dandelion leaves

dandelion-greens

Dandelions come up in the early spring, just when our bodies are due for a spring clean­ ing. When consumed, the dandelion’s defining characteristic is bitterness, and this is the very feature that lends it restorative properties. That bitterness is medicine derived from plant acids and healing alkaloids. Dandelions shake you out of hibernation, getting your blood pumping and your organs cleaning house from radiation, toxic heavy metals, DDT, and other poisons.

What makes the dandelion unique is that every part of the plant can be used: root, leaves, flower, and even stem. Each bit has a different degree of bitterness, and this corresponds with areas of the body that need different sorts of cleansing.

Phyto-nutrients in dandelion leaves purify blood and also help bring it to hard-to-reach places, so the leaves are a must for circulatory issues such as poor circulation. The leaves’ bitterness is also geared to squeeze toxins out of the lymphatic system, making them ideal for addressing non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, swollen lymph nodes, and edema.

When you get to the stem of the dandelion, which is even more bitter than the flower and leaves, now you’re in the world of cleansing the dense organs such as the spleen,  liver – for example, by pushing out bile that’s no longer useful

And when you get to the dandelion root, you’re detoxifying even deeper into those dense organs. This is the bitterest part of the plant, and it forces the organs to purge on the deep­est level for an intensified purification. When it comes to detoxing, dandelion root is not for the faint of heart.

Dandelion is not just a cleansing herb. It’s like a housekeeping service at a fancy hotel that, after tidying up and gathering the trash, leaves a mint behind on your pillow. Dandeli­on’s parting gift is better than candy – it leaves behind vital nutrients such as vitamin A, B vitamins, manganese, iodine, calcium, iron, magnesium, selenium, silica, and chlorophyll that give you energy and help your body stave off disease. Dandelion is a preventative for virtually any illness, and is especially great for the prostate.

PRIMARY MICRO NUTRIENTS
SECONDARY MICRO NUTRIENTS  Vitamin B3, Folate
NUTRITIONAL HIGHLIGHTS and NOTES
  • Toning effect on the body
  • Liver health – bitter leaves (such as dandelion) are optimal for aiding liver function
  • High pectin fiber content
FUNCTIONAL BENEFITS
  • Liver function and detoxification
  • Promotes weight loss largely due to diuretic effect
  • Improves blood sugar control
PHYTONUTRIENTS Guaianolide Taraxacin – intestinal anti-septic, germicidal, expectorant
PLANT FAMILY Compositae, Daisy / Sunflower. Related to: Artichoke, Jerusalem Artichoke (Sunchoke), Lettuce
DANGERS
  • Traditional Chinese Medicine treats Dandelion as a cooling plant that can weaken digestive fire – so only eat in warm months and when its in season (ie spring, summer and fall)
  • Daisy family: allergies

 

RDA Dandelion % RDA
Nutrient Unit per 100g
Water g 3700 85.6 2.3%
Energy kcal 2600 45 1.7%
Protein g 90 2.7 3.0%
Total lipid (fat) g 87 0.7 0.8%
Carbohydrate, by difference g 224 9.2 4.1%
Fiber, total dietary g 38 3.5 9.2%
Sugars, total g 0.71
Minerals
Calcium, Ca mg 1000 187 18.7%
Iron, Fe mg 8 3.1 38.8%
Magnesium, Mg mg 420 36 8.6%
Phosphorus, P mg 700 66 9.4%
Potassium, K mg 470 397 84.5%
Sodium, Na mg 76
Zinc, Zn mg 11 0.41 3.7%
Copper, Cu mg 0.9 0.171 19.0%
Manganese, Mn mg 2.3 0.342 14.9%
Selenium, Se µg 55 0.5 0.9%
Vitamins
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid mg 90 35 38.9%
Thiamin mg 1.2 0.19 15.8%
Riboflavin mg 1.3 0.26 20.0%
Niacin mg 16 0.806 5.0%
Pantothenic acid mg 5 0.084 1.7%
Vitamin B-6 mg 1.7 0.251 14.8%
Folate, total µg 400 27 6.8%
Choline, total mg 35.3
Betaine mg
Vitamin B-12 µg 2.4 0 0.0%
Vitamin A, IU IU 5000 10161 203.2%
Vitamin E, total mg 15 3.44 22.9%
Vitamin D IU 600 0 0.0%
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) µg 120 778.4 648.7%

RDA – Recommended Dietary Amount recommendations are based upon calculations for a 40 year old very active man that I have adapted from USDA’s Dietary Intake Guidelines. Using this link you can make your own calculations

Adapted from:

Murray, M. (2005). Encyclopedia of Healing Food. New York, N.Y.: Atria Books

USDA food database: http://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/

Other information sources:

World’s Healthiest Foods – an excellent online food and nutrition encyclopedia

Self Nutrition Data: an online nutrient breakdown of foods

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