Dandelion is a hardy plant grown commercially in the United States and Europe, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. The plant’s leaves are large and flat and have notched edges. Paradoxically, the plant is often regarded as an unwanted weed, while its many medicinal uses have been valued by traditional healing communities for centuries.
Dandelion leaves produce a diuretic effect, useful for relieving fluid retention, in cases of premenstrual syndrome, impaired kidney function, high blood pressure and poor digestive function, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. The leaves raise the excretion of urine by stimulating the release of water and minerals from the kidneys. The herb also contains high levels of potassium, which replaces the mineral’s levels lost in the diuretic process.
Provides Nutritional Support
Consuming nutrient-rich dandelion leaves may help you achieve overall health. The leaves contain vitamins A, C, D, and the B family of vitamins. They also contain high levels of minerals including iron, zinc, magnesium, manganese, potassium, copper, calcium and silicon, according to the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. Some practitioners recommend that pregnant women consume dandelion leaves to benefit from rich levels of nutrients, according to the website PeaceHealth.org.
Provides Digestive Support
Dandelion leaves contain bitter constituents that stimulate the liver and the digestive system. Consuming the leaves may confer a laxative effect, increase the production of bile and its flow from the liver. Dandelion is considered useful for people with slow moving liver processes because of overconsumption of alcohol or unhealthy foods. The herb’s stimulation of bile flow may improve the metabolism of fats, according to “Natural Health.”
Dandelion leaves are often prepared similarly to other culinary greens, such as arugula, spinach or kale. The leaves are the most tender and flavorful when harvested in the spring. Try adding them to salads, sauteeing them in olive oil or steaming them with vegetables. Avoid boiling the leaves, because the nutrients would be removed in the water.