The bane of every well maintained and manicured lawn.
Every year in North America, millions of people spend a ton of money trying to eradicate dandelions from their yards.
In fact, there are some species of dandelions that are classified as a noxious weed.
But if the benefits of dandelions were more widely known, I wonder if there would be so much interest in killing this powerful flower.
In fact, dandelions can be made into wine and coffee, they can be put in a salad or cooked into a vegetable medley and dandelions are even an ingredient in root beer.
Here are 14 health benefits of dandelions according to science. (1)
1. Dandelions Have Many Important Nutrients
Dandelions, as a whole, are very healthy.
Not only that but there are number of ways to ingest the nutrients.
Dandelions can be made into tea, coffee, wine, root beer, salads, boiled and sauteed among many others.
In general, many people are deficient in many nutrients.
For those who are looking for a simple and easy way to get more vitamins, minerals, and other healthy goodness into their diet, they need look no further than the humble dandelion. (2)
Here is a list of the nutrients that can be found in just one cup of the greens (3) :
Vitamin K- 535% Daily Value (DV)
Vitamin A- 112% DV
Vitamin C- 32% DV
Calcium- 10% DV
Vitamin E- 9% DV
Manganese- 9% DV
Iron- 9% DV
Riboflavin- 8% DV
Fiber- 8% DV
Thaimine- 7% DV
Vitamin B6- 7% DV
Potassium- 6% DV
Omega 3 Fatty Acid- 24 mg
Omega 6 Fatty Acid- 144 mg
Take away: Impressive list of nutrients from a plant that many consider a “noxious weed”.
2. Dandelions Can Be Used to Treat Liver Problems
The liver has many, many jobs. And all of these jobs are incredibly important.
A few of these functions are: regulates the amount of fat, sugar and protein in the blood, removes toxins from the blood, converts food into nutrients the body is able to use, helps with blood clotting, processes drugs and alcohol, and creates proteins and cholesterol.
It is pivotal for the liver to perform all of it’s jobs and perform them well. (27)
One of the more important functions of the dandelion is that it helps keep the liver happy and healthy and functioning well.
Vitamin C, being one of the many heavy hitting nutrients found in dandelion, is also an antioxidant.
One of the liver’s many jobs is that the liver is the waste disposal unit of the body.
That means that it is the liver’s job to get rid of toxins and other bad things that are put into the body.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that removes some toxins from the body before they even get to the liver.
By reducing the workload of the liver, the liver can function more efficiently. (4)
The other functions of the liver is glucose control, metabolize fat and make cholesterol and bile.
Again, thanks to vitamin C and other nutrients in dandelions, dandelions actually clean the liver and reduce inflammation as well.
All of these things lead to a healthier, better functioning liver. (2)
Take away: Happy dandelions make for a happy liver.
3. Dandelions Can Help Manage Diabetes
There are a few different types of diabetes, but there are two that are particularly common : Type 1 and Type 2.
Type 1 is more severe and affects children which is why this type of diabetes is often called “Juvenile Diabetes”.
This can be confusing since Type 1 diabetes can happen at any age.
Individuals with Type 1 diabetes are insulin dependent because their bodies do not produce insulin.
Type 2 diabetes typically happens later in life. This group is able to produce their own insulin, but they do not produce enough. (28)
While there is no one way to treat or handle diabetes, dandelions have been shown to help.
Dandelions are a natural diuretic.
In fact, some cultures have named the dandelion in their owns words to reflect this particular characteristic. (1)
Being a diuretic, dandelions cause the body to fill up and subsequently empty the bladder more frequently.
This process helps remove sugar, among other things, from the kidneys and therefore, the body.
As a diabetic, this can lower the overall blood sugar amount which is very helpful in many cases.
Also, dandelion can help maintain a consistent blood sugar level. This can save someone who is diabetic from dangerous high and low blood sugar. (5)
While dandelion may not be the go-to treatment in North America, Europe has been using it to treat both types of diabetes for many years. (6)
Take away: If you have diabetes, check with your doctor to see if dandelion might be worth a try.
