You may view the common dandelion as a bit of an annoyance, another weed you need to pull up from your lawn. But this humble little weed has been used in folk medicine for generations and has a host of medicinal properties. You can eat every bit of the dandelion (apart from the latex containing stem) however it will absorb whatever pollutants are around it such as pesticides and heavy metals such as lead, which can be found in soil around roadsides. If you are unsure about where to pick, don’t worry, there are plenty of dandelion root teas, coffees and supplements available to buy. Here are five benefits of dandelion root.
The dandelion root, when roasted to a deep brown colour, is an excellent replacement for coffee. Simply pop some of the root into some boiling water and simmer for a few minutes and viola, a perfect alternative to caffeine heavy coffee. The root contains probiotics which are great for maintaining a healthy gut, supporting the growth of healthy bacteria and eliminating unhealthy ones.
Dandelion root is already used as a traditional medicine in Mexico and Turkey to treat Type 2 diabetes and there are calls for further studies into its benefits to take place. Initial studies have shown that blood glucose levels were reduced with the consumption of both dandelion root and leaf.
Dandelion root contains Taraxasterol, which according to the National Centre for Biotechnology Information “…has anti-inflammatory properties and is considered a therapeutic agent for the treatment of inflammatory diseases.”
Rich in Antioxidants
Dandelions are rich in beta-carotene, which is an antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage. Medical News Today states that, “Research shows that carotenoids such as beta-carotene play a vital role in reducing cell damage.”
A test in 2010 showed that the consumption of dandelion helped to lower the cholesterol of rabbits on a high-cholesterol diet. The bioactive compound responsible for lowering the cholesterol can be found in both the leaf and root.
Boosts your immune system
Some studies have found that Dandelion root may be a boost to your immune system, helping you fight and recover from infection. This is due to its antimicrobial and antiviral properties which can reduce a virus’ ability to replicate.
There is a lack of research into long term safety of the use of Dandelion root in children and pregnant or nursing women, so it’s advised to be avoided. It can also affect how different drugs are absorbed into the body so it’s best to speak to your doctor before taking if you are on any other medication.