Dandelions in Life

English: Common dandelion, a weed; this specim...

English: Common dandelion, a weed; this specimen found in upstate New York (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Viewing the image to your right, what is the first thought that comes to mind?

Weed? Pretty weed? Pesky weed?

Did you groan…”arggg… the dreaded dandelion, the infective Yard Polluter!”

For most of us, when we spot a dandelion, our first thought is…..weed, contaminate invader, best remove it before it infest the aesthetic beauty of our well manicured lawns.

We then run out to the local garden store, purchase weed killer and apply it as swiftly as possible in hopes to squash the spread of this pesky intruder.

Once the application’s effects are rendered, we sit back, “coo” over our regained solid patch of green, and enjoy the feeling of victory in the war to maintain “uniformity.”

*     *     *     *

We go to great lengths to preserve the green canvases of our yards by keeping them void of “distractions.” We deem anything that breaks the uniformity of the lawn as a “weed,” and in so doing, believe that we have done ourselves a great service by ridding ourselves of it…but have we?

Much like maintaining the “green” in our lawns, we often view and handle life in the same manner. For the most part we believe that anything that “interrupts” the tranquility in life is meant for our “undoing.” We emotionally place the interruption/distraction into the “weed” category and attempt to rid ourselves of it as quickly as possible in hopes to regain peace. We believe that we are doing ourselves a great service….but are we?

The Random House Dictionary defines a weed as follows;

  • A valueless plant growing wild, esp. one that grows on cultivated ground to the exclusion or injury of the desired crop.
  • Any undesirable or troublesome plant, esp. one that grows profusely where it is not wanted.

Weeds are destructive, I grant you that, but not all are as they appear.  Let’s take a closer look at the lawn offender.  This dandelion that we work so hard to eliminate.

” Taraxacum officinale,” otherwise known as – Dandelion

We are all familiar with it and can see it growing in any garden or lawn. However, this little plant is not a weed, it’s an herb.   Not just any herb, a valuable herb with many culinary and medicinal uses.

A few surprising Dandelion facts:

  • Rich source of vitamins A, B complex, C, and D.
  • Rich source of minerals such as iron, potassium, and zinc.
  • Its leaves are often used to add flavor to salads, sandwiches, and teas.
  • The roots can be found in some coffee substitutes.
  • The flowers are used to make certain wines.

In traditional medicine (Chinese, Native American, European), dandelion roots and leaves have been used to treat:

  • Liver problems.
  • Kidney disease.
  • Swelling, skin problems, heartburn, and stomach upset.
  • Digestive disorders, appendicitis, and breast problems (such as inflammation or lack of milk flow).
  • Remedies for fever, boils, eye problems, diabetes, and diarrhea.

Dandelion roots are mainly used as:

  • An antiviral agent.
  • An appetite stimulant.
  • Digestive aid.
  • Liver and gallbladder function.

Dandelion leaves are used as:

  • A diuretic promoting kidney function

Dandelion flowers are used as:

  • An antioxidant, promoting immune system health.

Who would have thought that the Dandelion offered so many benefits? This little plant has gotten a bad rap due to a large misunderstanding. Instead of functioning as a destructive weed, with the intent to invade and cause injury to the surrounding crop, it’s actually a herb with the potential to better the health of mankind.  We just need to utilize it.

So lets return to our opening thought.  Is everything that interrupts the tranquility in life meant for our undoing? Should we place interruptions and distractions into the weed category and attempt to rid ourselves of them as quickly as possible? Or… should we consider an alternative? That possibly they are not weeds at all but rather dandelions.

Weeds or Dandelions

Unpleasant circumstance never feel good but they can serve a “good” purpose. Changing our perspective of uncomfortable situations or people from “weeds” in our life to dandelions creates a foundation for God to cultivate a benefit from their disruption. Going from “why is this happening to me?” to “how can I benefit from this?” is liberating and regains emotional health and control.

Here are a few mechanics that can help change our perspective from weeds to dandelions:

  • Instead of focusing on the negative emotions caused by the person or circumstance, examine what can be learned from the experience.
  • Instead of giving in to bitterness, jettison to forgiveness.
  • Instead of exercising hate, dispense love.
  • Instead of condemnation, grant mercy.
  • Instead of living in fear, release yourself to freedom.
  • Instead of circling in worry, walk in confidence.

Strife can be useful if we choose to turn it over to God. It has the potential to benefit our lives if we elect to change our perspective. And in so doing we will learn to identify with our Savior and develop Christ-like qualities along the way.

*     *     *     *     *

Come this summer, when those little yellow buds spring through the ground and begin to dot your lawn, may they serve to remind you that not all things are as they seem. May you look at them with favor and smile. They are kind little plants designed for our good which now serve as a reminder that not all things are destructive weeds but rather opportunities for cultivation.

Donna

* Dandelions facts were obtained from the  University of Maryland Medical Center.

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6 thoughts on “Dandelions in Life

  1. Wow mom, I had no idea that they were a herb. Again you are the teacher…cough…homeschool 😉

    I now have a new perspective, and I will try to remember my yellow headed friends. To look for the good, even when its annoying.

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  2. Donna, I love how you take me down a path where I have never travelled or even thought about.

    I am learning to receive interruptions in my life, knowing that all things are working for my good. Thank you for solidifying this in my heart and mind.

    What a insightful heart and mind you have.

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  3. Thanks mom, I needed to hear that. The little annoying things/circumstances in life can put a toll on you over time, however, you learn something good. Overall, like you said, they’re not so bad at all. 🙂

    We all have dandelions but instead of turning towards the negative side of it, turn to the positive side and grow closer to God. 🙂

    It was also neat to hear all the different things you can do with dandelions!! So cool! Great to know for the future, and when I have my own family, I can use some of the recipes if I want. 🙂

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  4. I once saw a dandelion growing in the ground at the orphanage our daughter came from. It looked so beautiful sitting there all alone that I even took a picture! Sure, it seemed harmless enough. I even saw it as a beautiful creation of God! I saw no need to be concerned when it wasn’t growing in my yard. LOL

    However, on a normal basis. I tend to think of the dandelion as an invader. I guess we are not affected by weeds until they hit our soil. It’s nice to know the dandelion serves many purposes.

    Like the dandelion, a weed isn’t a weed until it needs to be pulled out. I think people are like that. Each human being has a unique purpose only God can determine.

    Then again as Christians we need to have discernment. Even a good thing can turn bad if your trying to grow roses and all you see is that one dandelion. LOL

    I pray God will help me think this through so I will know when it’s time to pull the dandelion before his friends show up in my rose garden!

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  5. I had the opinion that “The only good dandelion is a dead dandelion”, but will now reconsider. I did not even know that it is an herb. The parallels to life’s circumstances are very good.

    My Dad has a tool that is used to remove dandelions one at a time by the roots, which he actually does on his lawn every year. Wonder what his reaction would be to this post.

    I am now waiting for the post on crab grass and its medicinal or other redeeming qualities!

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