Saturday, May 28, 2011

Natural Sun Protection From Within

If you live in the Northern hemisphere, you are well on your way towards summer.  This means an increase in the sun’s potency, which means out comes the sunscreen!  Along with topical measures, you can also get a great deal of sun protection from within by consuming a powerful cartonenoid known as ASTAXANTHIN. 

Sunburn Equals Inflammation
We suffer from sunburn when we are overexposed to the sun.  This causes our skin to become inflamed, which in turn causes pain and leads to skin and DNA damage.   Consuming astaxanthin helps to ward off inflammation, meaning that we can spend linger periods of time in the sun without burning or creating other inflammatory conditions.  This also helps reduce the possibility of skin cancer.

Astaxanthin for Brain, Eyes, and Nerves
Astaxanthin’s ability to cross both the blood-brain and blood-retinal barriers helps provide super antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protection to the brain, eyes, and nerves. This action is central to reducing the risks of dementia and Alzheimers disease as well as macular degeneration, cataracts, and blindness.

So What is Astaxanthin?
Astaxanthin is a very potent antioxidant that is found in the naturally occurring pigments in colorful foods like bell peppers, beets, squash, pumpkin, and the like. When we eat these highly pigmented foods we are consuming more than 700 naturally occurring carotenoids, which contain nutrients that help to destroy free radicals and fortify the immune system.  Astaxanthin is one of these carotenoids helping protect the foods it is contained in from damage due to excess sun and oxygen.  When we in turn eat these foods, we reap the benefits of astaxanthin’s natural sunscreening and antioxidant powers. 

Produced by Microalgae
In addition to being found in colorful fruits and veggies, astaxanthin is produced by a microalgae called Haematoccous pluvialis.  In those moments when its water supply is no longer available, this microalgae produces astaxanthin to help protect it from ultraviolet radiation.  Working thus as a radiation shield, sea creatures consuming this algae such as pink salmon, shellfish, and krill are also ensuring their ability to withstand ultraviolet rays.  Flamingos are another creature getting their pink pigment from eating this microalgae. When we eat these foods, we are helping ourselves reduce the signs of aging as the astaxanthin protects our skin from the sun’s harm.

Free Radical Scavenger Supreme
Astaxanthin is an extremely powerful free-radical scavenger, protecting cells, tissues, and organs from oxidative damage.  Astaxanthin also assists in cardiovascular strength while also boosting the immune system, helping to fight cancer, improving sight, stabilizing blood sugar, and reducing inflammation.  According to the well-known physician and researcher, Dr. Joseph Mercola, it is 5,550 times more powerful than vitamin E in overcoming what is known as singlet oxygen, a highly unstable form of oxygen that occurs in bright sunlight that can be extremely damaging to cells.  Additionally astaxanthin is 54 times more powerful than vitamin C and 54 times more powerful than betacarotene when it comes to general antioxidant benefits.  Interestingly, astaxanthin is the element that is responsible for giving salmon their strength to swim upstream by fortifying their muscles.

Important note on salmon:
Wild salmon is 400% higher in astaxantin than farmed salmon while also containing significantly higher levels of omega 3 fatty acids.  Farmed salmon should generally be avoided as it contains unhealthy levels of mercury and other toxic material. 

Astaxanthin Supplements
If you feel you are not getting enough astaxanthin in your diet, you can usually find a supplement in your local health food store.  Astaxanthin supplements are soluble in lipids, just as they are when you eat them in foods, meaning they easily incorporate into cell membranes.   Make absolutely sure you get a natural brand made from marine algae and not a synthetic imitation that is often made with petrochemical products.  Start off with 2 mg a day and watch for results after a few weeks of regular usage.

Note: to date there have been no reports on adverse reactions to astaxanthin, but it is always best to consult with your healthcare provider before going on any new protocol.

Testimonials and Studies in Brief
The famed dermatologists  Dr. Nicholas Perrocone and Dr. Robert Childs advocate the use of astaxanthin for skin health, immune system assistance, and increased endurance.  In fact, Dr Childs lives in Hawaii and after he began taking astaxanthin, he found he was able to go out into the hot midday sun for long periods of time without getting sunburned!

