When you think of dandelions, you likely think of those straggly yellow flowers that speckle your lacky neighbors’ unkempt lawn.
It certainly makes me think of my most hated summertime childhood chore: weeding.
But it turns out one of the most common weeds, the bane of idyllic suburbia landscaping — the dandelion — is actually an herb that greatly assists the body’s natural detoxification processes.
According to Mountain Rose Herbs:
“Dandelion is a sunny, subtle, yet incredibly healing plant used for thousands of years in China and mentioned in traditional Arabian medicine in the tenth century C.E. It has been used for centuries, in traditional medicine practices all over the world, as a restorative tonic, edible food, and in herbal wines and beers. The root is a favorite amongst traditional herbalists as it supports the healthy functioning of the liver, kidneys, spleen, and gallbladder and is considered to be a reliable detoxifying agent.”
And to think we’ve disregarded it for so long! Time to make friends with those lacky neighbors…
5 ways dandelion root naturally aids detox:
1. Dandelion root stimulates the liver and gallbladder, promoting the release of bile, which carries toxins out of the body. Stagnant bile can cause the liver to become congested, impairing its overall functioning, as well as painful gallstones (no fun).
2. A digestive bitter, dandelion root aids digestion. Bitters stimulate the digestive system, especially the secretion of gastric juices, helping to properly digest food. Improper digestion can cause leaky gut, which allows undigested food particles, bacteria, and toxins into the bloodstream. This places a burden on the liver, which now must work overdrive to cleanse the blood of these invaders.
3. Dandelion contains inulin, which acts as a prebiotic — essentially the “food” healthy gut bacteria needs to thrive. These healthy gut bacteria play a number of vital roles in the body, one of which is to help breakdown and eliminate toxins in the intestines.
4. Dandelion root contains vitamin A, C, and D as well as the B vitamins, iron, magnesium, zinc, potassium, manganese, copper, choline, calcium, boron, and silicon. Many of these vitamins and minerals function as important antioxidants, protecting the cells from toxic invaders, which can then be properly eliminated.
5. Dandelion root is a diuretic that helps the liver and kidneys flush excess water and wastes.
How to get more dandelion in your life.
I am personally a big fan of dandelion root tea — you can buy it bagged or loose. I prefer the loose tea since it’s more economical and uses less packaging. I simply add a teaspoon to a diffuser ball and let it steep in hot water for about 5 minutes.
You can also buy supplemental dandelion root in encapsulated form.
Of course, be sure to check with your doctor before using any medicinal herbs, especially if you have a liver or gallbladder issue.