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Dandelion, an effective diuretic

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Dandelion
Although dandelion is considered a weed by most gardeners, it is entirely edible and is also a remarkable plant in traditional medicine. Although dandelion is native to North America, Europe and Asia, it is also commonly found in all parts of the world.

Apparently, the dandelion has certain slimming virtues that could be of interest to weight-loss enthusiasts. So if you’re looking for natural solutions to belly loss or cellulite, this article is for you…

The dandelion, fact sheet

Dandelion is a flowering plant known as Taraxacum officinal, which literally means “official remedy for troubles”. It is a herbaceous perennial with a long, brown taproot. Its leaves are jagged and pointed. They grow close to the ground and outwards from a central point. They are dark green at the edges and lighter green towards the center. Stems are light green to dark reddish-purple.

Dandelion Identity

Flowers are bright yellow on the outside and dark orange in the center. When the flowers are ripe, they turn into a white ball of seeds that scatter everywhere when the wind blows. The dispersed seeds grow into new plants. Each part of the dandelion releases a milky substance when damaged.

For the record, the name dandelion comes from the French word meaning lion’s tooth. Lion’s tooth because the leaves are shredded like teeth. Other names for the dandelion are: Cankerwort, Puffball, Pu-kung-ying, Endive blanche, Endive sauvage, Museau du porc, Pu Gong Ying or Couronne du prêtre.

Uses of dandelion

As we were saying, most gardeners encourage the growth of dandelion, even though it is often called a weed! It’s an excellent companion plant with multiple benefits. Some of these benefits include bringing needed nutrients to the upper layers of the soil for shallow-rooted plants to use; attracting pollinating insects with its bright flowers; adding other nutrients, particularly nitrogen, to the soil; and releasing ethylene gas to speed up fruit ripening.

Dandelion has traditionally been used to make a variety of drinks, including wine and caffeine-free coffee. It is also a key ingredient in root beer. It’s rich in nutrients. It’s a good source of all vitamins except vitamin D. It also contains sodium, calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, iron and zinc.

Dandelion also contains proteins and carbohydrates. Of its carbohydrate content, only a little is absorbed by sugars and most by dietary fibre. This high dietary fiber content contributes to dandelion’s laxative and detoxifying properties. In view of all this information, it seems clear that there is every reason to believe that a dandelion diet is worthwhile.

Medicinal uses of dandelion

In addition to the nutrients found in dandelion, there are also phytochemical compounds that are responsible for most of the herb’s medicinal effects.

Dry dandelion

Some of these phytochemicals are taraxacin (taraxinic acid), taraxasterol, beta-sitosterol, caffeic acid, pectin, inulin and alkaloids.

For example, the taraxinic acid found in dandelion leaves is responsible for the herb’s diuretic property as well as some of its detoxifying effects.

Other potential medicinal benefits of dandelion include a laxative effect, appetite stimulant, digestive aid, immunostimulant and cholagogue (stimulates bile secretion). Most of these effects have only been studied in animal models, and human studies are still in progress. However, the diuretic effect of dandelion is well studied in humans.

Dandelion for weight loss

By increasing the volume and frequency of urination, dandelion is often used to reduce water weight and also to lower blood pressure. This is the most common use of dandelion in traditional medicine.

As a diuretic, dandelion extract spares potassium (as it contains potassium, it increases the body’s storage of the mineral). This is beneficial because it increases the amount of potassium in the body relative to sodium. However, when dandelion is combined with potassium-sparing diuretics, it can precipitate hyperkalemia (high potassium levels). Dandelion extracts made from the plant’s roots are also used as laxatives. The laxative effect of dandelion is mild and can be used to improve digestion. In addition, dandelion extract can also improve liver and gallbladder function.

Preliminary studies indicate that dandelion extracts may also improve the body’s lipid profile by reducing total cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the body while increasing HDL (high-density lipoprotein) or “good” cholesterol levels.

Slim women dandelion dietDandelion extract’s effect on lipid profile is thought to be due to its phytosterol content. Phytosterols block the accumulation of cholesterol in the body.

