Important Health Uses for Dandelion
The botanical name for dandelion is Taraxacum officinale. The species name officinale gives us a clue that dandelion was once considered a part of the official pharmacopeia that gives us some idea of its historical importance as a healing plant. Dandelion gets its common name from the French “dent de lion” or “tooth of the lion”. If you take a close look at the inflorescence of the dandelion you’ll see it’s actually made up of tiny tooth-like, rectangular, yellow petals. Dandelion is not native to North America but was brought here with the early pioneers as many of our common plants have been. Some of those plants were brought intentionally, some accidentally. Our dandelion “traveler” originated from Greece. Standing anywhere from 3 to 18 inches, with sharply toothed leaf margins, the dandelion is part of the very large Asteraceae family that includes many plants such as the Artemisias, Asters and Helianthus genus to name a few.
Different parts of the plant are tasked with different jobs as we’ll see in the next few sections.
Dandelion Root Loves Your Liver
One of the most important healing attributes of Dandelion is as a powerful liver cleanser. Our livers are bombarded daily with an array of chemical “soups” it was never meant to have to handle. As such our liver is the first line of defense in purifying our blood, it breaks down medications, alcohol and hormones within the body such as insulin. It is also tasked with storing important vitamins until their needed such as B12, Folic Acid, Iron, and Vitamins A, D & K. Without a healthy liver life is grim indeed but oftentimes we have no idea there is an issue with the health of our liver until its too late. Taking herbs designed to heal and detox the liver can potentially prevent future problems and keeping your liver healthy is certainly worthwhile and Dandelion does an excellent job at that! Having such a powerful effect on the liver makes dandelion the perfect addition to any cleansing blend or even making a tea from the root alone will get the job done effectively and gently.
As an herb for detoxification, Dandelion excels additionally because it is a gentle and mild laxative and is an excellent addition to any herbal detox blend.
In addition to having a profound effect on the liver, dandelion root also has a positive effect on the kidneys as it tonifies the kidneys and acts as a mild diuretic. Historically, Dandelion root has been utilized in urinary system disorders and afflictions. As a secondary property, dandelion root also has some mild sugar balancing abilities.
Roasted dandelion root is a lovely coffee substitute but far healthier. Dandelion root is often paired up with Chicory root for this purpose.
Dandelion Leaf is a Natural Diuretic
The sharply toothed leaves of the dandelion plant are a natural diuretic. Unlike a synthetic or man-made diuretic dandelion doesn’t rob your body of potassium. Conversely, dandelion leaves are high in potassium, vitamins A and C.
Being naturally bitter, dandelion leaves aid in digestion by encouraging the gall bladder to release bile needed in the digestion of fats which can also aid in weight loss.
Dandelion Flowers Are a Natural Food and Powerful Healer
The flowers of dandelion are packed with vitamins and are delicious in a variety of dishes. The individual petals of the flower head can be pulled apart and included in yummy wild salads. Or if you like you can fry the entire head to make dandelion fritters!
Dandelion flowers are also a powerful healer. The oil made from the flowers can be massaged onto cystic breasts to naturally break up those areas of stagnation.
So hopefully now you can see how versatile, nutritional and healing this humble little garden “weed” can be but be sure if you’re going to eat the dandelions from your lawn that you be sure that pesticides or commercial fertilizers have not been used on your lawn for at least three years.
This information is not intended to treat, diagnose or cure illness. Please see your healthcare practitioner before beginning on any new herbal program.