A 2002 study on astaxanthin in Yamashita, Japan was conducted with 40 year old women.  Each took 2 mgs of astaxanthin every day for a month. After only two weeks, every woman’s skin improved and after four weeks there was increased improvement.
[Yamashita, E. (2002). "Cosmetic Benefit of Dietary Supplements Containing Astaxanthin and Tocotrienol on Human Skin." Food Style. 21 6(6):112-17]

A study was funded by Cyanotech Corporation in order to calibrate the skin’s resistance to UVA and UBV light before and after taking astaxanthin supplements. Subjects involved in the study showed a marked increase in the amount of time it took for reddening of the skin by UV rays after only three weeks of taking 4 mg per day.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Boosting Your Hormones and Sex Drive

Maca…. You’ve probably heard about it by now if you’re not already taking it.  I have a heaping tablespoon of the pulverized root everyday in my morning cereal or blended juice drink and am ready to take on the world!

Maca, or “lepidium meyeni” grows in the high altitude mountains of Peru.  It is a tuberous root and a member of the radish family.  Maca has been considered a nutritious food and a powerful medicament by indigenous healers and shamans for countless centuries, with its first recorded use by outsiders in the 16th century when the Spanish discovered its healing properties. Used for its root only, maca’s active ingredients are “macamides” and “macaenes, “ which adapt to each individual’s metabolism increasing energy, vitality, and overall health in all aspects.

A Powerful Adaptogen
Adaptogens are plants that benefit organisms without causing negative side effects while working with the natural rhythms of the body. Maca’s adaptogenic qualities work to reinforce the immune system while flooding the body with needed nutrients that increase energy and endurance.  Because maca contains an extraordinarily high concentration of adaptogens, it is able to heighten our resistance to free radicals and toxins by strengthening and nourishing all of our bodily functions.

A Few of the Benefits
Some of the benefits of maca include assisting the digestive process, nourishing and calming the nerves, helping to build muscle mass, providing support to the adrenal glands, and strengthening bones and teeth.  Maca is a powerful anti-carcinogen and antioxidant and so provides specific assistance to the immune system.  The root additionally stimulates the circulatory system, which contributes to a healthy heart and glowing skin.

Chock Full of Nutrients
Maca contains many vitamins and minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, sulfur, sodium, iron, zinc, iodine, copper, selenium, manganese, tin, silicon, C, E, B1, B2, and B12, which is difficult to find in foods if you are a vegetarian. It also contains phosphorus, an essential building block for nurturing the cells. Maca additionally has one of the highest lipid contents of all roots, including linolenic, acid, palmitic acid, and oleic acid. What is more, because maca is high in alkaloid content, it is fully able to assist the body in properly assimilating all of these nutrients. 

The amazing news is that a single maca root contains approximately 60 phyto-nutrients along with amino acids, fatty acids, sterols, vitamins, and minerals.  A spectacular powerhouse of health coming from one small, ugly Peruvian root!

 And Now…..Maca’s Greatest Claim to Fame!
With all of the incredible and aforementioned benefits that maca offers, the root’s real claim to fame is its ability to restore and regulate natural hormonal balance in both women and men, which reinforces and re-instigates (when necessary) sexual function. 

Maca exerts an extremely beneficial influence over endocrine function and the glands that produce chemical messengers known as hormones.  Hormones are the key to normal bodily functions, including metabolic function, energy reserves, and sexual development and performance. As properly functioning hormones flow throughout the blood stream and into the organs and tissues, they nourish and stimulate the adrenal, thyroid, parathyroid, and pituitary glands along with the hypothalamus, pancreas, thymus, ovaries, and testes.  

