PART USED: Root
PROPERTIES: Alterative, Adaptogenic, Tonic, Diuretic, Antilithic, Emmenagogue
SYSTEMS AFFECTED: Digestive (liver), Urinary, Endocrine (pancreas), Integumentary (skin)
POSSIBLE USES: acne, boils, skin afflictions, constipation, fluid retention, diarrhea, heartburn
INGREDIENT IN: AC, BP, CART, EW, GI, KB, LC
Dandelion would be the herb of choice—or should be added to a formula—if a mild liver, gallbladder, or glandular system cleanse and rebuild would be beneficial. Dandelion is particularly effective when the stress to the kidneys is related to chemical or toxic metal poisoning or detoxification. Dandelion acts in the capacity of a blood cleanser as well as a diuretic. Dandelion removes obstructions from the liver, spleen, pancreas, gallbladder, bladder, and kidneys, making it a very useful herb.
Dandelion, while considered a noxious weed by most people, is honored by herbalists and those who know of its tremendous nutritive value. Because Dandelion increases the flow of bile it greatly enhances the absorption of the vitamins and minerals that it contains. Dandelion is very high in vitamin A. (For a list of vitamin A deficiency ailments, see the section titled “Subclinical Malnutrition.”) Dandelion also contains a wide spectrum of B vitamins, iron, and a whole list of other minerals in proper proportions that are easily absorbable.
Many herbalists consider Dandelion to be specific (and amazing) for both hypoglycemia and diabetes. Michael T. Murray says that Dandelion may act as a buffer to blood glucose levels, thus preventing sudden and severe fluctuations.
Dandelion leaves have a mild and pleasant taste in the early spring but become quite bitter as the summer progresses. Early pioneers in the west valued the early spring Dandelion leaves as a “spring tonic” after the long winter months of too little nutritious plant material in their diets. I believe that we can benefit from the same routine since the “Great American Diet” is sometimes very much lacking in nutrients. In the fall and winter, the medicinal properties pull back into the root. The root is the part of the plant that should be used and it is the part that is commercially marketed for medicinal purposes. Please be careful to harvest your Dandelion leaves and roots where weed sprays have not been used—if you can find such a place!