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Dandelion health benefits and therapeutic value

Dandelion in grass with heart-shaped stone marked with "happy".

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is a perennial plant with no stem. This very common prairie and pasture flower is full of health benefits.

Native to Europe, dandelion grows in the wild in the warmer temperate areas of the Northern hemisphere. Many people know it for its many properties and therapeutic benefits.

Dandelion and its health benefits

  • Raw dandelion has high levels of vitamin A, vitamins, B6 and B9 and vitamin C. This makes it a plant that reinforces our immune system, helps our body fight off bacteria and toxins. It might help reduce risks of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers. Thanks to its vitamins, dandelion reinforces our skin, tissues and bones.
  • A source of iron and potassium, dandelion acts on regulating the nervous system and our muscle functions. It helps fight exhaustion.
  • With high polyphenol content (it is the vegetable that contains the most), dandelion is a great antioxidant, an ally in the fight against body ageing.
  • With anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties, dandelion helps eliminate toxins. Toxins usually accumulate due to food, infection and the surrounding environment, and drinking dandelion infusions helps get rid of them. It also helps treat arterial hypertension.
  • An excellent natural purgative, this plant regulates digestive tract functions. Dandelion works wonders for difficult digestion and constipation disorders. It also helps fight excess cholesterol.
  • Dandelion stimulates the gall bladder and acts on the liver. It is recommended when treating liver deficiency, painful hepatic attack and icterus.
  • A invigorating agent that “cleanses” the liver and blood, dandelion juice is sometimes recommended raw to boost the body, drinking several cups a day for a week.
  • Activity against rheumatism and arthritis often makes it attractive to the elderly.
  • Dandelion is also recommended in treatments against cutaneous disorders. Examples of this are dermatitis and psoriasis. A dandelion root decoction cleans impurities from the skin and helps the face recover its glow.

Growing dandelion for its health benefits

  • Dandelion grows easily everywhere. Gardeners notice, however, that it particularly likes direct sun and rich and cool soil. It fares well in thick, heavy, compact clay soil.
  • If you don’t plan on consuming dandelion very often, simply collect those that grow naturally in your garden or in fields. Check first that farmers aren’t treating the fields with pesticides.

Cooking dandelion for its health benefits

Dandelion as health greens with a side of meat.Young dandelion leaves are eaten raw in salad, or cooked.

Feel free to try pairing dandelion with eggs and bacon for a balanced and delicious mixed salad.

Dandelion nutritional content

Dandelion provides on average 50 kcal / 3.5 oz (100 g). With high levels of vitamins and minerals, it is invigorating, diuretic and purgative.

Image credits (edits Gaspard Lorthiois):
CC BY 2.0: Kimberly Vardeman
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