Dandelion: The Multitasking Super-Weed
The Spartan Guide to Dandelion
The Claim The ubiquitous yellow flower that pops up in sidewalk cracks can be used to produces medicine that treats muscle aches, bruises, eczema, and upset stomachs. It’s also used to prevent urinary tract infections (UTIs). The power comes from the roots and above-ground flower, and people use dandelion greens in salads and soups.
The Evidence Chemicals in dandelions may decrease inflammation and swelling and increase the production of urine. One small study found that people who’d had surgery to remove their tonsils recovered faster if they ate soup that contained dandelion, compared to those who had dandelion-free soup. Another small experiment showed that women who took dandelion root in combination with another herb called uva ursi seemed to get fewer UTIs, likely because uva ursi helps kill bacteria while dandelion root increases urine production and flow.
“I prescribe dandelion root for conditions like acne, psoriasis, and eczema, and to help support the liver’s ability to remove toxins and clear metabolic waste from the body,” Janelle Louis, a functional medicine practitioner at Focus Integrative Healthcare in Overland Park, Kansas. “I also prescribe it in conditions such as pre-menstrual syndrome, polycystic ovarian syndrome, fibroids, and peri-menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, because of its ability to regulate sex hormone levels.”
How to Use It “Because some people experience nausea, diarrhea, or other gastrointestinal upset when taking larger doses, I suggest that sensitive patients gradually increase their dosage over a period of days,” Louis says. People who are allergic to ragweed may also be sensitive to dandelion, so they should steer clear. The herb also decreases some antibiotics’ effectiveness, so talk to a doctor if you're on other medications.
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