It is the time of the year we seed this dreaded wee pop up in our yard. Did you know those dreaded weeds in your yard actually have major health benefits? Dandelions have been used for centuries for the treatment of numerous ailments and diseases. The root and greens of dandelions can be consumed and are packed with antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
Dandelion greens come from the leaves of the dandelion and can be steamed, sautéed or even eaten raw. Dandelions are considered a bitter food, which were often consumed by our ancestors. Bitter foods have many benefits including aiding in digestive health and stimulating the liver to produce bile.
Dandelion greens may also help aid in weight loss. A study published in “Nutrition Research and Practice” showed that dandelion greens could possibly be used as an anti-obesity agent similar to that of weight loss drugs. It works by blocking the activity of pancreatic lipase, an enzyme that breaks down fat molecules in the body. Dandelion showed strong pancreatic lipase inhibitory activity in vitro and in vivo.
A study in “Oncotarget” showed that dandelion root extract killed 95 percent of colon cancer cells by 48 hours of treatment in cancer cell models, with no toxicity to non-cancer cells.
The Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Windsor in Ontario, Canada published a study showing that dandelion root extract has great potential as a non-toxic and effective alternative to conventional modes of chemotherapy available today. After successfully showing in-lab studies that dandelion root extract can kill cancer cells, the University of Windsor has received funding to test dandelion root extract as a treatment for patients with terminal cancer. They are currently undergoing clinical trials for the use of dandelion root extract for treatment of patients with blood cancers.
Make sure to choose dandelions away from roads or polluted areas which can contaminate dandelions. Also, avoid areas where weed killer or pesticides have been sprayed and wash dandelions thoroughly. You can also purchase dandelion root in tea and coffee form from a local health food store and many grocery stores. Dandelion root pills and liquid extract are also available at most health stores. Talk to your doctor before beginning any supplement.