Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is a brilliant yellow flowering plant that is native to Eurasia. The name comes from a French word that means "lion's tooth," and is one of the most widespread flower species on the planet. Throughout history, dandelions were revered by the sages and herbalists of Egypt, Greece, Rome, and even China for their nutritional, medicinal, and aesthetic value.
Only starting from the 20th century did people begin seeing these profoundly useful plants as pesky weeds. The fact is that they are completely edible, delicious, soothing, and packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.
1. Strengthening Your Bones
Since the risk of osteoporosis increases as an individual ages, it is important to protect your bones, and dandelion will help you do just that. This is because dandelion contains high levels of calcium and vitamin D, which improve the strength and density of your bones. Its vitamin C content can also protect the bones from aging, preventing frailty and weakness.
2. Protecting Your Liver
Dandelion roots have a profoundly soothing effect on the liver, as they have been found to increase bile production. Traditionally, dandelions have been used to remedy liver ailments. There are flavonoid glycosides - called apigenin and luteolin - as well that perform liver-protecting actions to prevent disease and hemorrhaging.
3. Preventing Urinary Infections
Dandelion is most commonly prescribed for its diuretic function, which stimulates urination; thereby helping to flush the kidneys and urinary tract. They also antibiotic, which can prevent the growth of certain strains of bacteria.
4. Fighting High Blood Sugar
The fiber content and diuretic nature of dandelion makes it easier for the body to expel liquid. Although research is unclear, dandelion may help lower blood sugar, and it could even interact with insulin, the molecular responsible for transporting glucose to cells.
5. Easing Stress
A nice, delicate cup of dandelion tea is all you need to regain peace of mind. Potassium, also abundantly found in dandelion infusions, is an essential nutrient that has been known to lower the risk of muscle tension and strokes. In addition, dandelion can help reduce high blood pressure and atherosclerosis because of its action against LDL, or "bad" cholesterol.
6. Improving Skin Health
As the cherry on top of the ice cream, dandelion is beautifying. Because of its diuretic nature, it can remove impurities and microbial infections from the skin. Traditionally, it has been used to eliminate acne, alleviate eczema, reduce jaundice (yellowing of the skin), and all in all minimize signs of aging (e.g., fine lines and sagging).
Before pulling all of these medicinal gifts from your lawn and throwing them in a trash bag, remember the incredible benefits they provide. Luckily, people are rediscovering the vast nutritional value of these flowers and incorporating them into their daily teas, salads, and stir fries. Join the health movement by embracing dandelion and all it has to offer.
- University of Maryland Medical Center, Dandelion
- International Journal of Biological Macromolecules, Preparation and Antibacterial Activity of Oligosaccharides Derived from Dandelion, 2014
- NYU Langone Medical Center, Dandelion
- National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Dandelion
- International Journal of Molecular Sciences, Hypolipidemic and Antioxidant Effects of Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) Root and Leaf on Cholesterol-Fed Rabbits, 2010
- National Institutes of Health, Dandelion