Most people consider dandelions a weed. But they are unaware of the health benefits of dandelions, which are so numerous that you may want to grow dandelions on purpose. There are over 250 varieties of dandelions for you to grow.
Humans have been consuming this plant throughout history. Dandelion greens can be chopped and eaten both raw or cooked which minimizes its bitter flavor. This plant is also used as a tea, coffee substitute and can be made into a wine.
Those foraging dandelions should make sure not to grab them from areas which are fumigated with weed killers that are quite toxic. Pick an area that’s free from pollution, not close to the road. Young and tender plants are less bitter. Pull out the entire plant to consume its roots. Wash them thoroughly before consuming. Dandelion greens will hold up to a week in the refrigerator if wrapped in a damp paper towel.
Dandelions are one of the first flowers to bloom in spring, serving as a food source for insects and birds.
Nutritional Value of Dandelion
Dandelion greens are mostly water and have very little calories. They also have fiber and carbohydrates. This herb contains over 100 phytochemicals. It is abundant in vitamin A, C, and K, but it also contains vitamin B-6, folate, and vitamin E. Health benefits of dandelion come from its minerals which include calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, phosphorous, and small amounts of zinc, copper, manganese and selenium.
Consume between 4 to 10 grams of fresh or dried leaves per day. Fresh roots can be consumed in doses between 2 and 8 grams. Those using tinctures can consume between 2 to 5 ml up to three times per day.
Tea is made from the flowers, stems and roots of the plant. Dandelion tea is sold online or in health stores. Some mixtures include other herbs such as turmeric. Those that grow dandelion can steep plant parts in boiled water for 30 minutes.
Health benefits of dandelion can be consumed from the roasted roots that look and taste very similar to regular coffee. This type of coffee does not have caffeine, preservatives or additives. However, it does have many benefits since it is a tonic that cleanses the liver. It also assists the growth of healthy bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, helping get rid of bad bacteria. This coffee is also a diuretic, increasing the amount of fluid expelled through the body. Dandelion roots contain cancer fighting agents that help to aid cell overgrowth.
You can buy dandelion coffee or make your own. Simply clean the root and chop it in a food processor. Place the pieces on a baking sheet inside the oven at 300 F for two hours. Let the roots steep in boiling water for 10 minutes before drinking.
Health Benefits of Dandelion
Our liver produces bile, which helps enzymes break down fats into fatty acids. The liver also breaks down and stores amino acids and glucose, regulates internal functions and synthesizes and metabolizes fats and cholesterol. Health benefits of dandelion ensure that the liver maintains the proper flow of bile. Nutrients and vitamins found in this herb help cleanse the liver, reduce inflammation and prevent the development of disease. Dandelion can also reduce excess fat levels stored in the liver.
Calcium found in dandelion makes up 10 percent of the recommended daily value. This mineral is stored in the structure of bones and teeth. Health benefits of dandelion include improving hormone secretion and nerve transmission. Consuming this plant can help avoid tooth decay and muscle tension or contraction which is caused by calcium deficiency.
Dandelion also contains over 500 percent of the daily value of vitamin K which plays an important role in bone health. This vitamin is the main one involved in bone mineralization, even more useful than calcium. Health benefits of dandelion reduce the risk of bone fractures, especially in postmenopausal women who are more susceptible to osteoporosis.
Calcium deficiency may cause high blood pressure, health benefits of dandelion include this mineral. Vitamin K found in dandelion is very important for blood clotting which is very important during menstruation. Iron, vitamins and proteins found in dandelions can help treat anemia. This diuretic herb can help the body get rid of excess fluids and lower blood pressure. It is also a good source of potassium, which can lower blood pressure of people who have hypertension.
Vitamin K found in dandelion has the ability to reduce the risk of cancer according to a study done in 2014. Dandelion extract can be used to treat several types of cancer including prostate, breast and colon. The root of this herb strengthens the immune system and only kills diseased cells.
Dandelion sap, the milky white substance which comes from the stem, is great for your skin since it is highly alkaline. Research shows that dandelion flower and leaf extracts can serve as protective agents against UVB absorption and damage. Health benefits of dandelion are especially useful when applied prior or immediately after sun exposure.
Health benefits of dandelion also include fungicidal, insecticidal and germicidal properties. This can be used to treat many skin conditions including psoriasis, ringworm and eczema. Vitamin A found in dandelion helps promote skin health. Its anti-inflammatory properties can help with acne.
Pregnant women need vitamin A. This herb can protect women from night blinds in the third trimester. Dandelion also has calcium and iron which are great nutrients during pregnancy. It may help relieve mild edema and nourish the liver.
Health benefits of dandelion consumed in tea or juice can help stimulate production of insulin in the pancreas. Thus keeping the blood sugar levels low. Diabetes happens when the pancreas doesn’t produce enough insulin or the cells cannot process insulin. Glucose is not used properly, so it accumulates in the bloodstream raising sugar levels or resulting in high blood glucose.
Dandelion helps the body reduce excess sugar since it is a diuretic. According to a study, the anti-diabetic properties of dandelion come from bioactive chemical components, such as chicoric acid and sesquiterpene lactones. This herb has anti-inflammatory, anti oxidative and anti-hyperglycemic properties which help diabetic people.
Diets high in fiber help improve digestion and intestinal health. Fiber moves food through the digestive tract quickly. It also draws fluids from the body to add bulk to the stool, thus reducing constipation. Fiber helps improve appetite and soothe digestive ailments. Health benefits of dandelion may include lowering the risk of diverticulosis, dyspepsia and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Research shows that high consumption of fiber helps many conditions such as some cancers, obesity, kidney stones, digestive problems, heart diseases and diabetes.
Dandelion is high in antioxidants which help prevent cell damage, especially those caused by oxidation. Health benefits of dandelion include fighting free radical damage, which causes premature aging, cancer and is dangerous for the body’s tissues. Vitamin A, found in dandelion, helps reduce inflammation by fighting free radical damage that causes DNA damage. It also prevents carcinogenesis. A cup of dandelion tea has over 100 percent of the daily value of vitamin A.
Health benefits of dandelion include its antiviral and antimicrobial properties. Active compounds found in dandelions may protect against harmful bacteria. Its extract can reduce the ability of viruses to replicate. Dandelion traditionally has been used to treat hepatitis.
Diuretic and Urinary
Dandelion root is a natural diuretic, which helps the liver in eliminating toxins. Health benefits of dandelion reduce uric acid and stimulate urine production. This helps fight bacterial infections in the digestive tract and reproductive organs.
Dandelion can also help prevent urinary tract infections. It is often combined with another herb called uva ursi which reduces UTIs in women since it can kill bacteria. Dandelion tea can help treat bladder disorders, kidney problems and cysts on reproductive organs.
Side Effects of Dandelion
Dandelion is generally considered safe for most people. It may cause allergic reactions to those who are allergic to ragweed, daisies, marigolds, yarrow, feverfew and chrysanthemums. This plant’s sap can cause allergic reactions on the skin, as well as itchiness and irritation. Keep away from eyes.
Talk to your doctor before drinking dandelion tea daily. This herb may reduce the absorption and effectiveness of antibiotics. It may also decrease the speed of medication breakdown by the liver. Do not use dandelion if you are taking blood-sugar modulators, since it can result in hypoglycemia.
Diuretic effects of dandelion can decrease the body’s ability to get rid of lithium. Be careful when using the health benefits of dandelion if taking diuretic pills since they can increase lithium and potassium in the body. Pregnant or breastfeeding women should always consult with a specialist before using any herbs.