Top health benefits of dandelion and how to use it

Top health benefits of dandelion and how to use it
From root to flower, dandelion plant is loaded with vitamins, minerals and fibre.

For centuries, dandelion leaves and roots have been used as home remedies in most cultures to treat a myriad of physical ailments. Let's take a look at some of its well-known health benefits.

Written by Longjam Dineshwori |Updated : August 20, 2020 12:26 PM IST

Dandelion is a common weed that you may have seen growing in lawns and gardens. If you're planning to get rid of the plant from your yard, you are actually unaware of its health benefits. Dandelion leaves and roots are consumed in different parts of the world as food. While the leaves are used to add flavour to salads, sandwiches, and teas, the roots are consumed as a coffee substitute. The dandelion flowers are also used in making wines.

For centuries, this stubborn yellow-flowered weed has been used as home remedies in most cultures to treat a myriad of physical ailments, including acne, liver disease, urinary tract infections, and digestive disorders.

Native Americans boil and drink dandelion extract to help treat digestion problems, skin ailments, inflammation, liver injury, kidney disease, and heartburn. Dandelion is also used in traditional Chinese medicine and European herbal medicine, for treatment of appendicitis, stomach problems, diabetes, high fever, and diarrhea. Let's take a look at the nutritional value of dandelion and its well-known health benefits.

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Nutritional value

From root to flower, the dandelion plant is loaded with vitamins, minerals and fibre. Dandelion leaves are an excellent source of vitamins A, C and K as well as several minerals, including iron, calcium, magnesium and potassium. They also contain a decent amount of vitamin E, folate and other B vitamins. The root of the plant contains a high amount of carbohydrate inulin, a type of soluble fibre that supports the growth and maintenance of healthy bacterial flora in your intestinal tract.

Dandelion is also a rich source of the antioxidants beta-carotene and polyphenolic, which can prevent aging and certain diseases.

Potential Health Benefits

Dandelion leaves, stems and flowers can be eaten cooked or raw, while the root is usually dried, ground and consumed as a tea or coffee substitute. You can also find dandelion supplements in the form of capsules, extracts and tinctures. Here are some science-backed benefits of dandelion -

Improves digestion

Dandelion may help cure constipation and indigestion by increasing contractions and movement of your gastrointestinal (GI) tract. It stimulates the release of stomach acid and bile to aid digestion.

Preventsurinary tract infections

Dandelion is a natural diuretic, which means it increases urine production and frequency of urination. This inhibits microbial growth in the urinary system and prevents urinary tract infections as well as prevents water retention in the kidneys.

Boosts immunity

Some studies suggest that dandelion may have antimicrobial and antiviral properties, which could improve your body's ability to fight bacterial and viral infections.

Fights cancer

Some researchers claim that dandelion has the potential to prevent the growth of cancerous cells in many different organ systems. However, the effects were seen in test-tube studies and so more research is needed to test its efficacy in humans.

Relieves joint pain

The dandelion flower has anti-inflammatory properties that help relieve joint pain. To make dandelion concoction at home, collect a jar of fresh flower heads, add almond or grapeseed oil and one to two ounces of vodka. Cover the jar with a piece of cheesecloth and keep it in a warm sunny spot. After four weeks, this concoction can be used as a home remedy for joint and muscle swelling and pain, rashes, and skin problems. Caution this mixture should be used for rubbing, not imbibing.