Interestingly enough, maca itself does not contain hormones, but rather the nutrients that power the entire endocrine system. By getting the glands to produce the necessary amounts of hormones our bodies are kept in balance on all levels.  The one thing maca does contain that I have not yet mentioned are potent aphrodisiac properties.  This, combined with its ability to release hormones, accounts for maca’s indisputable ability to increase sexual desire and correct and improve sexual function.  And as we all know, when all systems are in sync this is the surest way to not only physiological health, but to emotional health as well!

Purchasing Maca
When buying maca, look for brands that have harvested the root from the Andean mountains, for it is the high altitude that assures the greatest amount of nutrients. Make sure the maca is not cut with fillers like rice flower or maltodextrin, and that it is Certified Organic and processed accordingly.  It should also be gelatinized, which is an extrusion process that removes the starch from the root so that the powder mixes more easily into beverages and food, is easier to digest, and tastes good. Lastly look to see that the brand encourages fair trade practices that help to support traditional and sustainable harvesting methods.

Sprinkle maca over cooked or uncooked cereal or put a tablespoon in a blended fruit of vegetable drink.  Always use a non-metallic spoon such as plastic or wood when measuring maca.  Ingest and enjoy the results!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Healing Acne Without Medication

Radiant skin is what we all hope to achieve as it is a sign that our internal body is healthy and cleansed. When the skin is affected by breakouts it is generally because there is an overabundance of sebum, a waxy substance that helps to keep the skin moist. When too much sebum collects, it will clog pores causing skin inflammation as bacteria begins to build up in the area. When sebaceous glands are blocked, the ducts leading to these glands harden and any exposed area will fill with dirt, causing blackheads. When this debris cannot reach the ducts to be cleansed away, whiteheads are formed. If the skin retains these impurities, it becomes red, rough, and irritated even further, leading to what we call acne.

Acne is a condition that can be caused by a wide variety of factors such as allergies to foods and skin products, environmental toxins, poor diet, hormonal imbalances, and stress. When acne occurs, it can seriously affect one’s self esteem on top of being physically stressful and uncomfortable. But acne is completely treatable with a bit of consciousness, discipline, and patience. With a healthful diet that helps to keep the organs cleansed for effective digestion along with proper cleansing and the reduction of stress your skin can be as clear as a baby’s.

Eating Right For Your Skin
If you suffer from acne, the first step is to take a look at your diet, which always is the first place where things can go wrong.  Poor diet affects all of the organs. Fried foods, fast foods, fatty foods, pesticide-filled foods, sodas, and sugar are just some examples of foods that are unfriendly to the skin.  By changing the diet wonders are worked on and for the entire body.

When there are too many toxins in the system due to misguided eating habits,  the gastro-intestinal system cannot function properly, meaning it is unable to get rid of impurities. The body naturally wants to sweep waste material away and does so with the help or the liver, bowels, and kidneys. If these organs are blocked, the skin must work overtime to eliminate extra waste, which ultimately leads to blackheads, whiteheads, pimples, cysts, boils, and other evidences of acne irritation. 

Eating fresh, organic fruits and vegetables are essential for creating a healthy body and in turn a glowing skin free of blemishes.  Containing vitamins C and E, which help sweep out toxins, fruits and veggies should be eaten raw, lightly steamed, or combined in blender drinks. 

Orange and red fruits and veggies contain beta-carotene, a component that helps clear out impurities while strengthening the immune system and fighting free radicals. These include cantaloupe, berries, carrots, pumpkin, and red peppers.

Dark green leafy vegetables such as parsley, alfalfa, spinach, and kale contain the vitamins and minerals zinc, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, chromium, and B6, which  help to fortify the skin’s ability to heal and remain healthy. 

Whole grains contain the vitamin Bs and when combined with lentils, garbanzos, or other beans create the protein needed to sustain energy and health. Tofu, a derivative of soybeans, is another food that acts as a good substitute for meat. Make sure you buy only organic tofu as these days soy is highly GM modified.

Seaweeds like kelp, kombu, hijiki, and nori are chock full of iron and iodine, which fight bacteria and regulate the thyroid gland, which is responsible for keeping the organs in balance.

