When we think of dandelions, we most likely envision a yellow blossom that matures into a white puffball. We think of when we were children and would pick these little weeds, blow the white fuzz into the air, not knowing that we were seeding the field with more weeds as the wind carried each little seed. However, this little weed’s root and tops have been used for medicinal purposes all over the world. So as much as we hate seeing this yellow flower sprout throughout our lawn every year, we may want to rethink our opinion of the dandelion, because it can offer us some really great health benefits.
Chinese herbalists traditionally used dandelion root to treat digestive disorders, inflammation of the breast in women, milk flow in lactating women and appendicitis. Native Americans also used dandelion root to treat skin disorders, swelling, stomach problems, and disease of the kidneys.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, dandelions rank in the top 4 green vegetables in overall nutritional value. The nutrients in dandelions are far better than many other green vegetables that we consume on a daily basis. The dandelion root contains great sources of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin D, and the B-complex. It also contains minerals like iron, potassium, and zinc. The high iron and zinc in dandelion are great for treating individuals with anemia.
Dandelion root has also been known to assist individuals with diabetes. Studies have shown that the dandelion helps regulate and lower blood sugar levels and cholesterol, making it an excellent aid for balancing blood sugar.
A recent study has shown that consuming dandelion extract can increase urination frequency and act as an herbal diuretic. Dandelion root has been used as a gentle laxative and has also been used to treat liver, kidney and other digestive problems. Because of its iron content, its diuretic effect can help rid the liver of toxins.
Dandelion root has been found to have significant amounts of antioxidants as well as anti-inflammatory activities. This being said it has been used to treat skin disorders such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis. Its antioxidant properties have also been linked to treatment of certain types of cancer.
As with any natural herb, there are side effects and one should always consult their primary care physician before adding a natural dietary supplement to their diet. Dandelion root has very few side effects, however, a few allergic reactions have been reported. It is recommended that if you are taking a medication to lower blood pressure or lower blood sugar, you should not consume dandelion root. It is also recommended that pregnant women, or women who are breastfeeding, should not take this herb or should consult their doctors first.
You can purchase dandelion root from any health foods store or vitamin store. It is available in capsules, powder or liquid extract, and in root juice form. Dandelion root is also available to drink in the form of tea and is very delicious. Best of all, you can actually grow your own dandelions in the convenience of your own home and enjoy the benefits of the root today!
Amna Sheikh is a medical doctor with a Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery (MBBS), Bachelors in Economics and Statistics. She is also a medical writer working as a freelancer for 10+ years and she is specialized in medical, health, and pharmaceutical writing, regulatory writing & clinical research. All her work is supported by a strong academic and professional experience.