The Phenomenal Health Benefits of Dandelion and Dandelion Root
If you grew up in the Mid-West, you are probably all too familiar with the bright yellow flowers that pop up in fields and yards known as dandelions. Many adults refer to dandelions as weeds and believe them to be a nuisance. Some children look at them in awe and collect them to bring home to their mothers, while others use them to play a childhood game called “your momma had a baby and the head popped off”. With this game, you pick a nice dandelion from the field, make sure it has a decent sized stem, then you run over to one of your un-suspecting friends, get their attention, hold up the dandelion where they can see it, and proceed to say, “Your momma had a baby but the head popped off!” while you simultaneously pop the yellow head of the flower off with your thumb – it then goes flying in the air, supposedly mimicking what would happen if someone’s head popped off. You then laugh and your friend or whomever you just subjected to your stunt is also supposed to laugh.
There are other fun things to do with dandelions, especially when they morph into white puffy balls with seedlings waiting to be blown into the air for fertilization – but we’re here to talk about the health benefits of dandelions and how they can help you.
Native to Greece, this small, bright, yellow flower scientifically known as “taraxacum officinale”, along with its leaves and roots contain many health benefits (with the root actually containing the majority of its natural minerals and alkaloids) has been used throughout the world medicinally as far back as the 18th century. Records of some of the first uses of the dandelion were recorded by a Greek scholar some 300 years BC.
Dandelion has been known to effectively treat jaundice, urinary infections, and has been used for liver support and as a blood purifier. China has been using dandelion root to treat breast cancer for over 1,000 years. In a study by Canadian researchers at the University of Windsor, they discovered that dandelion root extract was effective in inducing apoptosis (cell suicide) in tumorous cells without affecting healthy cells. On the other hand, chemotherapy is toxic and weakens and kills both cancerous and healthy cells. You can hear more about the Windsor study lead by Dr. Siyaram Pandey, in this TEDx video:
Vitamins and Minerals contained in Dandelions:
- A (the leaves contain 7,000 units per ounce), B C, D, E, G, and K
In addition to these vitamins and minerals, dandelion improves the health of the liver, gallbladder, and kidneys and is helpful with treating blood sugar and anemia.
The root of the dandelion is commonly used by European herbalists to treat diabetes and other liver-related diseases like arthritis and eczema. When the dandelion root has reached the two-year mark, it is at its peak for medicinal qualities and is best when dug up in the fall.
Who would have thought there were so many health benefits contained in a small, wild yellow flower that so many have identified as a common weed?
Try our Organic Cold Pressed Juices with Dandelion Root: