Mother Earth Living


Spring Tonics: Dandelions and Sassafras

Purify your blood with these plants



Dandelions, a vigorous weed, can be cultivated to supply leaves and roots for spring tonics.
Photography by Steven Foster
The safrole contained in sassafras tea, a traditional “blood purifier,” damages the liver.
Fresh dandelion greens have four times the ­vitamin C, seven times the vitamin A, and twice the potassium of ­romaine lettuce. The German government has approved the leaves for use as a diruretic and ­digestive tonic to treat bloating, indigestion, and poor appetite.
In the landscape, sassafras trees provide brilliant fall color.
Slippery elm bark, a traditional herb used to treat irritated mucous membranes, is also listed as an over-the-counter drug in the United States.
Chicory, a common roadside weed, can help protect the liver.
Slippery elm bark contains ­numerous carbohydrates, ­especially mucilage.





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