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Dandelion

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Who ever knew that such a common herb, known as a weed to most, would have so many health benefits and healing properties?! Just because something is considered common, doesn’t mean we should dismiss it as something we don’t want or need. In Chinese herbal medicine, the dandelion is listed as one of the top 6 herbs. Dandelions are also ranked in the top four green vegetables in overall nutritional value (USDA Bulletin #8).

There as a man by the name of Robert Stickle that was diagnosed with having a malignant melanoma. Surgery was unsuccessful, and he was given only two years left to live. In June 1986, he wrote the following letter to the president of the Society for the Promotion of Dandelions:

” I went on a search for the answer to my mortal problem, and [discovered] that perhaps it was a nutritional dilemma…. To me, cancer is primarily a liver failure manifestation. {Italians are very concerned about problems of the ‘fegato’]. [I discovered that] the cancer rate in native Italians is very low among the farming population (paesanos). When they get affluent and move to the city, its the same as the rest of civilized man. Paesanos eat dandelions, make brew from the roots, and are healthy, often living to over 100 years.”

Robert said that he began eating dandelions every day. It’s interesting to know that the letter was written 18 years after the grim diagnoses from his doctors. Robert’s improvement astonished his doctors, since there had been no recurrence of his melanoma.

It’s amazing what a simple plant can do to heal the body.

Benefits

• Stimulates bile, which helps digest fats, relieve constipation, prevent gallstones, and even alleviates a hangover.

• Contains fiber, which helps lower cholesterol and reduces the risk of heart disease and cancer. With that said, all of this helps against diabetes.

• Improves brain function and may help improve memory, since dandelion is rich in choline and lecithin. These nutrients may even help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

• Have a wart? The white milky substance that comes out of the leaves and stems of the dandelion can be applied to your wart to help remove it. Apply daily for just one week.

• Known to help promote weight loss. Controlled studies (on mice) showed that they lost up to 30% of their body weight in 30 days when given dandelion extract with their food. Those eating grass lost much less weight. I just thought that this was an interesting study you might want to know about.

• Disinfection properties can help fight against bacterial infections, pneumonia,  yeast infections, and bronchitis.

• May help reduce blood sugar levels, which is positive news for diabetics.

• Dandelion is considered a diuretic, which means it rids the body of water. This can be a good thing in the sense that it helps the body get rid of certain infections, such as urinary tract (bladder) infections. Just make sure you are drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated.

• Anti-Inflammatory properties shown, which can help with those who have arthritis.

Intake

Fresh – You can eat fresh dandelion leaves, such as in a salad or on a sandwich. The older dandelion leaves are a little bitter, so you might want to try the young leaves for better taste.

Dried – You can buy (or make your own) dandelion tea, which can be made from either the leaves or the root of the dandelion.

Pill – You can buy dandelion herb in a pill form. Just follow the instructions on the manufacture’s label.

Precautions

Since dandelion is a diuretic, long term use could affect the amount of potassium that is in your body. Make sure that you drink plenty of water and eat foods high in potassium. According to research (Hobbs 1985), they have found that eating dandelions are completely safe to consume on a regular basis.

As far as I am aware, this herb is safe for consumption, even if you are pregnant or nursing. Of course, there’s nothing wrong with contacting an herbalist if you have any questions.

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