- Dandelions are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidant compounds that likely contribute to a long list of health benefits, including playing a role in protecting your skin from damage
- Evidence shows that dandelion extract benefits cardiovascular health as it is a diuretic, has anti-platelet activity and can lower blood pressure
- Dandelions also have hepatoprotective effects and are known to help lower blood sugar
- Dandelions contain inulin that helps promote weight loss, reduce liver fat and is a prebiotic for beneficial bacteria
- Dandelions can be steeped for tea, dried for coffee, added to salads or the leaves steamed or added to stir fry or soups
- Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) are members of the Asteraceae family, otherwise known as the daisy family, which includes sunflowers, chrysanthemums, coneflowers and artichokes.
Dandelions are found globally and appear to thrive nearly anywhere. The toothed edges of the leaves were the inspiration for the French name “dent de lion” or lion’s tooth. At the end of its life, the dandelion flower produces a wispy ball of seeds that is easily carried on the slightest breeze. Although they have become the bane of many homeowners, it is interesting and important to note that they have been prized for their medicinal and nutritional value since ancient times.
In addition to improving human health, dandelions also help raise soil quality. The long tap root goes deep and can break through hard-packed soil. While growing, the roots draw up minerals, which are concentrated in the plant and likely give it many of the health benefits I discuss below.
However, when the plants are left to die, these minerals are absorbed by the topsoil, improving soil quality. Dandelions were used by ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks for their nutritional and medicinal properties and it’s likely they were purposely brought to the U.S. on the Mayflower.
Although many homeowners use weed killer to get rid of them, consider that they may be one of the most expensive foodstuffs you can buy. Organic dandelion coffee can sell for up to $35 a pound.
Dandelions Benefit Cardiovascular Health
High blood pressure is also known as the “silent killer” as there are often no symptoms until you have a heart attack or stroke. Many of the medications used to treat high blood pressure come with a long list of side effects and risks. However, there are several natural strategies you can use to help support your cardiovascular system and consuming dandelions is one of them.
One type of medication used to support the cardiovascular system is diuretics. Dandelions have a strong diuretic activity, which may be due in part to the high potassium content in the plant. The plant can also help the body get rid of waste products, including drugs, metabolic waste and dietary toxins through the liver and kidneys.
Additionally, a scientific review of the literature revealed that extracts from the dandelion root demonstrated antiplatelet activity in the lab setting. This helps to inhibit the adhesion of platelets on the endothelial walls and reduce the potential for plaque formation.
It is important to note that if you are on blood thinners, taking medication to treat diabetes or have any other health condition where taking a diuretic could present a problem, you should not include the dandelion plant in your daily regimen.
To be continued…