Liver Healthy Herbs – Dandelion
Dandelion – The Queen of all Weeds
It’s kind of ironic how many places have this hatred for dandelion. Oh no, there it is with its gorgeous sun-like looking flower. And those leaves, oh my goodness, they do not look like straight blades of grass. We must wage a war on them, spraying endless amounts of pesticides to get rid of it…all in the name of a lawn.
What you should be thinking is, oh, all that health just starring me in the face. How am I going to use dandelion to keep myself healthy? With its luscious bitter leaves and its amazingly tonic roots. Thank you, nature, for once again providing me with something so magnificent for my health.
You don’t need to go to the ends of the earth for the next hottest superfood. There’s one in your backyard and all most people want to do is kill it. Oh, and you know all of those super trendy detox programs online, well dandelion is the star amongst the liver supporters.
- BTW, you detox every second of every minute of every day – if you didn’t, you wouldn’t be well, alive! Wink emoji The goal shouldn’t be to “go on” a detox, the goal should be to learn how to support and optimize detox daily!
Let me introduce you to Dandelion: Taraxacum officinalis for you latin lovers!
Dandelion is by far one of the most nourishing food/herbs we have the privilege of enjoying.
Dandelion is cooling, bitter (esp the leaves) and mildly sweet (esp the roots). Dandelion helps to clear heat (inflammation) and support the release of toxins/by products of normal physiology through its direct action on the liver, gallbladder and kidneys…hence the superbness of this herb.
@Photo by Christophe Libert
The many benefits of Dandelion leaf and root:
- The ultimate bitter green, rich in vitamins and minerals.
- Speaking of minerals, dandelion is a potassium sparing diuretic. This means it will help you pee more, which is a good thing as the kidneys are a primary place the body detoxifies. However, dandelion leaf won’t also deplete you of potassium – a common side effect for those on diuretics to control blood pressure. Here’s the problem with diuretic medications, potassium’s SUPER important to cardiovascular health – well really all health, as it is one of the main electrolytes in the body.
- Mildly bitter – absolutely nothing like the leaves (smile)
- Assisting digestion/promoting appetite – likely due to both the mild bitter and it’s stimulation of bile/bile secretion
- Mild laxative – likely due to its prebiotic effect. I would not consider this effect to be noticeable to most people, although if you have a tendency to loose stools, you likely should work to correct that first!
- Cholagogue = helps the body produce bile
- Choleretic = helps the body move bile
Why use it?
Think about dandelion first and foremost for supporting liver and kidney detoxification pathways, in a gentle way for healthy people. It is far and away a NOURISHING FOOD!
Next think about it more in a medicinal format, for the following conditions:
- Blood pressure
- Blood sugar
- Skin issues: rashes, red inflamed skin, eczema
- Liver conditions
Dandelion may be contraindicated in those with bile duct conditions (obstruction, acute gallstones, and intestinal blockage).
Dandelion Leaf Recipe
Get a local bunch of organic dandelion greens – from coop, grocery store or an unsprayed yard! What you’ll also need: olive oil, garlic and a slice of lemon (or two),
- Rinse greens if they appear dirty
- Tear or chop up into bite size pieces – should get about 4 cups raw
- Finely chop 2-3 cloves of garlic
- Heat olive oil on low in a saucepan
- When warm, add greens and garlic
- Stir-fry just long enough for the greens to wilt get nicely heated up: 5-7 minutes
- Remove from pan, add a squeeze of lemon and stir
- Serve warm
- Enjoy these bitter greens regularly!
NOTE: these greens are BITTER! If they are too much on their own, then mix them with another green you regularly eat such as kale, collards, chard. Goal here is to learn to eat them!
Other variations on this recipe (from my Italian heritage) include: adding stewed tomatoes to the pan with the dandelion greens and garlic, and allowing to simmer for 10-15 minutes.
Now I want to hear from you.
Have you tried dandelion? Will you try it? Remember, you are the best person to take care of your health, so the more you know, the more you can do!
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