Dandelion for your health

 

“What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson.

It is that time of year again and soon the dandelions will be popping up all over. The common name dandelion comes from the French dent de lion, meaning lion’s tooth and refers to the dentate leaf edges. Dandelion will also be the first of many flowers the honeybees will gather nectar and pollen from after a long winter to replenish their foods.

A little history about Dandelions …

Dandelion is a native of Europe. In the 17th century when dandelions were brought to the New World. Dandelion was not valued as a food but instead used by the Puritans hosting a variety of health benefits and as a source of medicine.  The women planted dandelion seeds for its medicinal benefit.  Europeans used the plant to treat fevers, boils, eye problems, diarrhea, fluid retention, liver congestion, heartburn, and skin problems. Dandelion was used in China, India and Russia to treat breast problems, liver diseases, appendicitis and digestive problems.

The Nutrition Facts of Dandelions …

Nutritionally, the dandelion has remarkable value. It contains almost as much iron as spinach, four times Vitamin A content as an antioxidant carotenoid, which is particularly good for the skin, mucus membranes and vision. An analysis of dandelion shows it to consist of protein, fat and carbohydrates. Its mineral and Vitamin contents are folate, phosphorus, magnesium, sodium and copper. The greens of the dandelion provide 535% of the recommended daily value of vitamin K, which may play a role in fighting Alzheimer’s disease by limiting neuron damage in the brain. A flavonoid called zeaxanthin protects the retina from UV rays, while others, primarily carotene, lutein, and cryptoxanthin, protect the body from lung and mouth cancers. Dandelion is high in fiber, which helps your body shed waste. It also contain vitamins C and B6, thiamin, riboflavin, calcium, iron (crucial for generating red blood cells), potassium (to help regulate heart rate and blood pressure), and manganese.

What part can you eat or use …?

All parts of the dandelion can be eaten and are often found in salads, roasted, fried (as in Dandelion flower fritters), mixed in pancakes or made into wines, teas or coffee-like beverages. The flowers can be made into oils and salves for sore muscles. Roots and leaves into tinctures for digestive issues.  Or into vinegars for use on salads, in soups or over cooked beans.  And let us not forget the Dandelion wine. Dandelions have a similar taste to chicory or endive with a bitter tinge.

What is Dandelion used for …

Dandelions have been used for centuries as an herbal treatment for many ailments, among them kidney and liver problems, Digestive aids and stomach upset, and diabetes. Lets take a closer look at these.

Digestive Aid – Your liver cleans toxins from your body and creates most of your body’s lymph.  Basically, your liver manages your body’s sewage system It’s very important to keep this organ in good working condition! Dandelion is arguably one of the top herbs for liver health; the root, flower and leaves are all beneficial. Dandelion maintains proper flow of bile, which improves digestion and helps prevent constipation. Dandelion acts as a mild laxative that promotes digestion, stimulates appetite, and balances the natural and beneficial bacteria in the intestines. It can increase the release of stomach acid and bile to aid digestion, especially of fats. For Kidney health this superfood is a diuretic that helps the kidneys clear out waste, salt, and excess water by increasing urine production. This inhibits microbial growth in the urinary system too. Dandelion also replaces some of the potassium lost in the process. As a liver tonic Dandelion has been shown to improve liver function by removing toxins and reestablishing hydration and electrolyte balance. It also increases the release of bile.

Dandelion purifies your blood – Blood is a combination of plasma and cells.  Plasma contains water, blood cells, carbon dioxide, glucose (sugar), hormones and proteins. The most important thing blood does in our bodies is supply essential nutrients to our cells and carries waste away from those cells. What dandelion does for your blood:

  • cleanses and carries away toxic waste
  • lowers blood sugar
  • builds blood count
  • destroys acid in the blood
  • can lower blood pressure
  • effective against fungal and bacterial infections (including candida)

Dandelion is FULL of Antioxidants – Every part of the dandelion plant is rich in antioxidants that prevent free-radical damage to cells and DNA, slowing down the aging process in our cells. It is rich in vitamin C and vitamin A as beta-carotene and increases the liver’s production of superoxide dismutase.

