Dandelion is an extremely common plant found worldwide. It grows to a height of about 12 inches, with oblong, green leaves and distinctive yellow flowers that bloom year-round. When the plant matures, the flower turns into a fuzzy, globe-shaped cluster that contains seeds for propagation. Kids and adults alike love searching for these flowers and blowing them in the wind, watching them float away kind of takes away all our troubles doesn’t it?
In many countries, dandelion is used as a food. It’s leaves and flowers can be eaten fresh or cooked. They contain high amounts of vitamin A, and smaller amounts of vitamin C, vitamin D, various B vitamins, iron, silicon, magnesium, manganese, selenium and zinc. It has anti-inflammatory properties and prevents oxidative stress. This is why it’s great for our skin. The entire plant is in fact edible. Dandelion’s leaves are used in salads and teas, and its roots are sometimes used as a coffee substitute. Both the leaves and roots are used in herbal preparations.
From the perspective of Western Medicine, it is often labeled as a “natural antibiotic” as it shows anti-bacterial properties particularly against the Staphylococcus Aureus strain. In some clinical studies, dandelion shows protective effects against lipid peroxidation and free radicals. It contains a wealth of nutrients important to liver function especially the B vitamins, cleanses the liver and increases the production of bile hence it is commonly used as a herbal treatment for liver diseases such as hepatitis, cirrhosis and jaundice.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, dandelion is cold in nature and bitter & sweet in taste. It benefits the Liver and Stomach meridians. Its effects are clearing toxic heat, detoxifying blood, Dandelion reduces swelling, reducing abscesses, dissolves clots and also has anti-bacterial properties. It has proven diuretic effects and is commonly used for weight-loss or edema. It is used during instances when there is liver involvement with heat and toxins in the blood. These conditions include jaundice, hepatitis, urinary tract infections, red or swollen eyes, and abscesses or skin boils. Due to its anti-inflammatory and protective effects, it is directly related to our skin health where there is blood, Qi deficiency or excess heat toxicity in the Liver, it leads to dry skin, dull complexion, liver spots, dry brittle nails. Hence for healthy skin, we need to ensure our Liver is in good condition.
Other essential dandelion uses and indications are acute mastitis, lung abscess, appendicitis, mumps, skin abscesses, furuncles (infection of the hair follicle), carbuncles (swollen painful cluster of boils), eye redness and swelling, cold and fever, cough, sore throat, stomach fire, enteritis, dysentery, hepatitis, cholecystitis, urinary tract infection. Drinking dandelion tea before meals can improve indigestion and constipation. Dandelion can be used both externally and internally.
There are many ways to incorporate Dandelion into your diet and there are lots of recipes online as well. Here are some easy ways to use Dandelion:
1) Drank as Tea
Dried Dandelion flowers & leaves can be easily found in local Traditional Chinese Medicine shops in Singapore or some dried food stores or supermarkets.
- Combine dried Dandelion flowers ( 蒲公英) with Corn silk ( 玉米须) to drink as tea for urinary tract infections and to reduce swelling due to edema or for weight-loss.
- Combine the dried flowers with honeysuckle flowers(金银花) as a tea to reduce toxic heat and reduce swelling for skin boils and acne. This can be applied externally to the boil as well.
The young leaves and fresh flowers can be used for salads. Just wash well and add your favorite salad dressing.
- The fresh flowers or leaves can be added to your usual omelette to add a touch of colour to brighten up your day. The light flower scent is subtle and refreshing.
I saw this recipe online which looks really good – link here.
2. The leaves can be lightly stir-fried with some oil and with some seasoning to taste. I like my greens lightly cooked.
You can take a look at this recipe.
3. You can also cook them in soup – just throw them into your favourite soup stock with some carrots and tomatoes and a simple and healthy soup is done!
Read more about How to get beautiful skin with a healthy liver.
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