Medicinal plants: 6 proven properties of dandelion

It is one of the treasures of natural medicine. Dandelion has anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, and anti-cancer properties.

The dandelion (Taraxacum officinale is the most common species) is a plant that you come easily on country walks and it is one of the medicinal plants most important and tested effects.

It has been used for thousands of years to treat countless physical ailments, especially  digestive disorders and liver diseases.

The dandelion leaves can be eaten cooked or raw and serve as an excellent source of vitamins A, C and K. They also contain vitamin Efolic acid, small amounts of B vitamins, and inulin, and the type of fiber most beneficial for the health of the intestinal microbiota.

They also provide a significant amount of various minerals, including iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and silicon.

But the medicinal properties of dandelion are due to the combination of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds, such as beta-carotene and polyphenols, chicory, chromogenic and taraxinic acids, phytol and tetracosanol.

1. REGULATES METABOLISM

This peculiar formula of nutrients and bioactive compounds offers a series of beneficial effects on metabolism:

  • Helps control sugar levels.
  • Stimulates the secretion of insulin.
  • Regulates glucose levels.
  • Reduces the absorption of fats.
  • It favors the control of cholesterol.

2. REGENERATES THE LIVER

Animal studies have confirmed one of the main properties attributed to dandelion by traditional medicine: the ability to regenerate the liver and protect it against toxic substances and excess fat.

3. IT HAS ANTICANCER ACTION

Perhaps one of the most interesting properties of dandelion – specifically, the extract of the leaves and the root – is its potential to prevent the growth of cancer cells in different organs. In vitro

studies have shown that dandelion root extract has the ability to dramatically reduce the growth of cancer cells in the liver, colon, skin, blood, and pancreatic tissue.

These findings are encouraging, but more studies are needed to test whether dandelion may be helpful in treating cancer in humans.

4. IMPROVES DIGESTION

Traditional natural medicine uses dandelion to treat constipation and other symptoms of poor digestion. These effects are most likely due to the prebiotic inulin content.

5. PREVENTS INFECTIONS

Some research indicates that dandelion may have antimicrobial and antiviral properties. Several in vitro studies have found that dandelion extract significantly reduces the ability of harmful bacteria and viruses to replicate.

6. IMPROVES THE CONDITION OF THE SKIN

Animal research indicates that dandelion leaf and flower extracts protect skin from damage from sun radiation, aging, and acne. They promote the generation of new cells in the skin, which could delay the aging process.

They also reduce inflammation and irritation of the skin, while increasing hydration and collagen production. This can be helpful in preventing and treating certain types of acne.

HOW DO YOU TAKE DANDELION?

Dandelion leaves, stems and flowers can be eaten in their natural state and raw (in salad, for example) or they can be eaten cooked. The root is generally dried, ground, and consumed as a substitute for tea or coffee.

The dandelion is also available in capsules, extracts and tinctures.

The recommended doses for the different presentations of dandelion are:

  • Fresh leaves: 4–10 g / day
  • Dry leaves: 4–10 g / day
  • Leaf tincture: 0.4–1 teaspoon (2–5 ml), three times daily
  • Fresh leaf juice: 1 teaspoon (5 ml), twice daily
  • Fluid extract: 1–2 teaspoon (5–10 ml), daily
  • Fresh roots: 2–8 g / day
  • Dry powder: 250–1,000 mg, four times a day

IS IT A SAFE PLANT?

Dandelion has low toxicity and is likely safe for most people, especially when consumed as a food. In some people it can cause allergic reactions, as with any food.

Some studies indicate that it has estrogenic action, so it may be contraindicated in patients with estrogen-sensitive cancer.

If you take a medication, especially diuretics and antibiotics, it is advisable to consult your doctor if it presents contraindications.

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