This month I’m highlighting Dandelion root (Taraxacum officinalis, or Paardebloem in het nederlands). It’s the perfect antidote for spring damp & warm qualities when people have increased symptoms related to mucus congestion and water retention.
Women often ask me about whether they should reduce coffee. This is of course slightly amusing because if you’re asking the question, you already know the answer. But there’s a value in someone reinforcing what you already know, so I’m happy to explain the more medical reasons behind their hunch. Often all it takes to solve hot flashes, PMS and many more is stopping with coffee. I’ve been inspired this week by a couple of recent clients who took this on board and changed their hormone woes, so it’s always a great starting place.
And while I’m told from coffee drinkers not to expect anything can be a direct taste substitute, you might look into dandelion root tea to get the same roasted bitter flavor.
Meanwhile, dandelion’s health benefits go way beyond being a coffee substitute and all that can do for balancing your hormones.
What you need to know about YOURSELF to use this herb Ayurvedically
- Your constitution
- Your vikruti – current state of Vata, Pitta, Kapha
- Which of the 20 qualities are out of balance
You are free of any contraindications: obstruction in the gallbladder or bile ducts, can interact with diuretics & hypotensives, avoid when taking lithium and quinolones. excess Vata conditions, caution in diabetes, latex in dandelion leaves can cause contact dermatitis in sensitive skin individuals
What you need to know about Dandelion to use this herb Ayurvedically
Qualities: cool, dry
Taste: bitter, sweet
Virya: cooling effect on metabolism
Vipak: effect on tissues changes to pungent after the herb is digested
Dosha: PK reducing, very gentle, so can be used in V conditions as long as properly balanced
Dhatu: will reach rasa, rakta
Do you need any of Dandelion’s benefits?
Cooling, so reduces:
- High-heat symptoms like sour burps or acidic stomach
- Conditions that worsen when exposed to heat, sun
- Spring or at the end of summer
Astringent quality is useful in:
Binds loose stool
Helps varicose veins
Have a tendency towards bleeding hemorrhoids
Provides blood cleansing, helps:
Acne, other oily wet type skin conditions
Clears emotional stagnation
Irritation during the premenstrual phase
Stimulates bile flow
Useful when you struggle to digest fatty foods
Promotes stagnation of bowel movements (not due to dryness)
Assists in gallbladder stagnation
Bitter taste, so useful for
Have emotional stagnation
ama conditions needing cooling
oily or moist-type skin rashes
In addition, when you think about Dandelion, cleansing the lymph, blood and everything related should come to mind. That gives Dandelion root some specific areas of expertise:
- Dandelion root has a special affinity to clearing stagnation in the liver, gallbladder, and uterus. This can help with indigestion & constipation, heartburn, and acidity. Ama-reducing
- Dandelion leaf is very effective in kidney & bladder infections
- Contributes to the management of edema and hypertension
- Regulates cholesterol and fat metabolism
- Skin conditions caused by thick or stagnant blood: acne, inflammatory eczema & psoriasis, abscess, fungal infections
- Joint pain caused by thick hot blood, gout, rheumatism
The link between lymph and women’s menstrual cycle is super clear in Ayurveda. Because dandelion works to clear stagnation from the lymph, it can be helpful in breast cysts, swelling & infection, or low milk production, PMS, fibroids, cysts, PMS bloating, cramps as well as cyclical irritability, depression and headaches.
How to take Dandelion root
Here are a few ways to take the dandelion plant
- As a tincture, take 30-60 drops up to 4x a day.
- Using the root to make a Decoction, the dosage is 60-120ml, up to 4x a day.
- Using the Leaf to make an Infusion, then take 90-180 ml as needed.
- Another alternative is to steep 1-2 tsp of the dried dandelion root in hot water as a coffee alternative.