Powerful Medicine in Your Lawn?

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Dandelions are traditionally thought of as problem plants, but their roots and leaves provide us with fantastic health benefits.

We know ... they grow up in your yard and make the place a mess and you can't wait to get rid of them, right? Dandelions: famous in modern society as a nuisance. But there’s a whole lot more to dandelions than yellow lawns.

In fact, those apparently pesky plants offer us fantastic nutrients. First, dandelions are powerful diuretics so they help you to keep a healthy urinary tract. They also support the health of your liver and gall-bladder, and can even be used in treatments of muscular rheumatism.

Second, dandelions are among the best natural sources of potassium! Why is that important? Well, if we ate according to the ideal diet, we would eat far more potassium than sodium. The body is built for that balance. However, in our age of packaged foods, we’ve completely overturned that balance. We now eat far more sodium than potassium, and this leads to a long list of potential health problems.

There is an insightful book on this topic called The Salt Solution.

Both the roots and the leaves of dandelions are good for you. Leaves can be picked at any time and eaten, while roots need to be collected in early or late summer and split before drying.

Of course there are challenges to doing so. First of all, you seldom know what dandelions have been exposed to: exhaust along the roadside or harmful pesticides on people’s lawns for example. Plus, do you really want to spend all your time dissecting dandelions for your health?

"There aren't many people in this world ready to crawl through the woods looking for herbs," explains Tony Tateossian, owner of Vitabuys in Burbank, CA. "And unless you’ve been carefully trained, you don't want to risk the effects of misidentifying a plant and then eating it. But herbs assist the body in so many ways, it's important that people have some way of using them."

For most people, that way is through manufactured supplements, which are increasingly stocked by companies like Vitabuys. Once upon a time, those companies might have focused on vitamins, minerals, and a few other key nutrients. But as the public becomes more aware of how many ways herbs can support the body, herbal teas, tinctures, and other supplements face increasing demand.

"The problem isn't whether there's a vitamin, mineral, or herb to help with some condition," Tateossian continues. "It's knowing what will help a given person at a given time. That's why we put so much effort into educating people with our online newsletters, which we distribute freely. We try to take away the hype and just lay out what science knows, so people are better informed about what might help improve their lives."

Herbs aren't about to surpass anyone's need for vitamins and minerals by any stretch, and in some cases, increased demand for herbs may have more to do with marketing. But studies continue showing how powerful herbs can be, and as their list of testimonials expands, there's no doubt that herbal supplements are here to stay.

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