5 min read
As a matter of fact, the plant has been used in treating various conditions for centuries. All parts of dandelion plants are edible from the leaves to the flowers, stem, and even its roots. This article highlights some of the fantastic properties of dandelion and how you can enjoy these amazing benefits. Some of the highlights of this article include;
* Background into the dandelion plant
* Benefits of the dandelion plant
* How to use the dandelion plant
What is a Dandelion Flower?
The dandelion flower is a plant, often with yellow flowers. It comes in several varieties, but the most common variety is Taraxacum officinale. The dandelion plant is found in several countries around the world, although it is native to Eurasia and North America. The flowers of plants in the Asteraceae family, which dandelion belongs to, are called ray flowers and are identified by their strap-shaped corolla.
Some of the many amazing properties of dandelion include
- Providing antioxidants
Antioxidants are a class of compounds that help to neutralize the harmful effects of free radicals in the human body. Free radicals are produced in the body naturally, and the accumulation of these free radicals can cause accelerated aging or predisposition to certain conditions. This is due to the presence of a compound called beta-carotene in the dandelion plant. Dandelion flowers also contain polyphenols, which are also antioxidants.
- Reducing cholesterol
Apart from their antioxidant components, dandelions also contain several bioactive compounds that can help lower the cholesterol level of a person. This is why the plant is often recommended for people who are obese or have conditions that predispose them to high cholesterol levels in the body. Although there are still studies to find the components of the dandelion flower responsible for this activity.
- Blood Sugar Regulation
Some studies have also shown that dandelions contain antihyperglycemic compounds, i.e., compounds that help to regulate blood sugar when it gets too high. This adds to the positive benefits that can be obtained from the dandelion plant.
- Reducing Blood Pressure
Being good sources of potassium, dandelions have also been predicted to help lower blood pressure, thereby helping to prevent several associated conditions. Potassium supplements are generally noted to lower blood pressure, and dandelion being rich in potassium falls in this category.
- Reducing Inflammation
Also, there have been some studies that show some chemicals in dandelions showed positive effects in treating inflammation, though more studies are still required to validate this claim.
- Reducing Cancer Risk
Also, although limited, studies have shown that dandelion can help slow the growth of pancreatic, colon, and liver cancer. Several treatment options have begun to explore the incorporation of dandelion extract due to its inhibitory activity.
- Immunity Boost
Researchers have also started to identify the positive effects of dandelions on the immune system. For instance, studies show that dandelions help control the growth of hepatitis B in both humans and animals. This test was carried out in test tubes and not live subjects.
- Weight Loss
For people looking to lose weight, you might want to consider the inclusion of dandelion in your diet. This benefit has been attributed to the ability of the plant to help improve the metabolism of carbohydrates and reduce the rate of absorption of fat.
- Aiding Digestion
Also, there have been claims of using dandelion as a traditional remedy for constipation and several other digestion issues.
- Keeping Skin Healthy
Ultraviolet (UV) light can cause significant damage to the skin if proper care is not taken. Protecting the skin from the harsh treatment from UV light can help you keep your skin healthy and retain that youthful look. Dandelions can be used to help with this. These plants have been shown to have positive effects in keeping the skin healthy.
How to Use Dandelion
After understanding the myriad of benefits associated with the dandelion plant, the next step is to find the best way to incorporate dandelion into your daily routine. While dandelions can be present in abundance in some areas, they might not be as abundant in some other areas.
Some people use dandelions in making salads, although the limitations in obtaining them do not always make this possible. Also, you might want to be careful with picking dandelions just anywhere as they might be polluted with pesticides or animal excrement.
However, considering that the FDA has recognized dandelion as being safe for consumption in the inclusion in food products, dandelion supplements, and other tea and coffee infusions are also available for purchase.
Apart from this, the dandelion flower can also be infused in oil for use in soothing chapped or cracked skin. The flower can also be made into a salve or extracted using vinegar. The vinegar extract of the dandelion flowers is said to be rich in calcium, potassium, magnesium, and iron. Some manufacturers have also tried to incorporate dandelions into soaps and lotions.
Like other nutritional supplements, the potency and effectiveness of the different brands of dandelion supplements vary. It is also important to note that dandelion and dandelion supplements should be avoided in people that are sensitive to dandelions and other related plants. People using special supplements should adhere strictly to the manufacturer’s instructions and, in case of any issues, should report to a doctor.
Benefits to Gardeners
Dandelions are also referred to as companion plants due to their positive effects on other plants in the garden. They help draw up nutrients from the soil and also help attract insects to facilitate pollination.
In all, Dandelions have a lot of health benefits. A number of these benefits have already been validated, and additional research on the plant is still ongoing to validate others. Dandelions are highly nutritious, making them highly recommended as part of your daily diet. With special supplements, you might want to get some approval from your doctor before going ahead with any dandelion supplements.