Posted by Daniel Powers on 04-07-2023
Dandelion is a plant in the Asteraceae (i.e. daisy) family. It is thought to have originally been native to Europe, but it can now be found growing wild throughout most parts of the world.
The scientific name for this herb is Taraxacum officinale.
Dandelion is rich in a variety of different nutrients, including vitamins (A, C, E, K, and B) and minerals (calcium, sodium, magnesium, iron, copper, silicon, zinc, and manganese). It’s also a rich source of plant compounds, including flavonoids, phenolic acids, and terpenes.
All parts of the dandelion plant are edible, including the flowers, leaves, and roots. The flowers are often used to make dandelion wine. Commonly, the leaves are used as a salad green. Dandelion roots are often dried down and used as a coffee substitute due to their deep, malty flavor.
From a folk medicine perspective, dandelion has been used to stimulate the appetite and help with digestion.
Potential Health Benefits of Dandelion:
Dandelion is said to benefit the body in a variety of different ways. Below is a review of the top traditional and research-backed benefits of dandelion.
1. May Help Support Healthy Digestion
Dandelion has been used as a traditional remedy for sluggish digestion.
An animal study found that dandelion helped to improve gastric emptying in mice. It was also found to improve the rate that food moved through the small intestine. It’s thought that this was due to the various phytochemicals found in dandelion.
Traditional herbalist Maude Grieve notes that dandelion “has a good effect in increasing the appetite and promoting digestion”. She also notes that dandelion was traditionally used as a mild laxative.
2. May Help Support Liver Health
Dandelion has been used in folk medicine as a traditional tonic for liver health.
Studies suggest that the plant's polysaccharides may be effective in supporting liver health and function.
However, it is important to note that more research is needed to fully understand the potential health benefits of dandelion for liver health.
3. Antioxidant Rich
Dandelion is known to be an antioxidant-rich herb. Antioxidants are molecules that work to neutralize the damaging effects of free radicals. While the body naturally produces free radicals, they are known to cause harm by accelerating the aging process.
A variety of lab studies have shown that dandelion has antioxidant activity.
Dandelion is rich in beta-carotene, which is a potent antioxidant that helps to protect cells. Research shows that carotenoids, including beta-carotene, play a key role in fighting free radicals.
Dandelion flowers are also rich in polyphenols and flavonoids, which are other types of antioxidants.
4. Urinary Support
Dandelion has also been used as a traditional herb for urinary support to help increase urine production.
This was proven by a clinical trial that found that dandelion worked to increase the frequency, and amount, of urination in 17 study participants over a 5-hour period.
While dandelion seems to have this effect, researchers do not yet know dandelion’s mechanism of action. It's thought that the activity of this plant may be due to the high potassium content of the leaves and roots.
How To Add Dandelion To Your Diet:
Based on the health benefits listed above, adding dandelion to your diet is an easy decision - especially if you're looking to support your overall health and digestion.
So what's the best way to add dandelion to your diet?
The best way to incorporate dandelion into your diet is by drinking dandelion tea. It tastes great and may help to stimulate your digestion.
At Starwest Botanicals, we have a variety of different forms of dandelion available for purchase, including:
Taking dandelion tea is a great way to help support your digestion.
It can be consumed at any time of day because it is caffeine-free, that said, it should not be taken right before bed since it can increase urination. You don’t want to disrupt your sleep by having to get up to use the bathroom multiple times per night.
Is Dandelion Safe?
The Botanical Safety Handbook, the leading resource on herb safety, rates dandelion as being a generally well-tolerated herb for most individuals.
If you have allergies to plants in the Asteraceae (i.e. daisy) family of plants, use caution prior to taking dandelion
Dandelion is a generally well-tolerated herb with a wide variety of possible benefits.
Research shows that dandelion may provide many different health benefits, especially to help support digestive health and liver function.
As an added bonus, dandelion is also rich in various plant phytochemicals.
Dandelion is worth considering if you are looking for natural support in any of these areas.
Here at Starwest, we offer a variety of dandelion products and wholesale pricing. Whether you’re looking for dried dandelion leaf, dandelion root, or dandelion tea, we have you covered with our certified organic dandelion products.
Have you tried dandelion before? What's your favorite way to add this beneficial herb to your diet?
Daniel has a master's degree in herbal science from the Maryland University of Integrative Health. He's the founder of The Botanical Institute, where he writes about the health benefits of herbs.efits of herbs.