Dandelion Root & Leaves
All about Dandelion Root and Leaves
Dandelion – best known by many as the despised weed that pops up after the lawn is freshly cut is actually a natural medicine and an excellent source of nourishment.
Indeed, this common weed is a rich treasury of vitamins and minerals. The greens are jam-packed with nutrients-- rich in antioxidants, including beta-carotene (the plant form of vitamin A), vitamin C, and flavonoids; minerals, including calcium, iron, silicon, boron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc; and many of the B complex vitamins. As such, the leaves of dandelion can be steamed or boiled and served as a vegetable. If that's not your flavor, the very young leaves can be added to salads to give it zest! In fact, according to Dr. Bernard Jensen, author of the well-renowned tome Foods That Heal, "dandelion greens have more vitamin A than almost any other vegetable."
Dandelion grows wild in most of the world and is cultivated in China, France, and Germany as an herb.
Dandelion Root & Leaf Supplements
The Health Benefits of Dandelion
Dandelion is most noted for its therapeutic powers to promote liver and kidney health, and to improve digestion. Indeed, one person's weed is another person's healing herb. However, we don't recommend that you pluck the dandelions you find growing in your yard and use them medicinally because the flowers absorb fertilizers used to stimulate lawn growth.
Dandelion roots and leaves contain unique bitter compounds that help to stimulate digestion. These bitter principles are also believed to increase bile production in the gallbladder and bile flow from the liver, making it useful for people with sluggish liver function due to poor diet or alcohol abuse. Dandelion root and leaves are also used for liver conditions such as jaundice and hepatitis, and to encourage normal digestion.
In addition, these bitter principles of dandelion lower the risk of developing gallstones and it may even be helpful for lowering blood cholesterol levels.
Many experts state that dandelion root is an appetite stimulant, making it helpful for restoring a poor appetite.
Dandelion roots also appear to act as a blood purifier that helps the liver and kidneys to eliminate toxins and poisons from the blood.
But wait, there are more health benefits of dandelion ..
Dandelion leaves are a powerful diuretic and, as such, it flushes excess water from the body. Therefore, it could possibly be helpful for relieving that uncomfortable bloating and swelling that many women experience during their premenstrual phase.
In addition, its diuretic effects may help in the lowering of high blood pressure. In fact, some naturopathic physicians state that they prefer dandelion leaves over prescription blood-pressure medications, which are mostly diuretics that work on the same premise because of the way some pharmaceuticals cause potassium depletion. However, it should not be used as a substitute for prescription blood-pressure medications. High blood pressure is a serious condition and you should never stop the use of high-blood pressure medications without the approval of your physician.
Lastly, many herbalists have used dandelion to treat anemia due to deficiencies of folic acid, iron, and vitamin B12.
Side Note: Historically, the leaves and the roots where used to treat liver, gallbladder, kidney, digestive, and joint problems. Today, dandelion roots are mainly used as an appetite stimulant, digestive aid, and for gallbladder and liver function and its leaves are used as a diuretic. It's also important to note that much of the knowledge of dandelion is based on traditional folk medicine.
Other Intriguing Possibilities of Dandelion
According to the well renowned tome "Nutraceuticals The Complete Encyclopedia of Supplements, Herbs, Vitamins, and Healing Foods" written by Arthur J. Roberts, MD., Mary E. O’Brien, MD., and Genell Subak-Sharpe, M.S.:
"A patent was filed in Japan in 1979 for freeze-dried extract of dandelion root for antitumor use, after it was shown to inhibit the growth of some tumors."
Some preliminary animal studies indicate that dandelion may help reduce the amount of sugar in the blood thus making the herb a possible help in managing diabetes.
Another speculative benefit of dandelion is in weight–loss since the herb harbors diuretic effects it could help eliminate water weight.
However, many more studies are needed to confirm these intriguing benefits of dandelion.
Side Effects and Precautions
Possible side effects reported include: stomach upset, heartburn, rash, diarrhea, and nausea.
It is recommended that anyone on prescription medications or have a health condition to consult a physician before taking any dandelion supplements.
People who suffer from gallstones or biliary tract obstructions should avoid usage of this herb in any form. In addition, people who suffer from allergies to related plants, such as yarrow and chamomile should use extreme caution.
Pregnant and nursing women should refrain from using dandelion unless first consulting with their physician.
Dandelion: Supplement Forms
Dandelion can be consumed in tablet, capsule, tea, or tincture form.
Dandelion leaves can be boiled or steamed and added to salads or made into a natural tonic. The leaves may also be dried and drunk as a tea for its constipation benefits. Dandelion roots are boiled and the cooking water is used as a natural tonic for its many health benefits.
When taking dandelion supplements you should follow the product label on recommended dosage.
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We hope this webpage discussing the roots and leaves of dandelion was useful to you!
To Your Health!
Much more than dandelion root can be found at our herbal webpage