"If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" is a common mantra often expressed by many foragers. In the world of wild greens and edibles, nothing epitomizes this statement more than dandelions. It seems that all methods we have tried in order to eradicate the species have failed. In this regard, it is true that the dandelion maybe one of the world's most successful plants. Instead of spraying and weeding-out these flowers in an attempt to "beat 'em", here are some important reasons why a better approach is to "join 'em"
- Dandelions are a green and growing first aid kit. For millennium, dandelion tonics have been used to help the body’s filter, the liver, remove toxins from the bloodstream. In olden times, dandelions were prescribed for every ailment from warts to the plague. To this day, herbalists hail the dandelion as the perfect plant medicine: It is a gentle diuretic that provides nutrients and helps the digestive system function at peak efficiency.
- Dandelions are more nutritious than most of the vegetables in your garden. They have more vitamin A than spinach, more vitamin C than tomatoes, and are a powerhouse of iron, calcium and potassium.
- Dandelions are good for your lawn. Their wide-spreading roots loosen hard-packed soil, aerate the earth and help reduce erosion. The deep taproot pulls nutrients such as calcium from deep in the soil and makes them available to other plants. Dandelions actually fertilize the grass.
- Excessive use of harmful herbicides can have many unintended consequences. Millions of wild birds are killed annually by the use of common lawn herbicides. House pets and young children can also become sick from these harmful chemicals.