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I would like to extend a warm welcome to my dear friend Lori, who is now a regular contributor to my site. Lori is a certified clinical herbalist and I am honored to have her here to share her knowledge. While I’ve always been a fan of herbal remedies, it wasn’t until the last few months that I really started to become fascinated with herbs, so I am excited to learn new information! I tried these dandelion fritters last weekend and they were SO good! The recipe is gluten and dairy free. This is Lori’s first post here, so lets give her a big welcome! To learn more about Lori, you can check out her bio here.
The Dandy Dandelion and Tasty Dandelion Flower Fritters
By Lori Roop, Certified Clinical Herbalist
Even though Americans nowadays are bound and determined to label dandelions (Taraxacum offincinale) as weeds, it wasn’t always that way. Mayflower passengers brought dandelions with them deliberately. Dandelions have been used medicinally by Native Americans and other peoples dating all the way back to A.D. 1000. Tenth century Arabian physicians first described the dandelions’ ability for helping with liver problems and showing how they offered diuretic properties.
Dandelion Flower Benefits
While some herbalists believe and argue that dandelion is one of the most “beneficial and healthful” of herbs1, it is almost exclusively the leaves and roots they are talking about. Most information you will see available refers primarily to leaves and roots. Today, we are going to be talking about the flowers, which also offer a range of health benefits.
The flowers contain carotenoids, most notably taraxanthin, which is a mixture of lutein, flanoxanthin, violaxanthin and chrysanthemaxanthin1. Nutrient analyses also detected beta-carotene, cryptoxanthin and cryptoxanthin epoxide.2 Taraxanthin helps strengthen the mucous membranes, boosts the immune system and is an antioxidant1. Lutein is most well-known as “the eye vitamin”. Lisa Ganora, herbalist, points out that studies suggest mixed carotenoids can act as anti-cancer preventatives.2 Though other studies don’t support dandelion flower as having anti-cancer properties, while the leaves and roots do, with dandelion flowers being full of carotenoids and flavonoids, I see no reason not to eat as many as possible!
The flowers also contain lecithin. Lecithin is known for nourishing the brain and calming the nervous system and helps the body digest and utilize fats and oils. Susan Weed3 in “Healing Wise” and Brigitte Mars1 in “Dandelion Medicine” both list similar healing properties of the dandelion flower. Taken internally, such as in the form of a tea, tincture, etc, they list symptom relief of headaches, menstrual cramps, backaches, stomachaches, depression, pain relief in general by lessening nerve excitability and mildly tranquilizing, and beneficial to the heart.
Applied externally, sometimes infused into water and some infused into oil, it has been used as a facial splash for skin improvement, stiff neck, antiarthritic, sinus headaches and encourages wound healing for skin sores. New research studies on dandelion flowers are showing antimicrobial properties against fungal and bacterial pathogens and significant antioxidant activity with free-radical scavenging.
It is the growth and abundance of dandelions that I find most interesting. The tenacity of the plant is remarkable, sprouting out of cracks of sidewalks, open vacant lots and undoubtedly returning despite our best efforts at dousing it with herbicides4. This is because they play a vital role in soil health. They have deep tap roots that pull nutrients (like calcium) from deep in the soil in order to make it available to other plants. They also fertilize the grass, help aerate the soil, loosen hard-packed soils, and reduce erosion. In addition, they help attract ladybugs and provide early spring-time pollen for their food5. There is probably not a person alive today that has not at least seen a dandelion at some point. Most of us have yard filled with them.
Due to the dandelion’s tenacity, many believe that utilizing and consuming a plant that adapts and thrives in such modern adversity will help you adapt and thrive in modern adversity. Many also find the bright yellow flower and any food and medicine made with the flower to bring “joy”. My children bring me countless bouquets of dandelion flowers – and see, even without consuming it, dandelion brings me heartfelt joy!
“We healers and earth people are all dandelion shattering concrete with delicate, yet infinitely strong roots.” Kiva Rose, herbalist
Correctly Identifying Dandelion
Everyone thinks they know dandelion, right? But there are actually several look alikes. Which in general won’t hurt you, but won’t do you any good as they don’t contain the same medicinal properties. Dandelion has bright yellow flowers and the deeply jagged leaf that spurred the name “dent de lion”, or lions tooth in French, that eventually became our name dandelion.
To identify: The leaves grow directly from the root crown in a rosette formation – there is NO central stalk and NO branches (see photo at the top of this post). Leafless stalks that have individual flowers on top – yes, but if you see any branching, it is not dandelion. Also, dandelion leaves are NOT hairy, spiny or fuzzy. Keep these two points in mind and you’re ready to go!
The last important note is to make sure you don’t harvest dandelions that have been treated with herbicides. Because dandelions are considered noxious weeds in most places, chemicals are quite often used on them. Only harvest from areas that you know for a fact have not been treated with anything.
“For people who wish to harvest, process and use their own herbal medicine, I can think of no better introduction that dandelion.” Gregory L. Tilford, herbalist
Tasty Dandelion Flower Fritters
So many dandelions….and it is so easy to cook up some yummy dandelion fritters!
- Pick some dandelion flowers. Just pluck off the heads. Don’t forget to pick from an area that you are sure hasn’t been sprayed for herbicides.
- Heat the pan and melt coconut oil in the pan for frying. (We try to use as much coconut oil as possible) Dip each flower head in the batter and drop into pan. We LOVED these salted liberally – with unrefined sea salt of course. Flip when brown.
