My 3 year-old daughter picks a bouquet of dandelions every chance she gets this spring, so when I opened one of my resource books today and stumbled across ‘Dandelions’ I had to read further. Did you know there are several health benefits linked to dandelion? Let me share what I learned today
The Leaves - Diuretic & Potassium Source
The leaves of a dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) plant act as a natural diuretic increasing urine production. They may be used to treat conditions that require a mild diuretic, such as high blood pressure, liver disorders, and digestive issues. The fact that dandelions are a source of potassium is another plus for promoting a lower blood pressure. The leaves of the dandelion are also used by health care providers to support kidney function.
The Flower - Antioxidant
The flower of the dandelion has antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are used to counteract inflammatory factors that lead to cellular damage. For example, the oxidation of LDL cholesterol starts the process of arterial plaque formation and heart disease.
The Root - Digestion Aid
Dandelion roots act as an appetite stimulant (not something many of us need), digestive aid, antiviral agent, and may help promote gastrointestinal health. The root is believed to act as a mild laxative and may also improve levels of natural bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract. It’s also possible the dandelion helps improve the immune system. Healthcare providers also use dandelion root to promote liver detoxification.
Improve Lipid Profiles
You can purchase dandelion herbs and roots in both fresh and dried varieties. You can find dandelion available as a tinctures, liquid extract, teas, tablets, and capsules.
Dandelion leaves are added to salads, sandwiches, and teas for added flavor, while the roots may be found in coffee substitutes, and the flower used in certain wines.
A Word of Caution
Dandelion is an herb and generally considered safe; however, there is potential for drug interactions and side effects. Discuss with your physician before using to treat a condition or in combination with medication. There is also potential for a dandelion allergy.
If you have gallbladder problems and gallstones consult with a healthcare providing before consuming dandelion.
Lisa Nelson RD, a registered dietitian since 1999, provides clients step-by-step guidance to lower cholesterol and lower blood pressure, so they can live life and enjoy their family for years to come. Because her own health is the foundation of her expertise, you can trust that Lisa will make it truly possible for you to see dramatic changes in your health, without unrealistic fads or impossibly difficult techniques. She can be found on Twitter @lisanelsonrd and Facebook at hearthealthmadeeasy.