4. Dandelions Can Help Improve Your Mood
While getting a bouquet of dandelions from your beloved might actually make you sad, ingesting dandelions actually positively impact mood in two ways.
First, dandelion, especially when consumed as a low alcohol wine, can increase energy, reduce lethargy, and reduce anemia.
All of these things are factors when someone is “in a bad mood”. Changing these feelings can positively impact someone’s mood. (7)
Any of the B vitamins are pivotal in converting food into energy. Energy makes you feel better which helps boost your mood.
But B6 is not something that the body is able to store and use later. Which is why it is important to make sure that you are getting plenty of B vitamins in your diet.
Vitamin B6 also makes serotonin. Low serotonin levels is common in those with depression.
While more studies are needed to prove the exact influence that vitamin B6 has on depression, logic would dictate that more B6 would create more serotonin which in turn would reduce the negative impacts on those with depression. (8)
5. Dandelions Can Reduce The Symptoms of Arthritis
One of the more common instances of inflammation in humans is arthritis.
The body has the ability to heal itself if it needs to. This often happens and swelling or inflammation happens.
When this process happens in a joint, it is called arthritis.
Studies on arthritis treatment with dandelion in mice and rats have been phenomenally positive.
One Korean study indicated that improvement was seen in the subject after only 9 days of using dandelion.
Dandelion reduces inflammation by stopping the nerve ability to pass on information to the body.
By doing this, the body does not know there is an issue and therefore does not need to start the protective/healing process which presents as inflammation. (9)
Overall, dandelions are very nutritional and provide many vitamins and minerals that many people are deficient in.
Dandelion promotes liver health, weight loss, and cardiovascular and digestive health. All of these combined make the body feel good and healthy and subsequently, more energized.
Contrary to what one might think, activity is one of the best combatants of arthritis. (10)
Take away: Feel and be more active by eating dandelion, reduce the impact of arthritis.
6. Dandelions Can Be Used to Combat Skin Infections
A skin infection can be caused by a fungus or other microbial attack on the skin.
They can cause swelling, itching and general discomfort.
Dandelion sap, or milk, can be used to effectively treat skin issues like eczema and ringworm, to name only a few.
The milk is also a natural pesticide which is because of its high alkaline content.
While this is all great news, it is important to know that there can be significant side effects when using dandelion milk topically.
You should not use this if you are allergic to dandelions or other flowers as it could cause an allergic reaction.
It should also not be used around eyes as this could cause burning or itching if the milk got into the eye.
Otherwise, dandelion milk is very safe and is preferred over prescription topicals for many people because it does not have the hormone complications. (5)
7. Dandelions Can Help Fight Cancer
Surprisingly, there are a number of studies and personal reports that have shown the cancer fighting properties of dandelions.
In fact, the belief that dandelions are an effective cancer treatment is so strong that in Canada a human study has been approved on end stage cancer patients.
This study will observe the effect of dandelion root treatment on cancer patients with blood cancers
The hospital doing this study suggests that the dandelion is responsible for something called “programmed cell death”.
This basically means that dandelions cause cancer cells to die while keeping healthy cells healthy as shown during a study on mice with melanoma, pancreatic cancer and leukemia.
The result of this study showed that dandelion caused melanoma, pancreatic cancer, and leukemia cancer cells to die.
Very promising since pancreatic cancer has almost 100% mortality rate.
Additionally, dandelion kept the body in a homeostasis state while the cancer cells were being destroyed.
Another reason that dandelions help fight cancer is on a more indirect level.
The flower specifically is high in antioxidants. This helps the body, especially the liver, function and function well.
The antioxidants also keep the free-radicals at bay. The free-radicals cause even more damage to the cells.
Take away: If you are worried about cancer or currently have cancer, add dandelion to your diet.
8. Dandelions Are Good For Bone Health
In addition to the, literally hundreds, of jobs that the liver has, it is responsible also for bone health and strength.
Because dandelions help the liver function at it’s best, it should be no surprise that dandelions are responsible for helping keep bones strong.
