Dandelion is an herb. People use the above ground parts and root to make medicine.
Dandelion is used for many conditions, but so far, there isn’t enough scientific evidence to determine whether or not it is effective for any of them.
Dandelion is used for loss of appetite, upset stomach, intestinal gas, gallstones, joint pain, muscle aches, eczema, and bruises.
It is also used to increase urine production and as a laxative to increase bowel movements. It is also used as skin toner, blood tonic, and digestive tonic.
Some people use dandelion to treat infection, especially viral infections, and cancer.
How does it work?
Dandelion contains chemicals that may increase urine production and decrease swelling (inflammation).
Health Benefits Of Dandelion
The health benefits of dandelions include the following:
Dandelions are rich in calcium, which is essential for the growth and strength of bones, and they are rich in antioxidants like vitamin-C and Luteolin, which protect bones from age-related damage.
This inevitable damage is often due to free radicals, and is frequently seen as bone frailty, weakness, and decreased density.
Dandelions can help the liver in many ways.
While the antioxidants like vitamin-C and Luteolin keep the liver functioning in optimal gear and protect it from aging, other compounds in dandelions help treat hemorrhaging in the liver.
Furthermore, dandelions aid in maintaining the proper flow of bile, while also stimulating the liver and promoting digestion.
Proper digestion can reduce the chances of constipation, which in turn reduces the risk of more serious gastrointestinal issues.
Dandelion juice can help diabetic patients by stimulating the production of insulin from the pancreas, thereby keeping the blood sugar level low.
Since dandelions are diuretic in nature, they increase urination in diabetic patients, which helps remove the excess sugar from the body.
Diabetics are also prone to renal problems, so the diuretic properties of dandelion can help removing the sugar deposition in the kidneys through increased urination.
Furthermore, dandelion juice is slightly bitter to taste, which effectively lowers the sugar level in the blood, as all bitter substances do.
Consistently lower blood sugar and a more regulated system of insulin release prevents dangerous spikes and plunges for diabetic patients, so dandelion extracts can be a perfect solution!
Dandelions are highly diuretic in nature, so they help eliminate deposits of toxic substances in the kidneys and the urinary tract.
The disinfectant properties of dandelions also inhibit microbial growth in the urinary system.
In fact, the diuretic properties of dandelions are so strong that in France, the flower is also called “pissenlit” which means “urinate in bed”.
Dandelion sap, also known as dandelion milk, is useful in treating skin diseases 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.
You should be careful while using this sap, and avoid any contact with the eyes.
This sap can be used on itches, ringworm, eczema, and other skin conditions without the risk of side effects or hormonal disturbances commonly caused by pharmaceutical skin treatments.
Jaundice is primarily a disorder of the liver in which the organ starts overproducing bile, which ultimately enters the bloodstream and wreaks havoc on the body’s metabolism.
The excess bile is also reflected through color of the skin, and eyes, which typically develop a yellow tint. The treatment of jaundice includes three main steps.
First, you need to curb the production of bile.
Second, you must remove the excess bile from the body, and third, you have to fight the underlying viral infection.
Dandelions are very helpful in all of these steps. It promotes liver health and regulates bile production.
Being diuretic in nature, it promotes urination, where the excess bile can be eliminated.
Finally, as an antioxidant and disinfectant due to the presence of vitamin-C and Luteolin, it fights viral infections as well.
It is most beneficial when taken with sugarcane juice, since it replaces the sugar in the body that is significantly lowered due to the impact of excess bile.
A lack of sugar can cause extreme fatigue and weakness, so dandelions help boost your energy levels after infection!
Certain components of dandelion, namely the high levels of dietary fiber, make it a beneficial aid for digestion and proper intestinal health.
Dietary fiber stimulates healthy bowel movements by adding bulk to stool, and also reduces chances of constipation as well as diarrhea.
It regulates bowel movements, which can prevent more serious gastrointestinal issues.
This is commonly prescribed for children who are experiencing constipation, as it is relatively soothing on the stomach.
It has also been used to stimulate the appetite, particularly following trauma or surgery.
Dandelions have relatively good levels of iron, vitamins, and protein content.
