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Dandelion

Taraxacum officinale

You may recognise dandelion as the bright yellow stubborn weed that never seems to leave your lawn or garden. However, in traditional herbal medicine, dandelion is revered for its wide array of medicinal and therapeutic benefits. Dandelion greens are highly nutritious, they can be eaten cooked and serve as an excellent source of vitamins A, C and K. They also contain vitamin E, folate and small amounts of other B vitamins. They also provide a substantial amount of several minerals, including iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium. Dandelion root is rich in inulin, which is a type of soluble fibre that supports the growth and maintenance of a healthy bacterial flora in the intestinal tract [i]. Dandelion root is also often dried and consumed as a tea.



The potent antioxidant content may explain why this plant has such broad applications for health. The presence of too many free radicals contributes to disease development and accelerated ageing. Therefore, antioxidants and their ability to neutralise free radicals, are essential for keeping your body healthy. Firstly, dandelion contains beta-carotene, which is known to provide strong protection against cellular damage and oxidative stress [ii]. Dandelion is also rich in a category of antioxidants called polyphenols, which are found in the highest concentration in the flower but are present in the roots, leaves and stems as well [iii].


Fight Inflammation:


Inflammation is one of your body’s natural responses to injury or illness. Over time, excessive inflammation can lead to more long lasting damage to your body’s tissues and cellular DNA. Test-tube studies have revealed significantly reduced inflammation markers in cells treated with dandelion compounds, which could reflect the same actions occurring in the human body [iv] [v].


Similarly, animal studies into induced inflammatory lung disease showed a significant reduction of lung inflammation in animals that received dandelion [vi].


Liver Health and Detoxification Support:


Benefits of dandelion on the liver were attributed to the high antioxidant content in studies. This is because the reduction in tissue oxidation has a protective effect on the liver when the liver is subjected to the inevitable daily presence of toxic substances and stress. Dandelion was seen to reduce harmful effects of paracetamol poisoning in mice [vii].


Other animal studies have shown that dandelion extract may reduce levels of excess liver fat and protect against oxidative stress in liver tissue [viii] [ix].


Blood Sugar Control:


Beneficial effects of dandelion on blood sugar balance are attributed to chicoric and chlorogenic acid found in the plant. They are found in all parts of the dandelion plant and may help reduce blood sugar as seen in test tube and animal studies, reflecting the ability to improve insulin secretion from the pancreas while simultaneously improving the absorption of glucose (sugar) in muscle tissue [x] [xi].


Cholesterol:


Evidence from studies currently shows that some of the bioactive compounds in dandelion may lower cholesterol, which may decrease heart disease risk [xii] [xiii].


Blood Pressure:


Traditional herbal medicine practices use dandelion for its diuretic effect (ability to increase urinary flow), which may detoxify certain organs such as the kidneys and liver. In Western medicine, diuretic medications are used to rid the body of excess fluid, which can lead to lowered blood pressure.


Small scale human studies have proven the diuretic effect of dandelion, however it is said more robust evidence is needed to support the claim in terms of the clinical research sphere [xiv].


Other ways in which dandelion may lower blood pressure is due to its potassium content, a mineral associated with lowered blood pressure in those with previously elevated levels [xv](14). It’s important to keep in mind that this effect is not unique to dandelion but applies to any potassium-rich food consumed as part of a healthy balanced diet.


Safety:


Interactions include medications such as potassium-sparing diuretics, lithium, quinolone antibiotics and certain medications which are changed by processes in the liver. Please consult with the prescribing doctor if you are currently on medication before the use of dandelion supplementally.





Recommended For

Detoxification , Hypertension , Inflammation , Cholesterol , Blood Sugar Balance , Liver Support

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