Dandelion is most often thought of as a pesky weed that takes over in lawns, gardens, meadows, and even pops up in cracked sidewalks and pavement! But it is an excellent food and herbal medicine. Dandelion is a popular bitter with a long history of use as an herbal remedy. Dandelion's name comes from the french "dents du lion," or "teeth of the lion," due to the shape of the leaf.
Dandelion is a very rich source of beta-carotene which we convert into vitamin A. This flowering plant is also rich in vitamin C, fibre, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus. It is a good place to get B complex vitamins, trace minerals, organic sodium, and even vitamin D.
In the past, dandelion roots and leaves were used to treat liver problems. Native Americans also boiled dandelion in water and took it to treat kidney disease, swelling, skin problems, heartburn, and upset stomach. Dandelion root and leaf are mildly chloretic, an agent for stimulating the release of bile from the liver into the gallbladder. The herb is used to support treatment of a variety of liver and gallbladder disorders, especially the imcomplete digestion of fats. Dandelion root also is one of the best herbal diuretics. It stimulates urination but also replaces the potassium lost to the increased volume of urine.
Do not use if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, allergic to Asteraceae (daisy family) plants, have Gilbert's syndrome or Crigler-Najjar syndrome, gall bladder inflammation, bile duct obstruction or cancer, intestinal blockage, pancreatic cancer, hemolytic anemia, liver cancer or liver disease.