Tag Archives: detox

What’s in your supplements?

More and more people in the UK and around the world are turning to alternative medicine and natural remedies to support their health and well-being, or to help them achieve their health goals. However, as with anything, when it comes to health supplements you get what you pay for.

If you walk into a supermarket, health shop or pharmacy nowadays, you will more than likely find a huge (and confusing!) selection of vitamins, minerals and other supplements – often with wide ranging price points.

One important differentiating factor can be the quality of the ingredients used. It would seem logical that, in products that are designed to support health, quality and purity should be of paramount importance. Unfortunately, this is not always the case. Some vitamin manufacturers focus more on profit margins and low retail prices than on the quality and effectiveness of their products. So, if your supplements are suspiciously cheap, take a look at the ingredients list. You may be in for a nasty surprise!

Added ‘nasties’

Many of us choose to support our daily diets with vitamins, minerals and other nutrients in supplement form, to help ensure that we are meeting our body’s daily nutritional requirements. However, there is little point in taking supplements that are actually putting more harmful substances into your body. But, believe it or not, this is exactly what can happen if you are not careful in your selection.

For instance, watch out for vitamins, minerals or herbs in tablet form. Very often, the active ingredients (the actual nutrients) can make up as little as 15% of the tablet! The remaining 85% comprises additives, preservatives and other added ‘nasties’ such as fillers, binders, excipients, artificial colourings, sweeteners, disintegrants, dilutents and more.

The lower the price of the tablets, the more likely it is that a high level of these undesirable ingredients have been included. Ultimately, you get what you pay for. When it comes to your health, isn’t it worth spending that little extra if it means you are getting a purer, more effective product? Otherwise, you might simply be wasting your time and money on products that either pass through your body with little effect, or worse, could actually be harmful.

Reasons to avoid cheap vitamins and supplements

Apart from the fact that you will be paying for a sub-standard product that can have little if any beneficial effect on the body, there are some other very practical reasons why you might want to avoid cheap vitamins and minerals. For instance, there are many reports of cheap tablets either passing through the digestive tract undigested (which means that there has been no benefit to the user) or, more worryingly, that they can get stuck there – neither disintegrating or passing through.

Another common example is that of ascorbic acid, often used in cheap vitamin C supplements. Ascorbic acid is actually a man-made chemical, which is manufactured in chemical plants by applying heat, pressure and chemicals to glucose (sugar), which converts the glucose to ascorbic acid.

Contrary to popular belief, ascorbic acid and natural vitamin C are not the same. Vitamin C is a naturally-occurring nutrient, found in a variety of fruit and vegetables, while ascorbic acid is an artificial, reduced form of the natural vitamin. When it is heated, the vitamin itself breaks down and can become largely ineffective.

Ascorbic acid is an isolate, a fraction, a distillate of naturally-occurring vitamin C – basically the “antioxidant wrapper” which protects the functional parts of vitamin C from rapid oxidation or breakdown. In addition to ascorbic acid, vitamin C must include rutin, bioflavonoids, Factor K, Factor J, Factor P, tyrosinase, ascorbinogen and other components. In addition, mineral co-factors must be available in proper amounts. If any of these are missing, there is no vitamin C and, more importantly from a health perspective, no vitamin activity. When only some of them are present, the body will draw on its own stores to make up the difference, so that the whole vitamin may be present. Only then will vitamin activity take place, provided that all other conditions and co-factors are present – but this is, of course, a drain on your body’s own reserves – not ideal.

What’s more, isolated ascorbic acid is not absorbed or used by the body in the same way as food, and (as an acid) can actually upset the stomach and irritate the digestive tract, and even worsen medical conditions. In the same way, alpha-tocopherol is not vitamin E, retinoic acid is not vitamin A and so on through the other vitamins. Another key difference between whole food vitamins and synthetics is that the former naturally contain within them many essential trace minerals necessary for their synergistic operation. In contrast, synthetic vitamins contain no trace minerals, relying on, and depleting, the body’s own mineral reserves.