In addition to this, dandelions also have a high content of potassium, zinc, vitamin A and C, and magnesium. (13)
Magnesium is considered a big contributor to strong bones. That paired with calcium makes bones very healthy and strong.
The reason that bones are stronger when these minerals are present is because extra calcium and magnesium are stored in the bone until the body needs it.
The body will store up to 60% of these minerals in the bone until the body needs them.
Low magnesium and low calcium are credited with causing bones to be brittle.
Magnesium and calcium work together so even a slight deficiency in one will upset the function of the other.
Many people, ad high as 56% of Americans, suffer from a deficiency in one or both so it is imperative that people get more magnesium and calcium in their diet.
Dandelions are a great source for both of these nutrients. (14)
One serving of dandelion greens alone has 10% DV calcium. (3)
Take away: For stronger bones reach for milk...and dandelion
9. Dandelions Encourage Weight Loss
Dandelion is most well known for being a diuretic.
This means that dandelion, in most forms, will encourage the waste process in a human to happen quicker and more frequently.
This is perfect for weight loss as dandelion can get rid of water weight.
To add to this, dandelions are a natural laxative. This can help with constipation and will also clean out the colon.
But that isn't all dandelions do.
In addition to removing water weight, dandelions help the digestive system work more efficiently by helping to make bile.
These thing combined also help lower blood pressure which makes weight more obtainable because activity will safer. (15)
Dandelion, especially in tea form, has minimal calories and the fiber in the greens help keeps caloric intake and the desire to eat, low.
Dandelion tea can be ingested before a meal to reduce the amount of calories eaten in one sitting.
Or dandelion tea can be used in between meals as a low calorie snack to stave off hunger. (16)
Finally, dandelion can reduce bloating. This coupled with reduced water weight and a healthy liver will make you feel better.
Feeling better overall grants the energy to be active.
Diet is very important to weight loss, but activity is equally important. (17)
Take away: When starting a weight loss journey, consider dandelion tea
10. Dandelion Is Good For Skin Overall
In addition to fighting infections and other skin issues, dandelion is very beneficial for skin overall.
As discussed, dandelions have an abundance of nutrients and minerals and other really great things.
The skin benefits from almost all of the nutrients. The skin is especially responsive to vitamins A, B, C, D, and K as well as niacin and many flavonoids.
Dandelions have anti inflammatories which means that, obviously, the skin does not get red or inflamed.
It can be effectively used to treat, or reduce the symptoms of eczema and other issues brought about by inflammation.
Dandelions are a natural detoxifier. Not only does it help clean out internal organs, but it also helps flush out toxins from the skin.
The health of a body is reflected in the condition of the skin.
A healthy body will have healthy, clear skin.
Dandelions have antioxidants which are very important because they keep free radicals from distorting our cells and their DNA.
Changes to cells or the cell’s DNA can lead to cancer and antioxidants actively protect cells from this damage.
Antioxidants also help keep skin from wrinkling by making it more full and elastic and can even make skin appear brighter.
In this case, dandelion can either be incorporated into the diet, or it can be included in a topical treatment and applied directly to the skin.
Take away: For an overall healthy body, that shows it, incorporate dandelion into your diet or your daily skincare routine.
11. Dandelions Have 5 Times the Daily Recommended Amount of Vitamin K
One cup of dandelion greens alone has 535% of the daily recommended amount of vitamin K. (3)
Vitamin K is a clotting agent and can help your blood clot. In fact vitamin K was first discovered to reduce abnormal bleeding in farm animals such as chickens.
Vitamin K works by changing the design of the proteins in the blood to make clotting a possibility.
If a human does not have a significant amount of vitamin K, they would experience uncontrolled bleeding.
However, it was determine that it is possible to have the right amount of vitamin K to support clotting, and still have health issues.
It was then concluded that getting even more vitamin K into a diet could help that much more.
In human studies, it has been shown that getting just a slight more vitamin K into a diet can help prevent death from many different “old age” diseases.
Death from cancer, coronary heart disease, and in general, death, was reduced by 20%-63%, depending on the amount of vitamin K increase.
Additionally, getting other diseases such as diabetes, metabolic disease, cancer and heart disease were reduced, in some cases up to 80%.
