Dandelion root is typically used for its mild diuretic properties to detoxify and rid the body of excess water retention. Dandelion root may also protect and detoxify the liver, as evidenced by a study published in 2010 which examined the effects of dandelion root on the liver both in the lab and in mice.
Upon examining cells treated with Ethanol with or without dandelion root the researchers found that a water-based extract of dandelion root did show liver-protective activity. Going on to observe the effects in mice, mice were given either 1g dandelion root per kg body weight alone with ethanol or ethanol only. It was found tha the mice receiving the dandelion root actually showed a “complete prevention of alcohol-induced hepatotoxicity”, meaning that the dandelion root completely prevented the liver damaging effects of the alcohol. The mice receiving dandelion root also showed a significant increase of the activity of certain antioxidants in the liver such as glutathione which are important for liver health and detoxification.
These findings are profound because of the mechanism of action by which the dandelion root prevented liver damage. The evidence presented here indicates that dandelion root is not only helpful in preventing liver damage induced by alcohol, but also to promote overall liver health and detoxification even in those who do consume alcohol. Dandelion is typically thought of as just a weak diuretic, but if the results here carry over into human use then dandelion may be of more benefit than we previously thought.
You Y, Yoo S, Yoon HG, Park J, Lee YH, Kim S, Oh KT, Lee J, Cho HY, & Jun W. (2010). In vitro and in vivo hepatoprotective effects of the aqueous extract from Taraxacum officinale (dandelion) root against alcohol-induced oxidative stress. Food and Chemical Toxicology : an International Journal Published for the British Industrial Biological Research Association. 48(6), 1632-7.
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