Acne is an annoying, persistent and often embarrassing problem that affects almost everyone at some point in their lives. Conventional acne treatments can be expensive and may not always solve the problem, so many people are turning to natural remedies. One of the most popular natural acne solutions is to incorporate dandelion root into your diet. It's important, however, to remember that natural, herbal remedies are part of a holistic approach to health; always make sure to talk to your doctor before beginning any herbal treatments.
Acne can come in different forms–such as blackheads, whiteheads or cysts–but is generally characterized by swollen, red pustules on the face, chest and back. It occurs when dirt, oil and dead skin cells get trapped in the pores and cause an infection or a blockage. Acne typically affects people in their teenage years, but can persist well into adulthood.
Dandelions may just be the annoying weeds that pop up in your lawn and in between bricks, but think twice before cutting them down—if you're suffering from acne, they may be the solution. Dandelions are used from the root to the flower in alternative medicine to treat a host of problems from high blood pressure to poor digestion. According to a 2009 study by the University of Maryland Medical Center, dandelion root is a natural detoxification agent for the liver and kidneys, and is commonly used to treat disorders and support proper organ function.
Dandelion root improves acne by improving liver function. According to the University of Maryland study, the liver works to clean blood and remove toxins from the body, but when it’s not working as well as it should, these toxins can build up and cause infection, or get secreted out of the skin instead of through the digestive system. Dandelion root is also high in vitamins A, B, C, and D as well as iron, potassium and zinc, all of which promote clear skin. According to the online magazine The Health Guide, many herbalists and homeopathic physicians recommend starting a daily dandelion root regimen to treat acne.
Taking Dandelion Root
There are many different ways to take dandelion root, but some of the most common are tea, tinctures and capsules. Dandelion root tea is often called "acne tea" and can be made at home using hand-picked dandelion roots or dandelion root power available at any health food store. Dandelion root tinctures are popular because they can be kept around for years without going bad. A tincture is a mixture of a small amount of alcohol and the herb; the alcohol will preserve the herb so that it can stay potent for as long as two years. Capsules containing dandelion root can be purchased at any health food store and are taken just like a daily multivitamin. The University of Maryland study recommends adults drink either 1 cup of tea a day, take 100 to 150 drops of the tincture three times daily or take 1 dandelion root capsule per day.
According to the University of Maryland, even though taking dandelion root is generally safe, some people may have adverse reactions to it. Because it’s an irritant, it can sometimes cause an upset stomach or diarrhea. Some people also have been known to develop a rash from dandelion root. If any undesirable reactions occur, simply quit taking the herb.
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Katie Regan has worked at a handful of daily and weekly newspapers as a general assignment, city beat, and health and science reporter, and has won numerous awards for her writing. She graduated from Western Washington University in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism.