Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is a herb grown throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas. Though commonly viewed as a weed and a nuisance to lawns, dandelion root has been used for centuries as a cure for many common ailments.
The primary use for dandelion root, however, is as a diuretic. Diuretics encourage urination to remove excess fluid within the body as urine. Drinking dandelion root tea or taking a dandelion supplement can help you shed this water, which may result in some weight loss. For women, dandelion (and diuretics like it) can be helpful during their menstrual cycle, when many women gain inches around their abdomen due to water retention. The weight loss element is also why dandelion root has become so popular with bodybuilders who want to remove as much moisture from the body. This allows for greater definition of the muscles to show their progress and create a more trim and toned physique.
However, there is a downside to using diuretics on a regular basis. The problem with most diuretics is they rid the body of potassium, an electrolyte which is necessary for bodybuilders (and everyone else) to get the most out of their workouts as well as to maintain proper health by retaining the right amount of fluids in the body to prevent dehydration. Dandelion root, on the other hand, is a diuretic that also happens to be rich in potassium and also has the benefit of protecting their kidneys from some of the side effects of supplements such as creatine.
Dandelion has also been used as a laxative, to cleanse the body of impurities that may have built up over time and to increase appetite. The dandelion root rids the body of toxins and encourages digestive regularity to rid the body of unnecessary salts and additives the body no longer needs.
It’s important to note that dandelion root tea or dandelion supplements aren’t meant to be taken exclusively as a long-term solution for weight loss since the body will need a chance to replenish some of the nutrients which have been lost. It can be used to speed up the urinary system when you’re feeling sluggish or kick start a diet.
There is no universal recommended dosage but too much dandelion root can result in heartburn, diarrhea and upset stomach. Anyone with an allergy to ragweed, marigold, chamomile and chrysanthemums should avoid using dandelion products as well as those with gallbladder complications. Since dandelion root is considered a diuretic, it’s important to drink an entire glass of water with any when using it. If you’re currently being treated for a medical condition or are pregnant or breastfeeding, it’s important to speak with your doctor before using it.