Dandelion: Health benefits, research, and side effects
Contrary to popular belief, dandelions are not just pesky garden weeds. They may have some health benefits.
In fact, people have used the plant to help treat ailments for several centuries. In this article, learn more about dandelion and 10 of its possible health benefits.
We also cover how to use it and possible side effects.
What is dandelion?
Dandelion is a plant with yellow flowers.Taraxacum officinale is the most common variety of this plant, and it grows in many parts of the world.
Botanists consider dandelions to be herbs. People use the leaves, stem, flower, and root of the dandelion for medicinal purposes.
Dandelions may have various health benefits.
Antioxidants work to neutralize the harmful effects of free radicals. The human body produces free radicals naturally, but they cause harm by accelerating aging or the progression of certain diseases.
Dandelions contain beta-carotene, which is an antioxidant that helps protect cells from damage. Research shows that carotenoids such as beta-carotene play a vital role in reducing cell damage.
The flower of the dandelion is also full of polyphenols, which are another type of antioxidant.
2. Reducing cholesterol
Dandelions contain bioactive compounds that may help lower a person’s cholesterol.
One study from 2010 examined the effects of dandelion consumption in rabbits. Its results found that dandelion root and leaf could help lower cholesterol in animals on a high-cholesterol diet.
Another study in mice found that dandelion consumption reduced total cholesterol and levels of fat in the liver. The researchers concluded that dandelion might one day help treat obesity-related nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
However, testing on humans is necessary to help determine how effective dandelion could be for lowering cholesterol.
3. Regulating blood sugar
There is some evidence to suggest that dandelions contain compounds that may help with regulating blood sugar.
In 2016, some researchers proposed that dandelion’s antihyperglycemic, antioxidative, and anti-inflammatory properties may help treat type 2 diabetes. However, further research is required to make any definitive claims.
4. Reducing inflammation
Some studies indicate that dandelion extracts and compounds may help reduce inflammation in the body.
In one 2014 study, researchers found that chemicals present in dandelions had some positive effects on reducing inflammatory responses.
They conducted the study in cells and not in human participants, which means that more studies are necessary to conclude that dandelion reduces inflammation in the human body.
5. Lowering blood pressure
There is little research to support the use of dandelion for lowering blood pressure.
However, dandelions are a good source of potassium. There is clinical evidence that shows that potassium can help reduce blood pressure.
For example, research has found that people taking a potassium supplement saw a reduction in their blood pressure, especially if they already had high blood pressure.