We managed to eat the entire batch in one sitting!
I hope you enjoy!
If you’re interested in learning more about herbs and where to buy the highest quality herbs, check out my herbal resources here.
Supporting a The Adrenals, Thyroid, and Whole Body Through Herbs
When it comes to supporting overall wellness, herbs are a great tool to have in your toolkit, especially those who may be dealing with chronic illness of some type. Since 2009, when I started this site, I have met thousands upon thousands of people through my work and by far, the #1 health complaints are:
- adrenal fatigue (or adrenal dysfunction of some sort) (click here to read all of my adrenal health articles)
- thyroid disorders (hypo-, hyper-, or autoimmune) (click here to read all of my thyroid health articles)
Because of this, I wanted to add in a section into this post about the benefit of using herbs with chronic illness.
If you are dealing with any type of chronic illness, I’m sorry to break it to you, but caffeine may not be your best friend. 🙁 While you can find lots of info online in both the pro- and the anti-coffee camps, the fact of the matter comes down to the fact that are a lot of people dealing with chronic illness, especially thyroid and adrenal problems, that simply cannot tolerate coffee and caffeine.
While those with sluggish adrenal glands tend to feel run down and in need of a regular pick-me-up (like coffee and other caffeinated beverages), in the long run, caffeine can do more harm than good while you are healing. I go into the “whys” around caffeine and your adrenals in this detailed post here. In addition to the caffeine, there are other constituents, molds, and mycotoxins that can show up in coffee that some people find they react to and can further exacerbate the toxic load on the body.
When I was diagnosed with autoimmune disease and adrenal fatigue, one of the first things that had to go was coffee. In addition to dealing with these issues, we suspected that I was having some detox pathway sluggishness so we wanted to also focus on supporting the liver and lymph systems. Most people who are dealing with chronic illness are also going to have issues with detoxification of the body, which is why herbs can play such an important role.
To be honest, I never drank coffee because of the caffeine. I drank coffee for the taste and aroma, as well as the emotional experience I felt to my morning cup of joe. For me, it was a ritual that I looked forward to every day (and sometimes multiple times a day). Whether I was brewing it at home or going to my local coffee shops, the experience was one that I clung to tightly.
But, when I was faced with new health struggles, I knew I had to do whatever I could to support my body and give it the tools it needed to heal. Giving up coffee and caffeine was one step in this direction.
And it sucked.
I turned to the coffee substitutes on the market in a desperate attempt to recreate the ritual I had grown so fond of, but nothing ever tasted the way I wanted it to. Nothing ever gave me that same experience that my cup of “real” coffee did. I knew there had to be something better, but I simply could not find it on my health food store’s shelves.
Necessity is the mother of invention so that is why I created my own coffee substitutes. They were made with organic, sustainably harvested herbs with zero grains, zero gluten, and zero caffeine. Just herbs.
Herbs that not only tasted delicious but supported my body’s function, like liver detox, bile production, digestion, etc. All of the herbs used in my “coffee” blends have been used for thousands of years to support the body’s normal functions and help everything work a little better — something we all need in today’s toxic world! (psst, dandelion is one of the herbs!)
When it came to creating these blends, if I could get something to not only tasted amazing (and helped me recreate my dearly loved ritual), but also did amazingly supportive things for my body, then it’s a no brainer!
I sold these pre-made blends on Etsy for awhile and the demand was more than I could keep up with. People literally LOVED these blends and were stunned at how much like coffee they actually tasted. Customers who had been dealing with a variety of chronic illnesses had given up coffee to heal their bodies, but like me were deeply missing their morning cup of joe ritual.
After careful consideration and work with some highly experienced advisors, I decided to stop selling the pre-made blends and instead share my proprietary recipes in the form of an eBook. That way I could arm people with the knowledge and recipes they needed to make their own caffeine-free, gluten-free, grain-free blends in the comfort of their own home.
That is why I created the best-selling DIY Herbal Coffees eBook: A Complete Guide To Making Delicious Herbal Coffees to Support Healing & Stress Relief.
Now in its second edition, this ebook features:
- All of my proprietary herbal blend recipes to you can craft a homemade herbal cup of “coffee” at home.
- A ton of researched information about coffee’s impact on the health of those dealing with issues like adrenal fatigue, blood sugar dysregulation, autoimmune disease, thyroid disease, and any other chronic illness.
- Information about all of the herbs used, why I selected them, how to source them, how to prepare and store you “coffees”, and much more.
- Access to your own personal coffee shop where I show you how to recreate your favorite coffee shop drinks and pastries with wholesome, nourishing real food ingredients. No junk here. Only real food.
This book truly is a comprehensive guide to supporting your health, reducing your stress, and bringing a little something special back into your healing journey. You can learn more and download your own copy of this revolutionary wellness guide here, or simply click on the image below.
- 1Mars, Brigitte. Dandelion Medicine. Pownal, Vermont: Storey Books, 1999.
- 3Weed, Susun S. Healing Wise. New York: Ash Tree Publishing, 1989.
- Tilford, Gregory L. Edible and Medicinal Plants of the West. Montana: Mountain Press Publishing Company, 1997.
- Tilford, Gregory L. From Earth to Herbalist, An Earth-Conscious Guide to Medicinal Plants. Missoula, Montana: Mountain Press Publishing Company, 1998.