Dandelion is one plant that can survive just about anywhere—in your garden, backyard, and even in cracked pavements or sidewalks around your house. I bet you didn’t also know that dandelion leaves have a host of health benefits too.
The nutrients contained in dandelion leaves can help you improve your health in ways you didn’t think possible. As a matter of fact, for several years, dandelion has been used in preparing traditional medicines for certain ailments.
To incorporate this potent herb into your daily diet, simply make mix some dandelion leaves and add to your salad or smoothies. Alternatively, you can even mix it with a herbal tea and coffee.
However, you decide to use dandelion leaves—whether by adding them to a green smoothie, or a leafy green salad, the leaves contain a host of beneficial nutrients. The truth is every single part of the plant—the crown, flowers, leaves, and roots—is edible and safe for eating. In fact, dandelion leaves provide the body with thiamin, beta-carotene, calcium, riboflavin, magnesium, iron, and calcium.
Did you know that dandelion contains more potassium than bananas? Oh yes, it does. It also contains more vitamin A than you’d find in carrots and more protein than is contained in spinach. The leaf is also a good source of antioxidants which are helpful in supporting cardiovascular health. It also contains phytonutrients such as steroids, alkaloids, kynurenic acid as well as triterpenoids. Overall, dandelion leaves are one of the richest herbal plants you’d find.
Below are some of the proven health benefits of dandelion leaves.
In addition to its leaves, dandelion roots can be used as a potent remedy for treating diabetes. Based on studies and research conducted on animals, dandelion leaves have been found to have the ability to control blood sugar, insulin levels, and lipid levels.
Low in Calories and High in Iron
In 100 grams of serving, dandelion leaves contain just 45 calories. Ironically, dandelion leaves also have very high iron content essential for the production of red blood cells. Red blood cells are good for anemic patients.
Supports Kidney Function
Dandelion leaves can replenish some lost potassium while supporting kidney function. Owing to its diuretic properties, it increases the production of urine production and aids in removing toxins from the body.
Contains Antioxidants Properties
We already know how beneficial antioxidants are in helping the body get rid of free radicals that cause damage to the body’s cell and DNA. These free radicals are usually common because of the air pollution caused by factories and vehicles, especially in developed societies and big cities.
Dandelion leaves contain lots of vitamin A and C. The leaves can improve the production of superoxide dismutase in the liver and function as beta-carotene. Superoxide dismutase is actually some enzyme which has the ability to repair damaged cells and slow the damage caused by the most common free radical in the body–superoxide.
That’s not even all–the antioxidants in dandelion leaves can also act as anti-aging agents.
High in Calcium
Dandelion leaves are very rich in calcium. A cup of dandelion leaves extract can actually give you up to 10 percents of the body’s required daily intakes. To maximize the health benefits of dandelion leaves, simply add about 2 – 3 cups of the extract to your favorite calcium-rich fruit such as orange, papaya, or kiwi, papaya. It can also help in strengthening the teeth and bones and keeps fat at bay.
Improves Liver Function
Several studies have indicated that the elements found in dandelion leaves cannot only eliminate toxins but can also restore the body after dehydration and provide electrolyte balance. Due to this, the liver is able to function at its optimum. Furthermore, it can increase the release of bile.
Lowers Blood Pressure
Dandelion leaves contain potassium and fiber which have diuretic properties which can increase the production of urine and control blood pressure. When urination increases, it helps in regulating blood pressure.
Facilitates Weight Loss
The latex found in dandelion leaves is a mild but amazing laxative. Also, in every 100 grams of the leaves, the body gets 9% dietary fiber which can help in shedding excess weight.
Several studies and observations have suggested that dandelion leaves may reduce how fast cancer cells develop while also inhibiting its spread. The phytonutrients and antioxidants which are contained in the leaves are responsible for this. These elements help to curb the growth of cancer cells.
Some studies on animals have shown that the dietary fiber found in dandelion leaves have the ability to lower and regulate cholesterol levels while also elevating good cholesterol (HDL).
The properties which are contained in dandelion leaves such as phytonutrients, fatty acids, and antioxidants can help in reducing inflammation for the whole body and act as pain relief. Moreover, the anti-inflammatory elements in dandelion leaves can also alleviate asthma and other inflammatory ailments.
Several studies have confirmed that dandelion leaves can destroy fungi and microbes. The leaves have lots of vitamin C and vitamin E which are the essential elements for overall health.
Good for the Gallbladder
For people experiencing gallbladder issues, consuming some dandelion leaves may act as a natural treatment. To alleviate gallbladder blockages and problems, dandelion helps in increasing production of bile and reducing inflammation.
Rich in Vitamin A
To maintain a healthy skin, good vision, and healthy mucous membranes, an adequate amount of vitamin A is required. In fact, 100 grams of dandelion leaves has approximately 338% of the recommended value of vitamin A.
Alzheimer’s, if left untreated can lead to more serious health issues. Thankfully, the vitamin K in dandelion leaves can provide up to 650 percents of the daily recommended intake of the vitamin–the highest quantity from any herbal source. Vitamin K helps in limiting neuronal damage in the brain of people with Alzheimer’s.
Risks and Side Effects
Dandelion leaves are generally safe and have almost no side effect. However, if you suffer from the following conditions, then it is advisable to avoid taking the herbal plant:
- People who are allergic to daisy, chamomile, chrysanthemum, ragweed, and yarrow.
- Pregnant women.
- People on prescription drugs.
Anyone with any of the above conditions should avoid consuming dandelion leaves, especially those who are on prescription drugs. The wise thing to do is seek the advice of a qualified health practitioner before every diet plan change.
Supplementing With Dandelion
Dandelion supplements come in various forms; the most common are pills, tea, and liquid extracts, pills. Dandelion leaves are also used in producing certain dietary supplement formulas, particularly those that promote gallbladder and liver health.
It is advisable to buy supplements that are made from a blend of organic dandelion leaves and has not been exposed to pesticides or any other chemical.