Heidi Wright, BSN, RN, PCCN, and Certified Master Herbalist
One man’s pesky garden weed is another man’s herbal medicine! Not exactly a saying you may have heard before, but it’s the case for dandelion root.
Used by many practitioners of Chinese medicine and Native American medicine, the dandelion root is used in traditional medicine to help ease problems with stomach and liver conditions.
In Europe, many also used it to help treat diabetes; boils; and inflammation.
Both the dandelion root and leaf have their unique benefits. Leaves are said to be diuretic and galactagogue (helps to increase breast milk production in nursing mothers), while the roots have more in-depth benefits that we will explore shortly.
To get your hands on a dandelion root, simply find a health food store near you where you can buy the whole plant or products like capsules; tinctures; and teas.
While few modern, scientific studies have explored the use of dandelion root on humans, many herbalists use dandelion in practice for its variety of benefits, including:
Some research has shown that two properties in dandelion can naturally reduce blood sugar in animal subjects.
The bioactive compounds chicoric and chlorogenic acid are found in all parts of the dandelion plant and have impressive effects on diabetic subjects.
The two compounds have been shown to improve insulin secretion from the pancreas while also improving the absorption of glucose (sugar) in muscle tissues.
This process led to improved insulin sensitivity as well as reduced blood sugar levels in animal subjects.
Your liver filters your blood by removing toxins from the bloodstream. “In traditional medicine and herbalism, dandelion root is used to support healthy digestive functions in the body, including the role of the liver,” highlights Heidi Wright, Registered Nurse and Certified Herbalist.
Some researchers have noted that dandelion had significantly protected liver tissue in mice that were exposed to toxic levels of acetaminophen (Tylenol). This is thought to be due to dandelion’s high antioxidant content.
Preventing heart disease is critical. It is the leading cause of death in the world, according to the World Health Organization.
Some bioactive compounds in dandelion root may help maintain healthy cholesterol levels.
A study on animals demonstrated that the triglyceride and cholesterol levels were reduced when the subjects were given dandelion extract.
More research is required, but the results are interesting.
Dandelion greens are an excellent source of calcium and vitamin k - both of which are key to the prevention of bone loss.
Inulin, a fiber found in dandelion root, may also support healthy bones through improving digestion and promoting healthier gut bacteria.
Could dandelion support the body’s immune system and help prevent cancer? We do not know–yet. It is being studied. In test tube studies, the properties of dandelion leaf were shown to prevent the growth of cancer cells in many different organ systems. In one test-tube study, it was shown that extract from dandelion leaf significantly slowed the growth of cancer cells in the liver, colon, and pancreatic tissue.
“Dandelion supports healthy digestive function and contains vitamins that can help maintain energy levels. As part of a healthy diet and lifestyle, dandelion may aid in weight loss, reduce bloating, and improve digestion,” notes Wright.
Some research has shown that dandelion may have antimicrobial and antiviral properties. Many test tube studies have shown that the extract significantly reduced the ability of viruses to replicate.
“The dandelion plant may have properties that support a healthy immune system. The polyphenols in dandelion are known to ease tension and provide soothing benefits,” Wright highlights.
Dandelion has been used for treating constipation and other symptoms of digestive discomfort.
The root is a rich source of the prebiotic fiber inulin. Research shows that inulin can reduce constipation and increase intestinal movement.
You can get the benefits of Dandelion Root and 7 other super herbs in Herbaly Wellness Collection. A tea blend that combines 8 botanicals that can help you achieve better health and wellness with phytonutrients and antioxidants.
. A tea blend that combines 8 botanicals that can help you achieve better health and wellness with phytonutrients and antioxidants.
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