Dandelion: Amazing Superfood or Annoying Weed?

April 23, 2023 11 mins to read
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Are dandelions 🌼 a horrible weed that should be eradicated? or a nutrient dense superfood 💪 that could transform the health of millions? And just why do they spray 🔫 them with toxic pesticides? In this article I dive into everything you need to know about dandelions: their nutrient dense content, studied health benefits, ways to prepare or consume dandelion, additional reading to become a dandelion expert, and some tips for who might want to be careful before consuming dandelion.

@jd.nutrition

Are dandelions 🌼 a horrible weed that should be eradicated? or a nutrient dense superfood 💪 that could transform the health of millions? And just why do they spray 🔫 them? 👨‍💼Visit my profile to book a nutritional consultation 📝. Nutrient content of dandelions (whole plant): Vitamins 💊: A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, C, E and K. Minerals 🪨: Calcium, Iron, magnesium, manganese, Phosphorus, potassium, sodium and zinc. Phytonutrients 🌼: Beta carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, Quercetin, Kaempferol and Teraxasterol Trace Amounts: Copper & Selenium Health Benefits 💪 (backed by studies): – Anti inflammatory – helps with treatment of inflammatory diseases – Supports Liver, gallbladder and overall digestive health – Benefits to skin health and helping conditions like acne and eczema – Lowers and helps regulate blood sugar which may help diabetics – supports Immune system – Diuretic – Cancer prevention *Please note some studies in vivo using animals. More research needed. ⚠️ Disclaimer: None of the statements in this video have been reviewed by the FDA, and are not meant to diagnose or treat any condition, nor are they meant to replace that of a licensed physician. I am currently still a student. #dandelion #dandelions #dandelionroot #nutritiontips #nutritionfacts #nutritiontok #foodasmedicine #foodasmedicinelifestyle #foodasmedicineeveryday #foodheals #foodhealseverything #tea #teaheals #teahealing #teahealth #teahealthbenefits #herbaltea #herbalteamedicine #healthyliving #nutritonalhealth #nutritionalconsult #nutritionexpert #superfoods #nutritonexpert #nutritionguide #superfood #secretmedicine #theydontwantyoutoknow #shockingfacts #holisticnutrition #integrativenutrition #pesticides #healing #anticancer #anticancerfood #anticancertips #anticancertiktok #diabetesherbs #weightloss #immunesystem #immuneboost #immunesupport

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Dandelion | Nutrition Facts

Macronutrients

  1. Carbohydrates: 9.2g (3% DV)
    • Dietary Fiber: 3.5g (14% DV)
    • Sugars: 0.7g
  2. Protein: 2.7g (5% DV)
  3. Fat: 0.7g (1% DV)
    • Saturated Fat: 0.17g (1% DV)
    • Monounsaturated Fat: 0.003g
    • Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.306g

Vitamins

  1. Vitamin A: 5080 IU (101% DV)
  2. Vitamin C: 35 mg (58% DV)
  3. Vitamin E: 3.4 mg (17% DV)
  4. Vitamin K: 778.4 µg (973% DV)
  5. Thiamin (Vitamin B1): 0.19 mg (13% DV)
  6. Riboflavin (Vitamin B2): 0.26 mg (15% DV)
  7. Niacin (Vitamin B3): 0.806 mg (4% DV)
  8. Vitamin B6: 0.251 mg (13% DV)
  9. Folate (Vitamin B9): 27 µg (7% DV)

Minerals

  1. Calcium: 187 mg (19% DV)
  2. Iron: 3.1 mg (17% DV)
  3. Magnesium: 36 mg (9% DV)
  4. Phosphorus: 66 mg (7% DV)
  5. Potassium: 397 mg (11% DV)
  6. Sodium: 76 mg (3% DV)
  7. Zinc: 0.41 mg (3% DV)
  8. Copper: 0.201 mg (10% DV)
  9. Manganese: 0.342 mg (17% DV)
  10. Selenium: 0.5 µg (1% DV)

Phytonutrients

  1. Lutein and zeaxanthin: beneficial for eye health
  2. Beta-carotene: a precursor of Vitamin A
  3. Chlorogenic acid: possesses antioxidant properties
  4. Quercetin: has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects
  5. Kaempferol: exhibits anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities

Dandelion | Health Benefits

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) has been the subject of several studies to look at it’s constituents: leaves, flower and roots, to ascertain it’s health benefits, which according to studies, are as follows:

  1. Anti-inflammatory and Anti-oxidant: Dandelion contains several bioactive compounds, such as phenolic compounds & flavonoids, that are anti-inflammatory and antioxidant. [2]
  2. Promotes Liver health: Dandelion has been used in traditional medicine to treat liver disorders, and some studies show it may have hepatoprotective (liver protecting) effects. [4]
  3. Diuretic Properties: Dandelion leaves are known to have diuretic properties, which can increase urine output (make you pee more) and potentially help with conditions such as high blood pressure and edema. If you’d prefer to opt out of the dieuretic properties, avoid the leaves and consume only the roots and flower. [4]
  4. Supports Digestive health: The bitter compounds in dandelion root can stimulate bile production in the gallbladder, which may help improve digestion & relieve symptoms of indigestion or constipation. [4]
  5. Helps Regulate Blood Sugars: Some studies have found dandelion can help regulate blood sugar levels & improve insulin sensitivity, which could benefit diabetes & pre-diabetes. [5]
  6. Supports Immune Function: Dandelion contains compounds that can help regulate the immune system and enhance immune function, leading to a more effective immune system. [2]
  7. May Have Anti-Cancer effects: Some in vitro and animal studies have suggested that dandelion extracts may have anti-cancer properties, but more research is needed to determine its potential effects on cancer in humans. [1, 3] To enjoy these benefits I recommend avoiding single extracts like only root, and utilize instead a combination root & flower mixture.

Ways to Prepare Dandelion Root, Leaf and Flower

  1. Dandelion leaves:
    • Fresh leaves can be added to salads, sandwiches, or smoothies.
    • Leaves can be sautéed or stir-fried with other vegetables or mixed into pasta dishes.
    • Leaves can be boiled and consumed as a side dish or used as a base for soups.
    • In traditional medicine, 4-10 grams of dried dandelion leaves per day have been used for their diuretic effects[6].
  2. Dandelion flowers:
    • Flowers can be eaten raw in salads or used as a garnish for various dishes.
    • Flowers can be battered and fried to make dandelion fritters.
    • Dandelion flowers can be used to make jelly, syrup, or dandelion wine.
  3. Dandelion root:
    • Dandelion root can be cleaned, chopped, and roasted to make a coffee substitute. Use 1-2 teaspoons of roasted dandelion root per cup of hot water and steep for 10-15 minutes.
    • Dandelion root can be boiled and consumed as a tea. Use 1-2 teaspoons of dried, chopped dandelion root per cup of hot water and steep for 10-15 minutes.
    • Dandelion root can be used in soups, stews, or other recipes that call for root vegetables.
    • In traditional medicine, 2-8 grams of dried dandelion root per day have been used for digestive issues, liver support, and other health concerns[6].
  4. Dandelion supplements:
    • Dandelion extracts or supplements are available in various forms, such as capsules, tablets, tinctures, or powders. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for dosage.

You may have an allergy to dandelions or other herbs, so I always suggest trying a small amount and having some Benadryl or other anti-histamine on hand, just incase you experience an allergic reaction. Once you test a small amount and if you don’t experience any side affects…then you can proceed with gradually increasing your dose each day, consuming up to a maximum of 1 cup of whole (unrefined) dandelion per day (not the powder). As with everything I also recommend cycling herbs and foods, which just means skipping a day or two here or there, because too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.

It’s also important to mention that the optimal amount of dandelion required to be consumed may differ depending on the individual, their health issues and the health benefits they desire. If you have health conditions, are trying to gain specific health benefits, or are on medications, you should contact a nutritionist or naturopath before adding dandelions to your diet. I’m a nutritional consultant, so you can book directly with me on this website.

Learn More about the Healing Power of Dandelions | Books

I always like to recommend additional reading if you want to dive deeper into the subject, some of these titles may be available on audible as well.

Here’s a list of books that cover various aspects of dandelions, their use in traditional medicine, recipes, and scientific studies:

  1. The Wild Wisdom of Weeds: 13 Essential Plants for Human Survival” by Katrina Blair
    • This book provides comprehensive information on 13 important wild plants, including dandelion, and focuses on their culinary, medicinal, and ecological aspects. It also features numerous recipes and practical uses for these plants.
  2. Healing Wise (Wise Woman Herbal Series)” by Susun S. Weed
    • Susun Weed’s book provides insights into herbal medicine and covers the use of various plants, including dandelion, for healing purposes. It offers in-depth information on plant identification, medicinal uses, and practical advice on incorporating these herbs into daily life.
  3. Backyard Medicine: Harvest and Make Your Own Herbal Remedies” by Julie Bruton-Seal and Matthew Seal
    • This book focuses on herbal remedies that can be made from common plants found in the backyard, such as dandelion. It offers detailed information on identification, medicinal properties, and recipes for creating various herbal preparations.
  4. The Dandelion Celebration: A Guide to Unexpected Cuisine” by Peter Gail
    • This book is dedicated to the culinary uses of dandelion, offering a range of recipes featuring dandelion leaves, flowers, and roots. It also includes information on the plant’s history, medicinal uses, and nutritional benefits.
  5. Dandelion Medicine: Remedies and Recipes to Detoxify, Nourish, and Stimulate” by Brigitte Mars
    • Brigitte Mars’ book provides an extensive overview of dandelion’s medicinal uses and features various recipes and remedies to support health and wellbeing. The book also offers information on the scientific aspects of dandelion’s benefits.
  6. Edible Wild Plants: Wild Foods from Dirt to Plate” by John Kallas
    • This book offers a comprehensive guide to identifying, harvesting, and preparing edible wild plants, including dandelion. It covers the nutritional and medicinal properties of these plants and provides numerous recipes to enjoy them in various dishes.
  7. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs” edited by Mark Blumenthal, Alicia Goldberg, and Josef Brinckmann
    • This reference book offers a compilation of monographs on various herbal medicines, including dandelion. It provides scientific and research-based information on the safety, efficacy, and medicinal uses of these plants.

