Reduce water retention and improve kidney function
Dandelion is considered a common weed in Europe; however, it’s been used in folk medicine for thousands of years due to its medicinal properties.
With its bright yellow petals and nutritious leaves, dandelion flourishes in spring and autumn. When a dandelion’s flower head matures, it closes up, leaving a fluffy white head of seeds which are often blown by children into the air.
Discover 9 ways dandelion boosts health and how you can use dandelion to improve wellbeing.
Health benefits of Dandelion
Dandelion, also known as Taraxacum officinale, is used in herbal medicine for a wide range of ailments, from water retention and high blood pressure to acne and constipation. The leaf is traditionally used to support the kidneys, bladder, lymphatic system and blood, whereas the root is predominantly used for the liver and to aid detoxification.
Dandelion leaves are rich in potassium, a mineral and electrolyte that works as a potent diuretic. It can safely be used to reduce high blood pressure by removing excess fluid in the body.
The root has a powerful cleansing action on the liver, making it a good detoxification herb. Dandelion root stimulates bile production and has a mild laxative so it’s effective for sluggish bowels and aiding digestion by breaking down fats.
Dandelion root also contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, and a group of compounds called polysaccharides that have shown anti-tumour activity in animals.
Both the root and leaf are highly nutritious, containing an abundance of vitamins and minerals including calcium and vitamins A, C, E and K, folate and small amounts of other B vitamins.
What is Dandelion good for?
- Removes waste products and harmful chemicals from the body via detoxification pathways – the kidneys (if using the leaf) and the liver and gallbladder (if using the root).
- Supports liver function. The polysaccharides, antioxidants and vitamin C in dandelion protect the liver by neutralising toxins and free radicals that damage cells.
- Relieves constipation by adding more water to stools and stimulates bile production to help food digest and move through the digestive tract efficiently.
- Promotes healthy skin. Dandelion is particularly helpful for acne, eczema, psoriasis and boils due to its liver cleansing and antioxidant properties.
- Reduces inflammation which is beneficial for those with inflammatory conditions like rheumatism and arthritis.
- Alleviates gout by lowering uric acid levels and promoting urine flow due to the diuretic action of dandelion.
- Provides kidney support and can help alleviate cystitis and urinary tract infections due to its detoxifying and diuretic actions, helping to flush out bacteria from the bladder.
- Reduces water retention and can lower blood pressure by increasing urine output. The potassium in dandelion helps regulate fluid balance in the body.
- Supports gallbladder health by promoting healthy bile secretions which can help break down and dissolve gallstones.
How to use Dandelion
- Eat the leaves – add them to salads, soups and smoothies.
- Drink dandelion tea – add 2 tsp of dried dandelion root or leaves to hot water. You can also use fresh leaves and flowers. Drink 2 – 3 cups per day for kidney function, reducing fluid retention and aiding detoxication.
- As a liquid herbal or tincture – liquid herbs are more potent and provide a therapeutic dose. Consult with a herbalist who can prescribe the correct formula and dosage for your needs.
Boost liver and kidney function naturally
Dandelion is a great herb for supporting liver and kidney function, reducing water retention and improving digestion. You can use the fresh leaves in salads or smoothies, make a dandelion tea using the dried herb or as a liquid tincture for a more therapeutic dose. With its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and liver cleansing properties, dandelion is excellent for detoxification and removing harmful chemicals from the body. To learn more about how you can use herbs to improve your health, take a look at CNM’s Herbs for Everyday Living short course.