
Drop it into the skillet, flower side down. Continue dipping and dropping flowers, checking the first ones every once in a while to see if they are brown. When they’ve lightly browned, flip them over and brown them on the other side.
When they’re brown on both sides remove them from the skillet and drain the excess oil on paper towel.
For a sweet treat, drizzle the blossoms with maple syrup, honey, jam, or powdered sugar.
A second method for fritter making is to pull the dandelion flower petals from the green base and add the petals to the batter. Then you can cook them up just like pancakes.
Not only are the fritters delicious, the dandelion flowers are good for your heart. Dandelion flower tea can help relieve pain from headaches, menstrual cramps, backaches, stomachaches and depression.
The rest of the plant (greens and roots) has nourishing, healing properties as well. So, once you’ve fallen in love with the flowers, consider seeking out further information and enjoy blowing her white seeds and making your wishes, knowing that you’re spreading seeds of health throughout your neighborhood.