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Take a walk in the neighborhood, and you might just pass by an important plant disguised as a troublesome weed. Although it’s been used for generations all over the world for medicinal purposes, most Americans today consider the dandelion to be either that cute white puffy thing that you blow while making a wish, or that small bright yellow flower, with the stubborn stem invading your nice lawn. But the dandelion is so much more.
Dandelions are high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, C, D, E, & B complex, calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, manganese, copper, choline, and boron. Although the root, leaves, and flower are all used, it is the root that seems to be most effective for medicinal purposes. It is consumed in various forms, including an extract, tea/coffee, wine, ale/beer, leaves (in a salad), powder, or capsules. The ground root can be roasted and used as a replacement for coffee, as it provides natural energy and even has a similar taste. In addition to being a natural stimulant, it is also an excellent diuretic, and has lots of potassium, which can be lost with other types of diuretics. It is therefore often used as a detoxifying agent.
- Loss of Appetite
- Upset Stomach
- Intestinal Gas
- Joint Pain
- Muscle Aches
- Urination and GI Tract Issues
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Liver and Kidney Disease
- Viral Infections
They also state that there is not enough scientific evidence yet to determine its effectiveness for these ailments. The consensus is that the dandelion is generally safe for most people, if taken in amounts used for food and medicine. However, these sites also state that there may be some adverse reactions, allergic reactions, or side effects, so it would be prudent to do some research, and consult your physician before utilizing this herb. For additional information, including drug interactions, you can visit any of the above listed websites.
According to the Institute For Natural Healing, the dandelion is particularly used to fight cancer because it destroys cancer cells, but leaves healthy cells alone very similar to THC in cannabis oil. Just like THC in cannabis oil, the Dandelion causes apoptosis (cell death), by activating certain proteins that are needed in order for the cells to die. Because skin cancer is particularly resistant to chemotherapy, dandelion root could become an important alternative treatment. Although skeptical at first, Professor Siyaram Pandy agreed to experiment with the possible effects of dandelion on cancer, and was surprised to find positive results. He has since been studying the anti-cancer effects of dandelion root extract, and has been publishing the results that prove its effectiveness. In fact, his research in Windsor, Ontario, Canada has received research grants totaling $217,000 to continue this study. For more on this story, you can go to MedicalDaily.com and CBC News.
To make dandelion tea, there are a few options:
- Buy pre-packaged tea bags, sold at various health food and grocery stores.
- Put 2-3 tsp dried leaves in boiling water, like you would make loose leaf tea. See Amazing-Green-Tea.com for additional details.
- For getting the most benefit out of the root, MindBodyGreen.com suggests putting the dried roots straight into a cup of boiling water, or roast the roots and drink it as a coffee substitute with some unsweetened almond milk, cinnamon, and a few drops of Stevia.
Regardless of how or why you decide to consume dandelions, there are certainly many health benefits associated in doing so. And with continuing research, no doubt there will be additional proof supporting the benefits of making the dandelion a part of your daily food routine.