"Rescuing the Liver from Dietary Abuse"


Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) are so abundant and familiar that they hardly need description. The name dandelion is a corruption of the French dents de lion, referring to the jagged-toothed leaves that can be said to resemble a lion's well-equipped jaw. The bright yellow blossoms are very sensative to light and weather conditions, closing up before darkness and storms.When the flower head has matured, it closes again with the calyx drawn in a cylindrical shape arund the ripening ovaries. When the seeds inside have ripened, it reopens to form the familiar flubby bal of seeds; each with its own "parachute" waiting to be dispersed by a breeze.

In practical application, it is for spring greens that the dandelion are most well known. In early spring, before much of the plant world is stirring, the leaves of the dandelion are at their prime for eating. It seems after the plant blossoms, its leaves become tough, bitter, and less desirable as a food or for juicing purposes. But if some apple-cider vinegaris used in any saladcontaining older dandelions leaves or in the juice of mature leaves, the tartness of the vinegar itself does wonders in cutting down the sharp bitterness of the greens.

There is a very efficient for collecting dandelion greens. Use a butcher knife, old hunting knife, or small machete when ut gathering them. Squat down on your haunches and slip the knife under the entire plant and slice it off at the top of the root. This permits you to gather the whole plant, including the best part, the delicate unopened center called the heart or crown.


One hundred edible grams of dandelion leaves, which is about three and one-half ounces or nearly one-fourth pound, yields the following nutrients: 300 mg. calcium, 66 mg. phosphorus, 3.1 mg. iron, 397 mg. potassium, 14,000 I.U. vitamin A, trace amunts of some B-complex vitamins, and 35 mg. vitamin C. It is also high in magnesium.

The late Euell Gibbons, a popular naturalist, plant forager, prolific writer, and television personality during the mid-sixties and seventies ,once said of this lowly lawn weed:

"It is an excellent source of calcium and potassium, and the best known source of vitamin A among the green vegetables. And yet, we spend millions on herbicides to kill the dandelion in our lawnsm while we pay millions more for diet supplements to give outselves the vitamins that the dandelion could easily furnish."

He would occasionally throw "wild parties" for a selected group of friends. Every food and beverage served would have come from the wild, hence the name of "wild parties." he liked to tell his friends that the "green punch" thery were drinking was really his special recipe for dandelion greens, pigweed, and parsley juices comboined into one concoction.

He claimed that this "green punch," which he flavored with pineapple juice and Canadian Club Soda, had more iron and vitamins A and C in it than any other foods listed in the USDA Agricultural Handbook No. 8 entitled, Composition of Foods. He called it his "feel good, health drink!"


One would not think of the liver as a primary organ of concern in dealing with an autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis. But the late Rudolph Fritz Weiss, M.D., author of the popular Germanbest-seller, Lehrburch der Phtotherapie (Stuttgart: Hippokrates Verlag GmbH, 1985) claimes that it was "the point of action at which chronic degenerative joint disease began."

Dr WEiss routinely recommended eitehr dandelion tea, fluid extract, or the juice for arthritic cnditions. Of these three, he felt that dandelion juice was the most helpful and effective. He prescribed for his arthritic patients that they take one-half cup of the juice morning and evening on an empty stomach. Sometimes he would vary it a little by including equal parts of dandelion and watercress juice for more severe cases in which the patients had become quite crippled and unable to move about very much.

In one unique episode, Frau Muhlenstein, age 61, was diagnosed as having "nodose rheumatism." Her clinical symptoms bore all the earmarks of classical rheumatoid arthritis (RA): gradual swelling of the hands and feet that were symmetrical and spindleshaped, especially in the joint areas; smooth and shiny skin; brittle and discolored nails; a "hot" sensation around each swollen joint; an irregularlow fever; some weight loss; and a general ill feeling.

