Taste (Rasa): Bitter
Energetics (Virya): Cooling
Doshic Effects: Balancing for Pitta and Kapha (slightly increasing for Vata)
Benefits & Use: Dandelion has been eaten for thousands of years as a food and as medicine to treat anemia, scurvy, skin problems, blood disorders, and depression. It is a very rich source of beta-carotene, vitamin C, Vitamin D, and essential minerals (potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc,phosphorus). Dandelion also acts as a mild laxative that promotes digestion, stimulates appetite, and balances the natural and beneficial bacteria in the intestines. It can increase the release of stomach acid and bile to aid digestion, especially of fats.
Additional Uses: Diabetes; skin infections; urinary tract infections; liver cleanse
In the Kitchen: Dandelion leaves, flowers, and roots are all edible. They have a slightly bitter flavor that can be minimized by harvesting them in the fall or spring. The young leaves are tenderer and less bitter, making a great addition to raw salads. Cooking dandelion cuts the bitter flavor of both the leaves and the roots. Note: Some people may have allergic reactions to dandelion. Anyone with an allergy to ragweed, chrysanthemum, marigold, chamomile, yarrow, or daisy should avoid dandelion.
Recipe: Dandelion Pumpkin Seed Pesto
- 3/4 cup unsalted hulled (green) pumpkin seeds
- 3 garlic gloves, minced
- 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
- 1 bunch dandelion greens (about 2 cups, loosely packed)
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Pour the pumpkin seeds onto a shallow-rimmed baking sheet and roast until just fragrant, about 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
Pulse the garlic and pumpkin seeds together in the bowl of a food processor until very finely chopped.
Add parmesan cheese, dandelion greens, and lemon juice and process continuously until combined. Stop the processor every now and again to scrape down the sides of the bowl. The pesto will be very thick and difficult to process after awhile — that's ok.
With the blade running, slowly pour in the olive oil and process until the pesto is smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste.