In this article, we will show you the amazing health benefits of dandelions. Dandelions aren’t just an annoying weed growing in your backyard. You can actually find enough evidence of them being used in traditional medicine for their amazing properties.
Dandelions have an amazing nutritional profile with calcium, iron, vitamin K and bioactive compounds which may help strengthen bones, prevent anemia, regulate blood sugar levels, fight inflammation, and even cancer. Let’s take this opportunity to explore the different ways Dandelions can help promote your health and well-being (1).
Below are the top 11 health benefits of dandelions.
1. May Help Fight Inflammation
Dandelions have polysaccharides that provide anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties. It lowers the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which are compounds usually involved in the body’s inflammation.
In a study where the cells were treated with dandelion, compounds showed lower levels of inflammation. In a mice study when they were given dandelion their lung inflammation was found to improve.
2. May Cut Cancer Risk
Studies have found anti-cancer potential in dandelion roots. A study conducted on prostate cancer cells with the root was found to induce apoptosis i.e it kills cancer cells and also enhances chemotherapy effects.
The dandelion root extract is not only an effective anti-cancer alternative but it is also non-toxic. In colorectal cancer models, the root was able to trigger programmed cell death of cancer cells. The molecular complexity of the root extract could be credited for this anticancer activity.
Research has also found that dandelion root extract was able to prevent liver and pancreatic cancer as well. These findings are encouraging, but still more research is required to have a better knowledge of the effects of dandelion on cancer in humans.
3. May Aid Diabetes Treatment
The presence of chicoric and chlorogenic acids in dandelions make them great potential nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals for regulating diabetes. The phenolic compounds in the acids promote the anti-diabetic effects in the flower.
The research found that just like the flower, both dandelion leaves and the roots had similar therapeutic effects on diabetics and the potential to promote long-term health and well-being of the patients. The root contains inulin, which helps normalize blood sugar levels. However, more research is required to know about the long-term effect of dandelion consumption.
Dandelion also has few other bioactive compounds like flavonoids, phenols, phenolic acids, and triterpenes that offer anti-diabetic benefits.
4. May Promote Heart Health
A mice study showed a dramatic decrease in the levels of triglycerides and cholesterol when the mice were treated with the extracts of a dandelion flower. A high-fat diet supplemented with dandelion extract was fed to the mice which reduced the accumulation of hepatic lipid.
Similarly in another study where rabbits were fed a high-fat diet, the introduction of dandelion root showed improvement in their antioxidant status and lowered serum cholesterol levels. The root also fights oxidative stress which is beneficial for the heart. Dandelion also contains potassium which helps lower blood pressure levels. This can also help promote heart health.
5. May Help In Weight Loss
Pancreatic lipase is an enzyme released during digestion that helps in breaking down the fat. It is believed that Dandelion can curb pancreatic lipase just like popular weight loss drugs like Orlistat. When this enzyme is inhibited, it can alter the way fat is absorbed in the body, In turn, this can help in your weight loss routine. However, more research is warranted to elucidate dandelion’s anti-obesity effects in humans.
According to various studies, drinking teas of bitter herbs like dandelion prior to eating, can stimulate gastric secretions and promote cholesterol and fat breakdown. This can again complement your weight loss efforts.
6. May Promote Bone Health
Dandelion greens are good sources of calcium and vitamin K that are great for bone health. Vitamin K increases bone formation and also can regulate calcium balance and bone metabolism. It also reduces fracture rates along with increasing bone mineral density. Calcium intake also has a positive influence on bone health. It strengthens the bones and prevents bone loss and fractures.
Dandelion compounds also contain prebiotics which was found to enhance calcium absorption that makes the flower a great addition for bone health.
7. May Improve Liver Health
Dandelion root may elevate liver health in multiple ways. A study found that it could lower alcohol-induced oxidative stress and alleviate high-fat diet-induced non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Some studies also found that dandelion can promote recovery from liver injury.
8. May Boost Immunity
The human immune system is majorly impacted by the flavonoid contents of dandelion. The short-chain fatty acids in it boosted immune function in weaned pigs and also prevent it from infectious diseases
Dandelion has also shown abilities to nourish the blood cells in the body. A few mice studies were able to find that dandelions could help achieve a balance between red blood cells and white blood cells. This in turn boosts the immune system.
9. May Prevent Anemia
When your body doesn’t have enough iron it can lead to anemia. Iron is necessary for making hemoglobin and for supplying oxygen to various parts of the body. According to some research, the iron content of dandelion can help prevent anemia. There is 2 mg of iron in one cup of chopped dandelion (55 g). But there is very little data available in this aspect and more research is warranted.
10. May Prevent Water Retention In Kidneys
Dandelion has high potassium content which provides diuretic properties. One study showed that dandelion intake increased the urinary frequency in subjects over a period of 5 hours. This diuretic effect of the plant may help prevent water retention in kidneys. However, before using dandelion consult your doctor if you have kidney disease.
11. May Boost Skin Health
Folk medicine has been using dandelion, especially it’s sap, to treat many skin disorders such as warts and eczema. There is also other evidence that states that the dandelion sap may be used to combat acne. More research can help understand its efficacy.
Dandelions have such amazing benefits that they cannot be considered to be just another weed. More scientific research can help establish these benefits for humans. Including dandelions in your daily diet can make your life better due to its impressive nutritional profile. The simplest way to consume dandelions is to include them in a salad or as toppings for cookies, muffins, or even plain bread. You can also use the dandelion roots to make tea.
Consult a doctor before including dandelion or its supplements in your diet for the right dosage. It can cause possible side effects like allergies or even interfere with your other medications.