According to Stephen Switzer, an herbalist and gardener with Brooklyn’s Third Root Community Health Center, the lowly dandelion weed is the new must-have spring herb.
Switzer claims that dandelion is safe to eat (Wiki confirms it!) and says you can either chow down on the leaves, which can be served raw or lightly steamed, or opt for the roots which are stronger.
He digs the leaves when they’re mixed with barley and chicory and ground to make a coffee-like, hot morning beverage. He also suggests making a tincture by steeping the roots in, well, vodka!
And skip the Farmer’s Market. You can pluck these from any safe soil, like Prospect Park, says Switzer.
“I found dandelion root to be an amazing liver restorer and energy booster when I took it with burdock and yellow dock for a spring liver detox mix,” he says. “It broke up my old habits of the winter—i.e., being lazy, overeating, having sluggish digestion—and transformed them.”
If it does just one of those things for you, you’ll be right as spring rain. —Catherine Pearson
For complete recipes (and health claims), visit www.thirdroot.org or call 718-940-9323 to make an appointment with an herbalist.