Monday, April 18, 2011
Dandelions for the Third Chakra
A sure sign of spring is the appearance of the first dandelions. I love these flowers and I really don't think it's fair to call them weeds. The scientific name for dandelions is Taraxacum officinale. If you see "officinale" as part of a flower name, you can be pretty sure it's known for having some medicinal powers. The dandelion can hold itself pretty proud as a a healing plant.
It turns out the dandelion is one of the richest sources of beta carotene in the vegetable kingdom. It has four times the amount as broccoli for instance. It is also loaded with Vitamins K,and C as well as calcium and iron, according to Rebecca Wood's article on Dandelion Greens at www.rwood.com/Articles/Dandelion_Greens.htm.
Rebecca Wood is the author of several cookbooks including "New Whole Foods Encyclopedia", "The Splendid Grain" and "Detox and Cleanse" to name a few. In her article, Woods tells you how to go about picking the best dandelions as well as how they can be used in recipes. I've just discovered Wood's also has a very entertaining blog with a taffy recipe I'll have to try at http://rebeccawood108.wordpress.com/ ... but back to the dandelion...
It seems the dandelion has a number of medicinal uses. It helps support digestion and can be both a mild laxative and gentle diuretic. The dandelion has been used traditionally to treat gout, eczema, edema (the diuretic factor), and even acne. It is said to help reduce inflammation and may be beneficial for jaundice and to treat viruses.
The dandelion in full bloom is pure yellow- the color that resonates with the third chakra, our center of self-esteem, power, will power and self-control. The third chakra is located above the navel and the corresponding organs for this chakra include the pancreas, small intestine, and liver as well as the autonomic nervous system. The pancreas functions in insulin production and the digestive enzymes as does the autonomic nervous system, so it all makes sense that the yellow dandelion would have such restorative powers for digestion. The third chakra corresponds to sunlight, fire, and yellow flowers - all of which point to one of the first flowers of spring- the dandelion.
Most sources, including Rebecca Woods, suggests you pick the dandelion as early as possible, before the flower is even in full bloom if you want to avoid the bitter taste of the plant. Although the green stem is the most popular part of the plant, the whole plant is safe to eat. You do have to be selective on where you pick your dandelions. Be sure you aren't picking them near areas that have been chemically treated or sprayed.
The third chakra is very connected to emotions. It is at this level in chakra development that we realize how our emotions affect our decisions. When this chakra is balanced, we can make decisions that match with our emotions, not just according to our logical side or intellect. And to me at least, dandelions evoke lots of emotions. I can still remember proudly picking a bouquet to present to my mother. I think most kitchen tables at one time or another have sported a bowl of dandelions as a spring centerpiece. As a mother who's also been presented with such a bouquet, I know how good it can feel to receive such a gift. I'd take a bunch of dandelions over store roses any day!
So whether you eat the dandelion, place a bouquet on your table, or just admire them growing, acknowledge their healing powers and consider bringing them into your life instead of eliminating them as a nasty weed!