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
In the landscape, sassafras trees provide brilliant fall color.
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.
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.
The safrole contained in sassafras tea, a traditional “blood purifier,” damages the liver.
Slippery elm bark contains ­numerous carbohydrates, ­especially mucilage.
Chicory, a common roadside weed, can help protect the liver.

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