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8 Healthy Dandelion Root Things You Need To Know

Have you thought about using dandelion root for detox before?

If you have jumped on the detox train or you have any inclination towards that field, then you have probably heard about dandelion root before.

This natural extract is one of the newest additions to the detox world, and people are dying to try it out, but not much is known about it. This, however, comes as a surprise because, if we believe the people who rely on it, it has been used in traditional medicine with some success over the years.

What exactly is dandelion root? How do we use it? And what are the benefits many are seeking to gain from using it? All of these questions and more are answered here, so you don’t have to scour all the darkest corners of the internet for them! With a grain of salt from the world’s traditionalists and a look at all the research done on dandelion extract in recent years, the information we have for you today is both easy to digest and retain!

Let us know if you have been curious about the root before or if we have sparked your interest today!

Image By Madeleine Steinbach From Shutterstock

What exactly is dandelion root?

Not a lot of people appreciate dandelions in their lawns or gardens. After all, it is frequently regarded as a bothersome type of weed that ruins the perfect appearance of your lawn or eats away at it. But in reality, the whole flower is useful, as it has been used for ages in herbal medicine and is also full of minerals and vitamins.

Both the root and the leaves are useful! They are known to be bitter, and they have the same benefits as other bitter plants that have been used as herbal medicines: they aid the digestive system, especially for people who are known to have problems digesting food, who have overeaten, and who suffer from frequent bloating and a fullness feeling after a meal.

What’s more, a lot of people are using it for the support the herb can bring to your liver and kidneys, especially if they need a little boost. Known for a boost to the metabolism, dandelion root has been used for detoxifying reasons in traditional medicine for ages, along with its kidney protection properties and for being a natural diuretic.

Why do people end up using it?

It may seem like dandelion root has come onto the market relatively recently, but it has actually been used in traditional Native American and Chinese medicines for centuries, and the history of its usage has been thoroughly documented throughout history. It’s not just a sudden fad that someone came up with.

While traditional Chinese medicine thought that dandelion was the cure for stomach-related issues, breast issues, and appendicitis, Native American medicine used boiled dandelions to treat swelling, skin problems, kidney diseases, heartburn, and, you guessed it, upset stomachs. What’s more, there is evidence of it being used in Europe as well, where they used it to calm down fevers and diarrhea, and even as medicine for diabetes!

This is because dandelions are actually packed with vitamins, information backed up by the US Department of Agriculture’s Nutrient Database as well. They have high percentages of vitamins C, K, and A, with just a cup of the flowers actually containing 12% more than the daily value of vitamin A needed, 32% vitamin C, and over 5 times the amount of daily vitamin K recommended.

They end up being a big deal as these three vitamins are the key to a healthy immune system, and they also help regulate any blood clotting problems and maintain bone health!

Image By Madeleine Steinbach From Shutterstock

How you can use dandelion root

If we look at the way it was used traditionally among the years, dandelion root has been roasted and consumed mixed in with water, be it teas or other beverages, while the leaves have been customarily added in soups, sandwiches, and, the most common way, in salads! Nowadays, people haven’t strayed from the traditional path as both the roots and the leaves are consumed in the same way.

The most popular way of consuming the roots is to add the powder to tea or drink it as a coffee substitute, which is the primary way in which people keep the dandelion root detox. What’s more, if you are not a fan of the bitter taste of coffee or tea, there are also capsules, extracts, and powders that you can take as a daily medicine.

A lot of people who have turned to the dandelion root as a supplement are very fond of the tincture version, which they take in small amounts with water about two or three times a day.

New interesting research

While there haven’t been many researchers looking into dandelion and its root up until now, things appear to be changing in the field. The adjunct faculty and naturopathic medical doctor from Arizona State University point to two very interesting pieces of research that have been done in the last few years.

One of them was published in the Food and Chemical Toxicology field in 2019, and it looked into the compounds that can be found in the plant’s roots, and they discovered some new ones in addition to the 100 well-known phytochemicals that were previously known.

