Have you noticed some yellow puffy tops growing on open grassy areas or invading your backyard during spring? These are not just your ordinary persistent weeds that serve as lawn ornaments. Instead, these pretty and subtle plants are categorized as an herb.
Dandelions belong to the large family of flowering plants known as Asteraceae. They are normally perennial, tap-rooted, and herbaceous plants that grow in native to temperate areas. Normally, a single plant can grow to up to 18 inches in height, with jagged leaves, hollow stems, and composite flowers.
The humble dandelion is not just an annoying weed in your yard. They are edible and also a good source of vitamins and minerals. Dandelions also contain significant amounts of iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and other essential nutrients. Thus, people tend to use the different parts of the dandelion plant for medicinal purposes.
During ancient times, dandelions were widely used as a traditional medicine by many different cultures. Records state that Middle Eastern physicians used medicinal concoctions made from both the roots and leaves of dandelions as early as the 13th century. It has also been used by the Chinese, Arabs, and Native Americans as medicinal herbs.
Dandelions can be consumed in many ways. Younger and paler leaves can be treated like leafy green vegetables and added to salads and sandwiches. It can also be a good addition to casseroles, soups, and stews. Dandelions can be ground up and made into delicious spreads and pesto, dried up for uniquely tasting herbal tea, or roasted to act as a coffee substitute.
The leaves and roots, or even the whole dandelion plant, can also be used fresh to obtain extracts. A better and more optimized way to consume dandelions is to dry and pulverize them for supplemental use.
The Benefits of Dandelions:
- Promotes eye, skin, and hair health
- Aids in proper digestion
- Regulates blood pressure and cholesterol level
- Treats several organs disorder
- Anti-inflammatory and detoxifying agent
- Improves bone health
- Promotes weight loss
- Controls diabetes
- Boost the immune system
- Helps prevent cancer
- Enhances brain health
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Promotes eye, skin, and hair health
The rich nutrients present in dandelions help maintain skin, hair, and eye health and help prevent the occurrence of diseases. Acne and other skin problems may occur due to hormonal imbalances, especially in teenagers, and microbial activities in the skin. The Vitamin C component of dandelions can speed up the healing process of acne and reduce the visibility of scars. . It is also highly alkaline in nature allowing exhibition of germicidal and fungicidal activities in the skin.
Slower hair growth, the occurrence of dandruff and other hair related problems can also be prevented by nourishing with dandelion. The plant’s roots are also a rich source of vitamins and other nutrients which play a significant role in keeping the hair healthy and strong.
Eyesight is also enhanced with regular consumption of dandelions. This is due to zeaxanthin, which is a carotenoid that can protect the retina against degeneration and harm such as UV rays.
Aids in proper digestion
Dandelions act as a mild laxative and appetite suppressant. It promotes proper digestion and relieves other gastrointestinal issues by balancing the number of beneficial bacteria present in the intestines. The high amount of dietary fibers present in dandelion also promotes healthier bowel movements, thus relieving problems such as diarrhea and constipation.
Regulates blood pressure and cholesterol level
The fiber obtained in dandelion acts as a good diuretic that helps in lowering blood pressure. Cholesterol levels are also maintained at normal range due to these fibers. Some research also shows that dandelions can increase the level of HDL leaving a good cholesterol ratio in the body.
Help prevent several organ disorders
The body is primarily composed of various organs working together to ensure good health and better performance. However, there are times when diseases and problems are encountered. Dandelion can help address issues related to the liver, kidney, gallbladder, and urinary tracts, among others.
Dandelions contain high amounts of Vitamin C and luteolin which promote proper functioning and protection of the liver. It ensures proper flow of bile in the liver and acts as an excellent detoxifier preventing liver problems such as hemorrhage.
The high amount of sodium present in dandelion helps in eliminating the toxins in the body. This protects the kidneys through the removal of waste, salt, and excess water in the system. In the process, the blood is purified, and the lost potassium is replaced.
The proper functioning of the gallbladder is enhanced with the use of dandelion. It also prevents blockage, stone formations, and inflammations due to the high amounts of antioxidants present in dandelions.
Dandelions also have disinfectant properties that help eliminate the toxic substances present in the urinary system. This also prevents the growth of bacteria, thus preventing infections from occurring.
Anti-inflammatory and detoxifying agent
Aches and pains are relieved by dandelions. This is due to the healthy fatty acids and phytonutrients present in the composition of dandelions. The inflammation in the body is relieved causing reduced swelling and better pain management.
Toxins and other free radicals present in the body are also being removed in the body with the aid of dandelions. These harmful toxins are removed leading to better functioning and detoxifying of the body.
Improves bone health
Dandelion contains rich amounts of calcium that is vital for having stronger and healthier bones. It also contains antioxidants that help in protecting the bones from deterioration caused by old age. Vitamin K is also present which builds and promotes better bone mass in the body.
Promotes weight loss
Losing weight is never easy. Dandelion helps in proper weight loss by removing water and fats from the body. This is done through frequent urination which doesn’t cause any side effects.
Diabetes can be effectively controlled with the use of dandelions. This plant regulates the blood sugar levels in the body by producing ample amount of insulin in the pancreas. The elimination of excess sugar in the body is also enhanced with an increased frequency of urination brought about by dandelion.
Boost the immune system
Some studies on dandelion revealed that it has a great effect on the immune system. It contains essential nutrients that help in preventing infection through fighting off the microbes and fungi present in the system.
Helps prevent cancer
The antioxidants present in dandelion helps reduce the free radicals present in the body. This will reduce the risk of cancer by obstructing the development of cancer cells. Dandelion also contains luteolin which has been found to be a poison to cancer cells by preventing reproduction and metastasizing.
Enhances brain health
Brain health is enhanced with the high amount of Vitamin K present in dandelion. This plant, especially the roots, contains a large amount of this essential vitamin, approximately 600% of the recommended value for Vitamin K. The high level of Vitamin K present in dandelion helps in preventing the damage of neurons in the brain, thus preventing the progression of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Dandelion, especially the flowers, also contain high amount of lecithin. This nutrient is essential in increasing the amount of neurotransmitter acetylcholine in the body, which is needed to improve the memory and maintain proper brain functions of the person.
The Professional Recommendations for Dandelions
Dandelions are good for a number of reasons. However, the optimum performance can be achieved by following the correct dosage that should be properly administered by professionals to treat health conditions without worrying about the side effects. The appropriate dose depends greatly on factors such as age, health, and other conditions.
Remember to follow relevant directions written on product labels to ensure safety. Consult pharmacist, doctors, and other healthcare professionals prior to using dandelion or products with traces of dandelions. Inform them of any integrative health approaches you use and give them an overview of the things you do to manage your health. This will guarantee proper coordination and good safe care.
The Side Effects of Taking Dandelion
Dandelions used as foods or supplements are generally safe. However, there are some precautionary measures and warnings that should be considered.
Allergic reactions may likely to occur to people who are allergic to dandelion and other related plants including chrysanthemums, daisies, marigolds, and ragweeds. It is important to check with medical personnel prior to taking dandelion, either through the mouth or the skin of sensitive people.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women should be extra careful in taking dandelion. There is still no scientific evidence or reliable information on the effects that it can have on mother or baby. Better safe than sorry.
Dandelion interactions with certain drugs or substances may lead to unwanted conditions. Always be cautious with the combination of dandelion with any of the following: Quinolone antibiotics, liver medications, water pills, or lithium.
Recap of Dandelion Health Benefits
Dandelions are not just the ordinary ornamental or decorative plants growing in the yard or garden. These are edible and herbaceous plants that contain significant amounts of essential nutrients.
These small wonders offer vast nutrients that are beneficial to human health. Every part of this highly nutritious plant contributes to providing amazing health benefits. Dandelions are rich in vitamins and minerals. It also contains high amounts of iron, magnesium, potassium, zinc, and other trace nutrients needed by the body to stay strong and healthy.
Apart from its ornamental and culinary uses, dandelion provides beneficial treatment to the liver, kidney, gallbladder, and urinary infections and diseases. It also helps in promoting fairer skin, better vision, and a healthy scalp. Constipation and other digestion issues are also being treated and prevented. The anti-inflammatory and detoxifying properties of dandelions improve and cleanse the body against free radicals. Brain function and cellular metabolism are also enhanced for optimum performance.
Some studies involving dandelions are still being conducted for validations, as well as new applications that are truly beneficial to the human race.
There are several ways to consume dandelions for optimum nutrition. It can be eaten fresh or added to salads and other dishes. Extracts and grounds from the leaves or roots can also be taken as a good substitute for teas and coffees. Supplements with dandelions are also available to ensure that the optimum health benefits are obtained.
At times, the inclusions of dandelions in one's diet or routine may also incur some side effects, despite taking the recommended dosage. Pregnant women should take extra caution as it may have effect in the pregnancy as well as in the fetus. Skin allergies and irritations may also occur especially to sensitive people. Those who are already suffering from health conditions, especially liver complications, should be careful as contraindications with other drugs may occur with the consumption of dandelions.
It is always best to seek medical attention prior to using any health supplement. This is to ensure that the best results are obtained without worrying about any negative results.
Where to Buy Dandelion Supplements
Dandelions are available in vitamin shops and health food stores near you. Primary online stores also offer several brands from which to choose.
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