It is telling that the man who coined the word “vitamin”, Dr. Casimir Funk (a Polish biochemist), stated that synthetic vitamins “… are highly inferior to vitamins from natural sources, also the synthetic product is well known to be far more toxic.”

Food form – sticking close to nature

The body is unable to manufacture most vitamins itself. As such, they must be obtained from the food we eat. The best sources then are obviously natural whole foods, rich in vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients that are in a form that is easily recognised, absorbed and utilised by the body – what we call “food form” or “food state”. Unfortunately, because of soil depletion, mineral depletion, pesticides, air pollution, erosion and other toxins and pollutants in the environment, foods grown in soil today have only a fraction of the nutrient value of even 50 years ago. That means a fraction of the vitamins and minerals necessary for normal cell function and overall health and vitality. What we are often left with in the supermarket, is a choice of empty, ‘dead’ foods of commerce. This is one of the main reasons why so many people now choose to support their nutrient intake with natural food form supplements, where you can be sure of what you are getting.

Natural, unadulterated food is what our bodies are best able to break down; in contrast, they struggle with synthetic vitamins, chemically polluted and refined / processed foods. A “food form supplement” is simply one which has been specially prepared to be as similar to real food as possible to assist this process, which in turn means that the body can absorb the nutrients more easily. Food form supplements usually come in capsule form. Not only are capsules easier to swallow, they help to increase the absorption of the product and you will not find a capsule passed through the digestive tract – it is designed to dissolve. This means that the supplement’s nutrients can be efficiently released into the system and absorbed much more easily.

And why not go organic?

In an age when we are exposed to an ever-increasing number of environmental toxins and chemicals, opting for both organic food and supplements wherever possible is an ideal means of helping to reduce your toxic load and get the most out of the nutrients in your diet. Produced from organically grown fruits, vegetables and grains, organic food form supplements will not have had any chemical compounds (such as additives) introduced into their plants at any point. Health supplements that are organic and natural may also have a higher content of vitamins and minerals and contain lower levels of toxic metals (including mercury, lead, and aluminium) than their non-organic counterparts. Don’t obsess about the milligrams! And one last thing, don’t overly concern yourself with ingredient milligrams. While you will, of course, want an idea of the concentration of nutrients in your vitamins and supplements, synthetic vitamins are refined, high potency chemicals, and therefore may be accurately measured in milligrams, just like drugs. This has nothing to do with vitamin activity or nutrition (except in a negative way), and is actually much more difficult to measure in natural food form products. This is not a reflection of their efficacy – quite the opposite.

Here are our most popular food-form supplements, free from unnecessary additives or synthetic vitamins!

Natural food form vitamin c elderberry rosehip

Can’t beat a beet!

So you think you know beetroot – the humble root vegetable, so often found in pantries in its pickled form since World War II.

But truly, it is so much more. In fact, it is a nutritional powerhouse now widely regarded as a superfood!

Humble beginnings

The beetroot is no stranger to the average household. Also known as “table beet”, it is one of the many cultivated varieties of Beta vulgaris and the most common variety found in Britain, North America and Central America today. In the earliest days of its consumption, the leaves were most commonly eaten by people living in the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East.

The Romans then began to make use of the root for various medicinal purposes. Over the years, it became popular in Central and Eastern Europe for culinary purposes too. Beetroot, as we know it today, was only cultivated in the 16th century. You may be surprised to learn that modern varieties are derived from the sea beet, an inedible plant that grows wild along the coasts of Europe, North Africa and Asia.

A super-root in disguise

Unlike some of the other, better known superfoods, like wheatgrass, spirulina or acai berry, beetroot is not overtly exotic. But don’t let that fool you! What has traditionally been viewed as a boring, somewhat unappetising vegetable, is really a “super-root” in disguise! It is a rich source of both carbohydrates and plant proteins, along with a broad spectrum of vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients (considered in more detail below). At the same time, it has a very low caloric value and is almost entirely free of fat. It is also a low-GI food – the sugar conversion process is slow, which supports stable blood sugar levels.

