13 Health Benefits Of Dandelion
Despite its reputation as an annoying flower that grows everywhere around the house or on sidewalks, dandelion can provide surprising benefits to human health when added to everyday diet.
In fact, this regular-looking flower has been used as food and medicine for centuries and still manages to remain popular in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. It is not just widely accessible but is easy to include in the diet with a very distinct peppery flavor. Take a look as we delve deeper into the benefits of consuming this nutritious herbal plant.
What Is A Dandelion?
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is a yellow-colored flowering plant, which is often regarded as a weed but one with potent health benefits. This plant is commonly found across North America and Europe and contains anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antibacterial properties.
It is a hardy plant, which can be easily grown in low-sunlight areas with very low effort. The roots, flowers, stems, and leaves of dandelions can all be used for medicinal purposes. So, if you are looking to heal your body naturally then this herbal flower plant can be worth considering.
1. Dandelion Contain High Antioxidants
Antioxidant's major role is to neutralize the harmful effects of free radicals. The human body produces free radicals naturally, which can harm the aging process or the progression of certain types of diseases.
An antioxidant called Beta-carotene found in Dandelions protects the cells from damage. As per several studies, carotenoids like beta-carotene are extremely essential for minimizing cell damage. Additionally, the flower of the dandelion also contains other types of essential antioxidants named flavonoids and polyphenols.
2. May Fight Against Inflammation
Inflammation is a natural response of our body to any kind of injury or illness. However, excessive inflammation can cause irreversible damage to the body's tissues and DNA. It is also linked to other health issues such as cancer and heart disease.
Dandelion contains numerous bioactive components like polyphenols, which may be useful in reducing inflammation throughout the body. A study conducted in 2014 also found that chemicals present in this herbal plant had several positive effects on reducing inflammatory responses. So, including dandelion in the diet is the best way to stay healthy.
3. Regulates Blood Sugar
This powerful herbal plant contains two beneficial compounds; chlorogenic and chicoric acid, that may contribute to blood sugar levels. These particular compounds can be found in all parts of the plants, so whether you consume the leaves, root, or stem, you'll get all the benefits from it.
Research has found that these chlorogenic and chicoric acids work by boosting pancreatic insulin secretion while enhancing glucose absorption in the muscles. They also improve insulin sensitivity which eventually lowers blood sugar levels. Another study also suggested that properties found in dandelions such as antioxidative, antihyperglycemic, and anti-inflammatory may help treat type 2 diabetes.
4. Lower Cholesterol Level
Bringing the cholesterol level down is crucial for those who want to reduce the risk of heart disease and other health issues. Research has shown that dandelion could reduce hyperlipidemia. High lipid levels in the blood include cholesterol.
According to the research, those who consume dandelion, especially the root part have a decrease in their cholesterol level. Moreover, it has been found that consuming dandelion tea helps lower bad cholesterol by 30 percent as the tea contains phytosterols, which are phytonutrient compounds known to reduce cholesterol.
5. Supports Thyroid Health
The thyroid is a small gland in front of the neck, it helps regulate the body's metabolism and energy levels by controlling the energy your body uses. Also, a healthy thyroid helps to keep hair, and skin healthy and regulates mood swings.
Unfortunately, humans tend to deteriorate their thyroid as they don't get enough iodine. The best way to get the benefit of iodine is to consume salt but if you don't like it, you can consume dandelion as it provides you a daily dose of iodine. Dandelion root contains high levels of antioxidants which help improve thyroid function.
6. Treat Urinary Tract Infections
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) is a common infection that is caused when bacteria enter the urethra and infect the urinary tract. To aid some relief and treat the urine infection, you can start adding dandelion into your daily diet.
Every part of dandelion is powerful and provides the same nutritional value but the tea made from dandelion is considered best for this infection. They are rich in substances like nitriles, phenylacetic acid, and vomifoliol, which contain diuretic and antimicrobial properties. These properties help to treat a UTI by increasing urine elimination and decreasing the quantity of bacteria.
7. Manages Blood Pressure
Individuals who suffer from pre-hypertension or hypertension can shift to dandelions as they can help improve and regulate blood pressure. As mentioned earlier, dandelion contains diuretic properties, which increase urine output and flush our excess water and salt by boosting potassium levels.
Potassium present in dandelion plays a major role in regulating blood pressure, helps to keep the heart healthy, and prevents damage to the kidneys and other organs. Also, the herbal plant is rich in magnesium, minerals that lower blood pressure by regulating blood flow.
8. Boost Immune System
The immune system is a huge network of organs, antibodies, chemicals, and white blood cells that defend the body against any type of infection and disease. So, if you want to stay healthy and away from medicine and hospital start consuming dandelions regularly.
