What Is Dandelion?
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is a type of flowering plant native to Europe, Asia and North America. It is often overlooked as a pesky weed, it can actually be a useful addition to both your kitchen and your medicine cabinet. The roots are packed with health-promoting properties.
DANDELION ROOT BENEFITS
Serves as a Diuretic
Dandelion root has a natural diuretic effect, allowing your liver to more quickly eliminate toxins.
It also helps strengthen the immune system, balance blood sugar levels, relieve heartburn and soothe digestive issues. Because dandelion helps reduce uric acid and stimulates urine production, it’s beneficial for fighting bacterial infections within the digestive tract and reproductive organs. It also can help prevent urinary tract infections, as well as bladder disorders, kidney problems and possibly even cysts on reproductive organs.
Dandelion helps the body remove excess sugar that is stored in the body — because it is a diuretic.
Dandelion helps people with diabetes by stimulating the production of insulin from the pancreas and keeping blood sugar levels low. If our pancreas does not produce proper amounts of insulin, or if our cells is not able to properly process insulin, it results in diabetes. Because the glucose is not properly utilized, it accumulates in the bloodstream and results in high blood glucose or sugar levels.
May Kill Cancer Cells
Interestingly enough, several studies show dandelion root may be useful in the prevention and treatment of cancer. A 2011 study out the University of Windsor in Canada treated skin cancer cells with dandelion root extract and found that it started killing off cancer cells within just 48 hours of treatment. Another study in Oncotarget showed that dandelion root extract was able to kill 95 percent of colon cancer cells within two days. Other research has shown that dandelion root may aid in the treatment of leukemia, pancreatic cancer, breast cancer and prostate cancer.
Dandelion root has also been shown to reduce cholesterol levels. In one study, rabbits were fed a high-cholesterol diet and supplemented with dandelion root. Dandelion led to a reduction in total cholesterol, triglycerides and bad LDL cholesterol as well as an increase in beneficial HDL cholesterol. When combined with regular physical activity and a healthy diet, including a serving of dandelion root in your day could help keep your heart healthy and ward off heart disease.
Rich in Antioxidants
Free radicals are compounds that form in your body as a result of things like stress, pollution and a poor diet. Over time, the accumulation of free radicals can lead to cell damage and chronic disease. Antioxidants can help neutralize free radicals and have been shown to reduce the risk of conditions like heart disease and cancer.
Dandelion root is especially high in antioxidants
which may account for its many potent health benefits. Antioxidants are substances that help prevent certain types of cell damage, especially those caused by oxidation. The body uses antioxidants to fight free radical damage, which is very dangerous for the body’s tissues and is connected to cancer and premature aging.
Luckily, drinking dandelion tea helps the body avoid cell damage from free radicals. A study conducted in 2011 by the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Windsor in Canada found that dandelion root extract was effective in killing different cancers as a result of its free radical-fighting abilities.
Supports Liver Health
Dandelions aid our digestive system by maintaining the proper flow of bile.
Dandelion root benefits your liver, helping protect it and keep it working effectively. One study by the Department of Food and Nutrition at Chonnam National University in the Republic of Korea showed that dandelion root extract prevented damage to the liver caused by alcohol toxicity in both liver cells and mice. These protective effects are likely due to the amount of antioxidants found in dandelion root as well as its ability to prevent damage caused by free radicals.
The role of our liver is to produce bile, which helps enzymes in the body break down fats into fatty acids — and to filter and detoxify our blood. The liver also has the amazing ability to break down and store amino acids, synthesize and metabolize fats and cholesterol, store glucose, and regulate our internal functions. The vitamins and nutrients present in dandelions help cleanse our livers and keep them working properly.
In addition to its many other health benefits, dandelion root also possesses antimicrobial properties that can help stop the growth of disease-causing bacteria. A study in Ireland published in Phytotherapy Research showed that dandelion root was especially effective against certain strains of bacteria that are responsible for staph infections and foodborne illness.
Although more research is needed, dandelion root may be a useful natural method for fighting off bacterial infections.