While many people regard dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) as a noxious weed, it is high in vitamins A, B, C, and D, as well as minerals like iron, potassium, and zinc. Dandelion leaves are used in salads, sandwiches, and teas to add flavor. Some coffee substitutes contain the roots, and the flowers are used to make wine..
Dandelion roots and leaves were once used to treat liver problems. Dandelion was also used by Native Americans to treat kidney disease, swelling, skin problems, heartburn, and upset stomach. Dandelion has been used in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) to treat stomach problems, appendicitis, and breast problems such as inflammation or lack of milk flow. Dandelion was used in European remedies for fever, boils, eye problems, diabetes, and diarrhea.
There have been no high-quality scientific studies on dandelions so far. The roots are now primarily used to stimulate appetite and treat liver and gallbladder problems. Dandelion leaves are used as a diuretic to help the body expel excess fluid.
Nutritional value of Dandelion
One cup of chopped raw dandelion greens (approximately 55g) contains 25 calories, 1.5g protein, 0.4g fat, 5.1g carbohydrates, 1.9g fiber, and 0.4g sugar. Dandelion greens are high in vitamin A, folate, vitamin K, and vitamin C (in their raw form), as well as calcium and potassium.
What are the health benefits of Dandelion?
Although it is commonly dismissed as a tenacious lawn weed, dandelion has been used in many forms of traditional medicine for centuries.
The leaves, roots, and flowers not only add a splash of color to your plate, but they’re also commonly found in herbal teas and supplements, where they’re used as a natural remedy to support blood sugar management and improve skin, liver, and heart health.
Here are some of the potential health benefits of dandelion, as well as some of the common risks and side effects:
Dandelions are highly nutritious plants that are high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber from root to flower.
Dandelion greens can be eaten cooked or raw and are high in vitamins A, C, and K. They are also high in vitamin E, folate, and other B vitamins.
Furthermore, dandelion greens contain a high concentration of minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium.
It contains powerful antioxidants.
Dandelion contains a high concentration of antioxidants, which may explain many of its medicinal properties.
Antioxidants are compounds that help neutralize free radicals, which are molecules produced by normal metabolism but contribute to the risk of chronic disease if levels become too high in your body. As a result, antioxidants are critical for maintaining your body’s health.
It could help fight inflammation.
Dandelion may reduce inflammation due to compounds like polyphenols. Inflammation is the immune system’s normal response to injury or infection. Long-term inflammation, on the other hand, may cause permanent damage to your body’s tissues and DNA.
In vitro studies have found that cells treated with dandelion extract have significantly lower levels of inflammation markers.
May help with blood sugar control
Chicoric and chlorogenic acid are two bioactive compounds found in dandelion that may aid in blood sugar regulation.
Animal and test-tube studies suggest that these compounds may improve insulin secretion — a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels — as well as glucose (sugar) absorption in your muscles. This process improves insulin sensitivity and lowers blood sugar levels.
Blood pressure may be reduced.
Although some people claim that dandelion can lower blood pressure, research is limited. Dandelion is used in traditional herbal medicine for its diuretic effect, with the belief that it can detoxify specific organs.
Diuretic medications are used in Western medicine to rid the body of excess fluid, which may help lower blood pressure levels.
May benefit liver health
According to animal studies, dandelion extract may protect against liver damage and disease. In fact, one animal study discovered that it aided in the prevention of liver damage in mice exposed to sodium dichromate, a compound used to induce liver injury.
Other animal studies have shown that dandelion extract can reduce the amount of fat stored in the liver and protect against oxidative stress.
What Is the Dandelion’s Growing Season?
These are low-maintenance plants that grow in USDA hardiness zones 3-9. Its seeds can be sown from early spring (about six weeks before the last frost) to late summer or early fall, with seedling growth lasting 10 to 14 days. They can grow in soil as cold as 50 degrees Fahrenheit but prefer a hot climate.
Forms of dosage and supplements
Dandelion leaves, stems, and flowers are frequently consumed in their natural state and can be eaten raw or cooked. The dried root is ground and used as a tea or coffee substitute. It is also available as a supplement in the form of a capsule, extract, or tincture.
There are currently no clear dosage guidelines because there has been very little human research. However, available data suggests the following dosages for various dandelion forms:
- 4-10 grams of fresh leaves per day
- 4-10 grams of dried leaves per day
- 0.4-1 teaspoon (2-5 mL) of leaf tincture three times per day
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) of fresh leaf juice twice daily
- 1-2 teaspoons (5-10 mL) of fluid extract daily
- 2-8 grams of fresh roots per day
- 250-1,000 mg dried powder four times per day
Possible consequences and side effects
Dandelion plants are low in toxicity and are probably safe for most people, especially when eaten. Keep in mind, however, that research is still limited and that it isn’t completely risk-free.
This plant may cause allergic reactions, especially in people who are allergic to related plants like ragweed. Contact dermatitis can occur in people who have sensitive skin.
According to an older review, dandelions may also interact with medications such as antibiotics, anticoagulants, and blood sugar medications. If you are taking any prescription medications, check with your doctor before taking dandelion.
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