The Health-Boosting Perks of Dandelion
An herbal powerhouse for a range of conditions, dandelion is rich in vitamins A, B-complex, C, D, and E. It is also a great source of minerals like potassium, calcium, zinc, and phosphorus. Due to its nutrient and antioxidant profile, as well as its diuretic and anti-microbial properties, dandelion is an outstanding herb for health. It has been shown to be beneficial for gastrointestinal and liver issues, boosts the immune system, prevents/treats cancer, and controls blood sugar levels. And now research has found that dandelion extract helps to keep spike proteins from attaching to host cells. Not bad for a common backyard ‘weed’!
Medicinal and Edible Uses
Every part of the dandelion plant is edible and each has distinct medicinal qualities. The bitter root is an excellent herbal remedy for gastrointestinal and liver issues. It also benefits the kidneys and gallbladder. Dandelion root stimulates bile production, which in turn helps with the digestion of fats and the removal of toxins. Use it to raise energy levels after infectious illness, to treat jaundice, and prevent gallstones when combined with milk thistle seed tincture. The roots are rich in fiber and inulin that help to maintain healthy gut flora and regulate blood sugar levels. Dandelion root can be roasted and ground for a tasty decaffeinated coffee substitute or brewed as a tea (see recipe below). The roots can be cooked and have a similar taste to turnip.
The leaves are an outstanding diuretic and help to control blood sugar. Dandelion juice boosts the production of insulin in the pancreas, assisting with the management of blood glucose levels. The diuretic action is helpful for removing excess sugars in the body as well. It also controls lipid levels. The leaves can be enjoyed as a tea, cooked or eaten raw. Young leaves are best when used raw to avoid bitterness.
Dandelion flowers make for a pretty garnish in salads or can be battered and fried. The unopened buds make nice pickles that have the taste of capers.
Dandelion extracts are an excellent source of antioxidants, which reduce damaging free radicals in the body, thereby helping to lower the risk of cancer. The detoxification action of dandelion is also beneficial in this regard. Moreover, dandelion boosts the immune system and assists with fighting microbial and fungal infections. When combined with burdock root, research has shown that it can potentially treat cancer.
What’s more, an exciting new study published in the October 2021 edition of Pharmaceuticals (Basel) found that common dandelion was able to block protein-protein interaction of spike proteins to the human ACE2 receptor. This action was shown to be effective for the wild type and mutant forms in human kidney and lung cells. The team concluded:
“Modern herbal monographs consider the usage of this medicinal plant as safe. Thus, the in vitro results reported here should encourage further research on the clinical relevance and applicability of the extract as prevention strategy for [severe respiratory] infection in terms of a non-invasive, oral post-exposure prophylaxis.”
Recipe: Dandelion Tea. Ingredients: 1/2 to 2 teaspoons of roasted dandelion root, in small pieces and 1 cup of boiling water. Pour boiling water over roasted or dried dandelion root and allow it to steep for 20 minutes. Strain the tea and drink.
Do not add sweeteners, as they reduce the herb’s effectiveness. Milk may be used to taste, if desired. Drink 3 cups per day for general medicinal use.
Looking for Additional Herbal Support? Try These Medicinal Herbal Formulations.
If you find you need a little extra help in healing a leaky gut, several medicinal herbs can soothe and heal the gut, including: reishi, turkey tail, and lion’s mane mushrooms, along with plantain, slippery elm, and marshmallow. Each of these botanicals is found in my easy-to-use Balanced Gut Blend Tincture. Read more about the symptoms and solutions to this common ailment in “Why Healing a Leaky Gut Should be a Top Priority for Health; Plus: 6 Herbs for Leaky Gut”.