Dandelion, Detoxing, and the New Year

Resolutions for Wellness

The holidays are a notoriously rough time on our bodies. From festive libations, broken workout routines, and never-ending trays of cookies, people generally leave the holiday season feeling a little more sluggish than when it started.

While I am not one for restrictive resolutions, I do find that the New Year is a good time to press reset on our health. The start of a fresh year is an excellent opportunity to re-examine our lifestyle and dietary choices, as well as shed the accumulation from the year prior.

Cleansing and Renewing

While traditional “detoxes” have circled around strict elimination diets and cleanses, I prefer to use a gentler method. When I think of doing a “detox”, I think about incorporating lifestyle, dietary, and herbal choices into my life that support my body in functioning properly. By using bitter herbs, eating lots of fresh veggies, and drinking ample water, I feel good in knowing that I’m giving my body a little extra support, especially following a period of excess.

Dandelion

My favorite herb to use while doing a dietary “reset” is dandelion. As a hepatic, cholagogue, diuretic, bitter, and tonic herb[1], dandelion has traditionally been used as a gentle detoxifier and bitter tonic. [2] Dandelion’s bitter flavor is thought by many herbalists to not only stimulate digestive juices but to aid in the gentle detoxification of the liver. [3] Bitter herbs are thought to not only be beneficial to the digestive system but to the body as a whole.

Dandelion in the Kitchen

Though dandelion is often taken as a tea or tincture, both the roots and leaves of this hearty plant can be used in herbal kitchen creations. [4] Dandelion greens can be added to salads, smoothies, or cooked like kale, and the dried leaves and roots can be made into tea.  

I love to use the leaves as a warm tea in the evenings with chamomile, or the toasted roots as a warm morning beverage. Combined with other roasted herbs such as carob, burdock, cacao, and chicory, toasted dandelion root can make a delicious and caffeine-free alternative to coffee in the morning!

 

[1] Hoffmann, David. “Materia Medica.” Medical Herbalism: the Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine, Healing Arts Press, 2003, pp. 587–588.

[2] McIntyre, Anne. Flower Power. Henry Holt and Company, Inc., 1996.

[3] Mase, Guido. The Wild Medicine Solution: Healing with Aromatic, Bitter, and Tonic Plants. Healing Arts Press, 2013.

[4]  Moore, Michael. Medicinal Plants of the Mountain West. Museum of New Mexico Press, 2003.

 

 

By Anna Beauchemin

Anna is a Clinical Western Herbalist. She works and studies at the Ohlone Herbal Center in Berkeley, California. She also has a Bachelor of Science in Conservation and Resource Studies from the University of California, Berkeley and has worked as a biologist doing research on native pollinators. 

 

Photos taken by Anna Beauchemin

 

These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.