Health benefits of Dandelions

June 17, 2009


As summer appears to have suddenly burst upon us, you may soon be wrestling with that common misplaced flower – the dandelion. It may be a weed to you, but it can have some useful health benefits so save a corner of the garden for it and you might be surprised at how useful it can be.

It contains a host of good ingredients such as vitamins A, B complex, C, and D, and the minerals iron, potassium, and zinc and has been used across the world. Native Americans used dandelion to treat kidney disease, swelling, skin problems, heartburn, and stomach upset. Chinese practitioners traditionally used dandelion to treat digestive disorders, appendicitis, and breast problems such as inflammation or lack of milk flow. In Europe, herbalists incorporated it into remedies for fever, boils, eye problems, diabetes, and diarrhea.

Today, dandelion roots are mainly used as an appetite stimulant, to improve upset stomach, flatulence, and constipation. Dandelion is a natural diuretic that increases urine production by promoting the excretion of salts and water from the kidney and so is used for poor digestion, liver disorders, and high blood pressure. Research also suggests that dandelion root may improve the health and function of natural bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract.

How to use it:

** Dandelion tea has been used for many years to treat colds, diabetes, tuberculosis, rheumatism, and arthritis. You can get it ready made at a herbalist or health shop, but if you are making your own only pick tender, young leaves. Leave them any longer and they will taste very bitter.

** To use it as a diuretic, simmer two ounces of the sliced root in two pints of water. Boil it down to one pint. Drink half of a glass two or three times a day.

** To make a dandelion coffee to help you sleep, and solve your digestive problems, you need to roast the roots until they’re brown and hard. Grind into a power and treat like an instant coffee (but without the caffeine).

** An ‘old wives’ remedy for warts was to squeeze the stems of dandelions until the white milky substance inside comes out. Put this liquid onto the wart, let it dry and don’t wash off. Reapply when you can no longer see it on the skin and in three days it should have dried the wart so that turns black, and drops off. No need to wear a pointy hat and have a black cat, unless of course you want to.

Plants contain powerful substances and are not to be taken lightly. Dandelion is generally considered safe but it’s possible to have an allergic reaction to even the most natural substance. If you have an allergy to ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigold, chamomile, yarrow, daisies, or iodine, you should avoid dandelion. In some people, dandelion can cause increased stomach acid and heartburn and it may also irritate the skin if applied directly to it. If you have gallbladder problems and gallstones then best to avoid this should consult a health care provider before eating dandelion.
Because of it’s diuretic effect, dandelion may increase the excretion of drugs from the body and if you taking any of the following drugs check with your doctor first: Lithium, Antibiotics, Antacids and other medicines that lower stomach acid, such as Zantac.


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