Whether you or a loved one has been diagnosed with breast cancer, are healing from breast cancer, or just want to have healthy breasts, you need to know about the healing properties of dandelion (Taraxacum officiale).
Dandelion root is one of the most detoxifying herbs we have and it is hepatic, or tonic for the liver. It improves liver and gallbladder function, which improves digestion and elimination. Most importantly, dandelion root helps the liver clear excessive estrogens and toxins from the blood and eliminate them. When used regularly after taking a round of antibiotics or other strong medications that may disrupt digestion, dandelion root helps restore the digestion. Regular use of dandelion root tea or extract protects the liver from damage caused by pharmaceutical drugs and environmental toxins.
Benefits From Dandelion
Use dandelion root and leaf to improve liver function, promote healthy digestion and elimination, and break down tumors, malignant and benign, is well supported by folk tradition as well as modern research. And because dandelion root is a food-‐like tonic herb, it is suitable for long-‐ term use. (In some rare cases it may cause a loose stool and it is contraindicated while taking antihypertensive or diuretic medications.)
Who Would Benefit From Dandelion?
Women who suffer from cyclic breast pain and swelling or fibrocystic breast disease and anyone being treated for or at risk of developing breast cancer would be wise to consider dandelion root part of a long-‐term health strategy. While harvesting dandelions from urban areas are not recommended as they contain toxins generated by air and water pollution, most health food stores and on-‐line sources have organic dandelion root in various forms. Unlike pharmaceuticals, dandelion works slowly and deeply to bring you into balance. It can, and should, be used for months or even years as part of every woman’s wellness program.
How to Use Dandelion
Dandelion root is available in three forms: as bulk dried herb for tea; as a capsule; or as an alcohol extract or tincture. If you have a source of unpolluted dandelions, spring is the time to harvest them. Get a good sturdy trowel to dig up their long roots. Clean the entire plant and use it to make tea. Or eat the greens in a salad. And of course, there is always dandelion flower wine!
A Recipe for Dandelion Root Tea
Bulk dried dandelion root may be purchased from mail order sources or your local herbs shop. To prepare dandelion root tea, use…
1 heaping teaspoon of dried root, or 2 teaspoons of fresh root (chopped) per 8 ounces of boiling water.
- Measure dandelion root into a teapot or quart canning jar and cover with freshly boiled water.
- Cover and steep for 40 minutes.
- Strain the herb and discard.
Drink a half a cup of tea three times a day.
The taste is bitter, which many people enjoy, but if you prefer you may combine it with other teas you enjoy, especially aromatics like lemon balm, peppermint or spearmint, and a little bit of honey.
Store tea in the refrigerator for no longer than two days.
Patricia Kyritsi Howell, RH (AHG) is a clinical herbalist with more than 20 years experience and the author of Medicinal Plants of the Southern Appalachians. A member of the Governing Council of the American Herbalists Guild, she is founder and director of the BotanoLogos School of Herbal Studies, located in the mountains of northeast Georgia. Learn more at www.wildhealingherbs.com.