Dandelion is a very rich source of beta-carotene which we convert into vitamin A. This flowering plant is also rich in vitamin C, fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and phosphorus. It's a good place to get B complex vitamins, trace minerals, organic sodium, and even some vitamin D too. Dandelion also contains protein, more than spinach. It has been eaten for thousands of years as a food and as a medicine to treat anemia, scurvy, skin problems, blood disorders, and depression. Dandelion acts as a mild laxative that promotes digestion, stimulates appetite, and balances the natural and beneficial bacteria in the intestines. It can increase the release of stomach acid and bile to aid digestion, especially of fats.
This weed-like superfood is a diuretic that helps the kidneys clear out waste, salt, and excess water by increasing urine production. This inhibits microbial growth in the urinary system too. Dandelion also replaces some of the potassium lost in the process. Dandelion has been shown to improve liver function by removing toxins and reestablishing hydration and electrolyte balance. It also increases the release of bile. Every part of the dandelion plant is rich in antioxidants that prevent free-radical damage to cells and DNA, slowing down the aging process in our cells. It is rich in vitamin C and vitamin A as beta-carotene and increases the liver's production of superoxide dismutase. Dandelion may slow cancer's growth and prevent it from spreading. The leaves are especially rich in the antioxidants and phytonutrients that combat cancer. Recent animal studies show dandelion helps regulate blood sugar and insulin levels. Most of this is done through its ability to control lipid levels. As a diuretic, dandelion increases urination which then lowers blood pressure. The fiber and potassium in dandelion also help regulate blood pressure. Animal studies have shown how dandelion lowers and controls cholesterol levels while improving cholesterol ratios by raising HDL. Dandelion increases bile production and reduces inflammation to help with gallbladder problems and blockages.
To use as a tea, add 2 teaspoons herb to a tea infuser and place in a tea cup. Pour boiling water over infuser, cover, and steep for 3 to 5 minutes.
Dandelion is generally considered safe in food and medicinal levels. Some people may have allergic reactions to dandelion. Anyone with an allergy to ragweed, chrysanthemum, marigold, chamomile, yarrow, or daisy should avoid dandelion, and anyone pregnant, nursing, or taking prescription drugs should talk to a health care professional before adding something new to their diet.