Dandelions fight off harmful infections and protect against harmful bacteria. This powerful plant may contain antibacterial and antiviral properties, both of which help to improve immunity which benefits overall health. You can include this herbal plant as a morning cup of tea or can consume it at your preference.
9. Promotes Healthy Bones
The nutritional profile of dandelion signifies that it contributes to maintaining strong and healthy bones. Dandelions are a great source of calcium and vitamin K, which play a crucial role in bone health.
Research has suggested that increased intake of Vitamin K lowers blood levels of osteocalcin, a protein found in bones. This means consuming more leafy greens, such as dandelions may help prevent bone loss and promote healthy bone. Similarly, fiber and antioxidants in dandelion play an important role in bone health.
10. Support Liver Health
Dandelion root may improve liver health in several ways, so sipping dandelion tea consistently can help your body perform the detoxification process and eventually improve liver health. The plant dandelion has become popular as a detoxifier and is considered a liver-friendly supplement.
This herbal plant is a great source of liver-friendly compounds called saponin. It basically helps replenish and rejuvenate our body in the detoxification process. Moreover, dandelion tea also consists of some types of enzymes that help to accelerate and strengthen the metabolism of the liver and reduce the risk of liver cancer.
11. May Treat Skin Problems
The dandelion extract may protect against skin damage that is caused by sunlight, aging as well as acne. One study suggested that a fermented broth of dandelion extract prevents skin damage when applied before exposure to UVB radiation, the radiation that occurs from sunlight.
There is also a study that showed dandelion root extract increased new cell generation and reduced the process of aging. The extract of dandelion may also help reduce skin inflammation and irritation while increasing hydration and collagen production and also considered useful to prevent and treat acne problems.
12. Promotes Healthy Digestion
Dandelions contain prebiotic fibers which are known to promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria. This herbal plant has been used by health practitioners for centuries and is most often consumed as tea or tincture to manage indigestion, constipation, and inflammation.
They may help stimulate the production of bile, a fluid that's naturally produced by the liver which helps break down dietary fats during digestion. Dandelions also contain inulin, a type of prebiotic fiber that supports healthy bacteria found in the gut.
13. Aid During Weight Loss
Some research has suggested that dandelions and their compound may support the process of weight loss and help control the weight. Dandelions have the ability to improve carbohydrate metabolism and reduce fat absorption, which may lead to weight loss.
A study also found that chlorogenic acid, one of a compound found in dandelion helps to reduce body weight, decrease fat accumulation, and alter levels of specific proteins involved in weight control. However, there is not enough research on humans as of now.
Ways To Consume Dandelion
The best thing about this powerful herbal plant is that every part of the plant is edible and each part has been used for several medicinal purposes. Here are some of the easy ways to consume dandelion:
- You can include dandelions in a salad, toss a few dandelion green leaves into your vegetable salad, and enjoy it as an evening meal.
- Sauted Dandelions can also be a good option as cooking removes their bitterness and can make you full for a longer period of time.
- Add dandelion flower petals to bakery items like muffins, cooking, or even plain bread.
- The most popular and loved way of consuming dandelion is in the form of tea.
Recommended Dosage Of Dandelions
Dandelion is also popularly available as a supplement in the form of capsules, extracts, or tinure. As of now, there are no clear dosage guidelines but some available data suggests the following dosages for every form of dandelion:
- Fresh leaves: 4 to 10 grams daily
- Dried leaves: 4 to 10 grams daily
- Leaf tincture: 0.4 to 1 teaspoon three times per day
- Fresh leaf juice: 1 teaspoon twice daily
- Fluid extract: 1 to 2 teaspoons daily
- Fresh roots: 2 to 8 grams daily
- Dried powder: 250 to 1,000 milligrams four times per day
Side Effects And Potential Risk Of Dandelions
Generally, dandelion is considered safe to consume in moderation. However, the overconsumption of this herb can cause several gastrointestinal side effects like Heartburn, Diarrhea, and upset stomach.
Therefore, it is recommended dandelions should be used with caution in people who suffer from irritable bowel disease, gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or any other chronic gastrointestinal disorders.
Dandelions have been known to cause allergic reactions on very rare occasions including a potentially life-threatening allergy called anaphylaxis. The risk of this allergy is high for those people with allergies to plants such as sunflowers, marigolds, feverfew, daisies, etc.
Similarly, they can also interact with certain medicines ad affect their absorption process. Make sure to get advice from a doctor before consuming any type of dandelion supplement. And immediately go to the hospital if you have signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis, such as:
- Abnormal Heartbeats
- Swelling of face, mouth, or throat
- Shortness of Breathe
- Sudden Outbreak of Hives or Rash
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