Dandelions are considered a common pesky weed to the average person. They’re brutal to dig up and destroy and seem impervious to most strains of weed killer. Dandelions belong to the sunflower family, and its name means lions tooth. They’re a herbaceous perennial growing from a thick root that thrives on any terrain. But before we go uprooting them, did you know they actually have unique properties that are advantageous to our health? In fact, they’re deemed a superfood with enormous benefits.
Dandelions are a rich source of beta-carotene which we convert into vitamin A. This is essential for skin, mucous membranes and eyes. They are also rich in vitamin C, iron, calcium, potassium, (helps regulates heart rate and blood pressure, folate, thiamin, riboflavin, iron, (for generating red blood cells), manganese, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus. They’re high in fiber which assists your body in purging waste. You’ll also find B-complex vitamins, trace minerals, and organic sodium.
Centuries back dandelions were used for their medicinal value and deemed a powerful healer. They were used to purify the blood, settle a stomach, prevent gallstones, and much more. Today this humble plant is still well respected and used for a plethora of reasons.
When collecting dandelions is critical to remember that you want plants that have not been sprayed with toxic chemicals such as herbicides and pesticides. If you’re not able to find fresh, clean plants, then many health food stores will sell fresh, or freeze-dried plants. You can also get Dandelion tea, capsules and tinctures as well.
Liver, Kidney & Digestive Aid
Dandelions act as a mild laxative that encourages digestion, sparks appetites, and balances the bacteria in the intestines. As a stimulant to liver and gall bladder function, one of the main uses of the dandelion root is to relieve the symptom of constipation without the drastic effects and gripping pain of harsh laxatives. As a diuretic it helps our kidneys clear out waste, salts, and excess water by increasing urine production. They also flush out the liver by removing toxins and bile and reestablishing electrolyte balance.
Dandelion juice can assist diabetics by stimulating the pancreas to produce insulin and balance out sugar levels. It also helps remove the sugar deposition in the kidneys through increased urination.
Dandelion milk is beneficial in treating skin diseases which are caused by fungal infections. The milk or sap is highly alkaline and has germicidal, insecticidal and fungicidal properties. Caution is required while using this milk; avoid any contact with the eyes. This milk/sap can be used on itches, ringworm, eczema, and other skin conditions without the risk of side effects or hormonal disturbances commonly caused by prescription treatments.
Dandelion juice is a good detoxifier, diuretic, stimulant and antioxidant. These four impressive properties make it a great treatment for acne. Before we can treat acne, we must know what causes it. Acne is caused by new hormones that need to remain at a healthy ratio, if not, they tend to deposit somewhat toxic substances into the body. These toxins tend to come out along with sweat through the sweat glands or sebaceous glands on the skin.
During hormonal changes, these glands secrete more oils which, when mixed with dead skin, block the pores and the secretion of toxins is obstructed. Hence, the toxic substances cannot escape and ultimately result in acne. This situation is exacerbated by the microbial infections on the affected places. Dandelion juice, being a stimulant, diuretic and detoxifier by nature, can help regulate proper secretion of hormones, increase sweating and widen the pores. All of these factors help to expedite the removal of toxins through sweat and urine. Additionally, dandelion sap, when applied externally to the affected areas, can inhibit microbial infection and reduce the exasperating signs of acne. Also, it can speed up healing due to its vitamin-C content, so the scars and ugly red inflammation that traditionally follows acne treatment will be less obvious.
Stings & Burns
The inside portion of dandelion flower stems can be used as a soothing agent for the treatment of burns, stings, or bug bites. The leaves and roots have been used in Chinese medicine to poison ivy, hives, and sunburn.
Dandelions are super rich in antioxidants so they’re appreciated for their anti-aging benefits. This will reduce the appearance of fine lines, age spots and tiny wrinkles around the eyes and lips. It will also help tone saggy skin.
With lots of iron, minerals and protein content, dandelions are ideal for treating anemia. Iron is an integral part of hemoglobin, but vitamin B and protein are essential for the formation of red blood cells and other components of blood.
High Blood Pressure
Dandelion juice is an inherent diuretic, so it naturally increases urination both in quantity and frequency. This act helps lower blood pressure. The fiber in dandelion is helpful in removing cholesterol and thus assisting in lowering blood pressure as well. Plus the high potassium level in dandelions is effective in reducing blood pressure by replacing sodium.
Dandelions have a lot more benefits and uses; it such a remarkable little plant. You can eat the roots, stems, and even the flowers. But please note, if you’re on any medication, then talking to a naturopath or holistic health care provider is advised. So, next time you get the urge to dig up the dandelions maybe put a few leaves in your smoothie like me, or make tea out of the roots. Your body will enjoy it!