Dandelion – Weed or Free medication? And what about those protective effects against drowning?

 If you do not spray herbicides or pesticides on your lawn, you can harvest the numerous medicinal and nutritional benefits from the Dandelion plant.  In addition to widely known benefits of dandelion, two recently published scientific articles caught my eye about 1) its health benefits when combined with astragalus root and 2) the mysteries of not drowning.  See links at the end of this article to read more about dandelion’s beneficial nutrients and how to easily prepare dandelion root tea. For those not able to harvest their own dandelion, a discount code for the Vervain Collective’s apothecary is also provided at the end of the article.

Dandelion root (water extraction) + Astragalus root may help insulin resistance and diabetes. Diabetes is a growing epidemic worldwide that is prompting the need for an ever-expanding list of medications. What if some of that medication was freely growing outside your door? 

The first study [1] looked at insulin resistant cells when water extracted dandelion root was combined with astragalus root. The study’s results showed that 3-parts water extracted dandelion root to 1-part astragalus root (3:1 ratio) relieved insulin resistance in cells. Both Dandelion root and Astragalus root are already safely used for liver and kidney protection against oxidative damage, and adrenal and immune support, respectively, [2],[3],[4] all of which are important health benefits to diabetics.

The second article[5] is great for science teachers, engineers, or nerds who want to have a little fun distraction. Who knew the dandelion seed puff ball can demonstrate anti-drowning strategies? When submerged, the dandelion’s seed puff ball creates small pockets of air that protects the seeds from water saturation. More fascinating is that the puff ball’s shape returns in full when released from the water. The researchers hypothesize that the dandelion seed puff may be a model for a new type of life vest. Even if you don’t like to read scientific papers, the pictures of air being squeezed out of the puff balls are fun! Click HERE for the YouTube VIDEO. (Yes, I’m one of those nerds.)

This website provides some nutritional information about the dandelion plant. These websites teach how to prepare a water extraction of your dandelion root as a tea from fresh dandelion root or dried dandelion root. If you do have diabetes or other medical issues, please consult with Dr. Rodgers or your physician to make sure this herb is right for you before using.

If you don’t have any dandelions of your own and would like to try these herbs and other plant-medicine options, you can go to The Vervain Collective in Garden City. This apothecary is co-owned by one of my colleagues, Dr. Nicole Pierce, NMD. Use my discount code, DRRODGERS, for a 20% discount on your next purchase in their online store, in a bulk herb order, or in person at 3308 W. Chinden Blvd!

[1] Li J, Luo J, Chai Y, Guo Y, Tianzhi Y, Bao Y. Hypoglycemic effect of Taraxacum officinale root extract and its synergism with Radix Astragali extract. Food Sci Nutr. 2021 Feb 26;9(4):2075-2085. doi: 10.1002/fsn3.2176. PMID: 33841825; PMCID: PMC8020951.

[2] Protective Effects of Taraxacum officinale L. (Dandelion) Root Extract in Experimental Acute on Chronic Liver Failure.  Pfingstgraf, IO et al. Antioxidants (Basel). 2021 Mar 24;10(4):504.  doi: 10.3390/antiox10040504.

[3] Shahzad M, Shabbir A, Wojcikowski K, Wohlmuth H, Gobe GC. The Antioxidant Effects of Radix Astragali (Astragalus membranaceus and Related Species) in Protecting Tissues from Injury and Disease. Curr Drug Targets. 2016;17(12):1331-40. doi: 10.2174/1389450116666150907104742. PMID: 26343107.

[4] Liang W, Li H, Zhou H, Wang M, Zhao X, Sun X, Li C, Zhang X. Effects of Taraxacum and Astragalus extracts combined with probiotic Bacillus subtilis and Lactobacillus on Escherichia coli-infected broiler chickens. Poult Sci. 2021 Apr;100(4):101007. doi: 10.1016/j.psj.2021.01.030. Epub 2021 Jan 16. PMID: 33647724; PMCID: PMC7921871.

[5] Pugno MC, Misseroni D, Pugno NM. Air-encapsulating elastic mechanism of submerged Taraxacum blowballs. Mater Today Bio. 2021 Jan 28;9:100095. doi: 10.1016/j.mtbio.2021.100095. PMID: 33718857; PMCID: PMC7933492.