By Dr. Craig A. Maxwell
“It’s the simple things in life that are the most extraordinary.” Paul Coelho
Most of us view dandelions as just another pesky springtime eyesore. In fact, some of us pay good money to fertilize and remove these “weeds” from our front yard’s existence. The next time you notice a dandelion growing, take a deeper look and think about some of the health benefits associated with this herbaceous flower.
Dandelions are a rich source of beta-carotene, which our bodies convert into Vitamin A. Vitamin C, fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, phosphorus, and B-complex vitamins are also found within this flowering plant. The green leaves pack more protein per serving than spinach! This “super weed” supports good health in many ways.
Many people use dandelion root tea to assist in digestion, detoxification and/or as a mild diuretic. Dandelion root is a source of many naturally occurring compounds including carotenoids, fatty acids, flavonoids and phytosterols.
For centuries, Chinese and Native Americans have used the dandelion for medicinal purposes. Dandelion tea can also be used as a liver cleanse, to help release liver toxins.
To change your thoughts on dandelions, I have put together my list of the top seven health benefits of consuming dandelion root tea:
1) Useful As Digestive Aid
As a mild laxative, dandelion tea promotes digestion while stimulating the appetite. The best time for consumption is normally during the evening hours; before sleeping or shortly after dinner is a good time to enjoy a warm cup of dandelion root tea. It is also useful for gas and bloating.
2) Promote General Kidney Health
As a natural diuretic, dandelion tea can help to clear away excess waste, water and salt that can accumulate in the blood. In addition to regulating pH, salt, and potassium levels in the body, dandelion tea helps assist in the release of toxins and impurities through the kidneys.
3) Great Source of Antioxidants
Every part of the dandelion is rich in antioxidants. The human body naturally produces free radicals, as well as the antioxidants needed to counteract their damaging effects. Because free radicals far outnumber the naturally occurring antioxidants, a continual source of external antioxidants is needed to support good health. Dandelion tea can help to counteract these naturally occurring free radicals, providing increased levels of antioxidants.
4) Supports Healthy Liver Function
Dandelion tea can improve liver function by removing toxins and balancing electrolytes.
It also stimulates bile flow. Since this organ serves as our inner filter, a cleansed and fully-functioning liver is crucial in sustaining good health and vitality.
5) Shown to Help Prevent Diabetes
Dandelion tea is used to regulate sugar and insulin levels. In animal studies, dandelion has been shown to significantly regulate blood sugar and insulin levels.
6) Help Normalize Blood Pressure
High blood pressure can result in heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, and other vascular- related disease and illness. As a diuretic, dandelions can improve urination, leading to lower blood pressure. The added potassium can also help regulate blood pressure.
7) Boost Your Immune System
A healthy immune system helps the body defend itself against disease-causing microorganisms and germs. In order to function well, the immune system requires balance and harmony. Dandelion tea helps to assist in many areas of the body’s natural first line of defense.
I recommend purchasing USDA Certified Organic dandelion root tea.
Other Ways to Consume Dandelion for Your Health
In addition to drinking dandelion root tea, the plant’s leaves are also widely used to support good health. Dandelion leaves are a healthy addition to salads, soups and sandwiches. When used in this way choose the young, tender leaves. They are tastier and much less bitter than the larger leaves. Dandelion can also be taken in other forms such as liquid extract, tinctures, tablets, and capsules.
Due to its diuretic nature, I suggest initially starting dandelion tea consumption at one cup daily for several days. This may be boosted to a cup three times a day for more health benefits.
Consult your doctor before using, especially if you are currently taking any prescription medication.
Have you used dandelion root tea, or eaten dandelion? Please share your favorite dandelion recipes and stories in the comments below!
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