Dandelions grow wild all over the world in almost every climate.
Some people call them weeds, some people call them flowers, and children call them wish-makers.
Regardless of what you call the plant, dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) can be consumed for health benefits.
The dandelion root has been used for centuries to treat a wide range of ailments successfully and in recent years, has regained popularity as a potent home remedy.
Perhaps after reading about all the health benefits, this so-called weed has to offer, you will be wanting to plant them in your garden instead of plucking them up.
The root of the dandelion is where all the medicinal goodness is located.
The dandelion leaves and stems are edible and make a tasty, healthy addition to green salads and stir fry recipes.
Here are 12 Science-Based Health Benefits of Dandelion Root
1. Lowers Bad Cholesterol
This study discovered that dandelion consumption reduces bad cholesterol and removes fat from the liver.
More studies are being conducted to determine if dandelion root might one day help treat obesity-related fatty liver disease.
High cholesterol is a major contributor to heart disease and stroke, reducing the level of bad cholesterol in the bloodstream can help prevent heart attacks, stroke and increase life span and quality of life.
2. Fights Free Radicals
Fight free radical with their powerful antioxidant content called beta carotene.
Free radicals are produced by the body and harm the body by accelerating the aging process.
Antioxidants are the most effective way to fight against them and slow down the aging process.
Antioxidants reduce cell damage and work hard to slow down the aging process and fend off age-related diseases.
Free radicals also play a role is the onset of heart disease and cancer.
3. Stabilizes Blood Sugar
Blood sugar can be stabilized with dandelion consumption, which is good news for people with diabetes that have a difficult time keeping their sugar level stabile with traditional medication.
Dandelions have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties and research shows that the plant might be useful in the treatment of type II diabetes.
4. Lowers Blood Pressure
Blood pressure can be lowered naturally with dandelion root.
Potassium has been proven to help lower blood pressure and dandelions are rich in potassium.
Increasing the amount of potassium in your daily diet will also help to prevent muscle cramps.
It also helps regulate fluid balance, reduce water retention and strengthen nerve signals.
A diet that is rich in potassium also helps protect against stroke, reduces the risk of osteoporosis and kidney stones.
A cup of dandelion root tea every day will provide the potassium your body needs to stay healthy and live longer.
5. Reduces Cancer Risk
Preliminary studies have revealed that dandelion root slows the growth of certain types of cancer cells in test tubes.
Much more research will be needed before the plant becomes a part of the mainstream course of treatment for cancer, but every little bit of cancerous cell reduction is beneficial.
Dandelion root has shown promising results in slowing the growth of cancerous cells associated with liver, colon and pancreatic cancers.
Recent studies have shown that dandelion root extract works very fast at killing cancer cells.
Within hours of cancer cells coming into contact with this herbal extract, they began to disintegrate.
The cancerous cells were replaced with healthy cells and soon the research subjects were free of cancer.
The dandelion extract worked to prevent and treat breast cancer, colon cancer, liver, cancer, lung cancer, and prostate cancer, which are the most devastating and rampant forms of cancer plaguing our society today.
While dandelion extract or tea is not a replacement for traditional medical treatments for cancer, it can improve the effectiveness of the treatments and reduce side effects.
If a cancer history is present in a family, consuming dandelions have help to prevent it from occurring.
6. Helps Digestion
Dandelion root tea has been used for centuries to soothe and relieve minor digestive issues.
This herbal tea helps to increase appetite for people who are undergoing certain medical treatments or who have certain health conditions that cause them to lose their appetite.
The herbal tea also soothes an upset stomach, relieves gas, stimulates the liver and gall bladder to produce more bile so digestion is improved, and relieves constipation.
7. Nutritional Supplement
From root to flower, dandelions are highly nutritious plants and can be an ideal nutritional supplement for people who are unable to consume a healthy diet.
Dandelions are loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fiber and can be included in the daily diet in a variety of ways.
Dandelion greens can be eaten cooked or raw and are a good source of vitamins A, B, C, E, and K.
The dandelion also provides folate, iron, potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
Dandelion roots are roasted and leaves dried to make nutritional tea if that is preferred over eating parts of the plant.
Vitamin K and calcium promote strong bones and will help prevent fractures and the onset of osteoporosis.
8. Improves Liver Health
Dandelion root protects the liver from toxins with its powerful antioxidants. The herb also helps the liver rid itself of stored fats.
This helps to keep the liver healthy and functioning properly.
Dandelion tea is often used as a liver detox to improve the health of the liver.
The flow of bile is increased, which naturally helps the liver cleanse and detox itself.
9. Protects Skin from Sun Damage
Sun exposure tans the skin but it also ages the skin prematurely.
Sun exposure has a cumulative effect on the skin and causes it to become fragile, thin, and wrinkle years before it would undergo these age-related changes.
Sun damage during the younger years of life also increases the risk of skin cancer in later years of life.
