Dandelion: Nature’s Wonder Weed
Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on August 19, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
What more familiar sight is there, than that of the common Dandelion spotting a lawn or growing by the roadside, or a child blowing its seeds to the wind?
Dandelion is notable not only for its ubiquitous (and usually unwanted) presence worldwide, but also for its many outstanding health benefits. Traditionally, it has long-been used for supporting the liver and providing a gentle diuretic action.
Dandelion derives its name from the shape of its leaves, which resemble the teeth of a lion, hence “dent de lion”— French for lion’s tooth. The leaves are one of the most nutritious greens available and are especially high in the mineral potassium. Potassium confers a natural diuretic action which can be helpful in relieving water retention (edema), including bloating associated with PMS.
The medicinal property of Dandelion root primarily comes from its bitterness. The bitter principle is characteristic of herbs that are beneficial for digestion: the taste of bitter upon the taste buds initiates a reflexive (nervous system-mediated) secretion of digestive juices, especially bile. Bile is produced in the liver and ensures the emulsification of fats for absorption, and the elimination of fat-soluble toxins from the body. Bile also helps to maintain the normal flora of the intestinal tract, important for ensuring that estrogen is not reabsorbed back into our system from the large intestine. Bile also acts as a natural laxative to promote regular elimination.
Dandelion is often combined with Burdock, Oregon Grape, and Yellow Dock for skin conditions associated with an overburdened liver or leaky (inflamed) intestinal lining, including acne, psoriasis, and eczema.
All this and more – from a “common weed”!
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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