Herbalists and naturopathic practitioners value dandelions for their medicinal uses, which include treating digestive disorders and liver and kidney diseases. As a natural diuretic, it is also useful for treating high blood pressure and can be taken as either a tea or tincture. Paul Bergner, Director of the North American Institute of Medical Herbalism, recommends consulting a licensed naturopathic or homeopathic physician for the best results; if you currently take high blood pressure medication, you should consult your doctor before beginning any naturopathic treatment.
Gather dandelion leaves and roots. You may be able to purchase dried dandelion from your local health food store. Other options include purchasing it fresh from an organic farmer’s market or gathering it fresh from the wild. If you dig it yourself, it’s important to dig up the tap root, which is the most potent part of the plant.
Clean and process fresh dandelion. Separate the leaves from the root. Rinse it clean of dirt and then hang to dry. Scrub and chop clean roots into small pieces.
Make a tincture with the roots by placing the root pieces into a glass jar. Pack the pieces in the jar until is between one-half to three-fourths full.
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Pour vodka over the roots until the jar is almost full and the roots are fully submerged. Screw on the lid and place the jar in a cool, dark place for six to eight weeks. Sue Sierralupe from the Practical Herbalist website recommends shaking the jar daily for best results.
Take the recommended dosage as prescribed by your naturopathic physician. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, standard dosage for dandelion root tincture is approximately 100 drops three times each day for an adult weighing 150 pounds. This dosage should be adjusted according to your weight.
Create a tea from dried leaves as an alternative to making a tincture. Add approximately two tsp. of dried leaf to a tea cup. Pour hot water over the leaves and steep for five to ten minutes before drinking. Drink one cup daily or as directed by an herbalist or homeopathic physician.
You should always consult your physician about contraindications with any current medications you are taking before starting herbal treatments.
Do not stop prescribed blood pressure medications without consulting your physician first; you may need to be weaned from the prescription you are taking to avoid dangerous side effects.
Do not ingest dandelion or any type of dandelion-infused liquid if you are allergic to dandelions, ragweed, chrysanthemums, chamomile, daisies, or iodine.
Dosage recommendations vary according to herbal practitioner. Be cautious and begin with the smallest recommendation to avoid adverse reactions.
Do not harvest fresh dandelions from any area that may be treated with chemical fertilizers or pesticides as these plants may harbor potential carcinogenic toxins in the leaves and roots.
Shauntelle Hamlett is a nine-year veteran business writer, who has written website, brochure, trade publication, and marketing collateral for industries ranging from music to neurosurgery. Hamlett also specializes in medical writing, and has developed education materials for doctors, medical staff and heir patients. Her publication credits include Unsigned Music Magazine, eHow, Answerbag, Wacom Monthly and justBeConnected.com.