This frequently encountered plant is regarded as a nuisance in nearly every Western Hemisphere country, thriving during the sunlit seasons of the year.
Many consider it a weed, but the humble dandelion actually provides a range of health benefits for humans.
Perhaps it’s time to reconsider the dandelion’s reputation as a pest. Could it be that these misunderstood plants are offering themselves to us, rather than causing a disturbance?
Health Benefits of Dandelions
Dandelion leaves are a great source of vitamins A, B6 and C. They also contain iron, calcium and magnesium.
Dandelion root tea is a powerful diuretic that can help you lose weight by encouraging your body to release excess fluids through urination. It also has anti-inflammatory properties which make it helpful for people with arthritis or gouty arthritis problems.
Dandelion greens are high in fiber which helps promote digestive health by keeping your bowels regular while helping you feel full longer so you eat less overall!
- Digestive Aid – Dandelion acts as a mild laxative that promotes digestion, stimulates appetite, and balances the natural and beneficial bacteria in the intestines.
- Kidney – This weed-like superfood is a diuretic that helps the kidneys clear out waste, salt, and excess water. This inhibits microbial growth in the urinary system too.
- Liver – Dandelion has been shown to improve liver function by removing toxins and re-establishing hydration and electrolyte balance.
- Antioxidants – Every part of the dandelion plant is rich in antioxidants that prevent free-radical damage to cells and DNA, slowing down the ageing process in our cells.
- Cancer – Dandelion acts against cancer to slow its growth and prevent its spread. The leaves are especially rich in the antioxidants and phytonutrients that combat cancer.
- Diabetes – Recent animal studies show promise that dandelion helps regulate blood sugar and insulin levels.
- High Blood Pressure – As a diuretic dandelion increases urination which then lowers blood pressure. The fibre and potassium in dandelion also regulate blood pressure.
- Cholesterol – Animal studies have shown that dandelion lowers and control cholesterol levels.
- Gallbladder – Dandelion increases bile production and reduces inflammation to help with gallbladder problems and blockages.
- Inflammation – Dandelion contains essential fatty acids and phytonutrients that reduce inflammation throughout the body. This can relieve pain and swelling.
- Immune System – Animal studies also show that dandelion boosts immune function and fights off microbes and fungi.
How to Use Dandelions
Dandelions are a versatile and delicious green. They’re best known for their use in salads, but they can also be used to make tea, an edible garnish on other dishes or even a refreshing wine.
- Eat the leaves raw or cooked
- Drink dandelion tea daily (make sure to brew it at least 10 minutes)
- Use flowers as decorations on cakes and desserts
Dandelion Wine is a lovely way to use the flowers, or why not dry the leaves out and use for Dandelion Tea?
You can also dig the roots out, dry them and jar them in an alcohol solution for a few weeks, strain all plant matter out and tincture the liquid, then use as a medicinal supplement.
Side Effects of Dandelions
Dandelions have been used to treat a variety of conditions, including liver and gallbladder disorders. However, there are some side effects that you should be aware of before taking dandelion supplements or drinking tea made from the plant.
Dandelion may interact with medications such as anticoagulants (blood thinners), diabetes drugs and anti-inflammatory medications. The leaves may also cause an allergic reaction in people who are sensitive to them.
So, before you start yanking….
So, before you start yanking these “weeds” out of your garden because you believe they’re ruining your lawn, why not take a different approach? Why not consider harvesting them instead and embracing their offerings?