Using Dandelions as Medicine Dandelion’s medicinal effects are not limited to its impressive nutritional profile. It sports a bevy of benefits. Let’s dive into remedies you can make using dandelions!
Using Dandelions as a Digestive Aid Dandelion’s bitter taste is likely also its best-known medicinal property. It’s a bitter. Bitters are plants that encourage optimal digestion by stimulating the secretion of enzymes and digestive juices.
Dandelion stimulates appetite, aids the liver in its detoxification duties, helps to regulate the release of pancreatic hormone, is stimulating to the spleen, supports correct bile duct function, and even helps to repair the gut wall. It may even help to resist the progression of cirrhosis of the liver.
Using Dandelions to Treat Colitis In one experiment, participants with non-specific colitis were given dandelion along with calendula, lemon balm, and St. John’s wort. Complete relief from spontaneous and palpable pains was reported by 96% of participants, and stools were normalized in those with diarrhea symptoms.
Using Dandelions as a Spring Tonic and Diuretic The entire plant is diuretic, flushing excess water from the body and generally giving us a good cleansing. The leaf is more powerful than the root, and is comparable to the drug furosemide in terms of strength. Don’t take it right before bed or you’ll be up all night. Dandelion’s diuretic properties help to relieve fluid retention. It is also used to dissolve calcium stones and to prevent new ones from forming, and can be used safely over long periods.
It is also effective in relieving arthritic complaints. With conventional pharmaceuticals, as the body flushes out water, it’s also flushing out our supply of potassium. This can be rough on your heart and cause problems for anyone with a heart condition. Dandelion, on the other hand, is so rich in potassium that even while it flushes out the body, it still provides a net gain in potassium. This makes it an ideal diuretic herb for people with heart issues.
Using Dandelions for Skin Health The natural latex in dandelion sap is helpful in getting rid of warts. Application of the sap several times a day for 2 to 3 weeks can also help with moles, pimples, canker sores, and other skin blemishes.
Using Dandelions to Fight Cancer and Harmful Bacteria Dandelion may have anti-tumor/anti-cancer properties, as it appears to have selective antimicrobial properties, supporting healthy gut bacteria while discouraging unhealthy ones. It even helps prevent plaque buildup on teeth.
Other Medicinal Uses Dandelion is also cooling and drying, and can be used as a fever reducer. It’s a mild laxative and has an alkalizing effect on the body. Dandelion may also help some people with allergies and food intolerances.
In animal studies, dandelion has been shown to have hypoglycemic activities. This may make it a helpful plant for those with diabetes, but could be a contraindication for those with hypoglycemia.
Medicinal Formats and Dosages You can use dandelion via any of the normal methods: fresh, dried, tincture, decoction, infusion, etc. The dried leaves make an excellent addition to green powders.
Outside of some very specific circumstances, dandelion is widely considered to be safe. Recommendations vary from herbalist to herbalist as to how much you should take.
I will present some amounts that I think are reasonable, but you should view them as suggestions, rather than rules when you’re using dandelions. Other quantities/frequencies could be equally valid, depending on your situation.
Root Tincture 1:5 ratio in 60% alcohol. Use 2.5–5 ml, 3 times daily.
Root Decoction Use 2–3 tsp of root material in 1 cup of water. Simmer for 10–15 minutes. Drink this 3 times a day.
Leaf Tincture 1:5 ratio in 40% alcohol. Use 5–10 ml, 3 times daily.
Leaf Infusion Pour boiling water over ½ tsp of dried leaf and allow to steep for 10–15 minutes. Drink this 3 times a day.