Is it possible that this notorious weed is one of the more powerful natural healing herbs? Can dandelions actually be healthy herbs? Let’s find out.
Dandelion tea has many health benefits. This little yellowing flower that is considered a weed when found in suburban yards is actually a very nutritionally rich herb. In fact, these simple yellow and leafy plants are grown commercially in the United States and Europe for use in a variety of supplements.
Get out of my yard you lowly weed
The dandelion plant (also known as Taraxacum officinale), contains nutrition that can be used from its flowers and the leaves down to the tap roots. Much to the dismay of many yard owners, this is a plant that can bloom year round. The dandelion plants grow about up to 12 inches high and are known for their yellow flowers and spatula like leaves. If we don't want them to grow in our yard where can we get organic dandelions?
This flowering plant has been found to be effective as one of the herbal tea remedies for different health care concerns for thousands of years. Many cultures utilize the dandelion as a blood purifier. This potent herb has been used for centuries to treat digestive issues and water retention.
The plant that gets no respect is actually one of our healthy herbs
It was noted in the USDA Bulletin #8, (Haytowitz and Matthews 1984), "Composition of Foods" dandelions rank as one of the top four green vegetables in overall nutritional value.
In "Gardening for Better Nutrition" dandelions are tied for ninth place. That special honor includes all vegetables, and even seeds and grains.
Could this weed actually be one of our natural healing herbs
What about dandelion tea gives it such a strong reputation as one of the natural healing herbs? The dandelion is a rich source of vitamins, minerals and healthy mineral salts, and organic nutrients: such as beta-carotene, calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, selenium and zinc. It is rich in Vitamins: A, B1, B2, B3, C and D. The plants leaves have a very high potassium and calcium content. In fact, the calcium content of dandelions is higher than that of milk.
They have been found to also be rich in micro nutrients such as copper, cobalt, zinc, boron, and molybdenum, as well as Vitamin D.
Dandelion plants contain nutritive salts such as: bicarbonate, calcium, chloride, magnesium, and potassium, phosphate, and sodium electrolytes. These nutritive salts purify the blood and destroy excess acid in the body and make the body more alkaline. The mineral components of calcium and potassium salts in dandelion tea actually cause a chemical reaction at a cellular level that “strips” harmful bacteria from the mucosal lining in the lungs. The other compounds found in dandelion leaves, xanthophyll and lutein, function to work as a natural antiseptic and help to disinfect the lungs. This action makes it difficult for unhealthy bacteria to remain in the lung tissue.
The levels of vitamin C and vitamin A and along with calcium and potassium salt content, acts as an effective natural antibiotic. This limits bacterial and viral activity in the body by boosting the immune system. Dandelions have been found to be loaded with linoleic and linolenic Acid. These are essential fatty acids needed by the body to produce prostaglandin which regulate blood pressure. These fatty acids can decrease chronic inflammation by suppressing the body’s response to inflammation. This helps fight arthritis and regulate blood pressure.
The organic nutrients found in dandelions include: lecithin, carotenoids, terpenoids, tannins, sterols, choline, inulin and aspargine. Dandelions are rich in the lipid, lecithin. This is a unique phospholipid, the main component being phosphatidyl choline. This is a nutrient compound that is effective in emulsifying fat, lowering cholesterol, and protecting the cardiovascular system. The high lecithin content, with its fat emulsifying properties, also makes it a very effective digestive aid. It is important that you drink dandelion tea with a meal to benefit from this effect.
Dandelions have been found to contain high concentrations of choline. This is very important, as when choline and lecithin combine they convert to acetylcholine in the body. This is important, as acetylcholine is necessary for neurotransmission (this means that it promotes better communications between the brain and the nerves) to occur both the central and peripheral nervous systems. This is very important for learning, memory, muscle function, mood and memory. Individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease have been found to have low levels of acetylcholine.
Inulin, is a component found in dandelions that converts to fructose in the in the stomach when combined with the hydrochloric acid during digestion. The fructose changes to glycogen in the liver without requiring the pancreas to release insulin, allowing for a slower blood sugar rise. This is important for diabetics and those that experience hypoglycemia that want to avoid the spikes and drops that can occur with blood sugars.
You now know why this is considered such a powerhouse of nutrients. Let’s explore how drinking dandelion tea benefits your health.
Disclaimer: Herbs can trigger side effects and can interact with other herbs, supplements, or prescribed and over the counter medications. For these reasons, herbs and medication should be taken with care. Always consult your health care practitioner.
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