While iron is the integral part of hemoglobin in the blood, vitamins like vitamin-B and protein are essential for the formation of red blood cells and certain other components of the blood.
This way dandelion can help anemic people keep their condition in check.
High Blood Pressure
Urination is an effective way of lowering blood pressure. In fact, most of the modern medicines for lowering blood pressure are based on this phenomenon.
Dandelion juice, being diuretic in nature, increases urination, both in quantity and frequency. Therefore, it helps lower high blood pressure.
The fiber in dandelion is also helpful in reducing cholesterol and thereby assists in lowering blood pressure, since cholesterol is one of the factors that increases blood pressure.
Finally, there is the high potassium content of dandelions, which is very effective in lowering blood pressure by replacing sodium.
Gall Bladder Disorders
Dandelions are very beneficial for the gall bladder and liver, because they improve their general functioning, protects them from ill effects of oxidants and infections, and regulates the various secretions from both organs.
Powerful Antioxidant, Resistant to Swelling
Dandelion contains chemicals whose biological activities are actively being explored for roles in human health.
In particular, evidence suggests that dandelion contains antioxidant and redness-resistant compounds.
One study investigated the antioxidative effects of dandelion root in rabbits fed a high-cholesterol diet.
Results showed that dandelion positively affected antioxidant enzyme activities and lipid profiles.
Researchers believe this suggests dandelion could protect against oxidative stress related to certain circulatory disorders.
History of Dandelions
The first mention of the Dandelion as a medicine is in the works of the Arabian physicians of the tenth and eleventh centuries.
Who speak of it as a sort of wild Endive, under the name of Taraxcacon.
In this country, we find allusion to it in the Welsh medicines of the thirteenth century.
Dandelion was much valued as a medicine in the times of Gerard and Parkinson, and is still extensively employed.
The roots have long been largely used on the Continent, and the plant is cultivated largely in India as a remedy for liver complaints. Dandelion (Indian Name: – Kukraundha or Kanphool) is a hardly perennial herb and a tasty salad vegetable.
The flower stems of this plant grows up to a height of 30 cm.
The sharply toothed leaves from flat rosettes on the ground. The common name dandelion comes from the French dent de lion, meaning lion’s tooth and refers to the dentate leaf edges.
A very common plant, dandelion grows wild almost everywhere. Dandelion is a native of Europe.
In India it is found through Himalayas. Nutritionally, the dandelion has remarkable value. It contains almost as much iron as spinach, four times Vitamin A content.
An analysis of dandelion shows it to consist of protein, fat and carbohydrates.
Its mineral and Vitamin contents are calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, sodium, Vitamin A and C.
The root is perennial and tapering
The root is perennial and tapering, simple or more or less branched, attaining in a good soil a length of a foot or more and 1/2 inch to an inch in diameter.
Old roots divide at the crown into several heads.
The root is fleshy and brittle, externally of a dark brown, internally white and abounding in an inodorous milky juice of bitter, but not disagreeable taste.
Only large, fleshy and well-formed roots should be collected, from plants two years old, not slender, forked ones.
Roots produced in good soil are easier to dig up without breaking, and are thicker and less forked than those growing on waste places and by the roadside.
Collectors should, therefore only dig in good, free soil, in moisture and shade, from meadowland.
Dig up in wet weather, but not during frost, which materially lessens the activity of the roots.
Avoid breaking the roots, using a long trowel or a fork, lifting steadily and carefully.
Shake off as much of the earth as possible and then cleanse the roots, the easiest way being to leave them in a basket in a running stream so that the water covers them, for about an hour, or shake them, bunched, in a tank of clean water.
Cut off the crowns of leaves, but be careful in so doing not to leave any scales on the top.
Do not cut or slice the roots or the valuable milky juice on which their medicinal value depends will be wasted by bleeding.
The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) continues to treat dandelion as a weed. The agency’s official position is: “There is no convincing reason for believing it possesses any therapeutic virtues.” Many herbalists of today disagree with that.
They say that the FDA forgot to read their Ralph Waldo Emerson.
“What is a weed?” Emerson wrote. “A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.”
Thanks to some modern herbalists the dandelion’s virtues have been well documented. Studies show that the dandelion to be a rich source of vitamins and minerals.
