Is it a "weed" or is it "medicine"?
It's springtime! The sun is shining, birds are singing and all the plants are starting to grow. There's a feeling of rejuvenation in the air. I love this time of year!
In our neighborhood many people have already started mowing their lawns. They seem to pride themselves on how green and "weed-free" their lawns are. Me on the other hand, I love to walk out and see a lawn bespeckled by a variety of clover flowers and dandelions. That's right, I said "Dandelions"!
From an aesthetic standpoint the contrast of bright yellow flowers on dark green grass is fantastic.
To me it's not a "weed" at all, but a beautiful addition to the garden. Beyond its visual appeal the dandelion plant has superb healing properties when used as "medicine".
Taraxacum officinalis is the dandelion's official name, but you don't need to know that to know how this planet can benefit your health.
First of all, pretty much the whole plant is edible.
The crowns and flowers can be eaten; providing a somewhat sweet addition to salad or bright garnish for spring plate.
The leaves are highly nutritious; loaded with minerals such as potassium, iron and calcium as well as antioxidants vitamins A & C. The leaves produce a diuretic effect, so can be good for edema and kidney function. They also mildly stimulate liver function.
To see dandelion's true strengths as medicine look to its roots. The roots have potent active constituents which support the actions of the liver and gallbladder primarily. The roots also contain inulin, a prebiotic that supports the growth of healthy bacteria in the gut.
Although it can have many benefits, there are some precautions to consider. For this reason it is important to have an expert in herbal medicine such as a naturopathic doctor, guide you in its use. Some precautions include: people who have an allergy to this plant, bowel obstruction and gallbladder stasis.
So when you're working on your lawn this spring, I invite you to take a new look at these "weeds" and consider all the benefits of this "medicinal" plant!