Weed of Wonder
Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on April 8, 2011 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Though another type of “weed” has been coming into its own of late, the “weed of wonder” we’re talking here is a slightly less controversial one: Dandelion. 😉
Those cheery yellow flowers dotting the planet are not only one of Nature’s most abundant plants, but also one of her most nutritious. From its root tips to the tips of its leaves, Dandelion provides a host of health benefits, most notably for the liver and kidneys.
The bitter quality of the root and leaf is a characteristic that marks Dandelion as useful for the liver and gallbladder. This is because the effect of ‘bitter’ upon the taste buds causes a reflexive secretion of digestive juices, especially bile in the liver. Bile is extremely important in supporting liver detoxification, the emulsification of fats, and maintaining normal flora of the intestines. It’s also a natural laxative, so if you’re not producing enough bile, constipation can result.
The leaf, shaped somewhat like the teeth of a lion (“dandelion,” from the French for “lion’s tooth”) is highly nutritious, being especially high in potassium. This confers a natural diuretic action to Dandelion leaf, which can be of great benefit for water retention and bloating that often accompany a woman’s monthly cycle.
So, next time you see that familiar little yellow flower poking up through the grass at you, you may just “see” 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