Those lovely yellow flowers popping up all over your yard throughout the year just happened to be much more than weeds. Yellow, beautiful and yes, sometimes rather obnoxious dandelion weeds are also fantastic herbs for liver support and can be ingested! That’s right, Dandelions are actually some of natures’ most potent medicine for the liver.
The fresh young leaves, collected in the spring, are great bitters – liver supporting herbs to stimulate the flow of bile to the gallbladder. In the summer and fall months you can dig up the root of these hardy plants and use them to create a healing, cleansing tea for the liver. Make sure they have not been pesticide-treated for at least two seasons, as you don’t want to ingest harmful chemicals while intending to heal yourself. The root can be dried or steeped fresh and can also be powdered to place into capsules for later use.
Dandelion root extract or tea can reduce alcohol related liver damage as well as relieve liver inflammation. Dandelion is a nutritious bouquet of trace minerals, B vitamins, calcium, fiber and potassium. They are also a great source of protein and iron – highly recommended for any anemic conditions.
If you have ingested Tylenol or other acetaminophin products over your life, it is possible you have built up what is called ‘acetaminophin toxicity’ in the liver and could benefit from the use of dandelion root tea. Acetaminophin causes what is known as ‘oxidated stress’ on the liver – studies reveal “dandelion extract demonstrated antioxidant activity against free radicals to counteract acetaminophen liver toxicity.“
Dandelion root can be made up as a simple detoxifying tea and drank several times per day for 5-7 days at first. In order to make the root into tea it needs to be low boiled for 10-15 minutes in order to extract the properties from the root. You may also find pre-packaged dandelion root tea at a local health food store.
A dandelion root liver cleanse may cause a few unpleasant side effects. Some people experience a mild laxative effect. This is because dandelion root promotes digestive health and clears the digestive tract of toxins. This should last three days maximum and should be mild. After that, it should begin to improve digestion.
There are several precautions when using dandelion root: “because of dandelion root’s effect on bile production, if you have gallbladder disease, gall stones, or other gall bladder problems, you are cautioned against using dandelion root and should consult a doctor first. Dandelion root interacts negatively with lithium, and certain antibiotics. If you are taking lithium or are on antibiotic therapy, ask your doctor before starting this liver cleanse.”
Anne Louise Gittleman Ph.d. recommends dandelion root tea for a variety of symptoms including digestive difficulties and suggests drinking dandelion tea can also aid in weight loss. She maintains that having a healthy digestive system promotes proper weight as well as vital functioning of not just the liver, but the pancreas, spleen and all organs of digestion. Here is a short video clip of her recommendation for use:
Dandelion is not just a weed, it’s an amazing liver support through which health can be improved by the simple ingestion of this common plant. More and more it is being realized that the plants which naturally grow in abundance all around, without effort, are the best medicines for today’s health problems. By learning to identify and harness the power of nature, we can become our own doctors and practitioners of nutrition.
(This information is not meant to treat, diagnosis or cure. If you are experiencing liver problems, see your local health practitioner to discuss possible remedies which may include dandelion root. If you feel particularly resonant with this information, this could be your body signaling to you that dandelion may be right for you. Talk to a nutrition expert to find out more and get started with your new health regimen.)
Written by: Stasia Bliss