Dandelion, to some is a bothersome weed, to others it holds numerous vitamins and minerals that aid in various health challenges. The dandelion leaves contain vitamin A, also known as beta-caratene. The flowers of the dandelion contain flavonoids which are antioxidants and aid in disease fighting properties. Dandelion contains the nutrients of lutein and zeaxanthin which are important for the protection of eye tissues from damage induced by light. These nutrients are important factors in the reduction of cataracts and age-related macular degeneration. The vitamin K in dandelion is important for the maintaining of healthy bones. Dandelion contains the calcium needed for maintaining bone density. Dandelion vitamin C increases immune strength. Both calcium and vitamin C are important to the functioning of the nervous system. Other vitamins noted in dandelion would be B6, Betaine, Choline, Niacin, Pantothenic Acid, Riboflavin and Thiamin. Minerals found in dandelion would include copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, and zinc.
Current research published by the International Journal of Oncology indicated that dandelion leaf decreased breast cancer cells and prostate cancer cells. Another study published by the Journal of Ethnopharmacology indicated that dandelion was effective in the killing of leukemia cells, the process which is called apoptosis. It also indicated that dandelion did not affect the healthy cells. The same was indicated in a study with melanoma cells with the same results.
Research has indicated that dandelion can be used to help stimulate digestion which then would be helpful for those with appetite loss and upset stomachs. It aids in the stimulation of liver bile to the gallbladder and great for liver cleansing. Dandelion can aid in weight loss as it helps in the breaking down of liver fats and can also be considered as a tonic for the aid in strengthening intestines, kidneys, liver, pancreas, stomach and spleen. Dandelion has been used in the aid in the removal of toxins by boosting liver function. For bowel function, dandelion can be used as a laxative to increase movements. Research continues on the use of Dandelion for acne, appendicitis, cirrhosis, eczema, gout, jaundice, and possibly hepatitis.
For diabetics, research is indicating that dandelion can aid in the leveling of blood sugar levels, lower triglycerides, lower total cholesterol and raise the HDL.
When you think about Dandelion, think about a healthy liver because Dandelion has such a powerful healing affect on the liver. You may ask “what is so important about my liver?”
The liver is the master organ for creating optimal nutrition for all the 50-70 trillion cells in your body. The liver is the body’s largest organ, weighing three to five pounds in adults. It uses 12 – 20% of the body’s total energy, and it must generate this energy to it’s own cells. The liver routinely performs over 500 known functions to regulate your cell’s metabolism. It is the detoxification workhorse of the body, transforming toxins into harmless chemicals for excretion, and digestively absorbed nutrients into the proper biochemical forms your cells can use to function. Yet the liver is probably the organ most assaulted by toxic modern lifestyles, full of pollution, stress, junk foods, drugs, etc. In the US 40000 deaths a year are due to liver disease. Yet most people will never suffer from hepatitis, cirrhosis, or jaundice, the “classic” liver diseases. Toxic modern lifestyles may however promote “subclinical” liver disfunction. And no matter how good your diet and digestion, if your liver does not perform its many jobs properly, your cells can still be grossly malnourished. Optimal nutrition is a function, not just of what we eat and digest, but of how well the liver bio-transforms incoming food nutrients into forms that the bloodstream can transport to all the body’s cells, and that the cells can use to perform their metabolic functions.
So start adding Dandelion to your salads whenever you can and if you juice add some there also. Your liver will thank you and your health will benefit.