Dandelion: Nature’s Diuretic
Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on June 6, 2011 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Those cheery yellow flowers dotting the landscape are not only one of Nature’s most abundant plants, but also one of her most versatile!
From the tips of its roots to the tips of its leaves, Dandelion provides a host of health benefits. It’s unfortunate that people think of this plant as a “weed” – it’s simply a matter of perspective!
The bitter quality of both the root and leaf is characteristic of herbs that are beneficial for the digestion. And Dandelion is no exception! This is because the taste of ‘bitter’ upon the taste buds causes a reflexive, nervous system-mediated secretion of digestive juices, especially of bile (produced in the liver).
Bile is extremely important in maintaining optimal liver functioning, including detoxification and the emulsification of fats. It’s also important for helping to maintain the normal flora (bacteria) of the intestines, and keeping your elimination regular. Bile is a natural laxative, so if you’re not producing enough bile, constipation can result.
The leaves of Dandelion are shaped somewhat like the teeth of a lion, hence its name (from “dent de lion,” French for “lion’s tooth”). They’re highly nutritious, and are especially high in potassium. This property confers excellent natural diuretic action to Dandelion leaf, without the risk of potassium depletion as can occur with some prescription diuretics. (The root is also excellent as a diuretic.)
So, the next time you notice that familiar little yellow flower peering up at you, you may just peer back with “different eyes”!
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan