Sunday, May 16, 2010

Dandelion - its protects against alcohol damage in the liver.

I remember a story where drug companies went to Amazon / tropical jungle and tested plants for therapeutic value. It turned out to be an expensive exercise in failure. Nothing was found of use. However when they went to the local people and asked them what plants they used for healing/health they found a number of different plants that could have potentials as drugs.

Goes to show that there is some truth in folklore around herbal/plant usage. So it comes at no surprise that dandelion root, which is prescribed by herbalists for liver healing has been found to prevent alcohol damage to mice liver.

Mice livers were soaked in approximately 13 grams of  pure alcohol (300mM). Unsurprisingly the mouse livers got damaged and only functioned at 60% of their initial functioning. However when the livers were soaked in alcohol plus a cooled hot water extract of dandelion root there was no liver damage. A ethanol extract (ie a tincture) of dandelion root did not prevent liver damage. Thus the liver protecting part of the dandelion root is found in the water soluble part.

This is good news as dandelion root can be made into a cup of "tea".   

Also when the mice were fed a dandelion root extract of 0.02 grams a day (1 g/kg bw/day) their livers showed no damage from alcohol, that is "complete protection from alcohol-induced hepatotoxicity". Where as the alcohol group did have liver damage.

Scaling this up linearly a 100 kg adult would need 100 grams of dandelion extract a day. Unfortunately the method of creating this extract is currently unavailable.However I think I am going to make some dandelion tea - and see if I can drink it.

Reference: Yanghee, Y., et al In vitro and in vivo hepatoprotective effects of the aqueous extract from Taraxacum officinale (dandelion) root against alcohol-induced oxidative stressFood and Chemical Toxicology Volume 48, Issue 6, June 2010, Pages 1632-1637 doi:10.1016/j.fct.2010.03.037
Picture credit.

No comments:

Post a Comment