Dandelion is a perennial herb of the Asteraceae family. Chamomile and sunflowers belong to the same family. Anyone recognizes a dandelion for its characteristic jagged leaves, hollow stems, and large bright yellow flowers.
Dandelion is well known as a vicious and highly prolific weed that is often found everywhere in gardens, lawns, fields, and playgrounds. It can grow in almost any soil, regardless of drainage and sunlight.
On the other hand, the beneficial properties of dandelion are also known. It has a long history of use in traditional medicine in China, India, Russia, and the Arab countries. People know the benefit of dandelion root already for several centuries.
Benefits of Dandelion Root
Dandelion root contains numerous bioactive components like:
- sesquiterpene lactones;
- chlorogenic acid;
- chicoric acid.
Dandelion roots store up to 40% of inulin. Due to the biologically active substances contained in the root, dandelion has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antirheumatic, antihyperglycemic, and hepatoprotective properties.
The dried root is used in the form of a decoction, a thick extract as a bitterness to enhance the secretion of the digestive glands, and as a choleretic agent. Dandelion root tincture stimulates appetite, has antispasmodic, and laxative properties. It can also be used as a food product: roasted, ground, or used as a coffee substitute. Dried dandelion root is also used to make tea.
Studies have assessed the potential lipid-lowering properties of dandelion root and have a beneficial effect on high-density lipoprotein (“good” cholesterol) in the blood while lowering serum levels of total cholesterol, triglycerides, and low-density lipoprotein (“bad” cholesterol).
The sesquiterpene lactones and other phenolic compounds found in dandelion have been found to have anti-inflammatory properties, so dandelion may help reduce the risk of diseases such as heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s.
Dandelion can help regulate blood pressure levels and reduce the risk of heart disease. It is also a good source of potassium, which can help normalize blood pressure levels.
Bitter herbs such as dandelion root are known to stimulate gastric secretion and aid in the breakdown of fat before meals. Dandelion also contains compounds that can aid the digestive process by speeding up stomach emptying.
Dandelion can help maintain optimal immune health due to its antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties. Taraxasterol, found in dandelion, has a beneficial effect on arthritis symptoms by modulating inflammatory responses.
There is preliminary research showing that dandelion extract can improve urinary tract infections because it has antibacterial activity against uropathogenic bacteria.
Several studies have examined the traditional use of dandelions to treat anemia by assessing its effect on the blood cells of mice. The results show that dandelion extract can help increase red blood cell and hemoglobin levels.
While dandelions have a host of potential health benefits, you shouldn’t forget about their potential adverse health effects.