Dandelion is a family of plants that grows in many parts of the world. The most common species is the Taraxacum officinale. Other names for it are dandelion, lavender, mountain radish, wild radish, lettuce, wild lettuce and dandelion. In traditional botanical medicine he is highly regarded for his wide range of medicinal properties. For centuries, it has been used to treat various ailments such as acne, liver disease and constipation. It is cultivated for medicinal and consumer purposes in various countries such as Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Poland.
From root to flower, dandelion is an extremely nutritious plant, full of vitamins, minerals and fiber. It is rich in vitamins (A, C, D, E and folic acid), inositol, lecithin and minerals such as iron, potassium, magnesium, calcium, silicon, copper, phosphorus, zinc and manganese. Its greens can be eaten cooked or raw in salads.
Dandelion is one of the richest plants in β-carotene, an antioxidant that protects against cell damage – its leaves contain 11,000 ανάg per 100 g, as well as carrots . It also has a high concentration of polyphenols that are higher in flowers and leaves. Biochemical analysis has identified chicoric acid as an abundant component of the plant in its roots, leaves and stems and also contains a significant amount of chlorogenic acid.
Its root is rich in inulin, a type of soluble fiber that supports the growth and maintenance of a healthy intestinal microbiome – up to 45% of the root consists of inulin. Dried root is often consumed as a tea, but it can also be consumed in its natural form. With very low or no toxicity, Taraxacum officinale can be used on a daily basis as a decoction.
Studies have shown that the herb is diuretic, laxative and hypoglycemic and may also help with weight loss and hypertension.
Dandelion and liver health
Animal studies have shown that dandelion has a protective effect on liver tissue in the presence of toxic substances. One study found significant protection for the liver in mice exposed to toxic levels of acetaminophen (paracetamol). The researchers attributed the finding to the plant’s antioxidants. Other animal studies have shown that dandelion extract supplementation can reduce the levels of excess fat stored in the liver. However, further research is needed to determine how the herb affects liver health in humans.
Dandelion and blood sugar
Chic acid and chlorogenic acid are two bioactive compounds found in all parts of the plant and can help reduce blood sugar. Tests in tubes and animals show that these compounds can improve the secretion of insulin by the pancreas while improving the absorption of glucose by muscle tissue. This process leads to improved insulin sensitivity and reduced blood sugar levels. In animals, hydrochloric acid and chlorogenic acid have limited the digestion of starchy carbohydrates, which means they can lower blood sugar  but more research is needed to determine if this happens in humans.
Dandelion and weight loss
Some studies suggest that dandelion may support weight loss and weight loss maintenance by improving carbohydrate metabolism and reducing fat absorption . A study in mice showed that there was weight loss associated with dandelion supplementation but this was a random finding and not the focus of the study . Another study in obese mice found that chlorogenic acid reduced body weight and the levels of certain hormones that help store fat. Focused human-based research is needed to determine a clear cause-and-effect relationship between the herb and weight management.
Dandelion and blood pressure
Traditional medicine practices use dandelion as a diuretic based on the belief that it can detoxify certain organs. In modern medicine, diuretics are used to rid the body of excess fluid, which can lead to a decrease in blood pressure. A study in humans found that the herb is indeed an effective diuretic. However, the study was short-lived and involved only 17 individuals. dandelion contains potassium, a metal associated with reduced blood pressure in people with previously elevated levels, so it can also have an indirect effect on blood pressure.
Dandelion ,digestion and constipation
Traditional herbal medicine has used dandelion to treat constipation and other digestive symptoms. A study in mice supplemented with the herb found a significant increase in stomach contractions and emptying of its contents. In addition, dandelion root is a rich source of probiotic fiber and especially inulin. Research has shown that inulin has the ability to reduce constipation and increase bowel movements.
Dandelion and skin treatment
Research in a test tube and animals shows that dandelion can protect against skin damage from sunlight and acne. In one study, plant leaf and flower extracts protected against skin damage when applied shortly before or immediately after exposure to UVB radiation – the root was not as effective . Additional research shows that dandelion extract can reduce inflammation and skin irritation, while increasing hydration and collagen production. This may be helpful in preventing and treating certain types of acne.
The leaves and stems are often consumed in their natural state cooked or raw. The root is usually dried, ground and consumed as a tea or coffee substitute. It is also available as a supplement in forms such as capsules and tincture. Currently, there are no clear dosage guidelines as very little research has been done on supplements.
The following dosages have been used in studies for dandelion:
- Fresh leaves: 4-10 grams, daily.
- Dried leaves: 4-10 grams, daily.
- Leaf tincture: 0.4-1 teaspoon (2-5 ml), three times a day.
- Fresh leaf juice: 1 teaspoon (5 ml), twice a day.
- Liquid extract: 1-2 teaspoons (5-10 ml), daily.
- Fresh root: 2-8 grams, daily.
- Dried powder: 250-1,000 mg, four times a day.
Possible side effects
Dandelion is low in toxicity and is probably safe for most people, especially as a food. However, keep in mind that research is still limited. Studies in rabbits, mice and rats treated orally with a dried plant (3 to 6 g per kilogram of body weight), and mice treated with extracts showed no visible or significant signs of toxicity.
However, dandelion can cause allergic reactions. Contact dermatitis can occur in people with sensitive skin. If you experience itching, rash, inflammation of the eyes, runny nose or difficulty breathing, stop using it. Because it lowers sugar, the decoction could cause hypoglycemia in diabetics. It can also interact adversely with certain diuretics. If you are taking prescription drugs, consult your doctor before taking the herb. People with gallstones should only use a doctor’s supervision.
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- The Physiological Effects of Dandelion (Taraxacum Officinale) in Type 2 Diabetes.
- Diverse biological activities of dandelion.
- Antioxidant Properties of Taraxacum Officinale Leaf Extract Are Involved in the Protective Effect Against Hepatoxicity Induced by Acetaminophen in Mice.
- Taraxacum Official (Dandelion) Leaf Extract Alleviates High-Fat Diet-Induced Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver.
- Plants with potential use on obesity and its complications.
- Chlorogenic Acid Exhibits Anti-Obesity Property and Improves Lipid Metabolism in High-Fat Diet-Induced-Obese Mice.
- The Diuretic Effect in Human Subjects of an Extract of Taraxacum Officinale Folium Over a Single Day.
- Effectiveness of Inulin Intake on Indicators of Chronic Constipation; A Meta-Analysis of Controlled Randomized Clinical Trials.
- Dandelion Extracts Protect Human Skin Fibroblasts From UVB Damage and Cellular Senescence.
- Skin Hydration and Collagen Synthesis of AF-343 in HS68 Cell Line and NC/Nga Mice by Filaggrin Expression and Suppression of Matrix Metallopreteinase.
- Effects of Portulaca Oleracae (Kulfa) and Taraxacum Officinale (Dhudhal) in Normoglycaemic and Alloxan-Treated Hyperglycaemic Rabbits.