Healing with Dandelions

Guest post by Emira Mears

There are a few things I have an abundance of in my garden without trying. They may be familiar to you: dandelions, chickweed and horsetail. And while I curse a blue streak as I remove the horsetail, I can’t help but think of my amazing friend Signy each time I get to pulling chickweed and dandelions out of my flowerbeds. Signy is an amazing person on many fronts, but one of the pieces in her arsenal of things that rock, is the approach she took in battling (and beating) breast cancer five years ago. While she underwent the standard chemo et. al. she also turned to food as her medicine, and among some of the cancer-fighting winners: chickweed and dandelion.

You don’t need to be in a crisis with your body state to enjoy the healthy benefits of these glorious weeds, and with the way they’re coming up in my garden right now, in concert with an imminent bounty of lettuce, I think I’ll be enjoying some of Signy’s “Pure Medicine Salad” chock full of weedy goodness all summer. (NB: this recipe was also published in the Staying Alive Cookbook).

Salad Recipe:

1 (4-to-6 cup or 1-L) package mixed salad greens
Healing herbs such as chickweed, dandelion greens, or wild violet leaves (Violata odorata) – this last one being especially good for breast cancer prevention
1/2 cup (125 mL) chopped parsley
1/2 cup (125 mL) sunflower seeds
1/2 cup (125 mL) sprouted lentils or bean sprouts
1 or 2 ripe avocados, sliced or cubed


2 Tbsp (30 mL) flaxseed oil
1 Tbsp (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp (10 mL) Bragg’s
2 tsp (10 mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
5 tsp (25 mL) ground flaxseeds

In the bottom of a salad bowl, whisk together flaxseed oil, olive oil, Bragg’s, lemon juice, and garlic until dressing is thick and opaque. Add more lemon juice to taste. Immediately before serving, whisk in ground flaxseeds. Add salad greens, healing herbs, parsley, sunflower seeds, and sprouted lentils or bean sprouts. Toss until well coated with dressing. Gently stir in avocado, being careful it does not get mushy.

If you’re keen on more ways to use food (backyard garden derived and beyond) as medicine check out Signy’s site.


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