These books provide great insights into the world of dandelion, its use in traditional medicin, culinary applications, and scientific research supporting its benefits.

Dandelion | Who should be careful

Dandelion is (GRAS) generally recommended as safe for most people, when consumed in moderation. However people with certain health issues, or those pregnant or on medications should use caution. Here is a people who should contact a naturopath or physician before consuming:

  1. Allergy: Individuals who are allergic to dandelion or other plants in the Asteraceae family, such as ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, or daisies, should avoid consuming dandelion, as it may cause allergic reactions, including skin irritation, itching & swelling.
  2. Gallbladder or bile duct issues: Dandelion can stimulate bile production, which might be harmful to individuals with gallstones, bile duct obstructions, or other gallbladder-related issues. Consult a healthcare professional before consuming dandelion if you have any gallbladder problems.
  3. Kidney problems: Since dandelion has diuretic properties, it may not be suitable for people with kidney issues or those taking diuretic medications. Talk to your healthcare provider before using dandelion if you have kidney problems or are taking diuretics.
  4. Blood thinners: Dandelion can slow blood clotting, which can increase the risk of bleeding and bruising in people taking blood-thinning medications (anticoagulants or antiplatelet drugs), such as warfarin, aspirin, or clopidogrel. Consult your healthcare provider before consuming dandelion if you are on blood-thinning medications.
  5. Diabetes: Dandelion may affect blood sugar levels, potentially causing hypoglycemia in people with diabetes or those taking medications for diabetes. If you have diabetes or are taking diabetes medications, monitor your blood sugar closely and talk to your healthcare provider before consuming dandelion.
  6. Potassium-sparing diuretics: Since dandelion is a natural source of potassium, it may lead to excessive potassium levels in the blood (hyperkalemia) when taken in conjunction with potassium-sparing diuretics. Consult a healthcare professional before using dandelion if you are taking potassium-sparing diuretics.
  7. Pregnancy and breastfeeding: There is limited research on the safety of dandelion during pregnancy and breastfeeding. It is best to consult a healthcare provider before using dandelion in medicinal amounts during these periods.

As with any dietary supplement or herbal remedy, it is always recommended to consult a healthcare professional before using dandelion, especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions or are taking medications.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the lowly dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), often dismissed as a mere weed, is in fact is a veritable treasure trove of nourishment and healing, brimming with potent: vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, offering a wealth of health benefits encompassing liver support, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, diuretic effects, and immune system enhancement.

Dandelions are truly a multifaceted gem in the world of botanical medicine, culinary arts, and ecological sustainability, with rich traditional usage spanning diverse cultures and centuries of use, while contemporary scientific research is producing more and more evidence for its therapeutic potential. From the verdant leaves to the sunny-hued flowers and the robust roots, each component of the dandelion plant can be harnessed in myriad ways, both medicinally and gastronomically. Embracing this remarkable plant with a spirit of curiosity and reverence may yield untold rewards for our health, our palates, and our connection to the earth that sustains us.

Check out these other Amazing Superfoods

Two of my top 5 superfood are Sea Moss and Burdock Root, which i’ve written two great articles on. I encourage you to check them out or view the videos I did about them on my TikTok, to learn more. Especially if you are trying to improve your health or recover from illness.

References

  1. Chatterjee, S. J., Ovadje, P., Mousa, M., Hamm, C., & Pandey, S. (2011). The Efficacy of Dandelion Root Extract in Inducing Apoptosis in Drug-Resistant Human Melanoma Cells. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2011, 1-11. https://doi.org/10.1155/2011/129045
  2. Hu, C., & Kitts, D. D. (2003). Antioxidant, Prooxidant, and Cytotoxic Activities of Solvent-Fractionated Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) Flower Extracts in Vitro. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 51(1), 301-310. https://doi.org/10.1021/jf0258858
  3. Ovadje, P., Hamm, C., & Pandey, S. (2012). Efficient induction of extrinsic cell death by dandelion root extract in human chronic myelomonocytic leukemia (CMML) cells. PLoS One, 7(2), e30604. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0030604
  4. Schütz, K., Carle, R., & Schieber, A. (2006). Taraxacum—a review on its phytochemical and pharmacological profile. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 107(3), 313-323. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2006.07.021
  5. Turski, M. P., Turska, M., Zgrajka, W., Bartnik, M., & Kocki, T. (2011). Distribution, synthesis, and absorption of kynurenic acid in plants. Planta Medica, 77(8), 858-864. https://doi.org/10.1055/s-0030-1270979
  6. [1] Blumenthal, M., Goldberg, A., & Brinckmann, J. (Eds.). (2000). Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. American Botanical Council.

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