Tag Archives: dandelion

Giving you gut some extra help…

I am currently on industrial strength antibiotics to deal with an armpit cyst.  I know.  Glamorous, right?!  I am supposed to take 2000mg per day – but I can’t fit that in, so for the past week (and for the next week as well) I am taking 1500mg per day instead.  The cyst is responding to the antibiotics, though it isn’t completely gone, but my gut and I are not feeling very happy with all those bacteria killers flying about my system.


I decided to have a look around on line for some ideas to help my gut feel better during and after this course of treatment.  It appears I stumbled onto something, because there is a large amount of information out there for people who are troubled with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Irritable Bowel Disease, Colitis and all sorts of other stuff.  I have distilled the information into just four things we can use to give our gut some help.


The first thing is dandelion.  Yes, the dandelion which throws gardeners into a froth and often brings out the homicidal tendencies in them… oh… just me then?  Actually, all parts of the dandelion are excellent digestive aids.  You can use the root, the leaves, the stalks (though be careful with them) and the flowers.  You can use them in teas, tinctures, vinegars, honey, oil or even just in a salad.  If you take some before meals you can stop heartburn.  If you take it after meals it can help with gall bladder pain and improve digestion.  Taking dandelion morning and night can alleviate gut pain and even tone your liver.

slippery elm

Next is something called Slippery Elm.  Sounds rather disgusting if you ask me, but apparently it is fabulous for assisting a digestive tract in crisis.  It is actually the bark from the slippery elm tree which is used to make the remedies (available in health food shops I understand) and it can help to restore balance to an irritated system (IBS/IBD) or a system under attack from Lupus or Crohn’s.  Even people undergoing chemotherapy with deeply distressed guts have found improvements with taking Slippery Elm.  Something to consider if you are in deep discomfort.  Apparently it acts as a counter to food poisoning, can quell acid refluxes and even helps with diarrhoea or constipation.

fennel seeds

Next are the aromatic seeds.  These are caraway, coriander, cumin, dill and fennel seeds – I have several of these hiding at the back of my pantry cupboard. Take 1 teaspoon of any of these seeds, put in a cup with boiling water and leave it to steep.  Drink it while it is still warm, sweetened or not, depending on your taste, and there you have it.  It is great for alleviating gas pains and for speeding up digestion.  It can also help to counteract the digestion effects of heavy painkillers.


Finally, an ever present item in my house is yogurt.  Plain and unsweetened is best,  or you can make your own with real (unpasteurised) milk.  It is of great use to people with colitis and can also help gut pain, gas pain, stomach pain, nausea and even bad breath.  Also, if you have Bioactive yogurt, then you can help to recolonise the good bacteria in your gut once any antibiotics have done their stuff.  Yes… bioactive yogurt features high on my shopping list this week!

I hope, if you are in the same boat as me, with a distressed digestive tract, that these remedies might offer some relief to you.


Weed whacking is the order of the day…

I am standing at my French Windows and looking out at my present garden.  I am in the process of getting the place looking neat and tidy for the people who are going to stampede through my door to look at the house.  Yes.  Those mythical house buyers out there.  They are supposed to be out there.  I haven’t seen them yet.  I hope they are more like badgers (ubiquitous but shy) and less like unicorns (only alive in legend and fable).


However… as I said, getting the garden looking smart inevitably requires weeding.  And it got me thinking, can we use the weeds for anything other than ballast in the cars while being hauled to the rubbish tip?  According to http://www.treehugger.com, yes.  We can eat them!


Dandelions are ubiquitous in the garden and I can’t seem to the shift them.  Just as well, they are tasty both raw and cooked from to the bloom.  The leaves are quite bitter, but add a lovely note to salads and can be stir fried or added to soups.  The flowers are sweet and crunchy and can be eaten raw or breaded and fried or used to make dandelion wine.  The root can be dried and roasted and used as a coffee substitute or added to any recipe that calls for root vegetables.  Medicinally, the root helps with hormone regulation, works as a liver and digestion tonic and it is a natural diuretic or even gentle laxative.


Then there is purslane.  It occurs in moist garden beds, lawns and shady areas.  It certainly packs a punch nutritionally.  It has more omega 3 oils in it that an other leafy vegetables.  It is a great addition to a salad or a stir fry used to thicken soups or stews.  It is a succulent with a crispy texture and the leaves and stems can be eaten raw or cooked to add a peppery flavour to any dish.


Do you have a lot of clover in your lawn?  Clover is a good thing!  Not only is it great food for honeybees and bumblebees.  There are leaves and flowers that can be used in a variety of meals, chopped into salads or sauteed and added for a green accent.  Flowers can be eaten raw or cooked or dried for tea.  Actually red clover is a great tonic for females of any age.  It contains isofavones which are potent phytoestogens.  Useful at any age but particularly for those going through the menopause.


I’ll bet you have plantain somewhere in your garden.  I know we do.  Apparently it is a great medicinal plant, usually used to soothe burns, stings, rashes and wounds.  It is a great edible green for the table.  Obviously, the young leaves are the best to use and can be eaten raw, steamed, boiled or sauteed.  Older leaves can still be used by may be a bit tough.  The seeds of the plantain, which are produced on a flowering spike can be cooked like a grain or ground into a flower but you need to harvest loads of it to make that worthwhile!


And finally, chickweed.  Rather unassuming to look at but it can be harvested for both culinary and medicinal purposes.  Chickweed leaves, stems and flowers can all be eaten either raw or cooked.  Plant can also be used as a topical poultice for minor cuts, burns or rashes and it can be made into a tea for use as a mild diuretic.


Well, I am amazed, and I shall be looking at the weeds in a different light.  May all your weeds be so useful!