I love to walk in South Norwood Country Park as often as I can and have done so for many years. It has a variety of wildflowers and so far I have done two wildflower walks there.  Those who attended said they found it a great introduction to herbal plants.

Late October has been kind to us with some unexpected warm dry days, sunshine and late flowering plants.

I was given a camera as a Christmas present two years ago and I’ve only just got my head around the instruction manual and learned to use it, so off I went to the Country Park one afternoon last week in search of some late wildflowers to snap.

The first plant I came across was Dandelion, winking at me from behind a clump of grass. I love Dandelion! It is always among the first of the wildflowers to appear as the weather begins to warm up after Winter. The abundance of those bright, golden flower heads seem to appear overnight and are a sure sign that Spring is just around the corner!

The leaves act as a diuretic (i.e. they make you pee). This is very useful in cases of water retention.  The leaves are also rich in potassium, which is sometimes lost with conventional diuretics.

Dandelion root has many uses and benefits and there is a wealth of evidence for its use as a natural cure for liver disease. The roots are specific for liver complaints, and it is probably the most widely used plant for herbal treatment of the liver.   Plant roots are best harvested in late Autumn.  During this time the plant hibernates, storing its energy in the root.  At this time the levels of insoluble fibre (inulin) in the root are higher and fructose levels are lower.  It is no wonder then, that Dandelion root has become such an invaluable herb in the treatment of Type II diabetes.

Dandelion is cooling and drying and so is a perfect counterpoint for conditions and people with a tendency to heat and damp.  It has an affinity for the liver, gallbladder and stomach and has traditionally been used in these conditions:

  • Liver and gallbladder complaints
  • Type II diabetes
  • Sluggish digestive system

If you live locally, I hope you can attend my next Spring herbal walk.  Herb walks are a great introduction to herbs, as well as an introduction to herbal medicine.

If you would like to know more about how herbs can help you, I will be happy to have an informal chat with you. You can call on 0845 468 0823 or alternatively, drop me a line at contact@greenleavesherbalhealth.co.uk.

Patricia Ferguson, Clinical Herbalist

South London

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