Being a homeowner with a lawn to care for can sometimes mean an invasion of unwanted weeds, and the Bluegrass Region is no exception. Of course, one person’s weed is another person’s flower or herb. The bright, cheery heads of Dandelions start bobbing in the breeze as soon as the grass begins to grow. With the arrival of the yellow Dandelion flowers come the tall fluffs of white Dandelion seed heads dotting the lawn, refusing to lie down even after the grass has been mowed.
One way to guarantee you will have Dandelions in your yard is to scalp your lawn when mowing. By cutting it as low as it will go, you remove the grass competition for the Dandelion and other weed seeds, leading to more weeds because the sunshine has easier access. Try to mow your grass on the highest setting and you have fewer Dandelions to deal with. The few Dandelions among the green grass can be pretty, even though your neighbors won’t like them.
(The author does not advocate the use of herbal or medicinal herbs. Please talk to your doctor or health care provider before taking any medications.)
Dandelionsare a natural herbal remedy with numerous health benefits. All parts of the Dandelion can be used: leaves, roots and flowers. A few ways to use Dandelions are as follows:
1.) Use freshly washed young leaves (before flowers arrive) in salads for an added crunch plus extra vitamins and minerals. The leaves have strong diuretic properties, so pregnant women and patients with COPD should not eat these without consulting a physician. They are also a good source of potassium.
2.) Use Dandelion flowers to make Dandelion oil and vinegar for cooking. Dandelion vinegar is nice light dressing for a summer salad.
3.) Ferment the Dandelion flowers to make Dandelion wine – a drink that is not too sweet and not too tart.
4.) A tea made from the Dandelion roots is helpful in relieving muscle spasms and for calming menstrual cramps and other symptoms. Again, pregnant women and patients with medical problems should use with caution.
Medicinal properties of the Dandelion (Note: Do not use any type of herbal medication without checking with your health care provider):
1.) It has mild laxative properties and helps relieve constipation.
2.) It aids in the process of digestion and boosts appetite.
3.) It is good for the complexion and helps prevent dry skin conditions and the occurrence of black spots.
4.) It is rich in potassium, iron and other vitamins that help in the treatment of anemia.
5.) The roots help in purifying the blood and removing toxins from the liver and the kidneys.
6.) It helps in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome.
7.) It is rich in boron, calcium and silicon and so protects women from osteoporosis and rheumatism by boosting the production of estrogen.
8.) It helps weight reduction by regulating blood sugar and improving fat metabolism.
A few things to be cautious about:
1.) Avoid Dandelions if you are allergic to plants like chamomile and yarrow.
2.) Consult your physician if you’re using antibiotics or drugs that reduce blood sugar levels or act as diuretics.
So next time you look at the yellow blossoms popping up in your lawn, think before you call your lawn service. Working with problem plants can be much easier than using harsh chemicals to eliminate them from your yard.
**Note: Watch for a special Food Friday this week with Dandelion recipes.