Each spring, great swaths of the landscape are dotted with the familiar and cheerful face of the dandelion. Though reviled by golf course owners and fastidious lawn lovers, this “weed” is a treasure trove of goodness for the human body, mind and spirit.

Physical Benefits of Dandelion

The dandelion plant produces a sunny yellow flower, which corresponds to the color of your third, or solar plexus chakra. This chakra is associated with your stomach, pancreas, small intestine, liver, gallbladder and parts of your nervous system. Knowing this, it's no surprise that dandelion is excellent medicine for your liver and digestion.

Dandelion belongs to a group of herbs known as “bitters”. Bitter herbs help make your digestive process more efficient, stimulating the secretions of enzymes and fluids your body needs to digest food efficiently and prevent discomfort such as bloating and gas.

Dandelion also increases the flow of bile, which helps your liver and gallbladder to detoxify. If your bile is congested or deficient, toxins can become stuck and digestion of fats and protein is impaired. Freeing up the bile allows your liver and gallbladder to flush out toxins and helps your body break down and assimilate important nutrients.

Additionally, dandelion is one of the most nutrient dense greens of the garden. Dandelion leaves contain abundant vitamins and minerals, especially A, C and K. They are also a good source of calcium, potassium, iron and manganese as well as micronutrients such as copper, cobalt, zinc, boron, and molybdenum.

The medicinal benefits of dandelion for the physical body are well documented. Dandelion leaf is probably the best herbal diuretic and hypertension remedy available. It helps stimulate your kidneys to release excess water retention, all while increasing your potassium levels, rather than depleting them like many prescription diuretics.

Dandelion is also a panacea for diabetics as it stimulates the production of insulin and helps stabilize your blood sugar before and after meals.

This humble plant can also act indirectly or directly to improve skin conditions like acne and can help heal infections as well as urinary disorders.

Emotional and Mental Benefits of Dandelion

In addition to physical benefits, dandelion offers medicine for your mind and emotions. Since dandelion helps to balance your solar plexus chakra, it can assist with the natural emotional and physical “self-cleaning” that your liver does each spring and fall.

During this cleansing cycle, you may experience increased irritability, mild depression, or headaches (especially on the right side of the head/neck). If your liver is particularly congested, you may experience significant upheaval like irrational anger flare ups, unexplained sadness or even migraines.

Since your liver is an emotionally sensitive organ, toxic emotional states like chronic stress, suppressed anger, depression and resentment hurt it just as much as toxins in your food or environment. Using dandelion encourages your liver to release not only physical toxins, but stored toxic emotions as well.

Spiritual Benefits of Dandelion

As you take steps to balance your solar plexus chakra, you will find it easier to trust your intuition and make decisions based on your highest good. A balanced solar plexus chakra can imbue a sense of personal power and give direction and purpose to your daily life, greatly strengthening your self esteem and helping you see your inherent worth.

Dandelion helps stimulate and balance this “personal power” chakra, helping you to find more courage within. In fact, the word dandelion comes from the french dent de lion, or 'tooth of the lion', a most courageous animal. Like the cowardly lion in the Wizard of Oz, you need courage to live a full and healthy life, and this 'tooth of the lion' herb can help encourage you to stand up for yourself and to find your own personal power.

How to Use Dandelion

Dandelions are, of course, widely available and free for the picking. However, be sure any dandelions you pick have not been sprayed with herbicides or chemical fertilizers. It is best to allow them to grow in your own garden space or obtain organic greens at a grocery store or farmers market.

Dandelions are edible in their entirety and can be used in many ways. The fresh greens are perfect when snipped into small pieces and added to salads. My favorite way to enjoy the greens is by culturing them with kombucha, kefir or a veggie starter. Fermenting vegetables preserves them for long term storage, increases their nutrient content and makes them easier to digest. Try mixing cultured dandelion greens with salads or sauteed spinach or use them as a topping for fish or chicken.

Dandelion root is also a culinary gift. Roasted dandelion root makes a delicious and therapeutic coffee substitute and the un-roasted roots can be steeped in water and made into a healthful tea. The flowers are edible as well and can be used to dress up salads and sauteed vegetables or to make dandelion wine.

You may also enjoy the benefits of dandelion by using a tincture or supplement made from the leaves and roots. These can be easily carried along when you're on the go, so you never need go without your sunny yellow medicine.

It is ironic that the humble dandelion, so widely despised, offers such powerful medicine to help heal so many of the toxic threats to the human physical, emotional, mental and spiritual bodies. This stubborn plant continues to proliferate, courageously offering humanity its beautiful gifts despite our vigorous efforts to eradicate it from existence. I encourage you to recognize nature's gift, and give the dandelion it's rightful place of honor at your dinner table and in your medicine chest.

Contraindication: if you have already been diagnosed with large, calcified gallstones, please talk to your doctor before taking dandelion. Since it increases bile flow, it may trigger a gallbladder attack.

Author's Bio: 

Carisa Holmes is a holistic health advocate, Reiki practitioner and author based in Columbus, Ohio. Carisa has worked in the holistic health and natural beauty fields for nearly 10 years.

Through overcoming a plethora of personal health issues and working with clients, Carisa has developed a clear understanding of the functions of the physical body as well as the more subtle layers of the human energy field.

In her practice, Carisa helps empower people to move toward higher levels of wellness. Using tools such as whole food, natural skin care and powerful yet gentle Reiki, Carisa helps clients lose weight without starving themselves, heal sickness and injury, increase energy levels and feel more calm, happy and alive.

Carisa is very grateful for the many things she has learned and is eager to share them with others.

To contact Carisa about how you can heal yourself naturally, visit www.CarisaHolmes.com or email directly at info@carisaholmes.com