These results appear to have a wide spread, but the difference is that there are different types of vitamin K and different amounts were used to determine its effect on mortality.
Overall, these results are promising and definitely encouraging. (19)
That being said, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.
For example, anyone who is on certain blood thinners should be very aware of the amount of vitamin K that they put into their diet.
Because of it’s clotting influence, vitamin K can actually reverse the blood thinner. It is always important to discuss dietary changes with your doctor. (20)
Take away: Extend your life by adding dandelion. But add it with caution and approval from your doctor.
12. Dandelions Can Help Control Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can be found in one third of Americans and can start as early as 20 years old.
Blood pressure is basically the amount of pressure it takes for your heart to send blood to your entire body.
If your heart is pushing your blood around too fast, or too hard, you have high blood pressure.
While this in itself does not sound too awful, it can be catastrophic and will often lead to death.
The issue arises when the blood vessels are not able to accommodate the amount of blood passing through them.
If these vessels are damaged by too much blood going through them too fast, damage can lead to heart attack or heart failure, kidney issues, stroke, and can even impact sexual organs. (21)
One of the most simple ways to combat high blood pressure is frequent urination.
Since dandelion, in most forms, are considered a diuretic, increasing dandelion consumption will lead to more frequent urination, which in turn can lower blood pressure.
To help keep the blood pressure where it needs to be, dandelion is perfect because it has lots of fiber and potassium which keeps blood pressure consistent. (22)
The antioxidants in dandelion also help reduce the bad cholesterol in the blood which helps keep blood vessels elastic and unobstructed, allowing more blood to be passed through them. (23)
Take away: Reduce your risk of high blood pressure related health issues, add some dandelion to your diet.
13. Dandelions Can Help Reduce Cholesterol
Not only do dandelions reduce bad cholesterol, they help maintain cholesterol at a safe level by raising the good cholesterol. (22)
Cholesterol is fat that can get stuck to blood vessel walls and can make them hard and block the ability for blood to go through them.
This blockage can lead to high blood pressure and heart issues.
Cholesterol is broken down into two types; good cholesterol and bad cholesterol.
Bad cholesterol is bad for you, but good cholesterol is necessary to a healthy, balanced body.
While the bad cholesterol can lead to health issues, the good cholesterol actually transports cholesterol to the liver where it is removed from the body.
Frighteningly, those with high cholesterol do not know that they have high cholesterol as there are no symptoms until there is a significant issue.
While high cholesterol is something that anyone can have at any time, those who are mostly affected by it are women aged 50 and above.
It is very important to keep an eye on your cholesterol levels, which can be checked with a simple blood test.
If you are able to lower your cholesterol before it gets too high, it lessen your chances of heart disease or heart attack. (24)
Take away: By simply adding dandelion, you can reduce your high cholesterol and raise your good cholesterol.
14. Dandelion Coffee is a Healthy Replacement for “Normal” Coffee
Millions of people all over the world will tell you something to the effect of “I can not start my day without my coffee.”
Generally, coffee is used by people to “wake up” so they can function in their day to day lives.
Most nutritionist maintain that coffee is not all bad for you.
They even suggest that coffee has its own health benefits.
However, consumption of more than 4 cups of coffee a day can be bad for you and can cause sleeplessness, irritability, and tremors.
And for some, caffeine is simply not an option because of negative health effects.
So what do you do if you need coffee after your fourth cup? Or if you have a caffeine sensitivity?
Switch to dandelion coffee!
Dandelion coffee has no caffeine but all the nutrients.
Dandelion coffee has a similar taste to regular coffee and the taste can be changed to your preference just like regular coffee by adding cream and sweetener.
However, because the flower has a slight sweetness all on it’s own, you may not need to change much.
Dandelion coffee can be found very easily these days in most large chain stores and online and you can learn how to make your own dandelion coffee if you want!
Different parts of the dandelion have different benefits.
Take away: Coffee has its own health benefits but if caffeine is an issue, consider dandelion coffee.
