Mostly known first for being a common weed, the dandelion plant is actually a proven medicinal plant that harbors benefits in its root, leaves and flowers.
Dandelion root has long been used in Korean and Chinese herbal medicine to improve energy levels and overall wellbeing.
Dandelion root helps to improve liver function by speeding the body’s ability to remove toxins. It also helps to increase the production of bile. A Korean study on mice found that dandelion root helped to prevent damage to the liver caused by environmental toxins such as alcohol and chemicals.
It appears that the high concentration of antioxidants in dandelion root can protect liver cells, as well as warding off free radicals that can harm the cells.
When tested in rabbits on a high-cholesterol diet, treatment with dandelion root was found to improve plasma antioxidant enzyme activities and lipid profile (1).
The researchers concluded that dandelion has many potential hypolipidemic and antioxidant effects.
It also appears to protect against oxidative stress linked atherosclerosis as well decrease the atherogenic index.
From a nutritional standpoint, dandelion root contains a variety of vitamins and nutrients that help to cleanse the liver and keep it working properly.
Dandelion root is a powerful diuretic, which means it helps to increase the amount of water and salt expelled from the body as urine.
In fact, dandelion root has been used as a diuretic for over 2000 years in both Traditional Chinese Medicine and in Ayurvedic medicine. It allows the kidney to eliminate toxins more efficiently.
Medical herbalists use it to treat urinary and renal diseases by enhancing the renal elimination of fluids (2).
Dandelion root can help to reduce high cholesterol levels. A study in which rabbits were fed a high-cholesterol diet and supplemented with dandelion root resulted in a significant improvement in the rabbits’ health.
The dandelion root appeared to reduce total cholesterol levels, including triglycerides and “bad” LDL cholesterol (3). The rabbits also showed an increase in beneficial HDL cholesterol.
Dandelion root may help to prevent urinary tract infections, as well as bladder disorders and other kidney issues. Because the root helps reduce uric acid whilst also stimulating urine production, it can be beneficial for fighting bacterial infections within the digestive tract and reproductive organs.
Although scientific evidence is somewhat lacking, there is an abundance of anecdotal reports from women who have used dandelion root to help remedy recurring UTIs or other infections. Some natural health practitioners also say that dandelion root may help to prevent cysts on reproductive organs.
On top of its many other health benefits, dandelion root is also thought to harbor antimicrobial properties that can help slow or stop the growth of pathogenic bacteria (4).
Research by phytotherapists has found that dandelion root can be especially effective in fighting off certain strains of bacteria that can lead to staph infections and other foodborne illness.