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By JEROME MICHAEL EBRUPHIYO/Science and Nature/Wednesday, September 22, 2021

What Are The Health Benefits of Dandelion Plant (Taraxacum)?

                              
                            
This post will provide information on "What are the health benefits of dandelion plant (Taraxacum)?" dandelion meaning, dandelion history and culture, dandelion tea history, dandelion species, dandelion origin, as well as provide answers to questions like: What are the side effects of using dandelion? What can dandelion cure? Is it safe to eat dandelion leaves?

History of Dandelion Plant (Taraxacum)

Dandelions are thought to have evolved about 30 million years ago in Eurasia. Fossil seeds of Taraxacum tanaiticum have been recorded from the Pliocene of southern Russia. Dandelions have been used by humans for food and as an herb for much of recorded history. They were well known to ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans, and are recorded to have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over a thousand years. The plant was used as food and medicine by Native Americans. Dandelions were brought to North America on the Mayflower for their medicinal benefits. The Latin name Taraxacum originates in medieval Persian writings on pharmacy. The Persian scientist Al-Razi around 900 CE wrote "the tarashaquq is like chicory". The Persian scientist and philosopher Ibn Sina around 1000 CE wrote a book chapter on Taraxacum. Gerard of Cremona, in translating Arabic to Latin around 1170, spelled it tarasacon. The English name, dandelion, is a corruption of the French dent de lion meaning "lion's tooth", referring to the coarsely toothed leaves. The plant is also known as blowball, cankerwort, doon-head-clock, witch's gowan, milk witch, lion's-tooth, yellow-gowan, Irish daisy, monks-head, priest's-crown, and puff-ball; other common names include faceclock, pee-a-bed, wet-a-bed, swine's snout, white endive, and wild endive. The English folk name "piss-a-bed" (and indeed the equivalent contemporary French pissenlit) refers to the strong diuretic effect of the plant's roots. In various northeastern Italian dialects, the plant is known as pisacan ("dog pisses"), because they are found at the side of pavements.

Description of Dandelion Plant (Taraxacum)

The species of Taraxacum are tap-rooted, perennial, herbaceous plants, native to temperate areas of the Northern Hemisphere. The genus contains many species, which usually (or in the case of triploids, obligately) reproduce by apomixis, resulting in many local populations and endemism. In the British Isles alone, 234 microspecies are recognised in nine loosely defined sections, of which 40 are "probably endemic". A number of species of Taraxacum are seed-dispersed ruderals that rapidly colonize disturbed soil, especially the common dandelion (T. officinale), which has been introduced over much of the temperate world. After flowering is finished, the dandelion flower head dries out for a day or two. The dried petals and stamens drop off, the bracts reflex (curve backwards), and the parachute ball opens into a full sphere. When development is complete, the mature seeds are attached to white, fluffy "parachutes" which easily detach from the seedhead and glide by wind, dispersing. The seeds are able to cover large distances when dispersed due to the unique morphology of the pappus which works to create a unique type of vortex ring that stays attached to the seed rather than being sent downstream.

Health Benefits of Dandelion Plant (Taraxacum)

  • The nutritional content of dandelion extends to all parts of the plant. It’s a rich source of many vitamins, minerals and fibe
  • Dandelion are a rich source of beta-carotene and polyphenolic compounds, both of which are known to have strong antioxidant capabilities that can prevent aging and certain diseases
  • Small animal and test-tube studies suggest that dandelion have a significant anti-inflammatory capacity
  • The dandelion plant contains bioactive compounds that have been shown to reduce blood sugar in animal and test-tube studies
  • Some animal studies have shown reduced cholesterol levels after consuming dandelion
  • Dandelion may lower blood pressure due to their diuretic effect and potassium content
  • Dandelion protect liver tissue from toxic substances and oxidative stress
  • Bioactive components in dandelion may support weight loss
  • dandelion is effective in reducing the growth of cancer cells in various organ tissues

Side Effects Dandelion Plant (Taraxacum)

  • Dandelion may interact unfavorably with some medications, especially certain diuretics and antibiotics
  • Dandelion can cause allergic reactions, particularly in people with allergies to related plants like ragweed
  • Contact dermatitis can also occur in people with sensitive skin
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