27 Mar Reduce water retention with Dandelion this spring
If you’re a gardener, you probably think of Dandelion as a very annoying weed. In fact, it actually has many uses both as a nutritious food and in herbal medicine, where it is particularly helpful if you want to reduce water retention.
Its name is thought to have originally come from the French ‘Dents de Lion’ (Lion’s teeth), probably because of the toothy looking edges of the leaves.
In Medieval times, Astrology was commonly used to understand both plants and illness, and Dandelion was governed by Jupiter. The planet Jupiter is believed to relate to joy and expansion, travel and broadening horizons – something that many of us would thoroughly enjoy right now if only we could!
Herbal remedy to reduce water retention
In herbal medicine, Dandelion root is most often used to support the liver – an incredibly resilient vital organ which can regenerate itself even when up to 80% has been damaged.
Dandelion leaves, in particular, are popularly used as a diuretic. They help to rid the body of unwanted fluid, which for women in particular, often manifests itself as a swollen, bloated stomach and puffy ankles.
Unlike pharmaceutical medicines for water retention, you don’t have to take a potassium supplement when you use herbal remedies containing Dandelion, as the leaf of the plant contains high levels of this important trace element.
How is Dandelion Useful?
Many of us are prone to carrying a little excess water from time to time, and there are lots of reasons why this can happen, often connected with hormonal fluctuations, long periods of inactivity or temporary minor problems with the functioning of the kidneys.
If it’s something that is unusual for you, or if you feel the bloating or swelling is severe, it’s very important to get this checked out by your GP to rule out any underlying health issues. If you are otherwise fit and healthy, then Dandelion is a good and safe option to help restore a healthy water balance.
How Does Dandelion Work?
There is no question that Dandelion leaf is one of the strongest herbal diuretics you can buy to help reduce water retention, but scientists and medical herbalists don’t agree about exactly how it works.
It seems that instead of just one element helping to relieve water retention, it is actually a case that there are synergies between several different plant constituents that create the diuretic effect.
Dandelion as a food
Dandelion leaves can be eaten as a vegetable cooked or raw, although it is of course essential to make sure they are from a source where there has been no chance of any contamination by weedkillers or pets.
The leaves contain vitamins A, C, D and K, plus small amounts of vitamin B complex and have important trace elements including zinc, iron, magnesium, potassium, copper and silicon. The root of the plant is traditionally used to help with liver and digestive problems and is rich in inulin, a soluble fibre that helps to encourage a healthy gut.
However, in addition to the risk of contamination, Dandelion leaves also taste rather bitter, so for a safer and easier way to get all the benefits from this herb, many people find it more convenient to take an extract of the root and leaf in easy-to-swallow tablet form.
Help for water retention
Dandelion is used in traditional medicine whenever the kidneys need to work a little harder to flush out excess water. In keeping the kidneys working well, it can also help to keep bacteria under control, making it useful in preventing infections.
If you tend to carry excess water, or are prone to urinary tract infections, herbal medicine that contains Dandelion root and leaf could be a useful ally.
Herbal tablets containing Dandelion leaf are not recommended if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or suffer from kidney disease.
Each HRI Water Balance tablet contains 100mg of high-quality extract of Dandelion herb and root, 9.7mg of Uva-ursi leaf and 11.25mg of Buchu leaf. They are used to relieve symptoms of mild water retention, based on traditional use only.
Photo by Natalia Luchanko on Unsplash