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Did you know there are health benefits of dandelions? Yes, dandelions are those cute but persistent little yellow flowers you can’t seem to keep out of your yard.
You may be surprised to know that they aren’t just a pesky weed. They actually have many valuable purposes.
Even though a quick Google search will label them as weeds, botanists actually consider them herbs. In fact, they have been used for their medicinal properties since ancient times in alternative medicine.
Many species of this flower exist all over the world. T taraxacum Officinale is the scientific name for the most common type of dandelions and the species you most likely have in your yard.
12 Health Benefits of Dandelions
Dandelions are highly nutritious plants from root to flower. They are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Vitamin c is abundant in dandelion and so are iron, potassium, and zinc. Even more than their nutritional benefits, they offer powerful healing properties to be used as an herbal remedy for many issues as well.
Keep in mind that most studies on the benefits of dandelions have been done on animals and not humans. Animal studies are not conclusive for humans, but the widespread use of dandelions for their health benefits has proven them safe in general.
Be sure to keep reading for the possible side effects of consuming dandelions.
Relieves constipation and aid in digestion
Dandelion root extract can be used as a mild laxative, which helps with digestion in those who struggle with digestive issues.
Dandelion is used to calm an upset stomach as well.
May promote liver health
Dandelion extract is said to protect against liver damage and liver disease. More research is needed in studies on humans, but this is a great possible benefit.
Antioxidants are what work to neutralize the harmful effects of free radicals and oxidative stress in our bodies.
Free radicals are naturally produced by our bodies but they speed up the aging process and accelerate the progression of certain diseases by damaging cells in the body.
Antioxidant-containing plants and their protective effects are an important part of a healthy diet to prevent permanent damage to cells in the body.
Dandelions contain the antioxidant beta-carotene. Beta-carotene helps protect cells from damage. Your entire body is made up of billions of cells, so this is very beneficial to your health.
The flower of the dandelion contains flavonoids and polyphenols, other types of antioxidants that fight free radicals as well.
Dandelions may help lower a person’s cholesterol because of the bioactive compounds they contain.
Be sure to talk to your doctor about this before adding it to your diet if you have high cholesterol and are taking medications to reduce your cholesterol levels. Especially if you’re taking medications as your need your medication could be reduced by the use of dandelions to treat high cholesterol.
May aid in weight loss
Some research done in mice indicates that dandelion extract could aid in weight loss or maintenance by decreasing fat accumulation.
Some researchers suggest that dandelions’ can improve carbohydrate metabolism and may lead to weight loss.
Though the data is inconclusive and more studies need to be done on humans, this isn’t a bad possible side effect if you’re using dandelion for other things anyway.
A study on cells found that dandelion may have an anti-inflammatory effect.
Inflammation is a normal response in our bodies, but chronic inflammation can cause disease and long-term damage to our bodies.
Some tests on cells showed significantly reduced inflammation markers in cells treated with dandelion extract.
Regulates blood sugar
Dandelions may help regulate blood sugar, because they contain compounds that are anti-hyperglycemic. That combined with the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties helps treat type 2 diabetes.
Remember to check with your doctor if you’re already being treated for type 2 diabetes.
Lowers blood pressure
Dandelions have heart health benefits, because their leaves are a good source of potassium.
Clinical evidence shows that potassium can lower high blood pressure and help prevent heart disease.
Dandelions are also a natural diuretic, which can help lower blood pressure by removing salt from the body.
Dandelion may also be a good substitute for blood thinners for some people. Make sure you check with your healthcare provider before trying this.
Reduces the risk of some cancers
There is some research that has shown that dandelion may help reduce the growth of some cancer cells. This research has only been done in test tubes so far, but the results have been promising.
The benefits have been seen with liver, pancreatic, colon, and prostate cancer.
Dandelion can help boost the immune system because it has both antiviral and antibacterial properties. Its anti-inflammatory properties also contribute to a stronger immune system.
Keeps the skin healthy
Interesting research shows that dandelion may actually be able to help protect the skin for sun damage.
One study conducted on skin cells in a test tube found that dandelion could reduce the damaging impact of UV light on the skin.
It also has a history in folk medicine as a treatment for skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, acne, and skin rashes.
Improve bone health
Dandelion greens are a good source of calcium and vitamin K. Both of these are vital in the development and health of our bones.
Possible Side Effects
Dandelion plants are generally safe for most people. They have low toxicity, especially when they are consumed as food.
Keep in mind that the research on the use of dandelion in humans is, so far, very limited.
So, not only are the benefits not entirely clear, the complete list of possible side effects aren’t either.
Dandelion extract is more potent and more likely to cause adverse reactions. When possible, it may be better to stick to eating dandelions flowers, leaves, and stems, rather than using the extract.
It’s said that people who are allergic to plants like ragweed may experience allergic reactions to dandelion, including contact dermatitis.
It is also possible for the plant to interact with some medications. Specifically certain types of antibiotics, anticoagulants, and blood sugar drugs.
Always consult your health care provider before consuming dandelion if you are taking any prescription medications or have any known health issues.
Ways to Consume Dandelions
Dandelions are completely edible from the flower to the leaves and all the way down to the stem.
There are also several different ways to prepare and consume the whole plant and each part of this beneficial plant on it’s own.
Fresh dandelion leaves, or dandelion greens, are best when they are young before they get bitter.
Dandelion leaves can be boiled and then sautéed as you would any other green. They can be consumed raw or cooked, but will probably taste better cooked.
Young leaves that are removed before the flower blooms can taste great mixed in with other salad greens.
Dried dandelion leaves can be used as an herb mixture to be added to foods. They can also be used to make dandelion tea.
Dandelion herb mixtures are great on top of soups and meats.
A dandelion tincture is made from both/or fresh and dried roots soaked in alcohol or vinegar. This pulls out the active ingredients of the plant and concentrates them into a liquid.
Fresh leaf juice
Dandelion leaves can be juiced into a green juice shot or mixed in with fruits and vegetables for a healthy smoothie.
If the flower has already bloomed, the leaves may be bitter, so mixing with fruit can fix that problem.
Liquid leaf extract
This is a more potent form of dandelion and should be used with caution, especially if you’re taking medications or have health issues.
You can add this extract to foods and drinks, or put it in a pill capsule.
Dandelion roots can be peeled, boiled, and then serviced like you would any other root vegetable like carrots or parsnips.
Dried dandelion powder can be added to water or juice. It can also be added to hot water for dandelion tea.
Dandelion flowers can be added to salads, soups, or used as a garnish on meats or other meals. They can be consumed raw or cooked.
The wine is made with a blend of dandelion flowers, sugar, lemon, and other fruits. It typically only has a mild alcohol content and great potential benefits for your health.
Dandelion is an overall great addition to add to your arsenal of chronic disease fighting supplements.
Dietary supplements come in different forms including pills, capsules, powders, tinctures, and extracts.
Supplements are easy to find in grocery stores, health food stores, online, or anywhere herbal medicine is sold. There are many popular forms of dandelion supplements. Here are a few of the best ones we found.
Organic Dandelion Root Tea Powder
This dried dandelion root powder is concentrated and will last quite a while if used as directed. It packs all of the health benefits into an enjoyable warm drink.
This is a great coffee substitute if you’re looking to replace your caffeinated morning drink.
Herb Pharm Certified Organic Dandelion Liquid Extract
This dandelion liquid extract is great for treating inflammation and has been said to help with allergies.
Dandelion Extract Capsule
Powerful extract in an easy-to-take capsule for those who don’t favor the taste of dandelion tea or liquid extract.
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