Dandelions

To many of us, a field of dandelions may conjure images of skipping through a field or a relaxing day in the park. While it is considered to be a weed-like plant by many, the health benefits of dandelion are more than you might expect. They may include relief from liver disorders,diabetes, urinary disorders, jaundice, and even anemia. It might also help in maintaining bone health, skincare, andweight loss. Moreover, dandelion is also known to aid in improving appetite, reducing muscle pain, stomach disorders, and it can help treatbruisesas well.

Dandelion is a flower and is a broad term for many types of flowers that are native to Europe and North America.Taraxacumis the large genus to which these plants belong. They are herbaceous and perennial plants that grow very well in temperate climates. They also reproduce quickly and effectively, so it is possible to cultivate plenty of dandelions at the same time.

Interestingly, dandelion translates into a lions tooth in French. Despite the health benefits of dandelions, they are more popular as ornamental flowering plants than as a medicine. These flowers have a yellow color and are frequently seen in gardens. In terms of history, the plant is believed to have evolved about 30 million years ago in Eurasia.

Dandelion flowers are rich in polyphenols. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

According to the USDA Food Data Central, one cup of choppeddandelion greensare mostly made up of water and low in calories. They also containcarbohydratesandfiber. Other nutrients may include vitamins A, B6, C, and K as well as minerals,ironcalciummagnesiumpotassium, andsodium.[2]

Let us understand the different health benefits of dandelions below.

A study published in theKorea Food Research Institutehas found that dandelion leaf extract may provide relief from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.[3]

Some people also believe that antioxidants likevitamin Cand luteolin, in dandelions, may keep the liver functioning in optimal gear. These nutrients might be able to protect it from toxins and may help treathemorrhagingin the liver.

A study published in 2017 states that inulin, acarbohydrate, can be very helpful in maintaining a healthy gut. It turns out that dandelions contain a good amount of inulin, so adding it to your diet can contribute to improved bacterial flora in the intestinal tract.[4]

Dandelion supplements may aid in maintaining the proper flow of bile, while can also stimulate the liver and promote digestion. Being rich in fiber, dandelions might also aid in lowering the risk of dyspepsia, diverticulosis, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Dandelion is commonly prescribed for children who are experiencingconstipation, as it can be relatively soothing on the stomach.

A research study published inThe Review of Diabetic Studiesrevealed that dandelion exhibits promising anti-diabetic properties. Dandelion juice may aid people with diabetes bystimulatingthe production of insulin from the pancreas, therebyregulating the bloodsugarlevel.Regulated blood sugar and maintained insulin level may help prevent dangerous spikes and plunges in people with diabetes.[5][6]

Dandelion sap, also known as dandelionmilk, may be useful in treatingskindiseases, which are caused by microbial and fungal infections. This treatment stems from the fact that the sap is highly alkaline and has germicidal,insecticidal, and fungicidal properties.[7]

In a 2015 study, dandelion extracts show potential in protecting your skin from UV damage. The research says that excess exposure to UV irradiation may cause premature aging of the skin and dandelion leaf and flower extracts can shield you from that.[8]

Furthermore, dandelion extracts have anti-inflammatoryproperties, which may help curb acne. It also helps inmoisturizingyour skin.[9]

Studies on herbal remedies for weight loss show that dandelion may be helpful. One research suggests that bitter herbs like dandelion, when taken in the form ofteaor infusions, may help in the breakdown of fat. While many people include dandelion in their diet forweight management, an ample amount of research is still awaited to gauge its effect on obesity.[10]

Dandelion may have been traditionally used to relieve symptoms of hepatitis and according to a research, the dandelion supplementsmay aid in treating hepatitis. Anotherstudysuggests that dandelion mayhelp protect theimmune system against various diseases with the potential for developing therapies for certain diseases with reduced side effects. It hasantimicrobialproperties andmayaid in preventing bacterial infections. A 2018studysuggests dandelions haveantibacterialproperties that fightStaphylococcus aureusbacteria.[11][12][13][14]

Dandelions may have good levels of iron, vitamins, andprotein. While iron is an integral part of hemoglobin in the blood,vitamin Band protein are essential for the formation of red blood cells (RBCs) and certain other components of the blood.[15]

Dandelions, being diuretic in nature, may increase urination, both in quantity and frequency. Traditional medicine believes that this can help in detoxifying your body. Anecdotal evidence also suggests that it may help in riding your body of excess fluids, thereby loweringblood pressure.[16]

Dandelion may even be a good source of potassium. This mineral has been connected to lower blood pressure in people who havehypertensionand are not taking any medicines.[17]

Dandelion is a flower and is a broad term for many types of flowers that are native to Europe and North America.

Vitamin A, calcium, and iron, found in dandelions, are great nutrients for any mom-to-be. The American Pregnancy Association suggests that it may help relieve mildedemaand nourish the liver. It might also aid in the third trimester as it can protect pregnant women from night blindness.[18]

The benefits ofdandelion rootsmay also include healthy bones. Research suggests that inulin (a type of soluble fiber) found in the dandelion root may help preventosteoporosis.[19]

There are many ways to include dandelion in your diet as it is available in many forms. Here are the recommended dosages of this plant and its supplements.[20]

Leaf tincture: 2-5 ml, three times a day

Fresh leaf juice: 1 teaspoon twice daily

Dried powder extract: 250-1000 mg four times a day

You can use dandelions in your daily diet in the following ways.

You canmake your own dandelion wine, fry up the flowers into fritters,make coffeeout of the stem, leaves, and seeds, and so much more.

Our recipe ondandelion root tea and dandelion leaf teaare great options if you are looking for a new addition to your breakfast.

If you have dandelion flowers on hand, you can also make a chilled cup ofdandelion flower tea.

You can use dandelion greens in your salads and sandwiches.

Dandelion greenscan be used to make a refreshing pesto.

There are a couple of side effects when you include dandelions in your diet. They are:

Dandelions may help lower blood sugar, but for people already taking blood-sugar modulators, this can result in

If you are allergic to plants like ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, and daisies, you may experience the same with dandelions. The milky sap of dandelions has been known to cause itchiness, irritation, or allergic reactions on the skin, and should be kept away from the eyes.

There is a rare type of fiber in dandelions called inulin and some people have a predisposed sensitivity orallergyto it which can be quite severe.

Note:It is advised that pregnant andbreastfeedingwomen shouldexercisecaution before consuming any herbal tea in any form as it may lead to adverse effects.

Consult your doctor before adding dandelion or its supplements in addition to your normal treatment.

While adding dandelions to your diet in any way, start small and closely monitor your bodys response. Other than that, pick some delicious dandelion greens and get healthy!

Meenakshi Nagdeve, Co-Founder, Organic Factsis a health and wellness enthusiast and is responsible for managing it. She has completed theNutrition And Healthy Living Cornell Certificate Program, Cornell University, US. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM Bangalore and B. Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from IIT Bombay. Prior to this, she worked for a few years in IT and Financial services. An ardent follower ofnaturopathy, she believes in healing with foods. In her free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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Our articles are evidence-based and contain scientific references, fact-checked by experts. We source information from studies, clinical trial findings, and meta-analyses published in peer-reviewed journals.

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