Dandelion is a herb that is so much more than the stubborn weed people view it as. The leaves, roots and flowers can all be used, and it has many health benefits. Here are the uses and health benefits of dandelion as well as some side effects to keep in mind.
Health benefits of dandelion
Dandelions are highly nutritious from root to flower. They are loaded with minerals, vitamins, and fibre. These greens are an excellent source of vitamins A, vitamin C, and vitamin K. They also have vitamin E, folate, iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and small amounts of other B vitamins. The root is rich in soluble fibre which supports the growth and maintenance of healthy gut bacteria in the digestive tract.
Dandelions have beta-carotene which is an antioxidant. Antioxidants protect cells from damage which in turn prevents a variety of health conditions. In the absence of the neutralizing effect of antioxidants, free radicals in the body accelerate ageing and the progression of certain illnesses. The flower of the dandelion is also rich in polyphenols which are another type of antioxidant.
Dandelions contain bioactive compounds that help lower cholesterol. One study in rabbits found that consuming the roots and leaves helped lower cholesterol in animals. Another study in mice found that it reduced total cholesterol and the levels of fat in the liver. Human studies are still required though.
Health And Nutrition: Foods To Improve And Lower Cholesterol Levels
Lower blood pressure
Human studies are limited but it is widely claimed that dandelion may reduce blood pressure. Dandelion contains potassium which is a mineral associated with decreased blood pressure in those with previously elevated levels.
Inflammation is the body’s normal response to injury or infection. It becomes a problem when inflammation is triggered even though there’s no injury or infection to fight. Long-term, this type of inflammation can lead to permanent damage to body tissues and DNA. Dandelion consumption significantly reduces inflammation though more human studies are required.
Health And Nutrition: Foods That Fight Inflammation
Dandelion studies show that it exhibits promising anti-diabetic properties. When juiced it may stimulate the production of insulin, in this way regulating the blood pressure. When blood sugar is regulated and insulin levels maintained, it prevents dangerous spikes and plunges in people with diabetes.
Living with diabetes
Dandelion has long been used as a traditional medicine to treat constipation and improve digestive health. It is a rich source of fibre which reduces constipation and helps promote the movement of food through the digestive system. Fibre supports bowel regularity and protects against digestive conditions.
Dandelions are a rich source of calcium, vitamin C and luteolin, all of which help protect against bone damage and promote bone health. The antioxidants in it also play a key role in bone health and protection.
Health: Tips For Stronger Bones And Teeth
Dandelion has properties that improve the body’s ability to improve carbohydrate metabolism and reduce fat absorption.
Promote liver health
Studies suggest that dandelion extract may help protect against liver damage and disease. It may in fact help prevent liver damage in mice. The fact that it lowers cholesterol also promotes liver health.
Lifestyle: Foods To Eat For A Healthy Liver
Reduce cancer risk
Test tube studies have found that dandelion has properties that help slow the growth of colon, pancreatic and liver cancer.
Boost immune system
Dandelions have both antiviral and antibacterial properties. They have properties that help limit the growth of hepatitis B in both human and animal cells.
Lifestyle: 6 Immune Boosting Foods You Should Eat More
Dandelion may help protect the skin from sun damage by limiting the impact of damaging UV rays.
Dandelion greens can be eaten either raw or cooked. The root can also be eaten whole like other root vegetables. Dried dandelion root is often made into tea.
Dandelion can be taken as herbal/health supplements with the guidance of your doctor.
Risks and side-effects
- Dandelion plants have low toxicity and are safe for most people.
- People with allergies to plants like ragweed, sunflower, daisies, chrysanthemums, marigold, chamomile, feverfew, and yarrow may be allergic to it. Allergic people may experience a rash, watery eyes and other symptoms.
- People with sensitive skin may also get contact dermatitis.
- If you’re on medication, you should speak to your doctor before taking it. This is because of an older review that found that it may interact with certain antibiotics, anticoagulants, and blood sugar.
- People who are pregnant or lactating and children should not take dandelion remedies because of the lack of research into long-term safety.
- Upset stomach
- Irritated skin
Foods To Eat For Healthy Kidneys
Health: Gout Management & Trigger Foods And Remedies