Dandelions have been used medicinally for thousands of years. It is just recently that dandelions are being recognized on a more widespread basis for their benefits.
While most still see them as weeds or something that should be done away with, many other are beginning to see the opposite.
Dandelions are wonderful in that every single part, from the flower to the root can be used in some way.
The most common are as tea or leafy greens but dandelion can be made into wine, topical salves, and added to most any dish to add more nutrition.
8 Delicious Recipes
Dandelions have been used for thousands of years as food and medicine for both animals and humans.
The word “dandelion” can be translated from French as “lion’s tooth”. This is in reference to the “toothy” green leaf that the flower grows from.
But many might argue that the yellow flower itself is reminiscent of a lion’s mane.
Dandelions are native to the northern hemisphere but there are a number of species that were introduced to non-native lands. These dandelions grow more as wildflowers now.
Dandelions not only have many health benefits for humans, but they are pivotal in the survival of bees.
While dandelions re-populate by dropping their own seeds and letting the wind carry the seeds, the flowers also have pollen and nectar. Which bees need to survive.
In addition to being beneficial for bees, many moth and butterfly larvae get nutrients from the dandelion.
Gardeners should also consider implementing some dandelions in their gardens. Dandelions excrete a chemical that keeps fruits and vegetables from rotting.
They also are good for the soil and bring nutrients that are deep in the ground to the surface so shallow rooted plants can use the nutrients.
And because dandelions have such wonderful pollen and nectar, they attract pollinating insects to the area. Effectively promoting the pollination of the entire garden.
Dandelions can be ingested in many different ways.
There are teas, herbal salves and medicines, and every part of the dandelion is safe to eat.
Preparing dandelions for eating is very easy and there are so many different ways to do so.
Dandelions are safe for humans to eat from the flower to the roots and everything in between.
Dandelions can be made into teas, coffee, wine, and root beer. However, you can also eat them raw, in a salad or on a sandwich.
They can also be boiled or steamed or cooked or sauteed.
The only issue that you might run into is that dandelions are high in vitamin K and can affect certain medications. You should also not consume dandelions if you are allergic to them.
Otherwise, here are 8 delicious dandelion recipes.
1. Dandelion Greens
Here is a twist on an old classic: collard greens. This recipe from Allrecipes.com is simple, yet delicious.
2 teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon butter
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 white onion sliced thin
1/4 -1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 cloves minced garlic
1 pound, cut or torn into 3-5 inch pieces, dandelion greens
Salt and pepper
Parmesan, grated, to taste
Fill large bowl with cold water and add 1 teaspoon salt
Add greens to bowl and make sure they are completely submerged
Let sit for 10 minutes
Fill large pot with water and bring to a boil
Add 1 teaspoon salt
Drain greens from cold water and add to boiling water
Cook greens for 3-5 minutes, until tender
Remove greens from hot water and rinse with cold water until greens are cooled
Heat large skillet over medium heat
Add olive oil, butter, red pepper flakes and onions
Cook until onions are transparent, about 5 minutes
Stir in garlic and increase heat to high-medium
Add greens and cook an additional 5 minutes or until liquid is evaporated
Add salt and pepper to taste
Add parmesan to greens before serving
2. Cilantro Pesto
Just because using dandelion is exotic to most, does not mean that all recipes have to be equally exotic. This recipe from Dr. Axe proves it. Pesto can be used as a dip, as a pasta sauce and for many other culinary delights.
1 cup cilantro
1/2 cup dandelion greens (leaves and stems)
3/4 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup walnuts
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 Tablespoon garlic, crushed or minced
Add all ingredients to blender and blend well
Blend until all ingredients are combined to desired thickness
Add more olive oil if needed
3. Roasting Dandelion Root
The base of a dandelion root tea or coffee is a dried root. Here is a simple base recipe for roasting dandelion roots from TheHerbGardener.com that you’ll be able to adapt into many more recipes. This recipe is flexible in the amount of dandelion root that is roasted but The Herb Gardener recommends doing a large batch then using that for the season. It could easily be done in smaller or single batches.