These new ones are important as they prove that the health benefits of the plant weren’t invested; these compounds act as anticoagulants and antioxidants, even helping with reducing the stickiness of the blood as they have anti-platelet activity!

The other study that is interesting was also published in 2019, but this time in the Molecular Biology Reports, and they looked at the protective properties of dandelion root in animal studies. When fed the root before going through a radiation process, the liver and testicular tissues of the rats involved had been protected.

Other research has shown that the root can help protect against UVB rays and help the fight against obesity, while others are trying to prove how useful it can be in combating diabetes and even some types of cancer!

What are the risks?

It’s only normal that when we talk about all the benefits of a plant or herbal supplement, we also stop to look at the potential drawbacks and even risks that taking said herb can bring about. While dandelion is one of the safest herbal medicines out there, there are still a few risks to consider before starting to take it.

As with many traditional medicines, the effects on pregnant women aren’t yet known, nor is what can happen during breastfeeding, so it is advised not to take it if you are pregnant or breastfeeding your child. What’s more, if you know you are allergic to plants like daisies, chrysanthemums, marigolds, and even ragweed, you should definitely avoid dandelion too. There is a high chance that you are allergic to it as well.

There are also other factors to consider, as there is a chance the supplements may interact with antibiotics in a bad way and decrease their effectiveness, while in contact with medications for liver functions, diuretics, and even lithium, they may have negative health effects. Before you start to take it, we strongly suggest you talk with your doctor, especially if you know you take any of the aforementioned medications.

What’s more, you should never take the supplement as is. The dosage you will need will be dependent on your other health conditions and age, so do not just start taking it on a whim.

Image By DUO Studio From Shutterstock

Is it safe to pick your own?

If we talk about safety, yes, you can easily just pick up dandelions from your overgrown yard or from a nature walk. However, if you are unsure about the safety of the environment in which the plant grew, you should probably avoid picking it up and using it. The quality of the extract you are getting is very important, and if you are not sure the plant grew in the best environment, it is best to just leave it there.

Even more, just picking it up from the side of the road can accidentally expose you to harmful ingredients that you wouldn’t know are there, such as harmful bacteria and even fungal growth. The same goes for the purchased dandelion products: buy from trusted manufacturers, so you don’t end up with extra-dangerous ingredients like arsenic and lead, in addition to fungi and bacteria.

Make sure you’re storing it correctly

After you get your dandelion roots, no matter if you gather them from somewhere or you grow them yourself, you can keep them for about a year if you dry and store them correctly. It is not a hard process! After you have brought them back home, you should let them soak in water for a couple of minutes before rinsing them thoroughly to get rid of any earth and debris left on the roots.

Then separate them from the flower and chop them into small pieces. Add them to a baking tray and roast them in the oven for about an hour at 200 degrees or until you can snap them easily with your fingers. The drying process will ensure they are fully free of excess moisture and that they have shrunk.

Keep them in an airtight jar for up to a year, and use them for tea whenever you have to drink it, according to your diet or instructions.

Do not let the hype get to you too fast! Slowly introduce dandelion root to your diet 

Let’s be honest! When we try to make some change, no matter how healthy it is, a lot of us end up throwing ourselves straight into the fire. However, we need to let our bodies adjust to any new substance that we are introducing, especially if it is for nutritional reasons. This is a very important step that shouldn’t be skipped, no matter how trivial it may seem, if you are allergic to dandelion, this is probably when you will realize it.

What’s more, the extract is a diuretic, which means you may end up needing to take more bathroom breaks as your body’s water balance adjusts to the new substance.

If you choose to go down the tea path, you should probably start easy, with only one cup in the morning. Then in the next couple of weeks, you can up it to two or three cups a day if you want. What’s more, you should always follow the dosage instructions the manufacturer recommends, no matter if the product is herbal or in the form of capsules.

We have more tips on what you could introduce to your diet in order to be healthier! Turmeric is another wonderous natural remedy that you are definitely not taking enough advantage of!

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