fall herbalism

We made it through the flood of tomatoes and peaches and nectarines. Now we have pears and apples left asking for attention. And some grapes. But as the food clears out of my kitchen, I realized that I hadn’t been paying as much attention to the herbs in my garden.

So this week has been focused on herbalism. It seems that the plants calling right now are the ones good for the winter illnesses.

I started with the horehound and mixed up some horehound honey for winter coughs.

Next was pulling some mullein leaves to dry for tea and the lungs.

Also this week, I gathered a small crew (thank you!) and we dug echinasea and washed the roots and cut them and put them in organic vodka to tincture.

Next week it will time to dig valarian for tincturing for the winter blues.

Also right now, the dandelions have been glorious. With all the rain we’ve been getting here, they are lush and glorious. I’ve been liking them fresh (chopped small) in a salad dressed with oil, vinegar, lemon juice, a touch of honey and carrots or sesame seeds. I’ve also been making a stir-fry with greens (including dandelion), and dressed right at the end of cooking with vinegar, lemon juice, a touch of honey and a touch of nama shoyu or wheat free tamari. Yum. It’s always amazing to me how generous our weeds can be when we stop fighting with them.

Here are a few of the reasons to eat dandelion:

#1 – High in Calcium: Dandelion greens are loaded with calcium. Just one cup of chopped dandelion greens has 103 milligrams (10% of the recommended daily value) of calcium! That’s slightly more than kale! Add two to three cups of dandelion to a smoothie with calcium-rich fruits like orange, kiwi, fig or papaya and you’ll have a green smoothie that has more calcium than any dairy product!

#2 – Rich in Iron: Next to fresh parsley, dandelion greens have a high iron content. One cup contains 1.7 milligrams of iron.

#3 – Improves Digestion: Bitter foods, like dandelion, tone and stimulate the entire digestive tract. (Susan Weed)

#4 – Loaded With Antioxidants: Dandelion greens are high in vitamin A in the form of antioxidant carotenoid (beta-carotene) and vitamin C. Vitamin C also helps facilitate iron absorption.

#5 – The Ultimate Detox & Cleansing Green: If your goal is detoxification and cleansing, dandelion greens should be the ones you use in green smoothies! They are said to help cleanse the liver and many detox recipes call for them.

#6 – Lots Of Minerals: Dandelion greens are rich in minerals. Besides calcium and iron, they are a good source of copper (10% RDA), manganese (8% RDA), phosphorus (5% RDA), potassium (5% RDA) and magnesium (5% RDA).

#7 – 14% Protein: Dandelion greens have more protein per serving than spinach. The greens themselves are 14% protein and contain all essential amino acids so it’s a complete protein. One chopped cup contains 1.5 grams of protein.

#8 – Multivitamin Green: Besides vitamin A as beta-carotene (186% RDA) and vitamin C (21% RDA), each cup of chopped dandelion greens are also good sources of vitamins B1 (9% RDA), B2 (11% RDA) and B6 (11% RDA), vitamin E (13% RDA) and especially abundant in vitamin K (357% RDA).

#10 – Health Benefits of Dandelion Greens: The nutrients in dandelion greens may help reduce the risk of cancer, multiple sclerosis, cataracts, age-related macular degeneration and stroke. Dandelion contains anti-inflammatory properties which may provide benefit to those with asthma and other inflammatory diseases.




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