Antioxidants

You can’t have failed to notice the vivid colour of beetroot – whether the deep purple, the bright yellow or the lesser seen candy-stripes! Like so many other superfoods, these colours offer a visual clue about the high level of antioxidants, carotenoids and flavonoids found in beetroot.

The notorious red colour compound is called betanin (or beetroot red), a pigment which is a well-known antioxidant and phyto-chemical. However, all beets contain betalain antioxidants – a class of red and yellow pigments found in plants.

Vitamins and minerals

Beetroot is also rich in a broad spectrum of vitamins and minerals, contributing to its reputation as a superfood. For example, it contains high levels of folate and vitamin C (another powerful antioxidant), as well as riboflavin, niacin and thiamin, vitamin K, calcium, silica, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and iron.

Dietary fibre

Beetroot is high in dietary fibre – both soluble and insoluble. A 100g portion “ about two or three small beetroot “ contains as much as 10% of your recommended daily allowance. Fibre is an essential component of healthy digestion and supports everything from stable blood sugar levels to natural cleanse and detox processes in the body.

Dietary nitrate

More recently, much research has been undertaken on beetroot’s capacity to absorb and store exceptionally high levels of nitrate – a nutrient involved in many of the processes that are essential for efficient exercise performance, including blood flow and oxygen usage. In particular, a study conducted by Exeter University in the UK received a lot of media attention when it found that cyclists who drank a half-litre of beetroot juice several hours before setting off were able to ride up to 20% longer than those who drank a placebo blackcurrant juice. Since that study, both beetroot and beetroot supplements have been of particular interest to athletes.

Supporting health and vitality

The unique combination of nutrients found in beetroot mean that it can offer ideal support for all-round health and vitality, including:

  • a healthy heart and cholesterol levels
  • detoxification and liver function
  • a strong immune system
  • healthy homocysteine levels
  • normal tissue growth
  • musculo-skeletal health
  • healthy skin, hair and nails
  • stable blood sugar levels
  • stamina and energy levels
  • stable moods
  • and healthy digestion.

Belonging to the same family as two other nutritional titans, chard and spinach, both the leaves and roots of beetroot can be eaten. Incorporate it into your daily diet and your body will thank you!

Bad breath?

I think that most of us have experienced bad breath at some point in our lives, even if only as a first thing in the morning.

However, when it becomes a lingering problem, it can cause embarrassment and have a negative impact on a person’s quality of life when it comes to work interaction or even social life.

Identifying the cause of bad breath is often the first step towards treating this mostly preventable condition.

So, what is bad breath and what can cause it?

Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is basically an unpleasant odour emitted from a person’s mouth. It is a common problem, which can affect people of all ages. In fact, as many as 1 in 4 people are estimated to suffer with bad breath on a regular basis, although the level of its severity can vary grealtly between them.

What are some common causes of bad breath? Bad breath can be caused by a number of factors which may range from dental health and hygiene, to digestive problems and dietary choices, e.g. persistent bad breath is often caused by the smelly gases released by the bacteria that coat teeth and gums. Bits of food that get caught between the teeth and on the tongue will decay and can sometimes result in an unpleasant smell. However, strong foods like garlic, coffee and onions can add to the problem. For the purposes of this article, we will be focusing on the role of digestive health and diet in causing bad breath.

Poor Digestion = Bad Breath?

For many people, grabbing a mint or a piece of gum is their ‘go-to’ solution, as it quickly masks the problem. However, this approach often fails to address the root causes of bad breath, which for many people includes digestive problems or dietary deficiencies. In addition to that, most of chewing gums are packed full or artificial sweeteners which may not be the best solution for your overall health.

The digestive tract extends all the way from the mouth, right through to the anus. It is therefore logical that any digestive disorders (such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, poor digestion, fermentation in the gut and putrefaction in the stomach), could result in bad breath. Similarly, if your digestive tract is overloaded with accumulated toxins, if you have a poor diet, routinely use antibiotics or have a lifestyle that is otherwise conducive to an imbalance in your bowel flora, bad breath could merely be a side effect of another underlying problem – most likely related to digestion.