Preheat oven to 200 degrees
Roughly cut roots into 1 inch pieces or smaller
Spread out evenly on baking sheet and bake for 2 1/2-3 hours
*Alternatively, roots can be dehydrated then put in a 300 degree oven for 10 minutes
4. Dandelion Tea
In another recipe from TheHerbGardener.com we can utilize the roasted dandelion roots or the flower. To use roasted dandelion roots, use the previous recipe and steep like regular tea. This recipe includes instructions about how to use the flower if that is your preference.
8-10 dandelion flowers
Honey to taste or
Sugar to taste
Add dandelion flowers to boiling water for 5-7 minutes
Add sugar or honey to taste
5. Fried Dandelion Flowers
This recipe is proof that you do almost anything to the dandelion and still get major benefits. Fried dandelion flowers allegedly taste like fried mushrooms. Try this recipe from MoneyCrashers.com to see for yourself.
1 cup 1% milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1 cup flour
Cut flowers so you have just the green base and flower
Soak in water for at least 30 minutes (adding salt to the water will ensure that all bugs are killed)
Remove from water and pat dry
Heat oil in pan or fryer
Combine milk, salt, egg and flour in a bowl
Cover each flower in batter and place in hot oil until golden brown
Remove from oil and place on paper towel to absorb extra oil
6. Warm Dandelion Greens With Garlic
The beauty of the dandelion is that it can be eaten prepared in many ways. But it can simply be eaten raw. Here is a recipe from EatingWell.com that adds the benefits of garlic to the benefits of dandelion greens.
1 head roasted garlic
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar or balsamic vinegar
Juice of 1/2 lime
Pinch of salt
2 green onions
Put roasted garlic (peeled) in a blender and blend until paste-like
Add remainder of the ingredients adding salt to taste
Blend until well combined
Over low-medium heat, put dressing in a pan and allow to simmer for 2 minutes
Cut green onion and add to dressing
Simmer for another 3-5 minutes
5 1/2 cups fresh dandelion greens
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
2 ounces crumbled cheese (goat, feta, blue cheese)
Pepper to taste
Tear or cut dandelion greens into bite sized (1-2 inch) pieces
Put in a bowl
Add dressing to greens and mix well
Allow greens to wilt
Add pine nuts, cheese and pepper to taste
7. Dandelion Cookies
Just because dandelions are good for you, does not mean that they have to be healthy all the time. This recipe from The Splendid Table shows us how to add dandelions to anything we could possibly want to eat.
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup dandelion flowers (yellow petals only)
1 cup flour
Combine honey, oil, vanilla and eggs
Add oatmeal and flour
Gently fold in dandelion flowers
Place desired amount of cookie dough on cookie sheet (teaspoon for smaller cookies, tablespoon for larger cookies)
Put in 375 degree oven for 12 minutes
8. Dandelion Wine
Dandelion wine is ideal for kidney, liver and digestive function. The key to this recipe is to only use the yellow petals, not the entire bud. This can be achieved by pinch the green bud until the petals fall out. This will make sure the wine has an appealing flavor rather than a bitter taste. This recipe is from Common Sense Homesteading and can be done with all organic ingredients if you so choose.
1 gallon water
3 quarts dandelion petals
3 pounds white sugar
1 package yeast (for wine)
1 pound raisins
Place dandelion petals in large pot
In a separate pot, bring water to a boil
Pour water over dandelion petals
Slice oranges and lemon into thin circles, rinds on, using the entire fruit (you can also zest half and cut the other half)
Add fruit to pot and bring to boil
Once boiling, remove from heat
Strain all solids from mixture and discard
Add sugar to the liquid, stir until dissolved
Add yeast and raisins to liquid
Pour liquid into a non-metallic container (metal will affect the fermentation process)
Cover with cloth and loose fitting lid (so gasses can escape)
Let sit for about two weeks, or until liquid stops bubbling
Once liquid stops bubbling, strain through cheesecloth
Put in glass bottles (non-metallic)
To monitor additional fermentation, place a balloon over the bottle tops
Once balloon has deflated (for at least 24 hours) cork bottles and store in dark cool place for at least six months before consuming