Dandelion Benefits and Uses in Natural Medicine
Dandelion has a long rap as a “bad weed”...but nothing could be further from the truth! This cute yellow flower can help our bodies in many ways. Dandelion benefits include it being amazing for both the liver (the roots) and the kidneys (the leaves). We can even make a tasty tea from its buds. The body can be well supported by this simple backyard flower!
Dandelion is botanically referred to as Taraxacum officinale. Originally from Greece, it thrives under almost any condition and has spread to nearly every corner of the world. That must be Nature’s way of ensuring we have what our kidneys and livers need!
Despite this herb being commonly known as “blow ball” for the white poof it gets when it’s ready to spread its love out into the world, its Latin name comes from two Greek words. They mean “lion” and “tooth.” Looking at its jagged leaves, this makes a lot of sense!
Preparations to Get Dandelion Benefits
The whole plant can be used in natural medicine. The leaves can be prepared as teas, tinctures, powders, pesto, or even steamed up like fresh spinach! They’re slightly bitter and tangy, in the best of ways.
The roots can be used similarly–literally cooked up like a root vegetable, as a wonderful addition to soups and stews. It’s almost nutty in flavor, with a warm and toasty smell.
The yellow flowers can also be plucked and added, dried or fresh, to hot water to make a simple and tasty tea.
Dandelion is a potassium-rich herb. The fresh leaves are also rich in Vitamin A, organic sodium (not salt), and calcium. These leaves are a powerful natural diuretic and unlike pharmaceuticals, dandelion does not deplete the body of potassium (something that’s very common in this day and age). It also doubles as a strong antibiotic!
Speaking of the chemical makeup of Dandelion, the roots have a substantial inulin content. Our bodies actually can’t break this down…which is a good thing! It enters the colon intact and promotes beneficial microflora growth, leading to even better gut health.
Therapeutic Actions of Dandelion
So, what effects does Dandelion have on the body? There are many!
Dandelion is an aperient, meaning it has mild laxative properties without total purging. It’s also a bitter, which stimulates secretions in the digestive system and encourages appetite. Another dandelion benefit is when it works as a cholagogue, meaning that it stimulates bile flow from the gallbladder into the intestines.
Dandelion does more than just digestive stuff, though! It is also a diuretic (increases urination) and a galactogogue, which means it promotes the flow of milk.
On top of this, dandelion benefits include its work as a stimulant (especially increasing the functional activity of the endocrine system) and tonic (strengthening and restoring certain systems). Lastly, it is also a nutritive, which means it’s nourishing for the body.
Conditions Dandelion Can Help
Herbalists and naturopaths use dandelions for many different purposes. I’ve turned to this herb for these conditions:
- Liver/biliary congestion
- Poor fat digestion
- Uric acid
- Poor intestinal health
- Balancing blood sugars
Dandelion overall is one of my favorite herbs and can easily be used as a nutritious food, especially in the springtime! You can even harvest those leaves for a tasty pesto.
It’s worth noting that Dandelion is generally safe, but don’t get crazy with it (or really any herb). Our diets play a huge role in our health and should be our starting point. Think nutrient density, fiber, water, and physical exercise when trying to improve your health first, rather than jamming a bunch of one herb into your regiment.
As always, I offer herbal consultations right here. This is perfect for helping you realize your current health needs and what works best for your situation!
With such a broad range of uses, it’s hard to just pick a few dandelion products…but here are some of my favorites.
Herbal Detox Tea: A specific blend of herbs to help the body cleanse itself. So many conditions can benefit from this! Get some here.
Gotta Go Laxative Formula: Perfect for getting relief from occasional constipation. Grab it here to have on hand!
Kidney Clearing Tea: This minty blend combines herbs that will help rid the kidneys of uric acid and excess calcium. Pick some up here.
Rusty Joints Tea: These herbs and spices, including dandelion, are fantastic at supporting the joints! Get some here.
There are plenty more products that feature dandelion, too. Here’s the whole list!
*For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. (Because why would we want to do that?)