Drinking lots of water throughout the day will help speed up the cleansing process along with healthful foods that provide necessary healing nutrients.  Try to avoid all meat during the cleansing period as it can be difficult to digest.

Juice Cleanse for Skin
Making a blended drink consisting of raw beets, carrots, and parsley or alfalfa is an ideal way to stimulate the liver, which is the organ that is often affected the most by a poor diet. As the liver is a big player in cleansing the system, it is important to keep it in the best condition possible. Add a teaspoon of cod liver, linseed, or borage oil for extra Omega 3 fatty acids, which also help to keep the liver nourished.

Hang In There As You Cleanse!
If you have been eating poorly, as you change your diet you may feel a bit under the weather for a while as the toxins begin to move and discharge. Don’t let this discourage you as this is natural. Many people misinterpret this feeling of ill health, thinking that it indicates something wrong in the cleansing theory. But common sense will tell you that as waste products move through the blood stream you are bound to feel them before they exit for good, and feeling slightly off-key is an indication of how toxic your system really is.

Herbs Against Acne
There are many herbs that work to clear the blood stream of toxins that block skin health. Antiseptic herbs such as calendula, echinacea and goldenseal work wonders to rid the body of waste. There are also particularly soothing herbs that can help reduce inflammation and dampen the effects of itching and other discomforts.  These include:

·      Nettle
·      Lavender
·      Chamomile
·      Licorice
·      Barberry
·      Honeysuckle flower
·      Gotu kola also heals broken skin and boosts the immune system.
  • Sarsaparilla also rids the body of excess toxins and purifies the bloodstream.  
  • Milk thistle also cleanses the liver.

Herbs can be taken on their own or combined to make a good cleansing tea or tonic for sipping throughout the day, warm or cool.

Herbal oils can be topically applied to acne for soothing inflammation.  They can be applied directly to the area on a saturated cotton ball. These include:

  • Calendula
  • Comfrey
  • Evening primrose oil

Tea tree oil  is an especially effective antibacterial substance that penetrates the skin on a cellular level. It can be applied to the skin in pure form, or added to any neutral cream or moisturizer. 

Aloe vera is also effective when applied to acne, especially if the skin cannot  retain moisture due to temperature changes, allergic reactions, or sensitivity to the environment. Aloe also helps to remove dead skin cells so that new and healthy skin can form.

Red Clover
I want to take a moment now to write about an exceptionally potent herb for acne and that is Red Clover.

Its Latin name is Trifolium pratense, and it is also called Trefoil, Purple Cover, Cleaver Grass, and Cow Grass.  Red Clover grows all over the US, Europe, the Mediterranean, and Asia and is the actually state flower of Vermont!  With its long stalks, hairy stems, and reddish purple flowers, Red Clover has been used by the Native Americans for centuries due to its ability to purify the body and thus heal skin conditions, including acne.

Red Clover purifies the bloodstream by de-congesting the liver. The flowers also works as a diuretic, flushing out uric acid through the kidneys and bladder. An anti-inflammatory, red clover rids the chest and lungs of phlegm and mucus;  helps with the production of bile, which is essential in liver cleansing; and stimulates  digestive fluids to help eliminate toxins and restore the organs to health.

Red clover contains a wide range of necessary nutrients such as isoflavones, coumarins, flavinoids, lecithin, calcium, chromium, choline, magnesium, manganese, iron and vitamins B, C, and E.  It also contains a trace element called molybdenum, which helps eliminate nitrogenous waste that is often the cause of skin problems.  

You can eat red clover in salads or take the flowers as a tea, capsule, or tincture. Make sure you buy organic red clover to avoid any possibility of ingesting pesticides, which can further irritate the skin.

Homeopathic Remedies
Homeopathic medicine can be a highly effective way to reduce the effects of acne by the problems going on inside the body.  There are several formulae, all of which are best taken via a homeopathic doctor’s recommendation.  Some include:

·      Kali bromatum to help stop itching. 
·      Sulfur to help break down rough and hardened skin while also relieving constipation.
·      Antimonium tartaricum to help eliminate the formation of pus.