Inflammation – Dandelion contains essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and phytonutrients that all reduce inflammation throughout the body. This can relieve pain and swelling easing joint and muscle pain. Dandelion is one of the most useful plants to reduce joint pain and aching muscles. The anti-inflammatory properties of dandelion have been proven to aid in the treatment of arthritis, gout, relieve sore muscles and decrease joint pain. For this dandelion flowers are infused into oil or made into a salve that can work effectively when massaged into aching muscles and joints.

Cancer – Dandelion seems to show promise in cancer research studies. Dandelion may slow cancer’s growth and prevent it from spreading. The leaves are especially rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients that combat cancer.

Diabetes – Dandelion has been shown to help normalize blood sugar levels and it is beneficial to drink dandelion tea on a regular basis. Ingesting dandelion can improve lipid profiles, cholesterol and triglycerides in diabetic patients.

High Blood Pressure – As a diuretic, dandelion increases urination which then lowers blood pressure. The fiber and potassium in dandelion also help regulate blood pressure.

Immune System – Studies also show that dandelion boosts immune function and fights off microbes and fungi.

Menstruation – Dandelion can reduce the symptoms of menstruation and PMS. It can help with cramping, heavy bleeding, a missed period, menstrual headaches, constipation and anemia. The leaves are a diuretic, which can relieve water retention from menstruation. They also provide potassium, whereas many other diuretics take it away from your body.

Pregnancy – If you are pregnant or nursing – Discuss with you doctor the health benefits of using dandelion. Dandelion is safe to take while you’re pregnant or breastfeeding your baby. In fact, it’s more than safe, it’s beneficial!  A few ways dandelion can help a pregnant or nursing mama:

  • helps with water retention (diuretic)
  • can prevent constipation
  • excellent for jaundice
  • can ease indigestion
  • enriches breast milk
  • Helps with blood sugar levels if you have gestational diabetes

Drug interactions, precautions and disclaimer …

According to the University of Maryland Medical Centre, dandelion could interact with certain medications and it’s always recommended that you talk to your doctor about having dandelion if you’re on medication. Here are some medications that could interact with dandelion.30

Diabetes Medication: If you’re diabetic and already on medication, talk to your doctor before taking dandelion in any form as it could affect blood glucose levels.

Diuretics: Avoid dandelion if you’re already taking prescription diuretics. Having dandelion while on other medication or herbs that are also diuretics could cause electrolyte imbalance.

Antacids: Dandelion may increase stomach acidity which could reduce the effectiveness of antacids.

Blood-Thinning Medications: If you’re already taking blood thinners, dandelion could increase the risk of bleeding.

Antibiotics: A species of dandelion known as taraxacum mongolicum (Chinese dandelion) may interfere with the absorption of the antibiotic ciproflaxin. Though dandelions used in America belong to a different species (taraxacum officinale), it’s always safe to consult with your doctor if you’re on antibiotics.

Lithium: Studies have shown that dandelion may worsen the effects of lithium, a widely used medication for bipolar disorder.

Several experiments have shown that dandelion has a healing effect on the liver. This also means that it could affect drugs that are broken down by the liver. If you’re on medication, talk to your doctor before taking dandelion.

Dandelion is generally considered safe in food and medicinal levels. Some people may have allergic reactions to dandelion. Anyone with an allergy to ragweed, chrysanthemum, marigold, chamomile, yarrow, or daisy should avoid dandelion.

Disclaimer ~ These products have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to treat or prevent disease.

The information provided here is for educational purposes only, and should not be used to diagnose and treat diseases. Each product states what it has been used to aid. We are not claiming that the product will cure any of these diseases or that we created them to cure these disorders. We are merely reporting that people have used the product to aid these conditions.

Finally, ALWAYS consult with a qualified health practitioner before deciding on any course of treatment, especially for serious or life-threatening illnesses, If you are pregnant, nursing, or on any medications.

Disclaimer: Creations By C is not responsible for any individual’s use of our products. Each person’s response to herbs may differ. Consult a qualified health care practitioner for guidance.

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