Health benefits of Dandelions

June 17, 2009 by  
Filed under Natural Medicine


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.

Natural help for healthy hair

No matter what your age, your hair reflects your state of health and particularly as we get older it is more prone to weakness and thinning. You don’t have to accept poor or lacklustre hair as a given, because there are plenty of things you can do naturally to help improve its condition. These suggestions might help:

Thinning hair: The hormone natural progesterone has been used by several trichologists to help people with thinning hair, in particular Ailsa Bosworth of Hair Tomorrow has had good success. The ‘recipe’ for healthy hair is to have a good intake of iron, zinc, vitamin C and B vitamins. All of those can be got from a good healthy diet but if you have a serious hair loss problem then it will be worth while taking them as supplements. A natural way to stimulate hair growth is to go out in the countryside and pick some nettles or get dried nettle from any good herbalist, or online from people like Neal’s Yard. This old-established method is easy to follow, because instead of using shampoo, you take a handful of loose nettle tea and boil in water. Strain the tea, let it cool and then use it to ‘wash’ your hair.

If you can’t bear not to use shampoo, then please pick one that is organic, mild, natural and PEG free. That excludes most commercial, major brand shampoos no matter how ‘herbal’ or natural they claim to be. Not sure what to look for? Avoid these:

* sodium lauryl sulphate
* sodium laureth sulphate
* diethanolamine
* isopropyl alcohol
* propylene glycol
* anything ending in ‘parabens’.

Always read the label, and if you have trouble finding such a shampoo locally, then Simply Nature have a very effective natural one and you will find it on their website at Your scalp matters if we are not happy with your hair, it’s tempting to hide it away under a hat or scarf, but please don’t. Your scalp has to be healthy to allow new hair growth to come through, and in order to do that you need to keep your pores and hair follicles free of dead skin cells. One of the best ways to do that is to massage your scalp every night before you go to bed.

Here’s a great two fold process: first using a metal comb tap all over your head with it for about a minute. It has to be metal, not plastic, because tapping with metal will create tiny electromagnetic currents on the scalp that stimulate the cells in the hair follicles. Next, you massage your scalp gently with a few drops of jojoba oil. It will naturally and gently help cleanse your scalp and contains lots of great hair nutrients like Vitamins C and B and the hair health mineral Zinc.