Dandelion root tea protects skin from sun damage, especially harmful UV radiation from the sun, and keeps the skin youthful-looking and helps protect against skin cancer.
Drinking dandelion roots tea does not replace sunscreen, but it will boost the effectiveness of sunscreen by protecting the skin from the inside.
The herb has also shown excellent results in the reduction of acne.
Dandelion root extract reduces skin inflammation and irritation, plus increases the generation of new skin cells to reduce acne flare-ups.
Skin hydration and collagen production are also increased to promote healing of acne damage and help skin regain a smooth and youthful appearance.
10. Reduces Inflammation
Inflammation is the precursor of many age-related diseases, including cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s.
The anti-inflammatory properties in dandelion root have shown promising results in reducing inflation throughout the body.
When inflammation occurs anywhere for unknown reasons, it can cause a wide array of chronic symptoms, including chronic pain in the muscles and joints, chronic fatigue, insomnia, weight gain, depression, and digestive problems.
Consuming dandelion root can help calm the inflammation and alleviate symptoms and help prevent the onset of debilitating diseases.
11. Strengthens Immune System
Dandelions have antimicrobial and antiviral properties that work to strengthen the immune system.
A strong immune system supports your body’s natural ability to fight infection so you can stay healthier and live longer.
A strong immune system fights off common virus-causing germs and bacteria, like colds and flu, and also fights off more harmful viruses.
12. Weight Loss Aid
Dandelion root helps speed up the body’s metabolism and reduces the amount of fat the body absorbs from the diet.
A recent study revealed that dandelion root contains chlorogenic acid that is a useful weight loss aid and helps prevent the body from retaining lipids.
Dandelion tea also acts as a diuretic and helps the body eliminate excess water to prevent bloating.
Consuming the plant will also stimulate the liver to produce more bile which will help stimulate and regulate bowel movements so food can pass through the digestive system faster.
How To Harvest
Dandelions are best harvested in the fall of the year but can be harvested at any time.
The best and least expensive way to consume dandelions is to eat the entire plant, with roots intact, fresh out of the soil.
This is also the best way to derive all the health benefits the plant has to offer.
However, if you choose to eat dandelions freshly harvested in this manner, be sure they are being grown in an area that has not been chemically treated.
Dandelions are viewed as weeds and are often treated with herbicides to kill them. If the plant springs up in the lawn, be sure the lawn has not been treated with chemical fertilizer.
To harvest the plant intact, use a hand-held garden trowel to get down in the soil and go under the roots, then pop the entire plant out of the soil.
A full-sized shovel can be used, but it will remove excess soil from the location.
How To Prepare Roots
Gently wash the dandelion roots in cool water, being careful to leave the transparent sheath covering on the roots.
This transparent sheath also contains nutrients and should be consumed along with the rest of the plant.
Pat dandelion plant dry with paper toweling, then finely chop the dandelion roots and spread them out in a single layer on a fresh sheet of paper toweling to dry.
This drying method can take a few days so if you want to speed up the drying process, use a dehydrator.
Roasting The Roots
After the dandelion roots have dried, place them in a heavy cast iron frying pan for roasting. This step can be done on the stove-top or in the oven.
Use low heat on the stove-top and stir the dandelion roots frequently to prevent them from burning.
To roast in the oven, turn heat to 350 degrees and stir dandelion roots frequently also until dry.
They will be sufficiently roasted when they turn a dark brown and are releasing their aromatic aroma.
Allow them to cool, then place roasted dandelion roots in an airtight container and store in a dark location.
Roasted roots can be used to make tea or to infuse other beverages. Some people drink it as a coffee replacement in the morning.
Roasted Dandelion Tea Recipe
A basic tea recipe is:
- 2 tablespoons of roasted dandelion root
- 16 ounces of hot water
Bring ingredients to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes.
The entire plant is edible and can be eaten as-is, but the nutritious herb is usually separated for different uses.
The leaves can be dried and used to make tea or they can be used as part of a fresh green salad.
The plant stems can be added to salads and stir fry recipes and the flowers make a colorful salad addition or an edible plate garnish.
Dandelions also come in supplemental pill and liquid form.
Some ready-made herbal teas also contain dandelions.
So if you don’t have access to fresh dandelions growing in your yard, they can be purchased in supplemental form at your local pharmacy or herbal store.
All parts of the dandelion can cause allergic reactions in some people.
People should not use dandelion in any form if they are sensitive to dandelions, ragweed, daisies, chrysanthemums, or marigolds.
Dandelion has also been found to interact with certain medications, including diuretics, lithium, and Cipro.
If you are taking any prescription medications, consult a medical professional before drinking dandelion tea or consuming the plant in any form.
There are no clear dosage guidelines for using dandelion root.
Dandelion root offers many health benefits and can be a stand-alone home remedy or used in conjunction with conventional medical treatments to bring about the desired relief.