by Dr Mercola
Dandelion tea is an herbal tea that’s made from the roots and leaves of the dandelion plant. Some people also use its blossoms to make a tea that’s more delicate in flavour. Aside from the difference in flavour profile, the nutritional and medicinal value of dandelion tea may also differ depending on the parts that were used to make it.
Dandelion leaf tea is often consumed for its diuretic properties, while tea made from dandelion roots is known for its ability to help stimulate the appetite and relieve liver and gallbladder problems. The flowers and stems of dandelion may also be added into the tea mixture for additional nutrients.
The flavours and nutritional profile of dandelion tea also depend on the season when the roots or leaves are harvested.
1. Helps soothe digestive problems
Dandelion tea has been used for centuries to help relieve minor digestive problems, such as heartburn and indigestion. It may also help relieve constipation, since it stimulates bowel movement with its diuretic properties.
2. Helps maintain proper liver function
Dandelion tea is considered a “liver tonic,” since it helps detoxify the liver and improve the flow of bile. A recent study also shows that the water-soluble polysaccharides from dandelion root may help protect the liver from hepatic injury.
3. Helps reduce water retention
Drinking dandelion tea may help reduce bloating, as it can flush out excessive water weight from your body by increasing your urine output. A study conducted in 2009 showed that the first two cups of dandelion tea can cause a significant increase in the frequency of urination within a period of five hours.
4. Helps improve kidney and gallbladder function
Dandelion tea may help improve the health of your kidneys and reduce your risk of developing gallstones by flushing out toxins, salt and excess water through increased urine production.
5. Aids in the management of diabetes
Researchers suggest that dandelion root may help normalise blood sugar levels and reduce bad cholesterol, so drinking tea made from its extracts may be beneficial for diabetics.
6. Helps improve heart health
Dandelion leaves are a great source of potassium, so drinking its extract may provide your body with traces of this essential mineral, which is important for your heart health, as it helps regulate heart rate and blood pressure levels.
7. Helps reduce the risk of cancer
At least one study shows that dandelion root extract may help induce apoptosis in cancer cells without affecting the non-cancerous cells in your body.
8. Helps relieve inflammation
Dandelion tea provides anti-inflammatory properties, which may help alleviate swelling and other health issues related to inflammation.
9. Helps reduce your risk for obesity
A study published in the Journal of Nutrition Research and Practice found that dandelion may aid weight loss by inhibiting the activity of pancreatic lipase.
In addition to the benefits mentioned above, drinking roasted dandelion root tea may be beneficial for coffee lovers who are trying to cut down their caffeine intake, as it tastes relatively similar to coffee.
Caffeine Content of Roasted Dandelion Root Tea
As mentioned above, roasted dandelion root tea is an excellent natural coffee substitute, hence why it’s often called “dandelion coffee.” But the question is, does it have any caffeine content?
While it tastes and looks relatively similar to real coffee, roasted dandelion root tea does not contain caffeine, which is why it’s great for those who are sensitive to this compound.However, like coffee, it can also provide plenty of antioxidants, plus other valuable vitamins and minerals.
How to Make a Cup of Fresh Dandelion Tea
Looking for an inexpensive substitute to store-bought dandelion root tea bags? Look no further than the dandelions in your organic garden. You can put these plants to good use by making your own cup of tea. Here’s how you can make dandelion tea using its fresh leaves, according to a recipe from Mama’s Homestead:
6 dandelion leaves
Collect around six pieces of young and tender dandelion leaves. Wash them thoroughly under running water, then pat them dry with a paper towel. Cut the leaves into small pieces then put them into a cup. Pour boiling water onto them and steep for five to 10 minutes.
Here’s How You Can Store Dandelion Tea for Later Use
You don’t need to brew your dandelion root or leaf tea all at once after harvest, because you can actually preserve and store these ingredients for a long time, as long as you dry them first.
When drying dandelion roots, make sure that you wash each root thoroughly before chopping them into small pieces. You may use a dehydrator to dry the chopped roots, or you may simply place them outside under the hot sun until they’re all dried out. Once dry, put the roots in an airtight glass jar and store in a dry place, out of the direct sunlight.
Preserving dandelion leaves is easier. You just need to wash the leaves thoroughly and pat them dry with a paper towel. Spread the clean leaves on a tray, and then leave them in a warm room or air cupboard to dry. Be sure to turn the leaves occasionally. After they’re all dried up, store them in an airtight glass jar out of direct sunlight.
Common Side Effects of Dandelion Tea
Dandelion leaf or root tea is considered generally safe to consume. However, it may cause allergic reactions like itching, rashes and runny nose in people who are allergic to ragweed and other related plants, including chamomile, chrysanthemums and marigold.
If you’re taking medications or supplements, make sure that you consult your doctor before drinking dandelion tea, as it may interact with several drugs. This herbal drink is also not recommended for people with kidney problems and gallbladder disorders.
Make Sure That Your Dandelion Tea Comes From Safe and Organic Sources
Making homemade dandelion tea may be fun and inexpensive, but you have to keep in mind that not all dandelions you see on the ground are beneficial for your health. This hardy weed pops up almost anywhere — from your well-kept backyard to the dirty street gutter.
If you’re planning to harvest it for consumption, make sure that you use plants grown in a clean area that’s free of pesticides, herbicides and other harmful pollutants. As much as possible, avoid those that grow near the roadway, and refrain from brewing the neighbourhood dandelions unless you’re absolutely sure that chemicals weren’t sprayed on them.