Dandelion

Nutritional Compound

OVERVIEW


Summary

There’s more to this common lawn “weed” than meets the untrained eye. Dandelion, a mild herbal diuretic, has been shown to help prevent the body from retaining unwanted, excess water between the skin and muscle tissue, provide a rich source of valuable vitamins and minerals, protect the body from toxins, and even help support weight loss.

Other names for Dandelion

Taraxacum officinale, Taraxaci herba, Taraxaci radix cum herba, Irish daisy

Where to find Dandelion

Dandelion is a perennial that’s typically thought of as a common lawn or garden weed. The leaves, however, can be eaten raw in salads or on sandwiches or cooked as a vegetable or made into a tea. The roasted roots can be used as a coffee substitute. And the flowers have been used to make both wine and schnapps.

Medicinally, dandelion has long been valued and has a long folk history. It’s used to relieve liver ailments, fevers, boils, diarrhea, and various skin irritations.

PERFORMANCE BENEFITS

Why athletes use Dandelion

One major factor in individuals attempting to lose weight is water retention, which can be caused by a variety of factors, including hormonal and dietary issues. Dandelion leaves produce a mild diuretic effect, while the roots act as a digestive aid.

Ways that Dandelion can enhance Fat Loss:
  • Reduce carbohydrate storage as fat by prompting the release of enzymes that break down carbohydrates
Ways that Dandelion can enhance Longevity:
  • Help remove body toxins and support liver functioning

HEALTH BENEFITS

Signs of Dandelion deficiency

No deficiency conditions are known to exist.

Potential uses for Dandelion

Research indicates that Dandelion may be useful in the treatment of:

  • Cirrhosis
  • Heart palpitations
  • Jaundice

DISCUSSION

More about Dandelion

Dandelion, a common garden weed, has long been recognized for its nutritional and medicinal values. The leaves are used in salads and teas, while the roots are often used as a coffee substitute. Medically, it’s been particularly valued as a diuretic (a substance that promotes excretion of salts and water from the body) and weight-loss agent.

One major factor in individuals attempting to lose weight is water retention, which can be caused by a variety of factors, including hormonal and dietary issues. Dandelion leaves produce a mild diuretic effect, while the roots act as a digestive aid. It’s used to cleanse the liver and has been shown to stimulate bile production by the liver. This increase in bile flow may help improve fat (including cholesterol) metabolism in the body. While most diuretics often cause the loss of potassium from the body, dandelion is actually a rich source and makes a well-balanced diuretic that may be used safely, even in cases where there is water retention due to heart problems.

Dandelion is also a rich source of vitamins and minerals. The leaves have a very high content of Vitamin A as well as moderate amounts of Vitamin D, Vitamin C, various B vitamins, iron, silicon, magnesium, zinc, and manganese.

What does the science say?

Although there are no significant peer-reviewed studies available, dandelion has been used historically over hundreds of years for its benefits as a safe, effective diuretic and recently has been compared to diuretic medicines such as furosemide. It is apparent that use of herbal diuretics may aid in the safe reduction of water retention in some individuals. Dandelion leaves also prompt the release of enzymes that break down carbohydrates, so our bodies are less likely to store them as fat. It is also thought that dandelion might possess blood-sugar modulating activity. This finding is probably in part a result of the high inulin content of the plant. Inulin is a polysaccharide fiber, composed of long chains of repeating fructose molecules, thought to prevent fluctuations in blood-sugar levels.

In conclusion

Obviously, there’s more to this common lawn “weed” than meets the untrained eye. Dandelion, a mild herbal diuretic, has been shown to help prevent the body from retaining unwanted, excess water between the skin and muscle tissue, provide a rich source of valuable vitamins and minerals, protect the body from toxins, and even help support weight loss.

NOTES ON USAGE

Amount

Up to five grams of the dried root have been used to stimulate digestion. In general, recommended usage is 500 mg to one gram per day.

A tea may be made by adding 4 to 10 grams of the herb to liquid. Or a liquid extract (4 to 10 ml) may be consumed when mixed with 8 oz of water.

Timing

Dandelion is typically consumed in three divided dosages.

Synergists of Dandelion

Dandelion may be combined with milk thistle as part of a detox plan.

Safety of Dandelion

Some minor stomach discomfort may be experienced by some users because it may increase stomach acidity. Individuals with gallstones should seek advice from their health-care providers before using dandelion. Individuals who are sensitive to inulin should also be cautious of using any form of dandelion. If you are using other forms of diuretics, consult with your health practitioner before using dandelion.

Toxicity of Dandelion

No known toxicity.

Bans and restrictions

None reported.

RELATED RESEARCH

  • Murray, M.T., The Healing Power of Herbs, 2nd ed. (Rocklin, CA: Prima Publishing, 1995) 86-91.
  • Susnik, F., “The Present State of Knowledge about the Medicinal Plant Taraxacum officinale Weber” [in Slovak; English abstract], Med Razgl 21 (1982) : 323-8.
  • Exeter, U.K. “European Scientific Cooperative on Phytotherapy. Taraxaci radix (dandelion)” ESCOP 2 : 1996-7. (Monographs on the Medicinal Uses of Plant Drugs, Fascicule 2.)