We went for a walk last night.
Along the way, we hunched over and picked a few “weeds.”
They’re for our tea.
Purple dead nettle went in one pocket… A wonderful, bright flower that most Americans hate went in the other.
And so it went – a few hundred feet, another handful of nature’s healthy bounty.
It reminded us of a sad fact.
The average American can recognize the logos of thousands of commercial brands. And yet they can identify fewer than five plants growing in their area.
In other words, little Johnny is more likely to recognize the logo on his Apple phone… than the leaves of a real apple tree.
But the powerful plant we’re about to tell you about – a plant that’s believed to have the power to renew our liver, help control diabetes and even slow the growth of cancer – is one we all recognize.
Now considered a lowly weed that’s eradicated on sight by many American homeowners, the “lion’s tooth” was once a welcome visitor in yards around the world. Until the 1800s, in fact, folks actually pulled the grass from their yards to make room for it.
Before the age of Big Pharma and its million-dollar ad campaigns, these folks knew what was good for them.
You may never have heard of a plant dubbed the lion’s tooth. That’s because that’s the English translation for its French name.
In France, a lion’s tooth is called a “dent de lion.”
Say it fast enough, and you’ll know we’re talking about the lowly dandelion… that yellow-petaled weed American gardeners spend big time and big money trying to eradicate from their yards.
It’s a mistake.
The dandelion shouldn’t be covered with herbicide and left to wither and die. Oh no. If folks knew its true power, they’d grow fields of the stuff.
It seems the more scientists study the health effects of the lowly dandelion, the more they realize just how powerful it is.
Take its ability to fight cancer, for instance. A recent study out of Canada showed that the plant’s root extract killed melanoma cells without hurting nearby noncancerous cells.
Another study from folks at the University of Windsor found similar effects on leukemia.
Pamela Ovadje was the lead doctor for that research.
“We had information from an oncologist, a collaborator here in Windsor, who had patients who showed improvement after taking dandelion root tea,” she said.
“And so, with a phone call, we decided to start studying what was in this tea that made patients respond to it, so we started digging up dandelions.”
She dubbed the early results “eye-opening” and immediately went all-in on more in-depth studies.
And while any sort of treatment based on dandelions is a long way off, Ovadje is not the only one who’s hopeful that more research will lead to something big… and it’s not just cancer docs who are getting surprised by the power of dandelions.
Another study recently showed that dandelions have a similar effect on the body as the popular prescription weight loss drug orlistat. Both work to slow or stop the release of pancreatic lipase, an enzyme our bodies use to break down fat.
And research last year suggests that the unique polysaccharides (a chief source of energy) in dandelions help to increase the function of the liver and rid it of harmful toxins.
We could go on with the potential effects of dandelions. We’ve heard of folks claiming they’re good for digestion… urinary function… skin problems… blood pressure… circulation… and even poor vision.
But we imagine most readers don’t need more benefits… They want to know how to take advantage of them.
Most folks find it a bit surprising – after all, our culture seems to be at war with the weed – but it’s safe to eat a whole dandelion right out of the ground. Of course, that’s assuming the plant has been washed and has never been treated by fertilizer or an herbicide.
Dandelions make a great addition to a salad or even garnish on meat.
To find plants that are safe to eat, we recommend heading to a good local grocer that specializes in health food.
Another popular option is to make dandelion tea.
Simply steep the roots and/or flower of the plant in boiling water for 30 minutes or so. Some folks strain the plant from the water, but we say let it stay. That way nothing goes to waste.
Dandelion coffee is a bit more complex… but it’s still quite easy.
To make a delicious coffee substitute (it doesn’t contain caffeine but does offer a more natural boost of energy), you’ll need to chop up the dandelion root and roast it in an oven set at 300 degrees for about two hours.
After that, make it the same way you would a normal cup of coffee.
It’s one of the hottest health trends today.
And, best of all, you don’t even need to fight the mess at the grocery story to get your hands on this powerful ingredient.
We bet there’s an ample supply growing in your backyard.
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