Today we are on letter “D” of the A to Z Challenge and are featuring Dandelion Greens as our ingredient of the day.
What are Dandelion Greens?
Dandelions are part of the Sunflower family of plants and are officially known as Taraxacum. Dandelion Greens consist of the stem and leaf components of the plant. Although often considered a ‘weed’, Dandelions provide numerous health and medicinal benefits to humans and pets alike.
Common names for Dandelion
The common names for Dandelion include lion’s tooth, witch's gowan, milk witch, and blowball.
Why are Dandelion Greens included in pet food?
Dandelion Greens are added to pet food because they are an inexpensive source of essential vitamins A, C, K, D, and B complex. Dandelion Greens are also a source of minerals such as iron, manganese, and potassium.
Common benefits or risks of Dandelion Greens
Benefits: Besides providing a whole assortment of vitamins and minerals (see above), Dandelion Greens are also relatively high in protein (around 15%) although due to a dog’s short digestive tract, Dandelion Greens are not a suitable source of protein for them. As carnivores, cats are generally not fit to consume large quantities of any kind of plants or vegetables.
Dandelion Greens have medicinal properties and have been used to improve liver function, as a digestive aid, and a mild diuretic. They are thought to be an anti inflammatory agent as well.
Risks: Despite the many benefits of Dandelion Greens, too much can cause diarrhea.
Miscellaneous facts about Dandelion Greens
- Dandelions can be found on all continents.
- They are an important source of nectar for bees in the Northern Hemisphere and provide a multitude of garden benefits that can help other plants grow and flourish.