In adults, bad breath is often one of the earliest signs that bacteria levels in the gut are out of balance. Dysbiosis (also sometimes called dysbacteriosis) is a microbial imbalance on or in the body; in other words, an imbalance of friendly versus harmful bacteria (and other micro-organisms, such as yeast, fungi and parasites).

When levels of friendly bacteria in the digestive system are low, partially digested food is allowed to decay, resulting in the production of foul gas (as well as the release of toxins into the bloodstream).

Efficient digestion is essential for keeping things moving in the gut. The quicker that food is broken down, nutrients are absorbed and waste and toxins are removed from the body, the better. If you suffer from constipation, have a sluggish digestive system or a high toxic load, you are a prime candidate for developing bad breath. This is because these conditions create an excess of gas in your body, and much of that gas exits through your mouth. Digestive enzymes, both produced by the body and obtained from dietary sources (in the natural whole foods, fruits and vegetables that we eat), are essential for the efficient breakdown of food. However, these enzymes can be in short supply for a number of reasons, e.g.

  • age: our production of digestive enzymes decreases as we age, plus we have a finite reserve of them
  • the cooking process: a large percentage of the digestive enzymes naturally present in foods is destroyed by heating
  • stress: stress inhibits all enzyme secretion

Low levels of digestive enzymes can potentially lead to excess gas formation and putrefaction in the intestines. For many, this can contribute to bad breath gases travelling through the bloodstream and to the lungs, where they are exhaled.

Love dairy?

Whether or not you suffer from a dairy allergy or intolerance, many people find that reducing their dairy intake can help to control bad breath odours. Not only is dairy a highly acid-forming food, which is hard to digest, it can also thicken mucous in the mouth and contribute to the anaerobic environment that bacteria thrive in. This can in turn lead to the production of volatile sulphur compounds (VSCs).

Yeast overgrowth

Yeast overgrowth is now so common that it is referred to as a “silent epidemic”, particularly amongst women. All of us naturally have low levels of Candida growing in our digestive tract. It is only when digestion is poor, and the immune system and liver aren’t functioning correctly, that Candida is allowed to flourish. When it does, it then gradually spreads to other parts of the body (systemic candidiasis). It is a resilient and invasive parasite, which usually attaches itself to the intestinal wall and can (if left untreated) become a permanent resident of the internal organs. One of the known symptoms of Candida is bad breath. This is because an abnormally high level of fungal organisms in the intestines result in increased fermentation of the carbohydrates you eat. This then produces a variety of toxins and gases. If you want to find out more about candida, check out my blog post dedicated to Candida overgrowth.

The link between bad breath, poor diet, inefficient digestion and an imbalance in gut flora is clear. So, what can you do to support your body if you suspect that any one of these factors could be the cause?

  • Improve your diet: avoid foods that are hard to digest (such as meat and dairy), that are going to disrupt digestion (such as refined foods) or that are going to feed harmful micro-organisms (such as sugar). Instead, eat more probiotic-rich and fermented foods (like kefir, sauerkraut and kombucha), which can help to support your levels of beneficial bacteria naturally. Many people also choose to supplement with probiotics. In 2011, a study published in the journal ‘Current Opinion in Gastroenterology’ found that probiotic supplements can help to replace odour-causing oral microbes with beneficial varieties.
  • Eat more raw foods: Raw fruit and vegetables not only contain higher levels of digestive enzymes than cooked foods, they are also rich in dietary fibre – useful for ‘sweeping’ the digestive tract clear of waste, toxins and debris and keeping the digestive system healthy and regular.
  • Stay hydrated: Surprisingly, dehydration is one of the most common causes of bad breath. It is so simple to remedy, but many people drink far too little water throughout the day to ward off the bacteria in the mouth that are largely responsible for causing bad breath.
  • Consider a body cleanse and detox: Cleansing the blood and eliminating toxins from the body can help to stimulate the lymphatic system, increase the excretion of uric acid through the kidneys and boost adrenal function, all of which target halitosis at its root. Bad breath is often indicative of a system overloaded with toxins and a strained liver. Consider a colon cleanse, liver flush or full body detox!