The leaves have the highest vitamin A content of all greens.
Herbalists say that dandelion root heads the list of excellent foods for the liver because of its relatively high amounts of choline which is an important nutrient for the liver.
Dandelion leaves are a diuretic, meaning that they help flush excess water from the body.
Dandelion flowers are well endowed with lecithin, a nutrient that has been proven useful in various liver ailments.
Side Effects and Safety
Dandelion is LIKELY SAFE for most people when used in the amounts commonly found in food. It is POSSIBLY SAFE when used in medicinal amounts (larger amounts than those found in food).
Special Precautions & Warnings:
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of dandelion during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Ragweed allergy: Dandelion can cause allergic reactions when taken by mouth or applied to the skin of sensitive people.
People who are allergic to ragweed and related plants (daisies, chrysanthemums, marigolds) are likely to be allergic to dandelion.
If you have allergies, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking dandelion.
More Possible Dandelion Side Effects and Interactions
Dandelions can cause allergic reactions when taken by mouth or applied to the skin of sensitive people.
If you’re allergic to ragweed and related plants (daisies, chrysanthemums, marigolds), you’re likely to be allergic to dandelion.
If you have allergies, be sure to check with your health care provider before taking dandelion.
Dandelion might decrease how much antibiotic the body absorbs. Taking dandelion along with antibiotics might decrease the effectiveness of some antibiotics.
Some antibiotics that might interact with dandelion include ciprofloxacin, enoxacin, norfloxacin, sparfloxacin, trovafloxacin and grepafloxacin.
Taking dandelion might decrease how well the body gets rid of lithium because of its diuretic properties.
This could increase how much lithium is in the body and result in serious side effects.
There is also potassium in some diuretic pills, so be careful when taking these “water pills” because you don’t want too much lithium or potassium in the body.
Dandelion might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications.
Before taking dandelion, talk to your health care provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver.
Some of these types of medications include amitriptyline, haloperidol, ondansetron, propranolol, theophylline and verapamil.
How to Pick and Use Dandelion Flowers
If you pick your own dandelions, make sure to avoid areas where weed-killer may have been sprayed. You don’t want to consume the nasty chemicals found in weed-killer!
Try to pick from an area that is free from pollution, too. You want to look for the younger and tender plants; they’re less bitter.
You can also find bunches of dandelion plants in your local health store.
If you plan on using the roots, dig down deep and pull up the entire mass — sometimes it’s attached to several stems.
Clean it with water until all of the dirt is removed. You can use the raw root to make tea or roast the root to make coffee.
Once you’re ready to eat your dandelions, make sure to wash them thoroughly. They can be stored in the refrigerator for a week — sometimes wrapping the greens in a damp paper towel keeps them fresh longer.
Dandelion greens can be sauteed, boiled and eaten raw. You can also make your own dandelion tea, which is a healthy alternative to coffee.
Dandelion Nutrition Facts
Dandelions are native to Eurasia and North America; the two species, T. officinale and T. erythrospermum, are found as weeds worldwide.
The name dandelion comes from the French word dent-de-lion, meaning “lion’s tooth.” Dandelion plants are from the Asteraceae family and part of the Taraxacum species.
They look like very small flowers that are collected together into a flower head, or floret.
Many Taraxacum species produce seeds asexually by apomixis, meaning the seeds can be produced without pollination. This is why dandelions are genetically identical to the parent plant.
The leaves of a dandelion flower are typically five to 25 centimeters long. The flower heads are a yellow to orange color; they open in the daytime and stay closed at night.
When you break the stem of a dandelion, it exudes a white and milky liquid. When the flowerhead matures, it becomes a white ball that contains many seeds and fine hairs.
It’s safe (and healthy) to eat an entire dandelion. The stem or floret can be eaten raw, boiled or infused into tea.
One cup of dandelion greens contains:
- 25 calories
- 42 milligrams of sodium
- 218 milligrams of potassium
- 5 grams of carbohydrates
- 7 percent dietary fiber
- 535 percent vitamin K
- 111 percent vitamin A
- 32 percent vitamin C
- 5 percent vitamin B6
- 10 percent calcium
- 9 percent iron
- 5 percent magnesium