Posted by Nathan on 11th Jul 2014
I can't remember when exactly I fell in love, but once I did, it was all over.
As a child, the bright, yellow flower heads brought joy to summer days. When they went to ghost, I'd run around plucking the heads and blowing, aiding their spread. Later, I learned that many adults hated them. The hatred ran so deep that some would spend hundreds of dollars a years poisoning the land around their own homes, seeking total eradication. As a young adult, I stumbled upon a few books that spoke highly of the little ones. And then, at an herbal medicine conference, I met an evangelist for them who sung their praises so loudly, that it was impossible to ignore the original pangs of love I had had in my early years.
Dandelions. One of nature's bitter tonics. All at once cheery and tenacious, a perfectly balanced plant. Humans would be wise to act more like it.
If you want to understand the depth of disconnection with the plant many people have these days, look no further than the quarterly profits statements of the mega-corporation Monsanto. During the first quarter of 2014 alone, the maker of many of the herbicides that murder Dandelions and other "weeds" brought in $368 million in profits.
That's 3 months folks! Although Monsanto has a diversity of death products on the market, weed killers marketed directly to homeowners with grass turf lawns are certainly a nice chunk of their pie. And at the center of those marketing campaigns tend to be the same little flower I just gave glowing reviews for.
In a deranged world, it makes total sense to kill that which might heal you. Indeed, there doesn't seem to be any awareness of the irony that the products being used to murder healers like Dandelions are also part of the reason why so many are developing crippling, chronic illnesses.
Simply put, too many of us are way out of balance. Not only have we lost the joy of being a member of the great family of beings on planet Earth, but we've become cut off from the powerful, earthy tenacity of our ancestors.
I believe that plants like Dandelion can help restore our true greatness. Not only can they help us heal our wounds and maintain good health, but they also can be the inspiration we need to fight Earth destroying corporations like Monsanto, and create alternatives that uphold the planet in all it's lively diversity.
Of it's health benefits, local community herbalist Jennifer Heinzel writes the following:
"Being so rich in vitamins and minerals, it’s no wonder that dandelion is so widely used and grown throughout the world. Dandelion is very rich in protein, magnesium, phosphorous, iron, niacin, riboflavin, magnesium, potassium and vitamins A, B, C, D, G and E. The leaves, amazingly enough, contain 7,000 units of vitamin A per ounce. In comparison to lettuce being 1,200 units per ounce of vitamin C, and to carrot being 1,275 units per ounce is quite astounding. With dandelion containing many vitamins and minerals, it’s no wonder that it treats many disorders such as anemia, IBS and sluggish bowel. It also improves the health of all digestive organs, including the liver, gallbladder and kidneys, and treats blood sugar problems. Dandelion treats the nutrient-deficient ailment anemia very well, since anemia is caused by a deficiency of nutritive salts present in the blood. With dandelion’s high levels of potassium, iron and vitamin B, this especially helps in the treatment of anemia, because this ailment is also caused from a the lack of iron, B-12 and folic acid."
Beyond this, Dandelions have a history of being a plant with "magical powers," a symbol of peace, and more recently, as a focal point in efforts to expose the dangers of herbicides.
Returning to the true balance demonstrated by the Dandelion, we need to develop a synergy between individual health promotion and collective well being. We owe it to the children coming forth, and the children we once were. All those who love the Dandelions without any reservations or expectations.