Dandelion Leaf - Featured Herb


Called the common dandelion, its proper name is taraxacum officinale, which means the "Official Remedy for Disorders." It is so well respected, in fact, that it appears in the U.S. National Formulatory, and in the Pharmacopeias of Hungary, Poland, Switzerland, and the Soviet Union. It is one of the top 6 herbs in the Chinese herbal medicine chest.

According to the USDA Bulletin #8, "Composition of Foods" (Haytowitz and Matthews 1984), dandelions rank in the top 4 green vegetables in overall nutritional value. Minnich, in "Gardening for Better Nutrition" ranks them, out of all vegetables, including grains, seeds and greens, as tied for 9th best. According to these data, dandelions are nature's richest green vegetable source of beta-carotene, from which Vitamin A is created, and the third richest source of Vitamin A of all foods, after cod-liver oil and beef liver! They also are particularly rich in fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and the B vitamins, thiamine and riboflavin, and are a good source of protein.

Studies in Russia and Eastern Europe by Gerasimova, Racz, Vogel, and Marei (Hobbs 1985) indicate that dandelion is also rich in micronutrients such as copper, cobalt, zinc, boron, and molybdenum, as well as Vitamin D.

Suppose your doctor tells you, on your next visit, that he has just discovered a miracle drug which, when eaten as a part of your daily diet or taken as a beverage, could, depending on the peculiarities of your body chemistry: prevent or cure liver diseases, such as hepatitis or jaundice; act as a tonic and gentle diuretic to purify your blood, cleanse your system, dissolve kidney stones, and otherwise improve gastro-intestinal health; assist in weight reduction; cleanse your skin and eliminate acne; improve your bowel function, working equally well to relieve both constipation and diarrhea; prevent or lower high blood pressure; prevent or cure anemia; lower your serum cholesterol by as much as half; eliminate or drastically reduce acid indigestion and gas buildup by cutting the heaviness of fatty foods; prevent or cure various forms of cancer; prevent or control diabetes mellitus; and, at the same time, have no negative side effects and selectively act on only what ails you. If he gave you a prescription for this miracle medicine, would you use it religiously at first to solve whatever the problem is and then consistently for preventative body maintenance? This is the humble dandelion.

Benefits and Therapeutic Uses of Organic Dandelion Leaf

  1. Dandelion Leaf is a natural source of minerals such as calcium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and iron.
  2. It provides the Vitamins A, B, C, and D.
  3. It contains the antioxidant luteolin
  4. It is a mild laxative for constipation symptoms.
  5. A natural diuretic, Dandelion Leaf is commonly used to help remove excess water and toxins from the body. It stimulates urinary function to help flush out toxins. Dandelion tea can be used to alleviate the fluid retention (oedema) associated with premenstrual syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome, high blood pressure, post surgery and stubborn weight loss.
  6. Dandelion Leaf promotes optimal digestive function. It helps stimulate a sluggish digestive system and this aids the body in removing toxins and other waste. As a result, the liver does not have to work as hard to remove toxins that remain in the body.
  7. Dandelion Leaf offers a number of benefits for the liver and gallbladder.
  8. It supports normal bile production (cholagogue). Dandelion Leaf helps promote bile excretion from the liver so the body can more efficiently process foods and liquids while also purging harmful toxins. Dandelion Leaf is also effective at stimulating a sluggish gallbladder, which is responsible for storing and excreting bile as the body needs it. Improved bile flow makes it possible for the body to better metabolize fat, which helps optimize the body's cholesterol levels.
  9. Dandelion Leaf acts as a blood purifying agent which helps reduce the burden placed on the liver to filter out toxins. By helping to purify the blood, Dandelion Leaf allows the liver to more effectively perform its function.
  10. Dandelion Leaf nourishes and boosts overall liver (hepatic) performance. It also serves to protect the liver from damage. Many people use the herb to cleanse their liver after drinking excess amounts of alcohol or after eating unhealthful foods.
  11. Dandelion Leaf also helps maintain normal blood sugar levels. This particular benefit aids the liver so it doesn't have to filter out excess glucose in the blood, a factor that can be very harmful to overall health.
  12. Inulin (a special sugar found in Dandelion Leaf) also promotes the growth of healthy bacteria (natural intestinal flora) which in turn serves to discourage the growth of harmful bacteria. By reducing the amount of harmful bacteria in the body, the liver can focus on the process of toxin removal.
  13. Dandelion increases appetite and alleviates rheumatic disorders.
  14. Dandelion Leaf gives kidney support helping in the prevention and treatment of kidney stones and gout.

Dandelion Infusion

2 tsp of dried dandelion leaf infused for 10 - 15 minutes in 1 cup of boiling water, taken up to 3 times per day.

Dandelion Tea

For a tea, add one cupful of boiling water to 1 tsp of dried dandelion leaf, allow to brew for five minutes and then strain off. Drink three times daily.

Dandelion Leaf Contraindications

  1. Consuming it may increase side effects of bipolar medications such as Lithium.
  2. It may interfere with the absorption of a class of antibiotics known as quinolones.
  3. As a matter of fact, if you are taking prescription drugs such as antibiotics, Dandelion Leaf may flush them out of your bloodstream at a faster than normal rate. You should ask your doctor about any potential conflicts between this herbal ingredient and medications.
  4. Some individuals develop allergies to the leaf and therefore should not ingest any part of it.
  5. People with endocrine impairment should use caution while taking it, as it may increase urinary function.

References

  1. The Great Encyclopaedia of Healing Stones, Fragrances and Herbs, published by Methusalem, 2008.
  2. http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/benefits-of/organic-dandelion-leaf
  3. http://www.leaflady.org/health_benefits_of_dandelions.htm