Our popular belief has it that dandelions are mere wild plants and their existence in the garden is unsightly.
Well, it might not be entirely true because dandelion plants have been aiding people in curing some diseases since a couple of centuries ago.
Yes, health practitioners even are promoting dandelion supplements to keep ones’ body in shape. You might be wondering how it can do so. Get curious then, and find out the answer below!
- 1 Dandelion Plant in General
- 2 Potential Health Benefits
- 2.1 May Regulate Blood Sugar
- 2.2 Reducing Cancer Risk
- 2.3 May Reduce Cholesterol Level
- 2.4 Contain Anti-Diabetic Properties
- 2.5 Dropping Blood Pressure
- 2.6 May Help Diet Program
- 2.7 High in Antioxidants
- 2.8 Boosting the Immune System
- 2.9 May Promote Healthy Liver
- 2.10 Rich in Nutrients
- 2.11 Supporting Healthy Bones
- 2.12 May Treat Constipation
- 3 Dandelion Consumptions
- 4 Drug Interactions
- 5 Conclusion
Dandelion Plant in General
People can find dandelions grow with bright-colored flowers in many areas worldwide. The most common variety is Taraxacum officinale. Plant experts categorize it as herbs.
Traditionally, dandelion flower, leaves, root, and stem come in handy for medicinal uses.
Potential Health Benefits
What does this plant contain, anyway? How does it function in the body once consumed? The list below consists of potential health benefits mostly according to animal studies.
May Regulate Blood Sugar
The properties of anti-inflammatory, antioxidative, and antihyperglycemic in this plant seem prospectively helpful in treating type 2 diabetes.
At least, a 2016 research proposed so. May further researches could claim the suggestion definitively.
Reducing Cancer Risk
A study involving dandelion extract to affect the growth of cancer cells showed some positive results. Done in test tubes, it indicated the slower progress of colon, liver, and pancreatic cancers.
Still, we need more study and further research to determine how prospective dandelions are in treating these cancer diseases.
May Reduce Cholesterol Level
Bioactive compounds contained in dandelions could lower cholesterol levels, at least in animals.
Some studies done since 2010 on rabbits and mice have proved so. The researchers used the root and leaves in the diet of those creatures.
Dandelion consumption then decreased not only the high levels of cholesterol in rabbits but also fat in mice’s liver.
They concluded that these plants could be of any help in the future in treating diseases related to the nonalcoholic fatty liver caused by obesity.
Nonetheless, further research is necessary to determine the same conclusion in humans.
Contain Anti-Diabetic Properties
Due to a soluble fiber – known as inulin – contained in the dandelion root, people believe that the plant owns the properties of anti-diabetic.
Inulin consists of fructooligosaccharide (FOS), a complex carbohydrate that handles a job related to two types of bacteria – the healthy and unhealthy – in the gastrointestinal tract.
It protects and maintains the growth of the former ones and gets rid of the latter.
Doing the job then slows the sugar flow to the bloodstream from the intestines and prevents spikes in the levels of insulin or blood sugar. The entire work causes insulin sensitivity to increase.
Denmark’s Aarhus University has once conducted a study in 2016 that resulted in pancreatic cell stimulation in avoiding hyperglycemia, controlling blood sugar better, and producing insulin, all caused by the dandelion extract.
Dropping Blood Pressure
Potassium helps reduce blood pressure.
A conducted research had people with high blood pressure to consume a potassium supplement regularly. It then led to a good result of tension reduction.
Dandelion is rich with potassium. Thus, it is not an overstatement to presume that this plant could lower blood pressure.
May Help Diet Program
Dandelions can decrease fat absorption and repair carbohydrate metabolism due to chlorogenic acid contained within. It then leads to lipid retention and weight gain reduction.
Based on a minor study done on mice, some researchers have proposed that this plant could help people’s diet program successfully. However, it still lacks evidence to strengthen this claim.
High in Antioxidants
Dandelions contain antioxidants, which function in neutralizing free radicals’ hazardous effects, such as speeding the development of specific illnesses.
Some of the antioxidants contained in dandelions are beta-carotene and polyphenol. The former protects human cells and reduces the damage that occurred there.
Boosting the Immune System
Some researchers suggested that dandelions could boost human immune systems due to the properties of antibacterial and antiviral presented in the plants.
Moreover, based on a study using test tubes in 2014, the plant extracts helped restrict hepatitis B growth in the cells of animals and humans.
