Although dandelion is often overlooked as just a pesky weed, it is actually a welcomed addition to both your kitchen and your medicine cabinet. Both the root and greens are packed with health-promoting properties, can tackle a wide range of health problems and the roasted roots can even make a delicious coffee substitute!
The small but potent dandelion can offer its help with:
From filtering toxins to metabolizing drugs, the liver is essential to many aspects of health. If it gets clogged, the toxins soon start to build up in all of our organs, making the perfect environment for the development of illnesses. Dandelion is the perfect helper to keep your liver happy and healthy. It is one of the top cleansing herbs most commonly used and recommended by herbalists.
The Dandelion is especially good in detoxification of the liver, while also restoring hydration. It contains a bitter compound, ‘taraxacerin’ which increases the level of bile secreted by the gallbladder, helping the liver to detoxify more efficiently.
Amazingly, dandelion was also shown to prevented damage to the liver caused by alcohol toxicity.
Dandelion supports the detoxification and cleansing of the digestive tract, especially from the effects of overconsumption of fatty foods, coffee and prescription medicines. It can be effectively combined with Milk Thistle – another digestive and liver supportive herb – to gently move toxins from the body.
Known as a “bitter tonic”, Dandelion stimulates digestion and acts as a mild laxative by softening the stool, thus preventing constipation. The bitter taste comes from the mineral sulphur, which is essential for protein synthesis, liver detoxification, enzyme activity, healthy skin, hair and nails.
High cholesterol is one of the major contributors to coronary heart disease. This waxy substance can build up in the blood vessels, causing arteries to become hardened and narrow and making it harder for blood to flow through.
When combined with regular physical activity and a healthy diet, including a serving of dandelion root or leaf in your day could help keep your heart healthy and ward off heart disease.
Dandelion is a great aid in keeping your cholesterol levels healthy. In one study, it was shown that dandelion led to a reduction in total cholesterol, triglycerides and bad LDL cholesterol as well as an increase in beneficial HDL cholesterol.
Rich in Antioxidants
Free radicals are compounds that form in your body as a result of things like stress, pollution, and a poor diet. Over time, the accumulation of free radicals can lead to cell damage and chronic disease. Antioxidants can help neutralize free radicals and have been shown to reduce the risk of conditions like heart disease and cancer.
Every part of the dandelion plant is rich in antioxidants that prevent free-radical damage to cells and DNA, slowing down the aging process in cells. It is rich in vitamin C and vitamin A as well as beta-carotene, and increases the liver’s production of superoxide dismutase (SOD). Studies have shown that SOD plays a critical role in reducing internal inflammation and lessening pain associated with conditions such as arthritis.
Diuretic properties & Kidney health
The diuretic properties of Dandelion help remove excess fluid and salt from the body, which has been shown to lower blood pressure and treat a number of health-related problems. It also inhibits microbial growth in the urinary system, preventing and healing any infections in the kidneys or the bladder.
Dandelion’s astringent nature helps to pull out excess fluids and toxins in the liver (where they tend to concentrate) and releases them through the urine. Unlike other diuretics, which are known to drain away potassium from the body, Dandelion is a great choice due to its high potassium levels. It will release the toxins from your body, while keeping all the important elements needed for its proper functioning.
Inflammation is a natural immune response by your body when your tissues or cells are under attack by pathogens like harmful bacteria and viruses.
In the case of certain autoimmune diseases like arthritis, the body’s immune response is triggered though there is no real threat, resulting in damage to tissues and inflammation.
Dandelion has an overall anti-inflammatory effect on the body, but especially on the lungs and intestines. If you suffer from inflammation, dandelion works as a natural remedy to provide relief and prevent the development of many inflammatory-related diseases.
Improves Bone Health
Dandelion can be a natural and effective way to keep your bones healthy and fight osteoporosis. It has a high amount of calcium, which is the building block of your bones.
Dandelions are also very rich in vitamin K, an important contributor to preventing osteoporosis by reducing bone loss and maintaining the mineral density in bones.
Helps Fight Anemia
Dandelion has been used in North American folk medicine to treat a wide variety of ailments including anemia.
Adding dandelion to your diet is an excellent way to increase the number of red blood cells and the amount of hemoglobin. This is largely due to the fact that the herb is rich in iron, with 1 cup containing twice as much iron as spinach, but also other nutrients that help protect the red blood cells from free radical damage and increase their number.
Promotes Eye Health
Dandelion greens are jam-packed with vitamin A, fulfilling 112 percent of the daily requirements in each cup. Vitamin A is an important nutrient when it comes to eye health. In fact, vitamin A deficiency can even lead to blindness in some cases.
A higher intake of vitamin A was linked to a significantly lower risk of age-related macular degeneration, an eye disease that causes vision loss.
Including dandelion greens and other vitamin A-rich fruits and vegetables in your diet can help keep your eyes healthy and promote better vision.
Good for Weight Loss
Dandelion can be helpful for those looking to lose weight. Because it helps to naturally detoxify the liver and body, it also encourages the release of excess body fat.In addition, the bitter components help to metabolize fat and cholesterol which is important for weight loss.
Dandelion greens are extremely low in calories with just 25 calories in each cup. They also contain a good amount of fiber, which can help keep you feeling full. Including a few servings of dandelion greens in your diet may reduce hunger and promote satiety, which can help ease weight loss.
Pair dandelion greens with regular exercise and a nutritious diet to optimize your results and lose weight fast.
The Bitter Taste
Dandelion root and dandelion leaves are known for their bitter quality. The ‘bitter taste’ in Ayurvedic medicine helps to break up congestion in the liver, decrease water retention and sooth/cool itchy skin conditions as well as improve digestion. It is good to include the bitter taste in your diet on a daily basis. This includes eating plenty of green leafy vegetables, like dandelion greens, as well as bitter root teas like dandelion root.
In the old days of herbal medicine, we would make something called ‘digestive bitters.’ This was a liquid extract with dandelion root or leaf as the main ingredient along with other digestive herbs and spices. When taken before meals it helps to stimulate the digestive juices.