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Why Dandelion Belongs in Your Spring Detox Plan

March 24, 2014

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Dandelion may be a pesky weed when it’s in your garden, but in your body, it could be the key to a successful spring detox. If you have a sluggish liver or suffer from digestive issues like bloating, dandelion is the ultimate superfood to kick-start your internal spring cleaning plan! Dandelion is called pu gong yin in Chinese medicine, where it’s traditionally known as a blood-purifying, immune-strengthening herb that targets the liver and stomach meridians. It gets to work by cooling and flushing out your kidneys, gallbladder, and liver, and acts as a diuretic, releasing excess fluid from your body.

Ayurveda holds that dandelion may help you achieve inner balance and harmony and will sync your body with the unique energy of the season. Now that winter is finally coming to an end, it’s the perfect time to tap into dandelion’s potential to make a clean sweep of your system and attune you to your environment. Plus, dandelion is an easy addition to a natural cleanse, because it’s relatively inexpensive and widely available. Have you seen your front lawn at the start of spring?!

Here are just some of the healthy highpoints of why dandelion roots and greens are a detoxing must-have:    

  • It’s a gentle way to detox. Dandelion supports liver function and bile production and can help rid your overtaxed liver of toxins without straining or stressing your system. It contains electrolyte-replenishing potassium and colon-cleansing, gut-satiating fiber that help to ease the process.
  • It’s has quite the clean-up crew. Speaking of fiber, dandelions contain pectin, a water-soluble type that binds to heavy metals and environmental toxins and facilitates in removing them from your body. It also contains inflammation-fighting essential fatty acids and liver-protective and anti-spasmodic flavonoids such as luteolin.
  • It’s full of nutrients galore! Dandelion also contains a potent mix of vitamins A, C, and D, as well as a chemical compound called sesquiterpene lactones (which gives dandelion its bitter taste) that has also been found to be an anti-inflammatory and digestive stimulant.
  • It’s awesomely high in antioxidants. In one recent study that looked at the weed’s effectiveness as an anti-cancer agent, dandelion scored super high in antioxidants and its ability to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation in the body, coming in a very close second to the super spice turmeric!

To hone in on the power of this flower to gently yet powerfully cleanse your body, here are three great ways to incorporate dandelion into your diet:

Green smoothie or juice: Wake up with this morning zing smoothie, which contains an invigorating mix of dandelion greens, celery, ginger root, peach, and pineapple to help you get a fresh start. If you prefer a tangy and tart drink, try this clean energy, super alkalizing green juice that combines apple with dandelion and a good dose of other greens, such as kale, cucumber, cilantro, parsley, and celery.

Tea: I’m a big fan of Yogi teas, and their detox blend, containing dandelion and other detox-friendly flowers like juniper berry and burdock, is a deliciously simple way to clear your body of potential contaminants. If you prefer making a homemade brew, try this dandelion root chai tea made with cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger and enjoy every spicy, warming sip.

Leafy green recipes: Experiment with these slightly bitter greens in your own kitchen by swapping out spinach or kale for dandelion greens (or just adding dandelion on top of the other greens!) to reap more of its healing and purifying perks. For a flavorful and nourishing lunch of crunchy, fresh greens and whole grains, consider making this dandelion greens and wild rice salad.

Do you have a fun recipe that calls for dandelion? Share it with us in comments!