Dandelions: Menace or Medicine

Since expanding Aqua Vitalis last month, my duties as “Chief Naturopathic Officer”  have extended to many non-medical things, but still very Naturopathic.  On Tuesday my job of the day was digging dandelions.  And when I say digging, I mean digging.  Green medicine extends to the garden you know.

I must say I found this experience strangely rewarding.  There is something inspiring about being in the garden.  You begin to look at weeds in a whole new way.

Have you noticed the sudden explosion of dandelions?  Their bright yellow colour seems to blanket our boulevards here in Whitby.  Not that most people would find them inspiring or beautiful.  Most people think of them as a menace.  But did you know that dandelions are medicinal?  And I wonder if the sudden population explosion is Mother Nature’s way of providing us with something we really need.

The dandelion, or Taraxacum officinale, is a common and useful botanical medicine with many beneficial properties.  The bitterness of the leaves makes them a great digestive aid and when made into a tea acts as a diuretic (that’s a fancy way of saying it makes you pee more).   A tea of the roots affects the other route of elimination, having a laxative effect.  Taraxacum is also known as a liver herb, aiding in detoxification and bile flow.  In Traditional Chinese medicine, the liver is looked at from both a physical and emotional perspective.  The emotion of the liver is irritability, making one wonder even more about this herbs sudden abundance in our stress-driven society.

So next time you feel stressed out, instead of stopping to smell the roses, maybe you should stop and dig dandelions instead!

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