Other medical specialists with whom she had previoulsy consulted had put her on various types of therapies - corticosteroids, golds salts, ibuprofen, and salicylates - which proved of little benefit. Out of desperation she turned to Dr. Weiss. Within a week, after being on the dandelion-watercress juice program and a restricted diet, she began showing improvement. Within two week, she began to have movement in her gnarled fingers and toes. Within three weeks, the joint swelling had substantially subsided. Within four weeks, virtually all pain was gone. And within one-half months, she was abe to grip a pen,pot handle, door knob, fruit jar, and even shake someone else's hand without and problems. In two months, she was able to begin walking up to a mile a day, including climbing stairs again. Within three months, she was able to attend dances with her husband and enjoy her favorite waltzes.

Dr. Weiss had similar stories of success for other ailments originating from the liver and kidneys, such as obesity, gout, hypertension, artreiosclerosis/atherosclerosis, Bright' disease, and autoim,une disorders to a breakdown in the functions of th liver, one of the most vital organs in out bodies. Dandelion was Gods's very special remedy for these things, he insisted.

Dr. Weiss maintained that dandelion juice was good for a number of othr conditions, not all of which were connected with dietary abuse of the liver. While he didn't feel the juice would cure any of them, he felt it could do no harm and might, in fact, actually do some good where others didn't seem to work.

Herpes Simplex. Herpes is one of the oldest known viruses to man. It has existed since the Jurassic Age of sinosaurs. As goofy as it sounds, some paleontologists think that small noduls on the thick hides of some dinosaurs might have been the result of a herpes infection of some kind. It's hard to imagine such a beast with chickenpox or shingles (both caused by this virus). What is known for sure is that herpes is a greasy-looking virus, prefers an acidic environment, and likes to hide inthe ganglion or sensory nerves located just beneath the surface of the skin. Dandelion is loaded with mineral salts, which quickly alkalinize acidic blood. The enormous vitamin A content then takes over to minimize further viral activit by boosting immune defenses.

NIGHT BLINDNESS. A German doctor, S. Niedermeier mentioned that vitamin A and B-complex work in the liver to restore deficient dark adaptation. He also routinely prescribed a juice extract of dandelion flowers for night blindness. he attributed their remarkable success to a particular substance known as helenin, which produces more visual purple for the eye. To be effective for this, though, helenin requires the presence of a certan amount of vitamin A, he discovered. Dandelion leaf and flower, of course, are very high in this and B vitmains. Through experimentation he found that dandelion helenin is also good for improving the nyctalopia that accompanies retinis pigmentosa. His highly interesting report appeared over four decades ago in Deutsche medizinische Wochenschrift (76:210, February 16, 1951).

Tuberculosis. TB is an infectious disease that was on eof the leading causes of death worldwide in centuries preceding our own. For many decades it has been virtually extinct. Now with the increasing rise in poverty and homelessness, the disease is again making a strong comeback. TB is caused by a bacterium called tubercle bacillus or Mycobacterium tuberculosis. It's spread person to person in droplets of saliva that are expelled by coughing, sneexing, speaking, or even exhaling. The droplets evaporate, adn the bacilli remain airborne. TB developes when a susceptible person with weakenedimmune defenses inhales the bacilli. Dandelion leaf juce helps out in several different ways. First, it's strong vitamin A content acts as an effective antibiotic in stopping the progress of the TB. Secondly, the rich combination of calcium potassium salts chemically "strip" the bacilli from moist mucosal tissue inthe lungs where they prefer to colonize. Thirdly, certain plant alcohols in the leaves (notably xanthophyll or lutein) disinfect the lungs, making it much harder for the bacilli to remain there.


Select dandelion greens from an area that hasn't been sprayed with herbicides. Pick them wearing gloves or cut off the top part of the plant with a knife level to the ground as previously described. Rinse them in a collander to remove bugs and dirt. Then cut or tear to juicing size. You can juice fresh watercress right along with them, if you like. The younger dandelion leaves will make a sweeter juice than older leaves picked later inthe dummer or fall.

Drinking one cup of dandelion juice by itself or in combination with an equal amount of watercress, will give the body a "natural high" or incredible sensation of energy when the juice hits the liver. In some cases, this may be somewhat overpowering for older people or those with delicate digestive tracts. In the event this proves to be so, simply dilute the dandelion juice with a little carrot juice.

From John Heinerman's
"Heinerman's Encyclopedia of Healing Juices"

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