The Health benefits of dandelion are outstanding! But finding ways to enjoy eating dandelion is a bit more daunting. The roots, leaves, and flowers are incredibly healthful, but also somewhat bitter. Here we are going to make a dandelion syrup.
This is where it gets exciting. We are going to use the syrup in ways to make the roots and leaves much easier and enjoyable to eat!
The dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) has been used since time immemorial as food and medicine. In fact, it is cultivated in many parts of the world for this use to this day. Sometimes considered a nuisance plant by gardeners and greenskeepers, dandelion is wonderful for beneficial pollinating insects. Furthermore, it contributes to healthy soil, helps to break up compact soils, and their deep tap roots help to release nutrients and minerals to the soil surface.
The list of health benefits of dandelion is long. Dandelion plants contain a plethora of bioactive compounds which contribute to its ability to help high cholesterol and blood sugar control. Accordingly, dandelion is currently being studied for its potential use to make low-cost medicine to help treat type 2 diabetes. Similarly, type 2 diabetes is often associated with other health issues. These include obesity, hypertension, cardiovascular issues, coronary artery disease, and dyslipidemia.
As far as free food and medicine goes, it doesn’t get any closer than dandelion. The roots, leaves, and flowers are edible and medicinal.
Throughout North America, dandelion is a common weed. It is an invasive species introduced by Europeans. They brought dandelion with them because of its usefulness and healthfulness.
Any plant with a second name “officinale”, means it was studied and used as medicine hundreds of years ago by Latin-speaking people.
Even though dandelion is available during spring, summer, and fall, the best flowering season is springtime. Once the snow is gone, it is important to harvest dandelion from clean places. In other words, harvest dandelion from areas that have not been treated with chemical fertilizer, herbicides, fungicides, or insecticides, as these will be in and on the plant.
Dandelion Syrup For Cholesterol and Blood Sugar Control
As we are making a syrup, we will need to use a sweetener. This is a conundrum since the purpose of the syrup is to control blood sugar, not elevate it. Dandelion has powerful components to help regulate blood sugar and reduce cholesterol. But let’s be reasonable. It is not a magic cure if it is being doused in pure sugar. For this recipe, choose sweeteners with the lowest glycemic index possible.
This recipe uses molasses, maple syrup, and honey as each of these has a glycemic index below 55. There are many sweetener alternatives that have an even lower glycemic index. It may be said that this changes the flavor of the dandelion syrup. In my opinion, the more natural the sweetener, the better the flavor.
Additionally, it is important to keep the purpose true. This is to say, to control blood sugar. Find creative ways to use this syrup with healthful ingredients. Below, we will share ideas for using this syrup to enhance dandelion-focused foods and drinks.
- 1 Cup Dandelion Flowers
- 2 Cups High-quality water
- ½ Cup Sweetener of your choice. I am using 1 part molasses, 1 part maple syrup, and 1 part raw unpasteurized local honey.
- 1 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
Step 1: Gather 1 cup of dandelion flowers. This is best early in the day before the bees are at them. Try to gather from a wide area. In this way, you won’t deplete an entire nectar source for crawling insects, or bees and butterflies.
Step 2: If desired, rinse them gently. Allow drying.
Step 3: Trim off the green bracts. Some folks like to use scissors. I prefer a sharp knife. Hold around the whole flower and cut at the base of the green bracts. The fluffy flower petals will kind of erupt. On a perfect cut, the remain green bracts act as a wrapper that will just unfurl. It is then easily removed from the petals.
Step 4: Place flowers in a pot and cover with 2 cups of high-quality water.
Step 5: Bring to a boil. Allow the flowers to simmer for 30 to 40 minutes.
Step 6: Let the dandelion flower water cool for another hour or so. Ensure it is below 105° F (40° C) in temperature.
Step 7: Strain the dandelion extraction from the water using cheesecloth or a fine-mesh sieve. For this light, floral water, even a coffee filter will do the trick.
Step 8: In a sterile glass jar, mix the ½ cup of sweeteners. You may wish to melt the sweeteners together to make them easier to work with. The mixture of honey, molasses, and maple syrup can be gently warmed up to 105° F (40° C). Any warmer than this and you risk damaging some of the beneficial and healthful components of the honey.
Step 9: Stir the dandelion extraction into the sweetened mixture. Place in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 1 month.
This syrup is naturally quite dark due to the molasses. If you are wishing for a lighter color, perhaps use a lighter-colored sweetener. Additionally, steeping the dandelion petals for a shorter period results in a lighter-colored extraction.
Using Dandelion Syrup for Cholesterol and Blood Sugar Control
Dandelion Salad Dressing
- 2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
- 2 tablespoons Dandelion Syrup
- 4 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Or your favorite salad oil)
A pinch each to taste of salt, black pepper, powdered mustard, and cayenne pepper.
Best used on a salad that has fresh young dandelion greens as a major component. The sweetness of the salad dressing complements the strong flavor of the dandelion greens perfectly!
- 1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried dandelion roots
- 1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried dandelion leaves
Steep in 2 cups of high-quality boiled water for 10 minutes.
Use 1 tablespoon of dandelion syrup to sweeten Dandelion Tea and enjoy!
Recommended Dosage of Dandelions
This is an excerpt from The Physiological Effects of Dandelion (Taraxacum Officinale) in Type 2 Diabetes, from the Journal of the Society for Biomedical Diabetes Research.
It is noted that the doses are rudimentary and are meant to help empower populations to source alternative, accessible, and affordable treatments. Importantly, they also note that dandelion is considered “a key anti-diabetic plant because of its anti-hyperglycemic, anti-oxidative, and anti-inflammatory properties”.
Renowned physicians, the European Commission, and the British Herbal Pharmacopoeia recommended the following range of doses for dandelion:
• Fresh leaves 4-10 g daily
• Dried leaves 4-10 g daily
• 2-5 ml of leaf tincture, three times a day
• Fresh leaf juice, 1 teaspoon twice daily,
• Fluid extract 1-2 teaspoon daily
• Fresh roots 2-8 g daily
• Dried powder extract 250-1000 mg four times a day
Dandelion is considered safe for consumption. It is classed as a diuretic, so drink lots of water when consuming dandelion. As always, consult your healthcare provider when beginning or taking any herbal medicine.
Additionally, allergy sensitivity is always a concern. Touch the plant to your skin and observe for 12 to 24 hours to ensure no adverse effects.
The health benefits of dandelion are incredible. This plant has amazing potential to help with cholesterol and blood sugar control, among many other wonderful contributions to our health. Making this dandelion syrup is just one way to add dandelion and its parts into our diet.
You may also like: