Dandelions are used more as an ornamental plant rather than as a salad ingredient, but it packs just as many vitamins and nutrients as any other herb. This plant has been used as a remedy for plenty of health problems even before the start of recorded history and is still widely used as a medicinal plant today.
You can reap the health benefits from this flowering plant by incorporating dandelion herb to your simple, everyday dishes. Adding fresh dandelion leaves to your food is a refreshing way to liven up your usual soups and salads. You can also try switching your usual beverages to a healthier alternative, such as tea, coffee, or wine made from dandelion roots.
History of Dandelion Herb
Dandelion belongs to the large genus of flowering plants called Taraxacum and has two common species that are distributed worldwide: the Taraxacum oficinale and the Taraxacum erythrospermum. Both of these species are native to North America and Eurasia where they grow as wildflowers. The entire part of the plant is edible, from the tap root down to the flowers and leaves and they are used for culinary and medicinal purposes.
The dandelion got its name from its coarsely-edged leaves, which was derived from the French word ‘dent de lion’ meaning ‘tooth of the lion’. Its Latin name was Dens leonis while the Greek name of its genus was Leontodon. The leaves were said to resemble the canine tooth of the lion, hence, the name. The Persians also used to call it tarashquq, which later evolved into Taraxacum, the name of its genus.
It was the Arabs who were believed to have harnessed the medicinal uses of dandelion between the 10th and 11th century. The Indians were also among one of the earliest cultivators of this plant due to its many medicinal benefits. They called it kukraundha or kanphool and used it to treat liver problems and other diseases.It is also a popular ingredient in their vegetable salads because of its remarkable nutritional value.The roots are used to make various beverages, while the leaves may be boiled and added to various vegetable dishes.
Top 10 Health Benefits of Dandelion Herb
Keeps the liver healthy
The liver is responsible for cleansing the blood from harmful substances, and an unhealthy diet and lifestyle can damage the liver and cause plenty of complications. Dandelion contains vitamin C and luteolin that helps the liver function better and prevents it from hemorrhaging. It also stimulates the production of bile so the liver can easily break down and store fatty acids in the body.
Acts as a natural diuretic
Dandelion root can be used to cleanse the kidneys and urinary tract because of its diuretic effect – the toxins are excreted out of your system by stimulating the constant production of urine while killing the harmful bacteria in your reproductive and excretory organs along the way due to its anti-microbial properties.
Helps in losing excess weight
Eating fresh dandelion leaves as a salad or soup can help you lose weight naturally and efficiently. The leaves are very low in calories and are a good source of dietary fiber which cleanses the intestines. Additionally, the latex secreted by the plant tissues is a good laxative that facilitates better bowel movement to prevent bloating.
Maintains a healthy vision
Dandelion herb is rich in beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which are all essential in keeping a sharp and clear vision. Furthermore, zeaxanthin has photo-filtering functions that protect the retina from harmful UV rays, preventing eye damage.
Strengthens bone and teeth
A generous helping of dandelion salad or dandelion tea might save you from degenerative bone diseases and tooth loss. Dandelion is loaded with vitamin K, an essential nutrient that strengthens the bones and teeth. It also speeds up the healing of wounds since vitamin K is responsible for blood clotting.
Stimulates insulin production
Diabetes is characterized by the inability of the pancreas to produce the proper amount of insulin needed to control the blood sugar level of the body. Drinking dandelion tea helps diabetes patients manage their disease by stimulating the production of insulin in the pancreas, therefore keeping their blood sugar level low.
Treats skin diseases
The milky-white sap of the dandelion is actually good for treating microbial and fungal diseases on the skin, like ringworms, eczema, psoriasis, and acne. A generous application of the highly alkaline sap on the affected area will kill the fungus and bacteria on the skin.
Free radical damage is linked to the formation of deadly cancer cells in the body, which is why you should start taking care of your health as early as right now. Drinking beverages made from dandelion or eating dandelion-infused dishes will provide you with all the antioxidants that you need to eliminate free radicals from your body, thus preventing cancer.
Dandelion herb is also an excellent source of iron, a nutrient that is essential in the production of blood. People with anemia should consume dandelion to speed up their hemoglobin formation and keep their health back on track.
Helps control blood pressure
The abundance of minerals in dandelion such as potassium, magnesium, phosphorous, and manganese are all beneficial to the well-being of the cardiovascular system by regulating the heart rate and blood pressure.
Dandelion Herb Nutrition Facts
For every 55 grams (1 cup) of freshly-chopped dandelion herb, you will get the following nutrients:
- 7 Calories (1% Daily Value)
- 1 grams Total Carbohydrate (2% Daily Value)
- 1.9 grams Dietary Fiber (8% Daily Value)
- 0.4 grams Sugars
- 4 grams Total Fat (1% Daily Value)
- grams Saturated Fat (0% Daily Value)
- 0.0 grams Monounsaturated Fat
- 0.2 grams Polyunsaturated Fat
- 24.2 milligrams Total Omega-3 Fatty Acids
- 144 milligrams Total Omega-6 Fatty Acids
- 5 grams Protein (3% Daily Value)
- 5588 IU Vitamin A (112% Daily Value)
- 3 milligrams Vitamin C (32% Daily Value)
- 9 milligrams Vitamin E – Alpha Tocopherol (9% Daily Value)
- 428 micrograms Vitamin K (535% Daily Value)
- 1 milligrams Thiamin (7% Daily Value)
- 1 milligrams Riboflavin (8% Daily Value)
- 4 milligrams Niacin (2% Daily Value)
- 1 milligrams Vitamin B12 (7% Daily Value)
- 0 milligrams Pantothenic Acid (0% Daily Value)
- 4 milligrams Choline
- 103 milligrams Calcium (10% Daily Value)
- 7 milligrams Iron (9% Daily Value)
- 8 milligrams Magnesium (5% Daily Value)
- 3 milligrams Phosphorus (4% Daily Value)
- 218 milligrams Potassium (6% Daily Value)
- 8 milligrams Sodium (2&Daily Value)
- 2 milligrams Zinc (2% Daily Value)
- 1 milligrams Copper (5% Daily Value)
- 2 milligrams Manganese (9% Daily Value)
- 3 micrograms Selenium (0% Daily Value)
- 1 grams Water
- 0 grams Ash
Potential Side Effects of Dandelion Herb
- Dandelion herb is safe when consumed in amounts that are normally used in food, and in moderate amounts when taken as a medicine.
- For pregnant and breastfeeding women, consult your physician first before consuming dandelion or taking it as a medicine.
- For people with intestinal blockage or bile duct, the use of dandelion is strongly discouraged.
- For people who are currently taking prescription medicines, herbal preparations, and dietary supplements consult your physician before consuming dandelion since it might react with it.
- For people who are allergic to daisies, ragweed, chrysanthemums, and marigolds, consuming dandelion herb or applying it on the skin might cause an allergic reaction.
Dandelion Herb Fun Facts
- The dandelion’s flower petals are one of the ingredients used in making dandelion wine, while the ground, roasted roots are used to make caffeine-free dandelion coffee.
- The people in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia celebrate the start of spring annually with the Dandelion Festival. Their emblem is also the dandelion.
- The tissues of the dandelion herb secrete latex when cut, and although the latex content is low, German scientists are creating and testing blends of dandelion-rubber for tires.
- During the Victorian era, dandelion was eaten as a delicacy, especially when added to salads and sandwiches.
- The traditional British beverage also uses dandelion paired with burdock as its main ingredient.
Dandelion Supplement to Try
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