In traditional herbal
medicine practices, dandelion are revered for their
wide array of medicinal properties.
For centuries, they’ve
been used to treat a myriad of physical ailments,
including cancer, acne, liver disease and digestive
In terms of nutritional content, the dandelion patch
in your backyard can join the rankings with the rest
of your vegetable garden.
From root to flower,
dandelion are highly nutritious plants, loaded with
vitamins, minerals and fiber.
Dandelion greens can be
eaten cooked or raw and serve as an excellent source
of vitamins A, C and K. They also contain vitamin E,
folate and small amounts of other B vitamins
What’s more, dandelion
greens provide a substantial amount of several
minerals, including iron, calcium, magnesium and
The root of the
dandelion is rich in the carbohydrate inulin, which
is a type of soluble fiber found in plants that
supports the growth and maintenance of a healthy
bacterial flora in your intestinal tract
Dandelion root is often
dried and consumed as a tea but can also be eaten in
its whole form.
Dandelion are full of
potent antioxidants, which may explain why this
plant has such broad applications for health.
molecules that help neutralize or prevent the
negative effects of free radicals in your body.
Free radicals are a
product of normal metabolism but can be very
destructive. The presence of too many free radicals
contributes to disease development and accelerated
aging. Therefore, antioxidants are essential for
keeping your body healthy.
Dandelion contain high
levels of the antioxidant beta-carotene, which is
known to provide strong protection against cellular
damage and oxidative stress,
They’re also rich in
another category of antioxidants called polyphenols,
which are found in the highest concentration in the
flower but are present in the roots, leaves and
stems as well.
Dandelion may be
effective in reducing inflammation caused by disease
due to the presence of various bioactive compounds
like polyphenols within the plant.
Inflammation is one of
your body’s natural responses to injury or illness.
Over time, excessive inflammation can lead to
permanent damage to your body’s tissues and DNA.
Some test-tube studies
have revealed significantly reduced inflammation
markers in cells treated with dandelion compounds
A study in mice with
artificially induced inflammatory lung disease
showed a significant reduction of lung inflammation
in those animals that received dandelion
research is needed to clearly define dandelion’s
role in reducing inflammation in humans.
chlorogenic acid are two bioactive compounds in
dandelion. They’re found in all parts of the plant
and may help reduce blood sugar.
Test-tube and animal
studies show that these compounds can improve
insulin secretion from the pancreas while
simultaneously improving the absorption of glucose
(sugar) in muscle tissue.
This process leads to
improved insulin sensitivity and reduced blood sugar
In some animal studies,
chicoric and chlorogenic acid limited the digestion
of starchy carbohydrate foods, which may also
contribute to dandelion’s potential ability to
reduce blood sugar
While these early study
results are encouraging, more research is needed to
determine if dandelion work the same way in humans.
Some of the bioactive
compounds in dandelion may lower cholesterol, which
may decrease heart disease risk.
One animal study
resulted in dramatically reduced cholesterol and
triglyceride levels in mice that were treated with
A rabbit study
evaluated the impact of adding dandelion roots and
leaves to a high-cholesterol diet. Rabbits that
received dandelion had noticeably reduced
Though these outcomes
are intriguing, more research is needed to determine
dandelion’s potential effects on cholesterol in
Some people claim that
dandelion may reduce blood pressure, but supporting
evidence is limited.
medicine practices use dandelion for their diuretic
effect based on the belief that this can detoxify
In Western medicine,
diuretic medications are used to rid the body of
excess fluid, which can lead to lowered blood
One human study found
dandelion to be an effective diuretic. However, this
study was done over a short period and involved only
potassium, a mineral associated with lowered blood
pressure in those with previously elevated levels.
Thus, dandelion may have an indirect effect on blood
pressure due to their potassium content
It’s important to keep
in mind that this effect is not unique to dandelion
but applies to any potassium-rich food consumed as
part of a healthy diet.
Animal studies have
found that dandelion have a protective effect on
liver tissue in the presence of toxic substances and
One study revealed
significant protection of liver tissue in mice
exposed to toxic levels of acetaminophen (Tylenol).
