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13 Emerging Health Benefits of Dandelion and Side Effects You Must Know
Dandelion has a long history of use in numerous forms of traditional medicine, despite the widespread misconception that it is nothing more than a pesky pest that grows in lawns.
Although Taraxacum officinale is the most common variety, there are actually quite a few different species of dandelion.
Not only can the leaves, roots, and flower offer a splash of color to your dish, but they are also commonly found in herbal teas and supplements, where they are utilized as a natural remedy to assist the management of blood sugar and promote the health of the skin, liver, and heart.
The following is a list of 13 possible health benefits that can be derived from dandelion, along with some of the more typical hazards and adverse effects.
1. Highly nutritious
Dandelions are extremely nutritious plants that are rich with fiber, vitamins, and minerals throughout their whole life cycle, from the roots to the flowers.
You can choose to prepare or consume raw dandelion greens, and either way, you’ll be getting a healthy dose of vitamins A, C, and K. In addition, they have vitamin E and folate, as well as trace levels of the other B vitamins.
Dandelion greens are a good source of a variety of minerals, such as iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium in particularly high concentrations.
There is a high concentration of the carbohydrate inulin in the root of the dandelion, which is a form of soluble fiber that is present in plants and helps to promote the growth and maintenance of healthy gut bacteria in your digestive tract.
The root of the dandelion is typically dried and brewed into a tea, but it can also be consumed whole in the same manner as other types of root vegetables.
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2. Contains powerful antioxidants
It is possible that the high concentration of powerful antioxidants found in dandelion is responsible for many of the plant’s therapeutic benefits.
Antioxidants are compounds that help neutralize free radicals, which are molecules that are a product of normal metabolism but contribute to the risk of chronic disease if levels get too high in your body. Antioxidants are compounds that help neutralize free radicals. Antioxidants are compounds that help neutralize free radicals. Therefore, antioxidants are essential for maintaining good health throughout the body.
There are large quantities of the antioxidant beta carotene in dandelion greens, which may protect against oxidative stress and cell damage.
They are also abundant in a different class of antioxidants known as polyphenols, the majority of which are located in the flower but which may also be discovered in the roots, leaves, and stems of the plant.
3. Could be helpful in reducing inflammation
Because it contains specific components, such as polyphenols, dandelion has the potential to reduce inflammation.
When the immune system responds appropriately to a wound or an infection, inflammation results. On the other hand, chronic inflammation can cause irreversible harm to the DNA and tissues of your body over time.
Several investigations conducted in test tubes have found that cells that were treated with chemicals derived from dandelion had drastically lower levels of inflammatory markers.
According to the findings of one study, rats suffering from inflammatory lung illness that were given dandelion extract had significantly less inflammation in their lungs.
However, research involving humans is necessary.
4. May assist with blood sugar regulation
Dandelion contains two bioactive components known as chicoric acid and chlorogenic acid, both of which have the potential to assist in lowering blood sugar levels.
The release of insulin, which is a hormone that regulates blood sugar levels, and the absorption of glucose (sugar) in your muscles may both be improved by these substances, according to research conducted in both test tubes and on animals.
Because of this process, insulin sensitivity increases, which in turn leads to lower levels of blood sugar.
The potential of dandelion to reduce blood sugar levels may be due, in part, to chicoric and chlorogenic acid, which, in some animal tests, were shown to inhibit the digestion of starchy and high-carbohydrate meals.
Despite the fact that these findings are encouraging, additional research on humans is required.
5. Has the potential to lower levels of cholesterol and triglycerides
Dandelion has a number of chemicals that have the potential to lower triglyceride and cholesterol levels, both of which are important risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
In one experiment conducted in test tubes, dandelion leaf and root extract reduced the amount of triglyceride buildup in fat cells.
In a similar manner, the administration of dandelion leaf extract to rats for the duration of an animal trial demonstrated a significant reduction in levels of total cholesterol as well as triglycerides.
