Dandelion: properties, benefits and contraindications

Dandelion: the properties and contraindications to know

Image source: Photo by S. Hermann & F. Richter from Pixabay

The dandelion is a medicinal plant also known by the scientific name of Taraxacum officinale, or more commonly dandelion e yellow star, due to its characteristic appearance. The dandelion flower has in fact a beautiful intense yellow color and has the fascinating characteristic of closing at sunset and reopening at dawn.

But what are the benefits some dandelion for health? And how is this plant used? In this article we will find out everything there is to know about dandelion, its beneficial effects and possible contraindications.

First of all though, let’s take a closer look at this fascinating plant.

Origin and characteristics

The dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is a species that belongs to the family of Asteraceae. The leaves of this plant are long and have a toothed margin. But exactly where can dandelions be found? The plant grows spontaneously in many areas of our country and of the world in general, mostly in fields, in alpine areas and even along the roads.

The flowering of this plant occurs in spring, but the harvest can also last until late autumn.

Etymology of the name

The name Tarassaco comes from the Latin “Taraxacum”, But its etymology is rather uncertain. It is believed that the name may derive from the term of Arab-Persian origin “tark-haskqun“, Which in turn comes from the Greek”taraxis”, A word that can be translated with the term“ healing ”.

The nutritional properties

Source: Pixabay’s Photo by JackieLou DL

But is dandelion edible? The answer is yes. This plant also boasts remarkable nutritional properties.

In fact, the dandelion is rich in nutrients, vitamins, minerals and fibers. The plant boasts an excellent content of pro-vitamin A, beta-carotene, vitamin B9 and other B vitamins. The plant is also an excellent source of vitamin C, ferro, potassium, calcium, magnesium and folic acid.

There is no shortage of antioxidants (contained in the leaves, flowers and roots of the dandelion), able to improve the health of our body.

What is dandelion used for? The health benefits

The dandelion plant is appreciated in the herbal medicine field due to its beneficial effects, known since the distant Middle Ages. Despite this, it must be remembered that, like any other natural remedy, also in this case possible risks and contraindications are not excluded. Let’s first see what the benefits of the plant and in which cases it is better to avoid taking it.

Diuretic action

One of the main functions of the plant is due to its diuretic power, so much so that dandelion tea is often suggested to stimulate diuresis. In fact, the plant boasts a high quantity of potassium and its intake helps fight water retention and purify the urinary tract.

Improve liver health

Dandelion is also highly regarded for its health effects liver. The plant in fact stimulates the biliary secretions, and exerts a detoxifying and decongestant action. Furthermore, the antioxidant substances contained in it allow to reduce the damage caused by fatty substances and hepatotoxic.

Finally, the dandelion stimulates gastric secretion, and in so doing helps improve the digestion process.

Protects stomach health

As we have seen, dandelion is prized for its ability to improve digestion. In addition, the plant is considered an excellent remedy for stimulate the appetite. Thanks to its action, dandelion is also used as a natural remedy against constipation. Finally, the rich presence of fibers contained in the dandelion root makes this plant an excellent ally for maintaining a healthy intestinal bacterial flora.

Help against cholesterol

Taking dandelions could be a good way to keep your levels at bay bad cholesterol. A similar effect is linked to a reduced risk of developing cardiovascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke. Studies conducted on an animal model confirm the potential efficacy of dandelion against high cholesterol, however more and more in-depth research will be needed to confirm a similar effect.

Regulate blood sugar levels

The presence of beneficial substances such as chicoric acid, chlorogenic acid, caffeic acid e taraxasterolo they allow to keep blood sugar levels low and to stimulate insulin production. This means that dandelion can be a valuable ingredient to add to the diet for diabetics or for those suffering from metabolic syndrome.

Help fight cancer

Several studies conducted in the laboratory have highlighted the potential effect of this plant in reducing the growth of cancer cells. However, more research will be needed to establish the exact effectiveness of this ingredient in preventing cancer or treating the disease.

Skin action

The plant also appears to be beneficial in treating mild skin conditions, such as minor annoyances due to burns it’s at stings, including the reaction due to contact with nettle or irritation caused byacne.

How to use?

Source: Pixabay’s photo by ivabalk

Perhaps you will be surprised to know that dandelion leaves can be used in cooking cooked or raw, for the preparation of different recipes. The taste is rather bitter, but the plant lends itself well to making salads and herbal teas. The root of this plant is also dried and ground for the preparation of a good tea or coffee.

Dandelion can be taken fresh, in the form of dry extract, capsules or mother tincture. Below we will see how to prepare a dandelion decoction and other delicious and certainly different recipes.

Infusion of dandelion

For the preparation of a good infusion of dandelion, useful for promoting liver purification, you will need a few ingredients. Let’s see which ones.

Ingrediants

  • 15 grams of dried dandelion roots
  • 200 ml of water.

Procedure

Let the roots steep in hot water for about 5 minutes. Then filter everything using a colander and sweeten to taste, with sugar or with a teaspoon of honey.

Dandelion salad

A delicious and nutritious dish is undoubtedly thedandelion salad, prepared with the fresh leaves of this extraordinary plant. Let’s see what the necessary ingredients are and how to make it.

Ingrediants

  • Fresh dandelion leaves
  • Sale
  • Vinegar or lemon
  • Extra virgin olive oil.

Procedure

First of all, you will need to wash the dandelion leaves well, then pour them into a bowl, season with salt, oil and vinegar and mix everything together. And here is an easy way to enjoy this gift of nature.

Dandelion omelette

Finally, we offer you the recipe for a delicious and different omelette. For the preparation, we will need some fresh and tender dandelion leaves. Let’s see what are the other necessary ingredients and the procedure to follow.

Ingrediants

  • Dandelion leaves: 100 grams
  • A medium sized egg
  • Grated Parmesan: 40 grams.

Procedure

First of all, you will need to boil the dandelion leaves in water, then cut them into small pieces. Let them cool and, in the meantime, beat an egg by adding the grated Parmesan cheese and a pinch of salt. Add the well-squeezed dandelion and mix to blend the flavors well. Pour everything into the heated pan with a drizzle of oil and cook the omelette on both sides. Here is a nutritious and beneficial dish for health.

Dandelion: contraindications and side effects

Source: Pixabay’s photo by ivabalk

What are the contraindications some dandelion? Although it is a herb with countless beneficial properties, it can hide pitfalls and possible contraindications.

In particular, those suffering from stomach acid, gastritis, gastroesophageal reflux and peptic ulcer should avoid the intake.

Additionally, this ingredient can interfere with the effectiveness of several medications, such as antibiotics, diuretics, and lithium. It is also not recommended to take NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) in conjunction with dandelion-based products, since the potential harmful action against the gastric wall could be accentuated.

In some cases, the consumption of this plant could also trigger allergy. If you have any doubts about taking this ingredient, consult your doctor first.


Source: GreenStyle by www.greenstyle.it.

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