What is Dandelion Root?
Dandelion root extract is an herbal supplement derived from the common dandelion.
While it may have a bad reputation as a garden weed, dandelion is actually rich in nutrients and boasts several health benefits (x). Native Americans and practitioners of traditional Chinese and Arabic medicines use it to treat fevers, heartburn and even kidney disease (x).
So how else can dandelion root benefit your health?
Dandelion Root Benefits
Antioxidant & Anti-Inflammatory
Over time, oxidative stress within the body contributes to premature signs of aging and the development of many chronic diseases. Dandelion greens are loaded with carotenoids (a plant pigment that gives fruits and vegetables their vivid red, yellow and orange colors) called beta-carotene. The antioxidant effect of carotenoids protect skin, tissue and cells from environmental toxins and disease (x) (x).
Dandelions may also reduce inflammation at the root of many chronic diseases. A study published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology found that compounds in dandelions can help reduce cellular inflammation (x).
A prebiotic is a food substance that encourages the growth of healthy bacteria in your gut. When healthy bacteria populate the gut, food is easier to digest.
Dandelion contains a fiber called inulin, which works as a prebiotic in your intestinal tract. It can soothe stomach upset and aid digestion by maintaining the proper flow of bile (x) (x).
May Prevent Cancer
Early research suggests that dandelion root may inhibit the growth of cancer cells, along with killing existing cancer cells. While more research is needed, dandelion root extract, along with the supervision of a doctor, may prove to be a safe additional treatment during chemotherapy (x)(x)(x).
Removing excess fluid and sodium from the body with diuretics is a standard treatment for people with heart failure and high blood pressure. Diuretics are medications that help your kidneys release extra salt and water from your body. However, prolonged use of diuretics can lead to dehydration and kidney damage. (x)
Dandelion root has been used for centuries as a diuretic, and it might act as a natural alternative to diuretic medications (x).
Because of dandelion’s powerful antioxidant effects, it may also reduce the oxidative stress that contributes to heart disease. Evidence also shows it reduces LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) and raises HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol) (x).
Blood Sugar Management
Dandelion root extract contains bio-active components that may normalize blood sugar levels, improve cholesterol, and help treat diabetes.
A study published in the Review of Diabetic Studies found that a group of complex carbohydrates found in dandelion root could help stabilize blood sugar levels, preventing harmful spikes in blood glucose (x).
Weight Loss Aid
A study published in the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology suggests that chlorogenic acid (found in dandelion) could improve fat metabolism and weight loss in mice (x).
You can use dandelion to help protect your skin from the sun. As skin ages, it becomes discolored and fragile, Over time, skin exposed to ultraviolet radiation starts to form wrinkles and loses its elasticity (x).
But dandelion could shield your skin from UV damage and the effects of aging. A study published in the journal Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity found that dandelion extracts protect skin cells before and right after exposure to ultraviolet B radiation (x).
Side Effects and Dosage
As long as you adhere to the recommended dosage, dandelion extract is safe to take for healthy adults.
However, dandelion root may counteract certain antibiotics. It may also decrease the liver’s ability to process medication. Additionally, if you have diabetes, are pregnant or breastfeeding, talk to your doctor before taking dandelion root.
Do not take this supplement if you have an allergy to ragweed, daisies, marigolds or chrysanthemums. If you experience itching, swelling or shortness of breath, discontinue use immediately and talk to your doctor.
How to Take Dandelion Root Extract
There are a few simple ways to incorporate dandelion into your diet. In moderation, you can eat the whole plant by adding it to salads and stir-fry dishes. Make sure to thoroughly wash the herb before eating it.
You can also reap dandelion’s benefits by taking dandelion supplements. Dandelion root extract is available in capsules, pills, teas, juices and tinctures.
You can also take dandelion root extract powder, which contains a higher concentration of the herb’s beneficial compounds. If you opt for the powder, take 1,000 mg (scant 1/3 tsp) twice daily, or as directed by your physician.
The Bottom Line
With an impressive list of health benefits, dandelions are more than their reputation as garden weeds gives them credit for. Dandelions are one of the most nutrient-dense plants on the planet. They could aid your digestion, protect your skin from signs of aging and protect your body from signs of disease.