From the April 2000 Idaho Observer:

Back to the Basics

By Ingri Harkins

DANDELION (Taraxacum officinale)

Spring is here and so are the dandelions. These beautiful yellow flowered herbs are often looked upon as troublesome weeds in our lawns. We can also view dandelions as a reminder of the “golden” opportunity they can provide in assisting us with an internal spring cleaning. This plant is an excellent spring tonic, considered by some to be the greatest healing aid for mankind's suffering. Its fresh young leaves can be added to spring salads or lightly steamed like spinach to make an extremely nutritious addition to any meal.

Best known as a liver tonic, dandelion root and leaves taken internally increase bile production. Dandelion promotes healthy circulation, strengthens weak arteries, purifies the blood and restores the gastric juices in those who have suffered from severe vomiting. It has a cleansing effect and is very effective in the removal of obstructions from the liver, gallbladder, spleen and diseases arising from them, such as jaundice.

It is also a powerful diuretic and has the ability to resolve obstructions in the urinary tract.

Since dandelion has been known to relieve congestion in the blood vessels serving the liver, it has been used successfully in the treatment of hepatogenic dropsy, cardiac edema and water retention in the legs.

The word dandelion comes from the French “dent de leon” meaning teeth of the lion in reference to the shape of its leaves. Its scientific name, taraxacum, is derived from the Greek 'taraxos' meaning disorder and 'akos' meaning remedy.

This herb is a principle ingredient in blood purifying, liver, kidney and pancreas formulas. Dandelion contains certain oils and resins that give it its stimulating effect on the liver and kidneys. Very few of these oils are volatile and, therefore, are not lost in drying, grinding and preserving it. It is these bitter resins that are also responsible for its properties as a digestive tonic.

Including this herb in one's diet has been known to improve eyesight and strengthen the enamel on the teeth. The white, milky juice of the stem can be applied to warts and allowed to dry. If used daily for several days, the wart will dry up. This is also helpful when applied to corns, acne and blisters. The flower petals make a colorful addition to spring salads aside from their more well-known use in wine making. Dandelion is high in protein and has an incredible nutritional profile. It is an excellent source of vitamins A, B-complex, C and E and contains an abundance of minerals in impressive amounts.

Maria Treben in her book, “Health through God's Pharmacy,” tells us that “diabetics should eat up to 10 stems daily. The stems with the flowers are washed and only then is the flowerhead removed and the stems are slowly chewed. They taste somewhat bitter at first, but are crisp and juicy similar to a leaf of endive. Sickly people who feel constantly tired and are without energy should take a 14-day course of treatment with the fresh stems of dandelion. The effect is surprising.”

Most of today's ailments can be relieved if we would simply take better care of our liver and gallbladder. The liver is the body's blood filter and the toxins in our environment (pesticides, herbicides, chemtrails, air pollution of all kinds) often find their way into our livers. When gallstones form in our gallbladders, our liver is compromised. Since every organ in the body gets its nutrients from the liver, it is vitally important to keep this organ in tip top shape. If you suffer from indigestion, gas, or an inability to assimilate nutrients, you are likely suffering from a congested liver.

The liver is also the seat of repressed anger. If you are an emotional volcano ready to explode, you will need to take extra special care of this vital organ. Next month we will discuss various liver tonics and flushes to rid your body of gallstones.

Numerous people (including myself) have avoided gallbladder surgery as a result of a liver flush.

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