They’ve long been touted for their healing and restorative powers in the naturopathic community. Now, even the more scientific minded are starting to take notice of this humble backyard flower.
Also known as Taraxacum spp., with Taraxacum officinale the most common variety, these plants are typically dismissed as weeds. Homeowners hate them and will go to great lengths to get rid of them.
But dandelion are slowly showing us they are worth keeping around. So scroll through these 7 reasons why you should put away the weed killer and discover the potential benefits of dandelion.
1. They are good to eat.
This one doesn’t need any additional evidence—people have been eating dandelions for ages. The plants and flowers are full of nutritients, including vitamins A, C, K, E and small amounts of B vitamins (like folate), as well as antioxidants, like beta-carotene.
2. They may fight inflammation.
Some studies have shown a reduction in inflammation markers in cells when dandelion compounds are applied—although these results haven’t been verified in humans yet.
3. They may help control blood sugar.
Studies show compounds found in dandelions can improve the pancreas’ insulin secretion and improve the absorption of glucose, or sugar, in muscle tissues.
4. They could help improve cholesterol levels.
Studies with mice and rabbits have shown that test animals that have been fed a diet high in cholesterol and then treated with dandelion extract ended up with lowered cholesterol levels.
5. They may help reduce blood pressure.
Dandelion is a known natural diuretic, and Western medicine credits reducing fluids in the body as a way lowered blood pressure. Also, dandelion is rich in potassium, which is also known for lowering blood pressure.
6. They may keep your liver healthy.
Animal studies show dandelion extract reduced the levels of excess fat stored in the liver and defended against oxidative stress in liver tissue.
7. They may help with losing weight.
Dandelion could possibly help with weight loss by improving carbohydrate metabolism and reducing fat absorption. Chlorogenic acid, one of the compounds found in dandelion was shown to aid with reducing body weight and levels of some fat-storage hormones in obese mice.
Though these results are exciting, many of these studies were done on animals or cell cultures in petri dishes—very few involving any testing on humans. Much more research is necessary before medicine declares the dandelion a miracle treatment, but the preliminary findings are showing there are benefits of keeping dandelion on hand.
Or in your lawn.