Researchers attributed this finding to dandelion’s
Other animal studies
have shown that dandelion extract may reduce levels
of excess fat stored in the liver and protect
against oxidative stress in liver tissue
However, the same
results should not be expected in humans due to
differences in human and animal metabolism.
Further research is
needed to determine how dandelion impact liver
health in humans.
Some research indicates
that dandelion and their bioactive components may
support weight loss and maintenance, though the data
is not entirely conclusive.
theorize that dandelion’s ability to improve
carbohydrate metabolism and reduce fat absorption
may lead to weight loss. However, this notion has
yet to be scientifically proven
One study in mice
showed weight loss associated with dandelion
supplementation, though it should be noted that this
was an accidental finding and not the main focus of
Another study in obese
mice revealed that chlorogenic acid, a compound
found in dandelion, was able to reduce body weight
and levels of some fat-storage hormones
Yet again, this
research did not specifically evaluate dandelion’s
role in weight loss and obesity prevention.
human-based research is needed to determine a clear
cause-and-effect relationship between dandelion and
Perhaps one of the most
intriguing health claims of dandelion is their
potential to prevent the growth of cancerous cells
in many different organ systems.
One test-tube study
revealed significantly reduced growth of cancerous
cells that were treated with dandelion leaf extract.
However, extracts from dandelion flower or root did
not lead to the same result
Other test-tube studies
have shown that dandelion root extract has the
capacity to dramatically slow the growth of cancer
cells in liver, colon and pancreatic tissue
These findings are
encouraging, but more research is fundamental to
fully understand how dandelion may be useful in
treating or preventing cancer in humans.
medicine utilizes dandelion to treat constipation
and other symptoms of impaired digestion. Some early
research seems to support these claims.
One animal study
revealed a significant increase in the rates of
stomach contractions and emptying of stomach
contents into the small intestine in rats who were
treated with dandelion extract
root is a rich source of the probiotic fiber inulin.
Research indicates that inulin has a strong capacity
to reduce constipation and increase intestinal
Some research indicates
that dandelion may have antimicrobial and antiviral
properties, which could support your body’s ability
to fight infection.
studies found that dandelion extract significantly
reduced the ability of viruses to replicate
Research also indicates
that some of the active compounds in dandelion
protect against various harmful bacteria
research is needed to draw definitive conclusions
about dandelion’s ability to fight viral and
bacterial infection in humans.
Animal and test-tube
research indicate that dandelion may protect against
skin damage from sunlight, aging and acne.
In one study, dandelion
leaf and flower extracts protected against skin
damage when applied just prior to or immediately
after exposure to UVB radiation (sunlight).
Interestingly, dandelion root was not effective in
the same way
One of the
characteristics of aging skin is a decrease in the
production of healthy, new skin cells.
One test-tube study
showed that dandelion root extract increased the
generation of new skin cells, which could slow the
indicates that dandelion extract may reduce skin
inflammation and irritation while also increasing
hydration and collagen production. This may be
useful in preventing and treating certain types of
acne .Reliable human research is still needed to
better understand how dandelion may support skin
Very little research
has been conducted on dandelion’s effect on bone
health, though some of its individual nutritional
components contribute to the maintenance of strong,
Dandelion greens are a
good source of calcium and vitamin K — both of which
are associated with the prevention of bone loss .
Inulin, a fiber found
in dandelion root, may also support healthy bones
through improved digestion and the promotion of
healthy gut bacteria
Dandelion have low
toxicity and are likely safe for most people,
especially when consumed as a food in its whole form
However, keep in mind
that research is still very limited and its use is
not 100% risk-free.
Dandelion can cause
allergic reactions, particularly in people with
allergies to related plants like ragweed. Contact
dermatitis can also occur in people with sensitive
Dandelion may interact
unfavorably with some medications, especially
certain diuretics and antibiotics
If you’re taking any
prescription medications, always consult your
healthcare provider prior to taking dandelion.