Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Dandelion Medicinal Details...

Dandelions... Hmmm.. they are certainly plentiful by me.. The price is right!!
Are they as good for you as I hear??
What will they do for me? What part can I use? Recipes?? I need to know... so I found some great details along with the "who said what" details.

All parts of the dandelion are edible and have medicinal and culinary uses. It has long been used as a liver tonic and diuretic.
In addition, the roots contain inulin and levulin, starchlike substances that may help balance blood sugar, as well as bitter taraxacin, which stimulates digestion.
Dandelion roots can be harvested during any frost-free period of the year and eaten raw, steamed, or even dried, roasted and ground into a coffee substitute. The flowers are best known for their use in dandelion wine, but they also can be added to a salad, made into jellies or dipped in batter to make dandelion fritters.

The leaves are rich in potassium, antioxidants, and vitamins A and C. Dandelion greens can be eaten raw, steamed, boiled, sautéed or braised. For use in salads, greens should be harvested from new plants while still small and tender, before the first flower emerges. Larger greens tend to be tougher and more bitter, and better suited for cooking

The sunny yellow flowers of the dandelion plant add beta-carotene, vitamin C, iron and other nutrients

Dandelions scientific name is Taraxacum officinale. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center (UMMC) web site, these herbs are rich sources of nutrition including vitamins A, B complex, C, and D and the minerals iron, potassium, and zinc

The UMMC site says that traditionally, both the roots and the leaves of the dandelion were used to treat liver problems. But these days, the roots are more commonly used to aid digestion, increase the appetite and improve the functions of the gall bladder and the liver. The dandelion’s leaves are most commonly used as a natural diuretic to help the body get rid of excess water from bloating or swelling.

The U.S. National Library of Medicine (USNLM) site also indicates that dandelion is used to treat these conditions: cancer, colitis, diabetes and hepatitis B. However, it also warns that not enough clinical study has been done to prove dandelion’s effectiveness for treating these conditions.
 The herb seems to be helpful for lowering cholesterol, decreasing inflammation and stimulating the appetite, but much more study needs to be done before it can be recommended for medicinal use.

The Chinese, European and Native American healing traditions have used dandelion to treat digestive complaints and kidney and liver disorders. Dandelion leaves may contribute to kidney health by acting as a diuretic to promote urination. 

Dandelion is a safe means of eliminating waste through the urine while cleansing the kidneys and the blood. It gets rid of congestion and fluid swelling. This is why the French call it pissenlit. The root is approved in Germany for bile flow obstructions. Early spring roots are used for this. An infusion can be made by steeping the root in hot water for thirty minutes or longer and then letting it cool. The properties of dandelion root are hepatic (nourishes and strengthens the liver); tonic (strengthens and invigorates the system); deobstruent (slowly loosens and removes obstructions); hypnotic (encourages sleep).

And to mention again, the dandelion plant offers a host of essential nutrients, including vitamins A and C, B vitamins, zinc, potassium and iron. The rich yellow color of dandelion flowers comes from beta-carotene. Found in yellow, red, orange, or dark green fruits and vegetables, beta-carotene is a plant-based pigment that converts into vitamin A in your digestive tract. Vitamin A contributes to healthy vision, promotes wound healing and supports the immune system. Vitamin C acts as an antioxidant, counteracting the cellular damage caused by toxic substances. The leaves of the dandelion plant offer beta-carotene, vitamin K, folate, potassium, iron and zinc, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Dandelion species grow wild throughout North America, Europe and Asia. The roots, leaves, crowns and flowers of the dandelion are edible. To avoid chemical contaminants, shop for dandelion flowers and leaves in the produce section of organic markets or harvest them from areas where only organic fertilizers are used. Dandelions that grow wild on lawns or in parks may have been exposed to commercial pesticides, fertilizers or other substances that may make them unsafe to eat

***It is warned that dandelion may harmfully interact with such medications as lithium, antibiotics, antacids or quinolone. This is why you should tell your health care provider about all supplements you use medicinally.


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