Roots, like dandelion, are a very important class of herbs in botanical medicine, called herbal "alteratives." Alteratives are blood purifiers that "alter" the condition of the blood by assimilating nutrients and eliminating metabolic waste products. They help to neutralize acidic conditions, aid protein absorption and are very high in nutrient content. As an alterative, they contain bitter principles that activate and stimulate the action of the liver. Dandelion root benefits offer mild, gentle nourishment for the liver organ. It is one of the top cleansing herbs most commonly used and recommended by herbalists.
Dandelion root and dandelion leaves are known for their bitter quality. The "bitter taste" in Ayurvedic medicine helps to break up congestion in the liver, decrease water retention and sooth/cool itchy skin conditions as well as improve digestion. It is good to include the bitter taste in your diet on a daily basis. This includes eating plenty of green leafy vegetables, like dandelion greens, as well as bitter root teas like dandelion root. In the old days of herbal medicine we would make something called "digestive bitters." This was a liquid tincture with dandelion root or leaf as the main ingredient along with other digestive herbs and spices. When taken before meals it helps to stimulate the digestive juices.
Because dandelion root benefits the liver and causes it to produce more bile, it also simultaneously supports the health of the gall bladder, helping it to release sludge, cholesterol or calcium deposits that may cause gallstones further down the road.
Bile is a greenish-yellow fluid needed by the body to digest dietary fats and remove toxins efficiently. As we mentioned above, dandelion root is a "digestive bitter" that encourages the proper digestion of the foods we eat and is especially helpful for relieving gastrointestinal issues, acting also as a mild laxative.
The use of dandelion root can be very helpful for clearing up any kind of skin issue. Skin eruptions are directly connected to the liver organ which plays an important role in hormone regulation. When the liver is clean on the inside, the epidermis usually reflects this with vibrant healthy supple skin. Liver herbs, like dandelion are especially good for reducing acne, rashes and more chronic problems like psoriasis. Teas and tinctures with dandelion root, in addition to adhering to a health promoting diet and lifestyle, can be extremely beneficial to the skin when used every day for a period of time.
Liver herbs, especially dandelion root, can be very beneficial to those who experience hay fever or allergies caused by the over reaction of the liver to foreign protein bodies. Maintaining a healthy liver is extremely important for individuals with such sensitivities to pollen, dust, chemicals, mold, foods and animal hair. When the liver is in a healthy state it produces an enzyme called histaminase which acts as a natural "antihistamine" to protect against and deactivate these foreign invaders. If the liver is not functioning optimally it cannot produce histaminase. One can, over time, work to tonify and strengthen the liver organ, with herbs like dandelion root, to lessen and eventually eliminate allergies and their uncomfortable side-effects.
Dandelion root tincture benefits also as a diuretic. The two flavonoids, apigenin and luteolin, act as a natural diuretic to help remove excess fluid and salt from the body, which has been shown to lower blood pressure and treat a number of health-related problems. Dandelion's astringent nature helps to pull out excess fluids as well as toxic accumulations in the liver organ (where they tend to concentrate) and releases them through the urine. Because the root is high in potassium it is a favorable choice as diuretics are known to leach potassium from the body.
The tincture can be helpful for those looking to lose weight. Because dandelion root benefits naturally detoxify the liver and body, they also encourage the release of excess body fat. In addition, the bitter components increase bile production which helps to metabolize fat and cholesterol important for weight loss.
Dandelion root tincture is natural detoxifiers and blood cleansers used by humans for centuries as a remedy for all types of ailments from hepatitis to skin disorders. Dandelion root, as it filters excess wastes and poisons from the bloodstream, also improves blood circulation, assists in lowering cholesterol and helps with anemia. It contains the two flavonoids, apigenin and luteolin, that have been studied to have anti-inflammatory effects that may be helpful for degenerative disorders. Drinking a tincture on a daily basis in the springtime can help to detox the body, purify the blood and is often helpful for those who tend to have pollen allergies or hay fever.
The Chinese use the greens and roots of dandelions to "cool the blood” and in medieval folklore the entire dandelion plant was seen as an herb of prosperity and protection, honored for its powerful medicinal value and tonifying elements.
Dandelion is thought to be native to Europe and the seeds were intentionally brought over to the America's for propagation by the colonists. This wild edible was not viewed as a "weed" in the olden days. It was seen for the beauty of its golden blossoms and was actually encouraged to grow and proliferate.
The name comes from the French "dent de lion", meaning lion's tooth, which refers to its jagged, long tooth-shaped leaves.
The roots of dandelion run deep into the earth, up to 15 feet, and are hardy masters of survival with the ability to hold quite a bit of moisture in their root system.
Common Names: blowball, lion's-tooth, cankerwort, milk-witch, yellow-gowan, Irish daisy, monks-head, priest's-crown and puff-ball.
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