Ask The Herb Lady

With Cathy Schram

Health Benefits Of: Dandelions, Blueberries, Grapes and Acia Berries

Q: I love drinking dandelion tea and I even enjoy dandelion leaves in my salad. What kind of health benefits do I get from dandelions?

A: Dandelions are actually quite nutritious and have been used to treat a variety of health problems. The entire plant is edible; flowers, leaves and the root. They are rich in beta-carotene, magnesium, zinc and phosphorous. They also contain fiber, trace minerals, B vitamins and organic sodium.

Most herbalists use the dandelion root to detox the liver and gallbladder. The leaves are used primarily for kidney function. Dandelions also help aid in digestion and can act as a laxative. It has also been shown to help balance the good bacteria in the gut. They also have anti-inflammatory properties. They help flush toxins from muscles and joints and help to rid the body of uric acid.

You should avoid dandelions if you are allergic to ragweed or members of the marigold family. Keep in mind that this plant can be a diuretic and cause other drugs to leave the body quicker so consult your physician if you are on other meds.

Also remember that you don’t have to go to your yard and pick your own dandelions. They come ready made in capsule form as well as teas or tinctures. However, if you decide to pick your own, make sure they are washed thoroughly and are free from any pesticides or other lawn care products.

Q: I know that eating blueberries and grapes are really good for me. They contain something in the skin that has health benefits. Is there some sort of pill that would have the same benefits?

A: Yes, there is a great alternative. Acia Berries contain anthocyanins (the purple pigment that gives the fruit their color). Anthocyanins protect the artery walls from damage that can lead to plaque buildup and heart disease. They have also been used to help prevent high cholesterol, diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration, cataracts, glaucoma and varicose veins.

The berries contain the following vitamins: thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, iron, potassium, phosphorous, calcium, C and E. These are one of the highest antioxidant-producing fruits, therefore, helping to prevent free radical damage to the cells. With their protein and fiber content as well as supplying omega-6 and 9 fatty acids, this would be an excellent way to supplement your health.

This herb information is for health education purposes only. It is not intended to replace the services of licensed health practitioners. Consult with a physician for any condition that requires professional care. 

Do you have questions about herbs or vitamins? Send them to Cathy Schram, CNHP and Certified Herbalist. Write to: Herbs & More, 16021 Manchester Rd., Ellisville, MO 63011.