Can You Eat Dandelions

Most of us know of Dandelion as a flower or a stubborn weed that refuses to leave our lawn. I am sure you will be surprised when I tell you that dandelions can also be eaten.

Traditional natural medicine practices recommended dandelion as one of the most effective herbal remedies. Read on to find out if you can eat dandelion and why you should eat it.

Is it safe to eat a dandelion?

Dandelion, though revered for its medicinal powers, have a minimal amount of toxicity, especially when it is consumed in its whole form.

It may cause an allergic reaction, particularly in patients who are allergic to related plants such as ragweed. Patients with sensitive skin may develop symptoms of dermatitis such as redness and itching due to the consumption of dandelion.

Also, dandelion interacts unfavorably with certain medications, especially some antibiotics and diuretics. Hence, while eating dandelions can help you derive its multiple health benefits, its use must be avoided by patients who suffer from allergies or are using antibiotics and diuretics.

Medicinal benefits of dandelions

  • It is not just the flowers but the entire plant of dandelions that could turn out to be a storehouse of nutrients for you. From roots to flowers, dandelions are loaded with several essential vitamins, minerals, and fibers. You can eat Dandelion greens raw to ensure your body receives a good supply of vitamins A, B, C, and K. The roots of the dandelion plants are rich in inulin, a type of soluble fiber that can support the growth of healthy bacterial flora in your intestine and improve digestive functions. [1]
  • Dandelions are full of antioxidants that can neutralize the harmful effects of free radicals on the healthy tissues of your body. It can help to reduce the risk of diseases linked to the presence of free radicals such as cancer and degenerative diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.
  • Dandelion contains an antioxidant called beta-carotene, which can provide protection against oxidative stress and cellular damage thereby preventing the development of cancer. [2]
  • Dandelion could be effective for reducing inflammation in healthy organs, thanks to the presence of bioactive compounds such as polyphenols in it. The anti-inflammatory property of dandelion could be beneficial for preventing inflammatory lung diseases. [3]
  • Bioactive compounds in dandelion flowers such as chlorogenic and chicoric acid can help reduce blood sugar and prevent the complications caused due to diabetes. These compounds can also improve insulin production in the pancreas and promote the absorption of glucose in the muscle tissues. Hence, diabetic patients are advised to eat dandelions raw or cooked to control their blood sugar levels.

Conclusion

If you have no history of allergies, you can safely eat Dandelions to derive its numerous health benefits. The rich nutritional content of this flower would help you stay healthy and protect you against a number of diseases including diabetes and cancer.

References:

  1. Vandeputte D, Falony G, Vieira-Silva S, et al. Prebiotic inulin-type fructans induce specific changes in the human gut microbiota. Gut. 2017;66(11):1968–1974. doi:10.1136/gutjnl-2016-313271
  2. Khoo, Hock-Eng, K Nagendra Prasad, Kin-Weng Kong, Yueming Jiang, and Amin Ismail. “Carotenoids and Their Isomers: Color Pigments in Fruits and Vegetables.” Molecules (Basel, Switzerland). MDPI, February 18, 2011. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21336241/.
  3. Park, Chung Mu, Chung Won Cho, and Young Sun Song. “TOP 1 and 2, Polysaccharides from Taraxacum Officinale, Inhibit NFκB-Mediated Inflammation and Accelerate Nrf2-Induced Antioxidative Potential through the Modulation of PI3K-Akt Signaling Pathway in RAW 264.7 Cells.” Food and Chemical Toxicology : an International Journal Published for the British Industrial Biological Research Association. U.S. National Library of Medicine, April 2014. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24447978.