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Herbal Surprises: DANDELION

Posted by Maree van Dongen on

If you were to encounter a Dandelion plant in your garden whilst weeding, you wouldn’t think twice before pulling it out. However, the plant has been used for its beneficial properties throughout the world for over 1000 years. Today, Dandelion grows wild in most parts of the world, as well as being cultivated for fresh or dry use.
The name Dandelion derives from Latin “deons leonis” literally meaning lion’s teeth. This refers to the appearance of their yellow flowers. Both the leaves and the root of the plant are used for their remedial properties. Some recipes even exist for Dandelion “honey” or liquor which is infused with the flowers petals.
The leaves seem to have a longer record of use and can be used fresh when added to a salad, or may be enjoyed in a tea when dried. The main action of the Dandelion leaves is as a diuretic, which is of particular interest due to the plants high potassium content. This enables retention of this essential mineral and avoids potential deficiencies, which can be a problem with other diuretics. The leaves are generally regarded as beneficial for the kidneys and bladder, and may assist any troubles with these organs, including infections and kidney stones. Additionally, Dandelion leaves may also help to reduce high blood pressure by ridding the body of excess fluid.
Dandelion root may become your best friend if you like eating and drinking – and let’s be honest, who doesn’t? The root can assist detoxification and regeneration of the digestive tract, liver and gallbladder. This can be a valuable help in conditions involving chronic toxicity and can assist to clear the body of inflammation, infection, as well as dietary or environmental toxic agents.
The bitter contained within the root can gently stimulate digestion if taken around 20 minutes before a meal. Its restorative properties can even aid tissue regeneration, in particular of the digestive tract, the liver and the gallbladder. These qualities may even assist clearing your next hangover while simultaneously cleansing the blood!
So, next time you are weeding your garden and come across these yellow flowered “weeds” you might look at it in a different light. Perhaps you will appreciate this little inconspicuous plant and its remedial capacities. Who knows? You might even enjoy a cup of tea in its honour.

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