IT’S TIME FOR SPRING CLEANING!!
(or how to detoxify the body with Mother Nature’s Helpers)
And Here Come the Dandelions!!
Although usually weed-whacked away like unwanted pests, what many don’t realize is that they’re destroying a medicinal powerhouse that their bodies often need.
Benefits from the backyard:
Liver health: the dandelion or Taraxacum officinale is an incredible detoxifier. The potent oils and bitter resins help to maintain the proper flow of bile while stimulating the liver and promotes proper digestion. This decreases the chance of constipation which lowers the chance of developing more serious gastrointestinal problems.
Anti-aging: The root and leaves of the dandelion are rich in antioxidants such as vitamin C and Luteolin, which prevent free radical damage to our cells and DNA. This is believed to substantially slow the aging process.
Good for Bones: Dandelions are a good source of calcium, and probably the richest herbal source of vitamin K, both of which are great for bone health.
Reduces Inflammation: Dandelions contain phytonutrients and essential fatty acids that reduce inflammation in the body.
Potential Anti-cancer Effects: Dandelions contain active chemical constituents that are currently being studied for their ability to act against cancer cells. Luteolin “sterilizes” cancer cells and prevents them from reproducing by deactivating key components of the cells when it binds to them.
Memory Function: Dandelion leaves are rich in choline which is proven to aid in restoring memory.
Weight Loss & Blood Pressure: Dandelions are diuretic in nature and by promoting urination, “water weight” can be shed and blood pressure can be lowered.
How About That Burdock!!
Burdock has an ancient and respected reputation as a nutritive liver tonic that helps to clean and build the blood, while its diuretic action helps in the elimination of waste materials. Taken internally, burdock promotes sweating and the elimination of harmful high levels of uric acid via the kidneys. Burdock helps to cleanse the body from the inside out and is most useful in those conditions that can be traced back to liver disorders or a general overload of toxins in the system including skin problems. Burdock may also play a useful role in helping to control blood sugar levels due to the inulin content of the root. In Europe, the fresh root is used for lowering blood sugar, its inulin content making it particularly suitable for diabetes.
Cascara Sagrada Anyone?
Cascara Sagrada’s health benefits include: A natural laxative for constipation; helps shrink hemorrhoids; has natural antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory actions; has been used in the treatment of cancer and can calm the central nervous system. Other benefits of cascara sagrada include the removal of intestinal parasites and is also effective in improving the tone of the colon.
Cascara sagrada is a natural laxative made from the reddish-brown bark of a tree (Rhamnus purshiana) native to western North America. In 1999, the herb made up more than 20% of the national laxative market in the U.S., with an estimated value of $400 million. It is considered to be the most widely used cathartic in the world.
And Then There’s Yellow Dock
It’s that pesky weed you see sprouting up in farmer’s fields, alongside roads and sometimes even in your own back yard! You can tell it’s yellow dock when you see the dark reddish brown seed heads on the withered stems in late fall.
For many, the yellow dock plant is considered nothing more than an invasive and unwelcome weed. However, herbalists and Native Americans know otherwise. While most of the plant can be used for herbal remedies, the root is most used for a variety of treatments and is considered to be a panacea, or cure-all for what ails you.
Native American tribes used the root for conditions such as external swelling and sores, to constipation and blood cleansing. In modern herbal medicine, its most common health benefits include:
Natural Detox and Cleansing: The cleansing ability of the plant can help with many functions. It is a powerful blood cleanser and lymph cleanser, stimulating and increasing the action of lymph glands throughout the entire body.
Natural Antioxidant: Studies have shown the antioxidant potential of yellow dock root and have confirmed that it reduces oxidative stress. A study by the Department of Chemistry at Jamia Hamdard in India showed that the root possesses potent antioxidant and free radical scavenging activities and thwarts oxidative damage and hyperproliferation in liver tissues. Oxidative stress is thought to be involved in any diseases including in the development of cancer, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, yellow dock is a staple of many natural anticancer formulas, including Essiac Tea.
For Digestive Health: According to the University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center, yellow dock can help alleviate stomach acid, heartburn, and indigestion. By stimulating the digestive functions it helps to increase both digestive enzymes and stomach acid, and it can aid the liver and gallbladder. From a detox perspective the root can help remove lingering waste in your intestinal tract by stimulating bowel movements, as well as increasing the frequency of urination which assists in toxin elimination.
For Skin Conditions: Yellow dock root has been used topically to treat a number of skin conditions including age spots, psoriasis, rashes, poison ivy, and eczema. Native American tribes used the root in a poultice treatment to help alleviate these types of issues.
How to use Yellow Dock Root: Do not use yellow dock root raw or uncooked as it can cause serious side effects including vomiting, heart problems and breathing difficulty. It is best used dried and powdered in capsules, as a tincture or extract or in teas. Check with your doctor about taking yellow dock if you are pregnant or breastfeeding as it has laxative effects that could be unsafe.
Detox Extracts & Tea
Hummingbird Creations offers potent tinctures of Dandelion, Burdock, Cascara Sagrada and Yellow Dock, made from fresh, homegrown herbs. Or get the benefits of all four herbs and more in Hummingbird’s System Cleanse Tea.
HAPPY SPRING CLEANING!!
And How About Some Delicious Dandelion Recipes!
A Summer Dandelion Salad:
1 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbls. Apple cider vinegar
4 Tbls. Dried dulse
2 Tbls. Minced red onion
3 Tbls. Olive oil
1 bunch of dandelion greens
2 Tbls. Raw pumpkin seed
1 oz. parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
In a blender, mix the shallot, mustard, vinegar and dulse. Season with salt and pepper.
Pour into a small bowl and whisk in the oil in a slow stream.
Rinse/dry the dandelion greens and toss them in a large salad bowl with the dressing.
Top with grated parmesan or substitute with nutritional yeast if you are vegan.
Makes 4 Servings
Garlic Mushroom Dandelion Greens
2 bunches of dandelion greens, lightly chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 red onion, chopped
3 oz. shitake mushrooms, sliced
½ cup red cooking wine
4 Tbls. Olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic and onion and saute’ for 5 minutes or until onions are translucent. Add the shitake mushrooms and cook for another 5 minutes until they have reduced and softened.
Add the dandelion greens, red wine, salt and pepper. Cover the skillet for about 7 minutes, or until the greens have softened.
Serves 4 to 6 people
Dandelion Pesto with Pine Nuts
1 large clove garlic
1 large bunch of Italian flat leaf parsley
2 cups of chopped dandelion greens
½ fresh squeezed lemon juice
½ cup pine nuts
3 Tbls. Parmesan cheese
½ cup olive oil
Sea Salt to taste
Fill a medium-sized sauce pan with water and bring to a boil. Blanch the greens in the boiling water for 1 minute only. Strain the water from the saucepan and fill again with cold water to halt the cooking process. Strain the greens again and transfer to a blender or food processor. Add the pine nuts, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, a pinch of sea salt and blend until you’ve reached your consistency of choice.
Enjoy! And see you at one of our upcoming events!
Peace & Love – Judi