Dandelions are those annoying low yellow weeds that seem to pop up everywhere. But, did you know that they are actually one of the best things for your heart? Dandelions are rich in vitamins a,c,k,e, and folate. It is full of antioxidants. It also has some awesome health benefits like blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol management, liver function, cancer, digestion, immunity, and bones.
I would also like to add that roundups can cause heart failure (1) and dandelions are great for heart health. It is for you to decide if the fact that a huge corporation that has made millions in killing the plant that helps with the harm they cause is in any way suspicious.
Dandelions have some really great antioxidants. Antioxidants are able to neutralize free radicals. Free radicals are atoms that are unstable and can have a chemical reaction. Drinking things with antioxidants in them, like many herbal teas, can add electrons to these atoms no longer making them a threat to your body. This helps fight aging and disease. Dandelions are a great source of beta carotene and polyphenol antioxidants. The beta carotene is what gives different plants a vivid yellow, orange, or red coloring. Beta carotene is converted into vitamin A in your body when you eat it. It is really good for many things like skin, immune system, and eye health. This is why people say eating carrots is good for your eyes! The other antioxidant that is found in dandelions is polyphenols. There are over 8,000 different types of polyphenols, but they may help with managing your blood sugar, blood clots, and of course your heart!
Dandelions may be really useful in helping cholesterol levels. A study done on rats who were eight weeks old was separated into three groups. The first group is the control, meaning they were not given the dandelion, the second and third groups were given either the dandelion leaves or petals for four weeks. The results showed a decrease in cholesterol compared to the control group. (2) Another study was done, this time on rabbits, took twenty-eight male rabbits and fed them a high cholesterol diet. They split them up and fed one group a high cholesterol diet with no dandelion, another with a high cholesterol diet with dandelion root, and another a high cholesterol diet with dandelion leaf. The result showed that the dandelions positively impacted the cholesterol of the rabbits. (3)
Dandelions, in traditional medicine, are used as a diuretic. The easiest and simplest way to describe a diuretic is that it makes you pee extra. You may find diuretics in blood pressure medication because they help rid the body of extra water and salt and in turn lower your blood pressure. In a small study with seventeen human participants, they were given dandelion leaf extract. In a five-hour period, there was a significant increase in urination after the first and second dose in another five-hour period. (4) Dandelion is an amazing source of potassium and in fifteen randomized controlled trials, it showed that an increase in potassium lowered blood pressure, especially in hypertensive patients. (5)
Dandelions are also great for your liver. In a study done on rats, they were given dandelion extract. The study showed that when they were given sodium dichromate (something that induces liver failure) and given dandelion extract it helped prevent liver damage. The study notes that interestingly it was more effective if the dandelion extract was given prior to the induction of liver failure. (6) Another study done in rats showed that when dandelion root extract was given before chronic liver failure was induced it helped reduce oxidative stress and in turn protected the liver. (7)
Dandelions have also shown promise in helping cancer patients. In a study with breast cancer-induced rats. They were given dandelion root extract orally for four weeks. The results showed that it helped restrict the growth of cancer. (8) Two other in vivo studies showed that dandelion extract reduced the growth of colon cancer by 90%. (9) Please do not stop any treatment for cancer to take dandelion. While studies are promising, you are not a rat. Talk to your doctor about adding dandelion tea in with your treatment to see if it is safe for you.
These yellow flowers and their roots may also be powerful antiviral. A study showed that the leave extract could possibly be effective in blocking the hepatitis c virus with no bad side effects. (10) Another study has this to say about dandelion root "In summary, the antimicrobial efficacy of dandelion root extracts demonstrated in this study support the use of dandelion root as a source of natural antimicrobial compounds." (11)
Dandelions are an amazing plant. However, people are always trying to poison them. When you see dandelions remember that they are your friends not just a weed and should be treated as such.
Here is an awesome recipe for dandelion jelly from homestead-acres