Wednesday, April 13, 2011

How To 'Spring Clean' Your Body

Most of us say it every spring, "It's time to do my spring cleaning!" We get so busy packing up the winter clothes, rearranging furniture, dusting the tops of china cabinets and such, (that we've seemed to neglect for months) that we forget to spring clean ourselves! Yup, that's right, our bodies deserve just as much attention, if not more. After all, if you aren't well, then you won't be doing much spring cleaning to begin with!  Okay, random question - Do you have dandelions in your yard? My parents do, and growing up I stepped on them and used to blow them as a kid without knowing what they were actually capable of. The DANDELION herb {Taraxacum officianale (latin name)} is a magnificent one and I can attest to its benefits myself.  This miraculous flower (that seems to pop up everywhere) possesses so many great qualities that it is tough to know where to start.

All parts of the dandelion flower - the roots, stem and leaves, are useful in achieving and maintaining balanced health. It contains rich nutrients and medicinal compounds that most herbalists consider to be priceless. Let's face it, most of us aren't health gurus, and when we want answers, it's usually because we've already started feeling some sort of discomfort in the body. Something isn't right and we can't put our finger on it, but we want it fixed! At the same time, when we do search for answers, there is so much information out there that it can quickly become overwhelming. When I start to feel overwhelmed, I try to think about the root of the problem. Sometimes (quite often) I don't know the root of the problem, but I know that flushing out the toxins is a GREAT place to start because so many problems arise due to toxins in our blood. To discuss the types of toxins and the way many of us accumulate them is overwhelming in itself and would be best served in another post.

So, why in the world should you be consuming the Dandelion herb?
  • The leaves are rich in calcium, iron, copper, silicon, magnesium, and sodium,
    and are extremely rich in potassium. They are high in vitamins A, B1, B2,
    and C. Eat the young leaves raw in salads, steam slightly, or make into a tea.
    Use them before flowering, as they become very bitter. Dig, wash, roast, and
    grind the root for excellent coffee.

  • Dandelion has a diuretic and tonic action, and stimulates the kidney, liver, stomach, and spleen to eliminate toxins. Using dandelion in the spring will tone up your whole body, cleansing it of the waste matter that has built up during the winter months.
I can attest to the powerful benefits of Dandelion myself. About 3 months ago I found out that I was gluten-intolerant (also another post - lol). This meant that I had been consuming food made with the gluten protein and had no idea that it was harming my body. In fact, the only way I found out was by eliminating ALL things made with gluten from my diet. My holistic health coach recommended this and it was the best thing she could have done. Before I was "labeled" gluten-intolerant, I knew my body was malfunctioning because I would begin to itch and have skin rashes on different parts of my body. The fact that these rashes weren't localized to one area showed me that it was serious. Not knowing what to do (before I went gluten-free), I turned to Dandelion - what a savior in my trying times! I drank it as a tea. I also purchased Dandelion Root extract, of which you only need a few drops in a little water, 2-3 times a day. This became a daily routine, and after one week, my skin was clear again and I didn't feel itchy either. As thankful as I am that Dandelion helped me, it was still clear to me that I needed to find out the root cause of the problem so that my skin issues didn't continue. (You should never ignore the root cause of a problem. If you aren't sure what's wrong, then you should see your physician immediately.) Although I've noted Dandelion as a spring cleaning tonic, I recommend it no matter what time of year. You will definitely notice the difference it makes!

You can reap the benefits of Dandelion in a few ways - you can add the fresh Dandelion leaves to your salad or sandwiches, or you can drink it as a tea or coffee. Coffee??? Yes, you read it right - when the roots of the Dandelion herb are simmered over the stove, the end result is a tasty beverage that tastes A LOT like coffee. In fact, it's one of the most popular instant coffee substitutes for those trying to lay off the caffeine. I don't imagine that you'll be pulling up the roots of a Dandelion flower any time soon, so lucky you (and me too) - you can find several brands of Dandelion "coffee" already packaged. Now I'm not one who loves lots of things pre-packaged, but this is an exception, and one product I think you should give a try. It tastes great, and can be prepared the same way you prepare your coffee, although I think you'll find that you don't need as many fixin's to make it taste great! The brand I've tried and really like is Dandy Blend. It's caffeine-free and gluten-free. (

So, after today's hefty lesson (exhale), are you thinking of Spring Cleaning your Body? Remember, you are what you eat, and if you eat like crap, you'll probably feel like it! You can usually find Dandy Blend or the Danelion herb at your local natural foods store. If not, a reputable resource for online herb shopping is

~Till Next Time...

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