What is hiding in your food?

In this modern age of processed foods and the widespread use of artificial chemicals to enhance everything from taste and appearance to shelf life, you can no longer take it for granted that you know what is in your food just by looking at it.

Food these days is not simple - do you really know what you are eating?
Food these days is not simple – do you really know what you are eating?

 

Food additives 

A good example of “hidden” ingredients are food additives. Almost everyone has heard of them, but how many people actually take the time to find out what they are, which ones appear in our food and how they might affect our health?

Well, fortunately more and more of us, especially now that the health benefits of natural living (and, more specifically, an organic diet) have become better understood and easier to obtain.

More and more people are choosing to buy organically grown food
More and more people are choosing to buy organically grown food

As a result, health-conscious individuals who are seeking to minimise their daily exposure to toxins and pollutants take the trouble to educate themselves about the different types of food additives out there (including their supposed risks and benefits). Over the years, there has been quite a bit of controversy about these chemicals – below are some of the “need to know” basics. 

The basics 

As the name implies, food additives are substances that manufacturers add to foods for any number of reasons (usually to increase profits). For example, to preserve flavour, keep the food fresher for longer and to enhance taste, texture and appearance.  

However, not all food additives are bad, despite the negative connotations with the phrase. Some are actually natural compounds – for example, vinegar used for pickling and salt used to preserve meat. These additives have been used for centuries and are natural methods. Similarly, there is a common misconception that processed foods automatically contain food additives, but this is not always the case. For example, long-life milk is processed, yet it doesn’t actually require added chemicals to prolong its shelf life.

Unfortunately, the vast majority now used are synthetic or man-made and have, to a large extent, come about as a result of the increasing time constraints of modern living and the changing palates of modern consumers. For instance, the average person is looking for a snack that is either highly salted or sweetened. Similarly, in this age of competitive advertising and saturated food markets, the brighter, highly coloured food items are normally the ones that get picked. Food needs to be fun to eat, nice to look at and tasty.

The nature of the modern diet and lifestyle has resulted in fewer and fewer home-grown and natural whole foods, and an increase in the number and type of processed / refined foods. In turn, this has led to an increase in the number of additives used in foods – both natural and synthetic. It is therefore important to inform yourself about them, to help ensure the health and vitality of you and your family.

If you are unsure whether or not a product contains additives, check the label. If there are ingredients that sound like an unpronounceable chemistry experiment, they are probably best avoided! It is also important to note that some listed ingredients may contain food additives themselves, without those necessarily being specified. For example, a product may contain margarine, which in turn contains additives, but only ‘margarine’ will be listed as an ingredient on the label.  

It is good practice to familiarise yourself with some of the more common food additive names, ready to identify them when out and about shopping. Below we will take a look at some of the most notorious additives – E-numbers.

 

E-numbers – friend or foe?

E-numbers get a lot of media attention but, once again, the reality is a little different to what is often portrayed. The phrase itself conjures up images of ‘food nasties’, but are they really as bad as we are led to believe? Well firstly, let’s look at what they are.

After an additive has been tested and approved for use in foods in Europe, it is given a classification known as an ‘E-number’ (a number with an ‘E’ prefix, e.g. E100), for the purposes of regulation and to inform consumers. In other words, it is simply a systematic way of identifying different food additives. Countries outside Europe use only the number (no ‘E’), whether the additive is approved in Europe or not.

The important (and perhaps surprising) point to bear in mind, is that even natural additives will be labelled with an ‘E’ prefix – so don’t automatically discount a food which otherwise looks healthy. Knowledge is power, so know your E-numbers!

 

Are food additives safe?