It is best to consult with a professional homoeopathist to get a correct diagnosis for appropriate treatment. 

Ayurvedic Medicine
Ayurvedic medicine is based on ancient Indian medical knowledge. According to this protocol, acne is cause by an aggravation of an internal condition called Pitta-Disha and can be treated naturally by eating specifically bland foods such as oatmeal, natural apple sauce, and rice.  By eliminating fried and spicy foods as well citrus fruits, Ayurvedic healers believe the skin has a better chance to heal. Tea made from cumin, coriander, and fennel is considered to be very helpful in soothing the irritating sensations associated with acne.

An excellent panacea to take the sting out of acne is made by creating a paste of both course and fine natural oatmeal.  Leave it on the affected area to dry and then wash it off gently with warm water. Other healing pastes can be made with almond powder and goats milk or chickpea powder and water.

Here again, it is best to consult with an Ayurvedic doctor to get the right diagnosis for your skin.

Neem Oil
One of the most powerful Ayurvedic treatments for the skin is the use of neem oil. Written about in India’s ancient texts, neem is the ultimate anti-bacterial, blocking the growth of viruses, healing a myriad of skin ailments, and restoring elasticity to abused and poorly functioning skin.  Neem contains essential fatty aids along with vitamin E and can be applied topically to help heal the effects of acne and other skin eruptions.

Cleansing the Skin
One of the most important steps to take for your skin, whether you have acne or not, is to cleanse properly in order to keep your pores free of bacteria. In the case of acne, wash with natural soaps or gels that contain mild components like aloe vera or oatmeal. Look for brands that contain no additives, which can cause allergic reactions. Keep your hair shampooed regularly, again with natural and mild products and if you need to shave, use a fresh blade each time. Never, ever pick at, pop, or squeeze your skin, no matter how uncomfortable you may feel.

Using the above protocols over time will help to clear away your acne while creating a beautiful and healthful palette that shows the balance in your body through the clarity of your skin. Combine these habits with a daily regimen of deep breathing practices and meditation to lower stress levels and you have the perfect recipe for letting your inner beauty shine through for all to see!

Words to the wise:  Before embarking on a vitamin or herbal protocol, make sure to discuss your thoughts with your healthcare provider.

More ‘The Body In Form’ references for detoxifying the body:

Kidney Detox:

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Good Night and Sweet Dreams… and How to Get Them!

We all know the value of a good night’s sleep.  It allows us to awaken in the morning refreshed and ready for the day.  It also helps keep our bodies functioning optimally by regenerating our entire system. 

Melatonin and Regeneration
The processes of internal regeneration that occur during sleep are controlled by a hormone known as melatonin.  Melatonin is created by the pineal gland and is produced most effectively in the dark and when our body temperature lowers as we sleep.

Digestion and Melatonin Production
For the correct amount of melatonin to occur in the body during the night, the best protocol is to have your evening meal as early as possible. Make sure the foods you eat in your final meal of the day are the easiest to digest, which means that raw food should be eaten during lunchtime instead.  Raw foods require a fermentation process within the organs that is necessary for metabolic function. This process requires energy that causes the body temperature to increase.  We often think that having a salad for dinner is a good way to lose weight, which it is, but there is a cost to the sleeping process and the associated inner recuperation necessary for total health. 

Zinc and B6
The presence of zinc and vitamin B6 in the diet help with melatonin production so essential to a good night’s sleep.  Zinc is present in:

·      Almonds
·      Cashews
·      Brazil nuts
·      Walnuts
·      Peanuts
·      Artichokes
·      Cauliflower
·      Onions
·      Avocados
·      Bananas
·      Blackberries
·      Lima beans
·      Garbanzo beans
·      Parmesan cheese
·      Milk
·      Yogurt
·      Eggs
·      Brewers yeast
·      Dark meat chicken
·      Turkey

Vitamin B6 is present in:

·      Sunflower seeds
·      Hazelnuts
·      Cashews
·      Whole grains
·      Bananas
·      Yams
·      Broccoli
·      Asparagus
·      Garlic
·      Tuna
·      Salmon
·      Cod
·      Turkey

Tryptophan and Sleep
Tryptophan is an amino acid that helps to stimulate the production of melatonin as well as another sleep-inducing substance called serotonin, which helps to reduce
symptoms of anxiety and depression.  Tryptophan helps  build relaxing neurotransmitters in the brain, helping you get the good night sleep you need.  Complex carbohydrates help to release this calming substance by stimulating insulin release to clear away certain amino acids that interfere with tryptophan production.  Some foods that are high in tryptophan include:

·      Dairy products such as cheese, milk, and yogurt
·      Soy products
·      Brown rice
·      Seeds
·      Bananas
·      Turkey

A good dinner for sleep might include a pasta dish with organic parmesan cheese, scrambled eggs, a savory tofu stir fry with veggies, steamed veggies over rice noodles, or hummus with whole wheat pita bread. 

Body Temperature and Diet
Body temperature is tied in with food intake. The energy content of food is generally measured in kilo-calories, which indicates units of warmth.  This means that the more we eat at night, the harder it is to lower the body temperature to effectively produce melatonin.  Because digestion requires energy, foods that require the body to do the most digestive work are the ones that will inhibit our ability to make sufficient amounts of melatonin to restore the body during every night’s sleep.  Make dinner the lightest meal of the day and see how well you sleep during the night! 

Say No to Night Time Protein and Caffeine
Besides being harder to digest and thus adding heat to the organs, high protein foods contain the amino acid tyrosine, which activates the brain.  Staying away from meat and other dense proteins will help your body maintain the necessary balance to produce enough melatonin to induce a deep and restful sleep.

We all know by now that anything containing caffeine speeds up the nervous system as well as other areas in the body, raising the level of adrenaline. This  triggers an increased heart and breathing rate as well as the production of stomach acids.  If you want a deep night’s sleep, you definitely want to avoid caffeine as you want to cut back on internal energy levels rather than increase them.  And of course, what goes up must come down.  After the simulated uplift of caffeine comes the crash, which can lead to emotional highs and lows that require more caffeine and sugar to simulate the high!

A Hot Bath or Shower
Take a hot bath or shower before going to bed.  This helps to regulate your body temperature while soothing the nerves and paving the way out of the day into the ideal calming nature of the night.  

Calming Herbs
A hot cup of soothing tea before bedtime is another way to help one drift off  into sleep.  Chamomile, lemon balm, passionflower, skullcap, and valerian root are some very effective herbs that can be taken alone or combined as  a sleep-inducing tea.  There are also several very good commercially packaged tea combinations that you can find in your local health food store.  St. John’s Wort is another valuable herb that can be taken in capsule form if you find it difficult to sleep, especially if this is due to tension and anxiety.

Note:  Before embarking on an herbal protocol for sleep inducement, be sure to consult with your healthcare provider.

Electromagnetic Waves and Sleep,  or the Lack Thereof
One of the greatest deterrents to sleep are the electromagnetic waves produced by our computers, cell phones, televisions, and the like.  The more you are exposed to these waves during the night, the less melatonin is produced by your body.  Making sure your bedroom is free of electromagnetic currents is essential if you want a healthily functioning body.  This means keeping all your technological goodies in another room, or unplugging them completely before you go to sleep.  Keeping a cell phone by the bed is not a good idea as the electromagnetic waves are too close to the head, which can affect the depth and quality of your sleep.  And don’t go to sleep with the TV on!  Don’t just turn off the switch, unplug the cord to prevent any electromagnetic waves from penetrating your precious organs.

Do Your Homework
There are many other additional ways to improve sleep, including deep breathing protocols (pranayamas) and meditation.  I encourage you to look more profoundly into diet and lifestyle changes that will help you achieve the ideal melatonin output and reduction of stress so your body can naturally rejuvenate and regenerate itself.  We all have the ability to enjoy a long, healthy life free of dis-ease.  It just may require some adjustments, discipline, and a new way of looking at our old habits. 