May Promote Healthy Liver
As stated previously, a study done on mice has proved that dandelion extracts could decrease the high level of fat in the animal’s liver.
It also effectively protects the liver tissue against oxidative stress and toxic substances, thanks to the antioxidants contained within the plant.
Rich in Nutrients
Dandelions are a good source of vitamins, minerals, as well as fiber. In short, every part of the plant is nutritious.
Say, calcium, folate, iron, magnesium, as well as vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, are among the list.
Moreover, the dandelion root is high in soluble fiber, called carbohydrate inulin, which works in supporting and maintaining the growth of a healthy bacterial flora inside the human’s intestinal tract.
Supporting Healthy Bones
Bone loss is preventable by fulfilling the daily intake of vitamin K and also calcium. Fortunately, dandelion greens certainly provide a high amount of the two.
May Treat Constipation
Traditionally, people utilize dandelion medicinal uses to treat constipation as well as other digestive impairment.
In addition, an animal study on mice also supported the claim. Moreover, the research showed that the plant extract could intensify the stomach contractions rate and empty the contents.
It was due to prebiotic fiber inulin contained in the dandelion root, which was more than capable to decrease constipation and intensify the intestinal movement.
The only way to obtain dandelions health benefits is by consuming it, but how do you do it? While it is nearly common to find the greens in salad dishes, the flowers, roots, and stems are also consumable.
In addition, based on some existed data, the dosage suggestions for different parts of the plant are as follows.
- Dried powder: 250–1,000 mg, four times daily
- Dried leaves: 4–10 grams, once a day
- Fresh leaves: the same dosage as the dried one
- New leaf juice: 5 ml (around 1 teaspoon), twice a day
- Fresh roots: 2–8 grams, once a day
- Fluid extract: 5–10 ml (around 1–2 teaspoon) once a day
- Leaf tincture: 2–5 ml (around 0.4–1 teaspoon), three times daily
You can also have dandelions as your daily intake through their extracts presented as supplements or roots infused in beverages, like coffees and teas. Because, fortunately, It is safe to include them in edible products.
Though dandelion supplement is safe to consume, you still need the right dose per intake considering its varying effectiveness and potency between manufacturers.
But in some people with sensitivity over dandelions and other specific plants, like chamomile, chrysanthemums, daisy, feverfew, marigold, ragweed, sunflower, and yarrow, allergic reactions might occur.
Besides allergic reactions, diarrhea, heartburn, irritated skin, as well as upset stomach might happen.
Consuming dandelions in any form is also unwise if you have allergies to latex and iodine as the plant contains those substances.
Thus, always follow the instructions written in the supplement package and ask for a doctor’s advice before regular consumption.
Drunk as Tea
It turns out that dandelions have other potential health benefits when drunk as tea. You can also make the beverage by infusing a pinch of the leaves into warm water or roasting some of its roots and brew.
Both ways are certainly safe unless you have sprayed the areas where they grow with pesticides or herbicides.
Some people consider enjoying coffee as an unhealthy habit though it is still debatable.
However, instead of debating whether the java beverage is bad for your health, why do you not substitute it with something healthier, like dandelion tea, for instance?
Therefore, you can purchase a pack of dandelion root in teabags at the local herbal stores or prepare them on your own.
Then, roast some roots from young dandelion plants until it gets dark brown. After that, steep in hot water for a couple of minutes, strain, and enjoy.
Reducing Water Weight
Make sure to drink two cups of tea from dandelion leaves when you feel bloated. That is because they intensify your urine output as they work as a diuretic.
Likewise, dandelions can interact with specific drugs, be it influencing their clearance from the body through urine, metabolism by the liver, or even absorption into the bloodstream.
Thus, consult with your doctor if you take any of these medications:
- Statin drugs, such as Lipitor (atorvastatin) and Mecavor (lovastatin)
- Diuretics, such as Lasix (furosemide)
- Contraceptives based on estrogen
- Antipsychotics, such as Haldol (haloperidol) and lithium
- More antidepressants, such as Elavil (amitriptyline)
- Antibiotics, such as Penetrex (enoxacin) and Cipro (ciprofloxacin)
Though further researches and more studies are necessary, it is still a fact that this plant potentially gives health benefits.
Due to dandelion nutrition, the plant can help keep people in shape once consumed as supplements or infused in a cup of tea.
Still, you need medical advice before consuming it to have some overview of possible risks and side effects, especially when you are in the middle of a specific medication.
Lastly, dandelion supplements, as well as root tea, are both available to purchase in several stores.