Common sense should lead us to think that filling our bodies with synthetic chemicals cannot be as healthy as eating a diet rich in natural whole foods . In fact, it may even be detrimental to health, for instance by adding extra burden to our toxic load.

Since the middle of the 20th century, there has been a significant increase in the use of food additives of varying levels of safety. This has, in turn, led to the introduction of a wide range of laws worldwide in order to regulate their use.

The long-term effects on the body of regularly consuming a combination of different food additives are, unfortunately, currently unknown – hence the increased need for regulation. This is largely due to the fact that most additives are tested in isolation, rather than in combination with other additives. However, some of us are more sensitive to them than others and suffer reactions as a result of their consumption which may include:

– headaches

– skin irritations (itching, rashes, hives etc)

– digestive disorders (including diarrhoea and abdominal pains)

– respiratory problems (like asthma, rhinitis and sinusitis)

– allergic reactions and anaphylactic shock

– behavioural changes (such as mood changes, anxiety and hyperactivity).

Research undertaken in 2007 by Britain’s Food Standards Agency and later published by the British medical journal ‘The Lancet’, provided evidence that a mix of additives commonly found in children’s foods serves to increase the mean level of hyperactivity. Similarly, in 2008, AAP Grand Rounds (the American Academy of Pediatrics) published a study that concluded that a low-additive diet is a valid intervention for children with ADHD.

Bearing all this in mind, it is important to remember that all foods are made up of chemicals, many of which are not always ‘safer’ than those found in food additives. For example, people with food allergies and intolerances are also often sensitive to chemicals found naturally in certain foods, such as dairy, nuts or shellfish. However, it is always a good rule of thumb to opt for natural ingredients over synthetic ones and to adopt an organic lifestyle wherever possible.

Additives to watch out for  

Some of the additives most likely to cause reactions include:

– Flavour enhancers: A well-known example is monosodium glutamate (MSG E621). They are commonly found in crisps, instant noodles as well as microwave and takeaway foods.

– Aspartame: This is an artificial sweetener, which is made of phenylalanine, aspartic acid and methanol (a type of alcohol). When broken down in the body, methanol forms formaldehyde, formic acid (found in the venom of ants and bees) and diketopiperazine – all quite nasty substances! Aspartame is found in diet drinks, yoghurts and sugar-free items (like chewing gum or children’s sugar free drinks). 

– Sulphites: This group of additives is often found in dried fruit, desiccated coconut, cordial and wine. They have been known to trigger asthma attacks in sensitive individuals.

– Propionates: This type of additive can occur naturally in foods (e.g. certain types of cheese). They are also common in bread. The effects are dose-related and may range from migraines, bed-wetting, nasal congestion and racing heart to memory loss, eczema and stomach ache.  

– Antioxidants: Don’t get confused with the naturally-occurring antioxidants found in whole foods like fruit and vegetables and which are widely used to support good health and immunity! Antioxidants in the context of food additives refer to those that are synthetic chemicals which are added to food, and may therefore have a harmful effect on the body. Examples include Butylated hydroxytoluene (BHT) and Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA), which are added to prevent fat spoilage. They are commonly found in margarine, biscuits, crisps and muesli bars. They have been linked to health conditions such as insomnia, tiredness, asthma and even learning difficulties.

– Colours: The most common offenders in this category of additives are tartrazine (E102) and annatto (E160b). Synthetic colourings have been linked to allergic reactions, as well as learning and behavioural problems in children.

Categories of additives

Preservatives, colourings and flavourings are some of the best known additives. However, there are actually a number of other categories, each of which is tailored to a specific purpose.

there are currently over 3000 additives used in food across the world, most of which are synthetic
There are currently over 3000 additives used in food across the world, most of which are synthetic.

These include:

– acids

– acidity regulators

– anti-caking agents

– antifoaming agents

– antioxidants

– bulking agents

– colour retention agents

– emulsifiers

– flavours

– flavour enhancers

– flour treatment agents

– glazing agents

– humectants

– tracer gas

– stabilizers

– sweeteners

– and thickeners

I guess it all boils down to one question: does your food nourish you or just fills you?

