Herb of the Week #13 :: Dandelion

I just got back from an amazing ski trip with a few old friends and I am definitely feeling the effects of a not-so-clean eating life 😉 But it was worth it and I didn’t do all that bad. I think it’s also good to not have restrictions and rules ALL the time. So, between the glasses of wine and skiing (not in that order, I promise) I had fun and am ready to get back into it, these seasonal allergies are kicking my butt the last few days. So starting in a few days I am going on my Nutrition. Designed. elimination diet. This weeks’ plant is great for kick-starting that process, getting off coffee and help with a healthy functioning liver and kidney’s.

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Botanical Latin Name: Taraxacum officinale

Botanical Family: Asteraeace (aster) family

Parts used: Whole plant, leaf and root

Method: Tea, tincture, food

Actions: anti-inflammatory, lymphoguge, diuretic, alterative,

Energetics: cooling and drying

Taste: slightly bitter and sweet

Dosage: Tea – infuse 1 tsp of the root or 1 tbsp of the dried leaf to 8 oz of water, steep for 15-20 minutes, drink 1-4 cups daily. Tincture use up to 2 droppers full (60 drops) 1-4 times daily

Contraindications: Don’t use if you have bile duct obstruction, gallbladder or GI inflammation, or intestinal blockage, or if you are on a prescription diuretic

According to Rosemary Gladstar, there are a handful of herbs that should be staples in a regular diet and they fall into 3 categories: nutritive, tonic and longevity. The Nutritive herbs for daily use are horsetail, passionflower, cleavers, chickweed, red clover and lemon balm, these are like taking a natural multivitamin and multi-mineral. Rosemary Gladstar also says these tonic herbs “feed, tone, rehabilitate and strengthen particular body systems.” While longevity herbs don’t necessarily extend your life, but rather make the quality of life better as you grow older. This week’s herb falls into two of those 3 categories! Dandelion is a tonic and longevity herb.

It is restorative and rejuvenating, and particularly helps with blood, kidney and liver functions. It is also a bitter that helps with digestion and bile flow. It supports healthy water elimination without compromising potassium reserves.

Dandelion is also high in vitamins and minerals like calcium, magnesium, iron, and vitamins A and C.

Helpful uses for lemon balm:

  • Lower high blood pressure or cholesterol
  • Liver function and jaundice
  • Hepatitis
  • Stimulate digestive enzymes to breakdown foods better
  • Sluggish bile production
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Chronic skin problems: acne (esp. with whiteheads), psoriasis, eczema
  • Arthritis and gout
  • Edema (with PMS, bloating)
  • Normalize blood sugar levels
  • Female issues
  • Heavy, acidic urine
  • Anemic
  • Varicose veins
  • Hemorrhoids
  • Mastitis or mammary cancer
  • Non-specific colitis
  • Dizziness
  • Sleepiness

Not only is dandelion a great tea and medicine, it is great as food too. It can be used in stir-frys, salads and pesto. And the roasted root is often turned to as a coffee substitute.

How have you used it? I’d love to hear! Please share in the comments!

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