Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Dandelion: The Verve of Life

A common weed, you say? Yes, but if it were Google it would be a billionaire. I'll bet there are many, many publicists and marketing professionals who wish they were half as successful as the dandelion. It manages to be everywhere at once, a marketer's dream.

Everyone knows dandelion; it's the little weed with a bright yellow flower that turns to fluff with seeds that scatter with wishes in the wind. Taraxacum vulgare's leaves are deeply serrated--giving it the name dent-de-lion, or tooth of the lion. But I think its name reveals more about its personality than its physical shape.

Dandelion is another herb that perseveres. It's found everywhere from rich, shady gardens to dry, sunburned gravelly lots. It holds on tight with a deep taproot and launches its seeds to the far corners of the universe, with ultimate hope.

Most people use dandelion as an iron supplement and a liver nourisher, and for these purposes you can find more information at It's fantastic for helping stimulate digestive "juices" due to its bitter flavor and it helps the liver manufacture new cells and succeed at its job as a toxin remover for the entire body. But today I'm discussing a lesser known virtue of this common plant: its traditional use as a weight-loss aid. Because dandelion is a diuretic, it causes the body to lose water. It accomplishes this with astonishing efficiency, and while commercial diuretics cause the body to become potassium depleted (and can therefore be dangerous to the cardiac system), dandelion naturally re-supplies the body with the potassium it loses, keeping a healthy balance. It's because of this function that dandelion tops the charts in helping people lose water weight, which can be the beginning of a successful weight loss program. (Excess water weight is harmful to the heart, because it must pump a greater volume of fluid through channels meant for less. Removing excess water gives the heart a break and puts less pressure on arteries and vessels.) Combine water weight loss with healthy eating, conscious food selection, appropriate exercise and the determination to accomplish a goal, and dandelion can be pivotal in helping people begin to achieve their ideal weight.

Its versatility and reliability put dandelion at the top of The Buttercup List. Not to mention, dandelion improves liver and endocrine function by strengthening the liver's ability to "cleanse" the blood and remove toxins through to the kidneys. And of course, dandelion's naturally high levels of iron make it ideal for women with heavy menstrual periods or those who struggle with anemia. Vineyard Herbs creates a concentrated tincture of freshly harvested dandelion root and leaf (Liver Cleanse Extra Iron Formula) which can be taken daily; we also sell a delicious dandelion root beverage that can be a coffee substitute with its rich, deep flavor and velvety consistency. Tomorrow we'll have ideas and recipes for making dandelion a delicious and productive part of the daily diet. Enjoy!


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