Dandelion… weed or a valuable herb?

I can’t believe it’s May already; the Spring has come to greet us in a full swing and with it came a mass of flowers. I’m sat here looking at my garden and see the grass speckled with white daisies and yellow dandelions. I can’t help but wonder… why do we consider these amazing plants as weeds when every single part of them can be used to benefit our health?

What are the benefits of Dandelions?

  • Immune system support
  • Increased metabolism
  • Increased production of bile and digestive enzymes
  • Detox
  • Liver function support

As I mentioned above, every single part of Dandelion has medicinal properties which are closely related to the time of year and stage of the plant development.

We tend to harvest dandelion root in Autumn, leaves and green buds in early Spring (before the flowering period), and flowers and stalks in late Spring/ Summer.

dandelion-4119846_1920.jpg

Seeing as most of the dandelions in my garden are in the full bloom, I am going to focus on how we can use that to our advantage.

So… what can we do with flowering dandelions?

You can pick them, wash and separate the flowers from stalks. Now we have 2 ingredients which we can use in multiple ways, some of which I described below:

14 day Dandelion stalk treatment

Slowly chewing on 5 fresh dandelion stalks each day can help with:

  • Liver and gallbladder problems and pain- especially if it extends up your back under your right shoulder
  • Gallstones- it can help to stimulate the gallbladder and liver function in order to dissolve any gallstones
  • Pancreas problems- it can aid in enzyme production
  • Diabetes – you can eat up to 10 stalks a day in order to help with regulation of sugar levels
  • Stomach problems- it increases production of gastric juices as well as cleansing of any leftover material
  • Skin problems- especially if they involve spots, rashes and itching
  • Physical and mental fatigue, especially if it includes feelings of sadness and melancholy
  • Gout, rheumatism
  • Eyesight problems

You can mix the ‘milk’ from the stalks with distilled water in order to soothe irritated eyes, eczema and go over any ‘liver spots’ or other skin discolorations.

What can you do with the ‘leftover’ flowers?

Many, many things! Dandelion flowers are very beneficial in supporting our immune system and liver function. You can use them in salads (but soak them in salty water for 30 minutes beforehand in order to get rid of the bitter taste), use them to make tea, syrup, oil infusion or a tincture.

Dandelion Tea:

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of dandelion flowers
  • 2 cups of water

Simmer for 20 minutes before straining and serving. You can drink 1 cup of dandelion tea twice a day.

Dandelion tea is very beneficial for women and can help with:

  • Irregular or scanty periods
  • Inflammation of ovaries or fallopian tubes

Dandelion syrup:

Ingredients:

  • 350-400 dandelion flowers
  • 1litre of water
  • 1 lemon
  • 1kg of sugar (you can use coconut sugar, honey, etc)

Wash the flowers throughouly and add to the cold water. Bring them to boil and add sliced lemon (if you can’t find organic lemon, peel the skin) and continue to boil for another 15 minutes. Leave to cool and sit overnight.

The next day strain all of the flowers with lemon and add sugar to the liquid. Slowly bring everything to boil between 1-2hrs, checking the consistency. Pour the boiling liquid into jars, lid them and cover over with a blanket for approx 30mins.

Dandelion syrup is especially beneficial in:

  • Strengthening immune system
  • Aiding recovery in cold & flu
  • Easing coughs and sore throats

Dandelion Oil:

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup of dandelion flowers
  • 1cup oilive oil

Wash and dry dandelion flowers then put them in a jar and fill to the top with olive oil. Put the jar in a pan filled with water and slowly heat it up over 1-2hrs. Leave to cool before straining the flowers.

You can use dandelion oil externally in:

  • Rheumatic pains
  • Muscle pains
  • Skin problems


Please note: avoid using dandelions found in parks, on sides of the road, fields and anywhere where you don’t know if they have been sprayed with chemicals. Remember to leave some for our bees, they rely on dandelions as one of their first sources of food before other flowers begin to bloom .