You may think of it as a pesky weed, but the dandelion is actually rich in medicinal properties. The common yellow flower that grows wild throughout North America is cultivated in Europe for its therapeutic benefits. The root, leaves and flower can be consumed as tea, juice or salad fixings. All are valued for their taste and healing properties.
Dandelion is often used in herbal remedies for liver and digestive issues. Active ingredients in the plant include the B vitamin choline; which increases levels of bile in the liver and gallbladder. This can be beneficial in treating jaundice, hepatitis and gallstones. Dandelion can also help the liver remove excess estrogen from the body and restore hormonal balance in women; which may be helpful in treating endometriosis.
Dandelion root can have a mild laxative effect and may provide relief from constipation. Some studies have shown that it can help the body absorb iron, so it may be useful for combating anemia. Some claim dandelion may also help treat certain cancers and diabetes, although no conclusive studies have been released on this.
Dandelion is often prescribed in a cocktail of other herbs such as milk thistle, black radish, fringe tree bark, inosistol and others as a liver stimulator or fat metabolizing formula.
Dandelion, mixed with herbs like comfrey and chicory, makes a convincing coffee substitute - all the taste without the caffeine side-effects.