And with this… I wish you a good night and sweet dreams…

Monday, May 9, 2011

Digestive Health, Detoxification, and More: Dandelion to the Rescue!

As I research the lowly plant that was once considered a pesky weed I am overwhelmed by a humbling sensation of respect and bow my head in abject apology for every vitamin-filled spiky leaf I weeded away from our family lawn when growing up.  Who knew that Dandelion, with its spiky leaves and bright yellow flower that turns into a magical puff that rides the wind, is perhaps one of the most interesting plants in nature’s encyclopedia of medicinals!

The Wise Ones Always Knew…
The ancients knew, as did all of the wise herbalists throughout the ages.  Officially known as  “taraxacum officinale,” dandelion was used as a medicinal by Arab physicians in the 10th century and by the Welsh in the 13th century as a way to diminish the devastating symptoms of a malfunctioning liver and gallbladder.  In the 16th century, dandelion was called “omniboria” or cure all for its powerful ability to diminish the effects of a plethora of illnesses without causing side effects.  All throughout time, dandelion was placed in soups and teas and made into tinctures to treat people with a wide array of physical problems.

Now We Know Too…
Today dandelion is definitely and officially at the head of the list for boosting liver health and as a recognized treatment for jaundice, hepatitis, cirrhosis, and many other diseases.  The Federal Drug Administration in the United States has placed the plant on the list of safe foods and it is approved by the Council of Europe as an extremely viable medicinal plant. According to many nutritional surveys, dandelion ranks as one of the top four green vegetables for having the greatest overall nutritional value including beta-carotene, and is considered the third richest source of vitamin A of all foods.  Because of its high fiber content it helps with gastro-intestinal problems and with its high concentration of mucilage, it is also good for sore throats and congestion. 

Dandelion and Its Nutrients
Dandelion contains some very interesting compounds, including tarazacin, acrystaline, taraxacerin, which have medicinal properties. It also is high in  vitamins A, C, D, B complex, boron, calcium, choline, copper, iron, , magnesium, manganese, potassium, silicon, and zinc. Known as dente de lion or lion’s teeth in South America and other Spanish speaking countries, dandelion packs a powerful bite in terms of its wide range of healing benefits such as:

·      Encouraging normal digestion by stimulating the digestive glands
·      Eliminates excess acid in the system
·      Treats constipation
·      Reduces bloating
·      Helps produce bile to absorbs fats and nutrients and help eliminate toxins
·      Reduces toxins in the liver
·      Helps reduce symptoms relating to jaundice, cirrhosis, and hepatitis
·      Reduces toxins in the gallbladder
·      Helps remove gallstones
·      Reduces toxins in the kidneys
·      Detoxifies the body by stimulating urination
·      Replaces lost potassium due to excessive urination
·      Reduces side effects of prescription medicines
·      Treats infections
·      Reduces swelling, including edema and other forms of water retention
·      Reduces symptoms of pneumonia
·      Helps eliminate viruses
·      Treats anemia
·      Helps to purify the blood
·      Reduces cellulite
·      Cleanses and improves the skin, helping to discourage eruptions
·      Lowers serum cholesterol
·      Helps with weight control
·      Helps in cases of type 1 and 2 diabetes

Daily Dandelion Detox
Incorporating dandelion into your diet is a brilliant way to help maintain optimum health.  Fresh organically growth dandelion leaves in a salad or quickly steamed and eaten over grains make for a delicious meal.  Buy it as a loose tea and steep a tablespoonful in boiled water, or combine it with other medicinal teas such as malva, boldo, or milk thistle to make a powerful and soothing body cleansing potion.  Add honey if you need a sweetener, strain, and enjoy!  You can also take dandelion in tincture or vitamin form, ingesting according to directions. 

Word to the Wise: Though dandelion does not seem to have side effects, it is always essential to talk to your healthcare provider before beginning a protocol.  Pregnant and breast-feeding women should avoid dandelion due to its diuretic properties.