Nutritional And Health Benefits Of Dandelion And Dandelion Tea & Coffee
Latin Name : Taraxacum officinale
Common names for dandelion include : lion's tooth, pissabeds, fairy clock, priest's crown, Irish dairy, monk's head, blowball, puffball and canker wort.
Dandelion is a weed that is found worldwide. It is native to Asia, Europe and North America. The entire weed is edible. Dandelion is a perennial weed.
The name dandelion is derived from dent-de-lion in French which means lion's tooth and is so called as the leaves have jagged, teeth like margins. The leaves grow in a rosette like fashion, just above the ground and immediately on top of the thick taproot to form a crown.
The entire plant contains white, milky latex and even when the flower is plucked it oozes out of the broken stalk end and often stains the hands a brown color that is difficult to remove.
The Dandelion PlantClick thumbnail to view full-size
The Dandelion Plant
Dandelion is a pesky weed that is detested by gardeners because of its tenacity to stick around since the more they are weeded the faster they grow.
This is because of its taproot that goes deep and breaks easily when pulled. Unless on goes deep and pulls out the entire root, the remaining root with a vengeance sprouts more leaves than have been removed. Therefore to eliminate this weed the entire root should be removed.
Dandelion is among the important honey producing plants because the flowers provide both pollen and nectar in appreciable quantities to the scores of insects that it attracts, the bees heading the list of these insects. It has been found that as many as 93 different types of insects frequent this flower.
Dandelion Flower And SeedsClick thumbnail to view full-size
The Dandelion Flower And Seeds
The dandelion flower is in fact a collection of hundreds of small florets, making each flower a composite flower head, with colors ranging from yellow to golden yellow. The flowers open during the day and close in the evenings and also when the weather turns hostile.
The seeds have a parachute like body attached to each one of them which helps in their dispersal far and wide when the wind blows.
Uses Of Dandelion
The young leaves are eaten in salads and sandwiches. The full grown leaves are bitter and should not be used. The young leaves are also eaten as a vegetable after boiling.The dried leaves are used in digestive drinks and to make herbal tea and herb beer.
The flowers are used to make dandelion wine. Roots are used to make dandelion coffee. The seeds are used by small birds as food while the entire plant is eaten by pigs and goats. The plant also makes an excellent food for rabbits.
The tap root is also edible and is used to make soup or even cooked as a vegetable.
Nutrients In Dandelion
- The fresh leaves are low in calories and rich in dietary fiber.
- They provide 338% daily requirement of Vitamin A, 58% of Vitamin C and 23% of Vitamin E per 100 grams.
- The leaves are rich in many flavonoids.
- It is probably the richest vegetable source of Vitamin K providing 650% of the daily value/100 grams.
- The leaves contain good amounts of folates, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, calcium and iron, and the polysaccharide inulin and levulin which on decomposition provides levulose a simple sugar.
- They are also rich in many Bcomplex vitamins like thiamin, ribolavin and pyridoxine.
- The root contains Taraxacin and taraxacerin, the compounds providing various threrapeutic benefits.
Nutrients In Dandelion
Dandelion herb greens (Taraxacum officinale), Fresh
Nutrition value per 100 gms
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
Percentage of RDA
Health Benefits Of Dandelion
Traditionally, dandelion has been widely used in natural medicine worldwide and also in current day herbal medicine.
Dandelion roots have been used as a remedy for gastrointestinal problems especially for its beneficial effects on digestive and liver functions while the leaf has been used as a diuretic and digestive stimulant.
Dandelion roots have a demulcent action and prebiotic properties due to the presence of the polysachharide inulin. They are anti inflammatory, have hypoglycemic effect and immune boosting properties. They also have anti microbial, anti bacterial, antioxidant, anticoagulant, laxative, anti rheumatic and cholegogic properties.
All these properties result in various benefits to health some of which are given below.
- Dandelion improves bone health, prevents bone density loss due to the calcium, phosphorus, Vitamins C and Vitamin K in it.
- It boosts the liver and gall bladder function, helps in proper secretion of bile and consequently digestion.
- The plant keeps the blood sugar levels low as it aids insulin production. It also benefits diabetics by its diuretic property of increasing output of urine, and keeping the kidneys well flushed and clean.
- It treats infection of the urinary tract and makes it healthy.
- Dandelion leaf tea has been found to reduce breast cancer cells while the root tea was found to kill leukemia cells. Also, a dietary supplement containing dandelion showed suppression of the growth of prostate cells.
- Dandelion extracts have been found to reduce oxidative stress and inflammation which are the cause of many diseases like cancer, cardiovascular disease, neurogenerative diseases like Parkinson's, Alzheimer's etc.
- It also increases breast milk, reduces abscess in breast and intestines.
Dandelion Tea And Its Health Benefits
Dandelion tea can be made from the leaves of the dandelion plant. For the specific method watch the video below.
Some of the benefits of drinking dandelion tea are:
- It is a healthy tea as compared to the regular tea.
- Improves digestion and relieves diarrhea and constipation.
- Cleanses the blood and improves skin condition.
- Detoxifies the body.
- Reduces inflammations thereby benefiting in arthritis and rheumatic pains.
- Lowers high cholesterol.
- Helps in weight management.
- Boosts immunity.
- Helps people suffering from diabetes (both types) and manage blood cholesterol better.
Dandelion RootsClick thumbnail to view full-size
Dandelion coffee is made from the root of the plant and can act as a healthy substitute for regular coffee. The roots are chopped, dried, roasted and ground to yield a powder that can be used like coffee to make a coffee like drink in appearance and taste. Add honey and milk to enhance taste.
Some health benefits of dandelion coffee are :
- Reduces caffeine intake therefore beneficial to those with heart issues, sleep problems, anxiety issues, muscle tremors etc.
- Good tonic for the liver.
- Provides many of the benefits of dandelion tea.
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The information provided in this hub is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult your physician, or health care provider before taking any home remedies, supplements or starting a new health regime.
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© 2013 Rajan Singh Jolly