In addition, the results of some animal studies indicate that dandelion extracts can help normalize blood sugar levels and act as an anti-inflammatory agent. Dandelion flower and root extracts also contain lecithin, an excellent liver detoxifier. More importantly, lecithin is an excellent source of choline, which can be converted to acetylcholine in the body. As a result, dandelion extracts may improve mental concentration, learning and memory.

What does the research say about dandelion as a slimming ally?

Dandelion extract’s weight-loss claims mainly involve its diuretic effect. Some also claim its actions as a digestive aid, and a detoxifier may also contribute to this.

Dandelion extract is widely promoted among bodybuilders who want to lose water weight essentially. If you’re still looking for ways to beat cellulite, this property of dandelion seems to hold water. Indeed, the diuretic properties of dandelion have already been proven and well studied. One such study was published in 2009 in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine.

This pilot study used dandelion leaf extract and involved 17 volunteers. Before giving these volunteers the dandelion extract, the researchers first established the volunteers’ baseline water intake and urine volumes. They were then given 8 ml of the dandelion extract 3 times a day for one day and monitored for a further 24 hours.

The results showed that dandelion extract increased micturition frequency and urine volume.

Although dandelion extract promotes diuresis and may help weight loss, it is doubtful that it will cause weight loss in most overweight people.

While it can produce dramatic weight-loss results in patients with edema, most cases of obesity are caused by the accumulation of fat in the body. Therefore, since dandelion extract does not increase fat metabolism or thermogenesis, its weight-loss claims are not very strong.

This does not mean that dandelion extract has no weight-loss potential. It does mean that its weight-loss effect is probably not strong, and that this herb should not be considered as the only weight-loss supplement.

Yet there are many weight loss supplements that include dandelion extract. That’s because it can contribute to weight loss. It may not affect fat stored in the body, but what it does do (promote diuresis) can lead to body weight loss.

See: another product with dandelion as one of its tools. Discover our Spirulin plus test.

fresh dandelion

How do I use dandelion to lose weight?

Dandelion can be combined with other dietary supplements or sold on its own. It is available in various dosage forms, including tea, tincture, liquid extract, capsule and tablet. Dandelion is also sold as dried leaves, leaf juice and dried roots. Dosage depends on the form in which the plant is supplied.

Adult doses of dandelion extracts

Tea made from dried leaves – 1 – 2 teaspoons taken 3 times a day (4 – 10 grams per day). To prepare the tea infusion, pour hot water over the dried leaves and leave to infuse for 5 – 10 minutes.

Tea made from dried roots – ½ – 2 teaspoons taken 3 times a day. To make root decoction, place dried roots in boiling water and leave to infuse for 5-10 minutes before draining.

  • Standardized leaf extract powder (4: 1) – 500 mg taken 1 to 3 times a day
  • Standardized powdered root extract (4: 1) – 500 mg taken 1 to 3 times a day
  • Leaf tincture (1: 5 in 30% alcohol) – 30 – 60 drops taken 3 times a day
  • Mother tincture (1: 2 in 45% alcohol) – 30 – 60 drops taken 3 times a day

Contraindications

Although dandelion is safe for children, you should consult your doctor before giving it to a child as a supplement.

Dandelion extracts should be avoided by people allergic to iodine or related plants such as ragweed, yarrow, chrysanthemum, marigold and daisies.

In addition to potassium-sparing diuretics, dandelion extract may also be unsuitable for use with other medications.

Antacids (dandelion increases gastric acid levels), anticoagulants (dandelion increases the risk of bleeding), lithium (dandelion worsens the side effects of lithium), ciprofloxacin (a species of dandelion reduces absorption of the drug) and anti-diabetic drugs (dandelion also lowers blood sugar and may increase the risk of hypoglycemia).

Finally, since dandelion is a diuretic, it can shorten the time a drug spends in the body by accelerating its elimination in the urine. Therefore, people on other medications should consult their doctor before starting to take dandelion supplements.


Last updated on 21 January 2024.