I am Dandelion: Hear me Roar!
Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on September 23, 2011 by Paulina Nelega, RH
This ubiquitous little herb has got to be one of Nature’s best-kept secrets – it’s time we gave this unduly relegated “weed” some long overdue recognition!
Dandelion derives its name from the shape of its leaves, which resemble the teeth of a lion (“dent de lion”; French for lion’s tooth). They are one of the most tasty greens available, and certainly one of the most nutritious. Try them lightly steamed or sauteed (newer leaves are most tender). Dandelion leaf is especially high in the mineral potassium, which confers a natural diuretic action that can be helpful in relieving water retention (edema), especially with PMS.
The medicinal property of Dandelion root comes from its bitter principle. This is characteristic of herbs that are beneficial for digestion, as ‘bitter’ upon the taste buds causes a reflexive (nervous system-mediated) secretion of digestive juices, especially bile.
Bile is extremely important for proper digestion and detoxification, including emulsification (making fats more water-soluble). It’s also important for maintaining healthy normal flora (bacteria) in the intestinal tract, which helps ensure that we don’t reabsorb excess estrogen back into our system. Bile also supports regular elimination as it acts a natural laxative: if your liver is not producing enough bile or it’s not in the right composition, chances are you will be constipated!
Dandelion offers us a plethora of health benefits, from liver and digestive support to reducing edema. So, the next time you see that “common” little yellow flower dotting your pristine green lawn, you may just look at it with different eyes!
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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