What is Jamaican dandelion? It is one of the many plants that grow naturally in Jamaica. The biological name of Jamaican dandelion is Cassia occidentalis. Senna occidentalis is also a biologically recognized name for the plant.
The Jamaican dandelion should not be confused with common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale} that grows in your lawn.
Cassia occidentalis is native to the warmer regions of the Americas. However, the plant is cultivated in many other locations.
The Jamaican dandelion blooms small bright yellow flowers that are clustered in groups of 2 or 4 flowers. The plant produces long, slender, sightly curved brown pods that contain the seeds.
Cassia occidentalis is considered a nuisance in many places including seven States in the United States of America.
However, Jamaica, China, and India are three countries where Jamaican dandelion is used for medicinal purposes.
Jamaican Dandelion Health Benefits
Emodin and Chrysophanol are two dominant Anthraquinones that reasearchers identified in Cassia occidentalis. These compound has shown promise as an anticancer, antidiabetic, antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory agents.
So let’s take a look at a few of their benefits:
- Antibacterial: One study isolated emodin from the leaves and the roots of Cassia occidentalis. When the compound was tested it showed antibacterial activities against Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus subtilis bacteria.
- Antimutagenic: Emodin from Jamaican dandelion also show the potential to prevent the mutation of some cancer cells. Recent studies suggest that when emodin is used with different chemotherapeutic agents, it eliminates the growth of some cancer cells.
- Laxative: Some studies report that Jamaican dandelion preparation is highly effective in cleansing the intestines prior to the procedures. An infusion made from the plant is commonly used in preparation for surgeries or colonoscopies.
- Diuretic: A diuretic is an agent that is used to help the body get rid of excess fluid. Jamaican danadelion tea has traditionally been used to increase urination.
Chrysophanol is the other plant compound that occurs naturally in Cassia occidentalis. Here are some potential benefits of Chrysophanol.
- Antidiabetic: Several studies report that Chrysophanol helps alleviate the progression of diabetes. One study reports that Chrysophanol significantly reversed the learning and memory deficits caused by diabetes disease.
Jamaican Dandelion Tea
So what is Jamaican dandelion good for? In Jamaica the plant’s leaves and flowers are used to make an herbal tea for treating constipation and alleviating kidney problems.
The seeds are sometimes roasted and ground and consumed as a substitute for coffee.
Jamaican Dandelion Tea Benefits
- Reduce fluid buildup
- Ease painful gout
- Soothe coughs
- Cleanse the intestines
- Occasional coffee substitute
In other cultures all sections of the plant incluing the leaves and roots are used as traditional medicine.
Herbalists use sections of the plant to treat gouts, hemorrhoids, asthma, coughs, edema and urinary tract infection..
Side Effects of Senna Coffee
All sections of the Cassia occidentalis plant are known to be toxic to both humans and animals. So one should exercise caution when using products made from this plant.
There have been several reports associating the death of children who consumed Jamaican dandelion.
Pregnancy Precaution. There is no data regarding the effects of Jamaican dandelion use on pregnant or lactating women. Therefore it may be wise to err on the side of caution and avoid Senna coffee if you are pregnant or breast feeding.
Jamaican dandelion is biologically known as Cassia occidentalis or Senna occidentalis. The plant has an unpleasant smell and a bitter taste.
All sections of Jamaican dandelion are used as traditional medicine. However the seeds are widely roasted and brewed as a substitute for coffee, while the leaves are steeped in hot water to make an herbal tea for treating constipation.
In the meantime, the Jamaican dandelion is known to be toxic to both humans and animals. Therefore exercise extreme caution when using this plant or its by-products.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. Nothing stated on this website should be viewed as medical advice. Please consult with a Professional healthcare provider for medical advice.