In addition, the inclusion of dandelion roots and leaves in a diet that was already high in cholesterol resulted in a reduction in the amount of cholesterol in the rabbits’ bodies.
However, the study that is being done right now is only conducted in test tubes and on animals.
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6. May result in a decrease in blood pressure
Although there are some people who say that dandelion may lower blood pressure, there is not much research that supports this claim.
The diuretic action of dandelion is utilized in traditional herbal therapy due to the widespread notion that dandelion has the ability to purify several organs.
In traditional Western medicine, diuretic drugs are used to flush the body with excess fluid, which may contribute to a reduction in the patient’s blood pressure.
In one previous investigation involving humans, dandelion was proven to be an effective laxative. Nevertheless, this study was brief, and it only comprised 17 participants.
Additionally, dandelion includes potassium, a mineral that has been linked to lower levels of blood pressure in those who have previously had higher levels. Because of the high potassium content of this plant, there is a possibility that it will have an indirect impact on blood pressure.
Notably, this impact is not exclusive to dandelion; rather, it applies to any meal that is high in potassium and is consumed as part of a well-balanced diet.
7. Could be beneficial to the liver’s health
There is evidence from research conducted on animals to suggest that dandelion extract may protect against liver illness and damage.
In point of fact, one study conducted on animals indicated that it was effective in preventing liver damage in mice that had been subjected to sodium dichromate, a substance that is used to stimulate liver damage.
The dandelion extract may lower the amount of excess fat that is retained in the liver, and it may also protect against oxidative stress, according to the findings of other animal research.
However, research involving humans is required.
8. Might be helpful for losing weight
Although the research isn’t clear, there is some evidence that indicates that dandelions and the substances they contain may be beneficial for weight control.
A number of researchers believe that the dandelion’s capacity to boost the metabolism of carbohydrates and to decrease the body’s ability to absorb fat may contribute to weight loss. Despite this, this hypothesis has not been verified by scientific research.
One study conducted on mice suggests that dandelion extract may assist in weight management by lowering the amount of fat that is absorbed by the body.
In yet another study, it was shown that a component of dandelion called chlorogenic acid caused a reduction in body weight, a reduction in fat formation, and an alteration in the amounts of certain proteins that are involved in the regulation of body weight.
However, there is a need for additional study on humans that is of a higher quality.
9. May inhibit the growth of cancerous cells
One of the purported health benefits of the dandelion extract is that it may inhibit the growth of malignant cells in a variety of organ systems. This is possibly one of the more intriguing health claims.
During the course of a trial that lasted for four weeks, rats were given dandelion root extract, which was shown to modify particular pathways that were involved in inhibiting the growth and spread of breast cancer cells.
The growth of cancer cells in the liver, colon, and stomach tissue may be slowed by dandelion root extract, according to the findings of other research conducted in test tubes.
These findings are promising, but there is a dearth of studies involving humans.
10. May support healthy digestion and treat constipation
In traditional medicine, dandelion is frequently used to relieve constipation and promote the health of the digestive tract.
An older animal investigation indicated that administering dandelion extract to rats caused a considerable acceleration in both the pace of stomach contractions and the rate of stomach emptying.
In addition, dandelion root is an abundant source of the prebiotic fiber known as inulin. Inulin has been found to improve digestive health by easing constipation and accelerating the flow of food through the digestive system.
In addition, one cooked cup (105 grams) of dandelion greens has more than 3 grams of fiber, which means that eating them may help you consume more fiber overall. Fiber helps keep bowel movements regular and protects against a number of digestive diseases, such as diverticulitis and hemorrhoids.
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11. May improve the health of the immune system
The ability of your body to fight off infection may be aided by the antibacterial and antiviral qualities that dandelion may possess, as suggested by some lines of research.
Extract of dandelion has been shown in a number of tests conducted in test tubes to considerably inhibit the ability of viruses to multiply.
In addition, research suggests that certain active chemicals in dandelion offer protection against a variety of pathogenic microorganisms.
In the end, there is a need for additional research on humans.
12. Could be helpful as a treatment for skincare
According to studies conducted on animals and in test tubes, the dandelion extract may protect the skin from the damage caused by sunshine, as well as aging and acne.
One study found that applying extracts of dandelion leaves and flowers either just before or immediately after being exposed to UVB radiation, which is the type of radiation that comes from the sun, protected the skin from becoming damaged. Dandelion root, on the other hand, did not appear to have the same impact.
An older test-tube study demonstrated that dandelion root extract stimulated the production of new skin cells, which may help your skin maintain its youthful appearance as you get older.
In addition, older studies suggest that dandelion extract may reduce inflammation and irritation of the skin while also improving hydration and the formation of collagen. It’s possible that this could be helpful in warding off and curing specific forms of acne.
However, there is a paucity of contemporary research on the effects of dandelion on the health of the skin, and most of the studies have been conducted on animals or in test tubes.
13. May contribute to maintaining healthy bones
Even though some of the dandelion’s specific components contribute to the preservation of strong and healthy bones, there has been very little research done on the influence that dandelion has on bone health.
Green dandelion leaves are an excellent source of the minerals calcium and vitamin K, both of which are essential to maintaining healthy bones.
One limited study identified a correlation between increased consumption of leafy green vegetables high in vitamin K and decreased blood levels of osteocalcin, which is a protein that is found in your bones. According to this, consuming more leafy greens like dandelion greens and other greens like them may help prevent bone loss.
Inulin is a type of fiber that may be found in the dandelion root. There is some evidence that inulin can support strong bones by enhancing digestion and gastrointestinal health.
In addition, there is evidence from a number of studies that the antioxidants found in dandelion and other greens play an important part in bone health and protect against bone loss by reducing the amount of oxidative stress in the body.
Dosage and supplement forms
The leaves, stems, and flowers of the dandelion are typically consumed in their natural state. These components can be eaten raw or cooked. The root is typically dried, then powdered, before being utilised as an alternative to tea or coffee.
It is also possible to take dandelion as a dietary supplement in the form of capsules, extract, or tincture.
Due to the little amount of study that has been done on humans, there are no established dosage guidelines at this time. On the other hand, the evidence that is currently available suggests the following dosages for the various types of dandelion:
- 4–10 grams of fresh leaves on a daily basis
- 4–10 grams of dried leaves every day.
- Tincture of the leaf: one-fourth to one teaspoon (2 to 5 milliliters) three times daily.
- The recommended dosage for fresh leaf juice is 1 teaspoon (5 mL) twice daily.
- Fluid extract: one to two teaspoons (five to ten milliliters) daily
- 2–8 grams of fresh roots each and every day
- Four times a day, between 250 and 1,000 mg of the dried powder.
Possible risks and side effects
Because of their low level of toxicity, dandelion plants are likely harmless for the vast majority of individuals, particularly when used in culinary applications.
Keep in mind, though, that there hasn’t been a huge amount of research done yet, and that dandelion isn’t completely risk-free.
This plant has the potential to trigger allergic reactions, particularly in individuals who are sensitive to ragweed and other related species. People with sensitive skin are also at risk for developing contact dermatitis.
A prior study found that dandelion may also interact with medications, such as antibiotics, anticoagulants, and blood sugar treatments, among other classes of pharmaceuticals. Before consuming dandelion, it is imperative that you get the okay from a physician or other qualified medical practitioner if you are currently on any prescription drugs.
Despite the fact that dandelion plants and supplements may have a variety of useful effects, they are not intended to take the place of a well-balanced diet or a healthy way of life. In point of fact, there is a dearth of research on specialized uses, particularly in humans.
However, if you consume this root vegetable in its entirety, including its leaves, roots, and blossoms, in the form of salads, baked meals, side dishes, and snacks, you will be adding an unusual and nutritious component to your diet.
It is highly recommended that you seek the advice of a qualified medical expert before beginning to take dandelion as a dietary supplement.