If you have a dandelion-studded lawn, consider yourself lucky. This yellow-flowering perennial herb with long, deeply serrated leaves is the bane of a lawn caretaker’s existence, but it is actually good for your health.
In fact, dandelions have been used for centuries as an herbal treatment for many ailments, including kidney and liver problems, stomach issues and diabetes.
Dandelion roots, leaves and flowers are edible and highly nutritious. This herb is a rich source of vitamins A, C, D and B complex. It is even rich in minerals, such as zinc, iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium.
This herb is versatile and can be easily incorporated into your daily diet. The mild, bitter flavor of dandelion leaves goes well with salads, soups or stir-fry dishes. You can also brew roasted dandelion roots to enjoy a healthy substitute for tea or coffee.
To make dandelion tea:
- Put 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried dandelion root (chopped) in a saucepan.
- Add 2 cups of water.
- Boil it and then allow it to simmer for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Strain it.
- Drink this tea 2 or 3 times a day.
You can also make the tea using dandelion tea bags.
No matter how you prefer to use dandelion in your diet, you are surely going to reap the benefits of this unexpected nutritional plant.
Note: Do not use this herb during pregnancy.
Here are 10 reasons why dandelion root is good for your body.
1. Aids Weight Loss
Dandelion root is highly beneficial for people who wish to shed some pounds.
The phytochemicals in dandelion offer diuretic and laxative benefits that help increase the volume and frequency of urination. This in turn helps get rid of water weight.
A 2009 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine reports that dandelion extract increases urination output for five hours after consumption. This helps shed water weight but not the fat.
Plus, dandelion root is known to suppress appetite and promote fat and cholesterol breakdown. It also has very few calories.
- Drink dandelion tea, 2 or 3 times a day.
- You can also add fresh dandelion greens to salads or soups.
Note: Do not take this herb for extended periods. Also, as it may interact with certain medications, consult your doctor before using it.
2. Promotes Liver Health
The herb dandelion works as a powerful liver tonic and hence is considered very effective for liver health. It helps metabolize fat accumulated in the liver and promotes proper liver function.
It also increases the flow of bile and helps detoxify the liver.
A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology in 2010 highlights the therapeutic effect of dandelion root on hepatic disorders.
Another study published in the same year in Food and Chemical Toxicology demonstrates the hepatoprotective effects of the aqueous extract from dandelion root against alcohol-induced oxidative stress.
A 2012 study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food highlights the hepatoprotective effect of dandelion against the toxicity induced by acetaminophen, which is attributed to several cases of hepatitis, cirrhosis and hepatic transplant.
Also, a 2013 study published in Food and Chemical Toxicology found that dandelion leaf extract helps in the prevention and treatment of obesity-related nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
3. Possesses Anticancer Properties
In recent times, dandelion root has been studied for its cancer-fighting potential. Its antioxidant property helps the body avoid cell damage from free radicals. In fact, it is effective in killing different cancers as a result of its free radical-fighting abilities.
A 2008 study published in the International Journal of Oncology reports that dandelion root extracts or individual components present in the extracts may be of value as novel anticancer agents.
A study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology in 2011 suggests that aqueous dandelion root extract contains components that act to induce apoptosis selectively in cultured leukemia cells. This study emphasizes the importance of this traditional medicine for leukemia treatment.
Another same year study published in Evidence Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine highlights the efficacy of dandelion root extract as a chemotherapeutic against aggressive chemo-resistant cancers.
In fact, another study published in 2012 in Pancreas reports that dandelion root extract has the potential to induce apoptosis and autophagy in human pancreatic cancer cells with no significant effect on noncancerous cells.
4. Regulates High Blood Pressure
Being diuretic in nature, dandelion increases urination, both in quantity and frequency. Excess urination aids in releasing excess sodium without the loss of potassium (as occurs with some over-the-counter diuretics). This in turn helps lower high blood pressure.
The herb dandelion is also rich in fiber and potassium, which help in regulating blood pressure. The fiber in dandelion is also helpful in reducing cholesterol, which in turn assists in lowering blood pressure, since cholesterol is one of the factors that increases blood pressure.
A 2010 study published in the International Journal of Molecular Science shows that treatment with dandelion root and leaf positively changed plasma antioxidant enzyme activities and lipid profiles in cholesterol-fed rabbits, and thus it may have potential hypolipidemic and antioxidant effects.
When the blood pressure and cholesterol levels are under control, there is reduced risk of suffering from heart disease.
5. Prevents Urinary Disorders
Being highly diuretic in nature, dandelion root also helps eliminate deposits of toxic substances in the kidneys and the urinary tract.
According to a 2009 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, dandelion works as a diuretic and increases urine production. Proper urinary output helps cleanse the kidneys.
In addition, the disinfectant properties of this herb inhibit microbial growth in the urinary tract. This in turn aids in reducing and preventing the risk of urinary tract infections.
It is also effective at reducing bladder disorders.
6. Helps Control Diabetes
The herb dandelion can also help diabetic patients. It stimulates the production of insulin from the pancreas, which in turn keeps the blood sugar level under control.
Plus, dandelion’s diuretic properties help increase urination, which aids in removing excess sugar from the body.
A 2001 study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology reports that treatment with an extract containing dandelion aids in lowering blood sugar in diabetic mice. However, more scientific evidence is needed to support this claim.
Diabetic people are also more prone to kidney and liver problems, and dandelion root helps keep the kidneys and liver healthy.