Did you know that in some parts of Europe, dandelion leaves are added to salads? Or that dandelion tea prepared from the flowers, leaves, and toasted roots of this plant have been traditionally used as a remedy for urinary tract infections, the common cold, and toxin accumulation in the body for centuries? All this may sound extremely surprising to many of us who consider the yellow-flowered plant a persistent garden weed. But it’s true – dandelions are good for more than just blowing off their seeds to make a wish come true…
First of all, the low-calorie herbal tea is an excellent source of many nutrients, such as beta-carotene and vitamin A, magnesium, calcium, zinc, and iron. In addition, scientists have already verified many of the traditional health claims associated with dandelion tea, and many more are to be authenticated soon.
An example of the latter is that only recently scientists have started to explore the anti-cancer benefits of dandelions, and in-vitro studies have already confirmed that a concentrated dandelion extract can eradicate melanoma and pancreatic cancer cells in a petri dish. Hopefully, further studies will likewise confirm that this so-called “garden weed” is also capable of helping live cancer patients, too, so stay tuned for updates.
While the cancer-fighting effect of dandelion tea has limited research support, there are many other, verified benefits of the herbal tea – we list 6 such benefits below.
1. Relieves bloating and improves digestion
When you feel like your tummy is bloated and your food is stuck in the stomach heavy as a rock, try sipping on some dandelion tea. Dandelion tea is a known diuretic, which means that it will make your body drain of excess swelling and water weight, and it will increase your urine output. Therefore, the tea may be beneficial for a bloated belly. In fact, one study has shown a diuretic effect after participants drank just 2 cups of dandelion leaf tea. In addition, dandelion root tea is said to soothe an irritated digestive system and relieve constipation. Historically, dandelion root tea is also often used to improve one’s appetite.
2. Prevents urinary tract infections
Recurring urinary tract infections (UTIs) are surprisingly common and the numbers of people affected by persistent UTIs are growing every year. Being able to prevent recurring UTIs and avoid taking excessive antibiotics is key. One promising preventative method is a mixture of dandelion and bearberry (also known as uva-ursi) – a commonly sold combination that has been shown to offer antibacterial and preventative benefits for those at risk for UTIs – a list that includes pregnant women, men over 50, and menopausal women, to name a few.
3. Aids in weight loss
A recently discovered benefit of dandelion tea is its ability to aid in weight loss. Curiously, recent Korean research has noted that dandelion is very similar to the weight loss drug Orlistat. This drug works by blocking the synthesis of pancreatic lipase, a certain enzyme that breaks down fat in the digestion process. According to the study, the dandelion extract had very similar results to the anti-obesity drug in an animal model, which means that dandelion may have some weight loss benefits. Since the flower also has digestive and diuretic benefits, as we mentioned earlier, dandelion tea may actually be an excellent choice for those who seek to lose excess weight.
4. Can serve as a coffee replacement
Those of you who already tried dandelion tea may already know it as a natural coffee substitute. It’s true – when roasted, the roots of the dandelion become caramelized and have a rich, sweet, toasty flavor and a deep aroma when brewed into a herbal tea. In fact, you can easily make your own dandelion “coffee” from fresh roots, here’s how:
First, keep in mind that it’s instrumental to only use pesticide-free dandelions for this recipe.
Also, remember that it’s best to harvest the roots in the fall.
To harvest dandelion roots, simply pull out the plant, cut off the leaves, wash the roots until completely clean with tepid water, chop them up into smaller pieces, and roast them in the oven at 200°F (95°C) for 2-3 hours until the roots harden and brown up. Simmer about 3 tablespoons of ground-up roasted roots with 250 ml (8.5 oz) water on low heat for 15-20 minutes to prepare 1 cup of dandelion coffee.
5. Promotes liver health
In traditional medicine, dandelion root extract has been used as a detoxifying liver tonic for centuries. Naturopaths use dandelion root tea to cleanse the liver and relieve symptoms of liver problems. There is finally some scientific evidence that confirms that, in fact, dandelion root extract may boost the flow of bile, which is why the herbal tea may be able to improve symptoms of liver disease. In addition, a 2017 study has concluded that dandelion may be beneficial to liver function due to its naturally high concentration of polysaccharides.
6. Can lower blood pressure
The last but definitely not the least benefit dandelion tea may have is its ability to lower blood pressure. Studies show that it may be due to a high concentration of potassium in dandelions. As you may know, potassium is an electrolyte that has the ability to stimulate the heartbeat and help the kidneys strain out toxins better from the blood. That said if you’re already taking diuretic medications to manage your blood pressure, combining it with dandelion tea may be overkill, and could lead to undesired dangerous consequences, so make sure to consult your doctor before starting to drink it every day. In fact, if you’re on any prescription medication, always make sure to talk to your physician if you decide to take any natural remedy, including dandelion tea.
7. Aids in bowel movement
Dandelion root is used for the treatment of muscle aches, loss of appetite, upset stomach, intestinal gas, gallstones, joint pain, eczema and bruises. It also increases urine production and serves as a laxative to increase bowel movements.
How to Make Dandelion Tea
There are so many ways to incorporate the dandelion plant into your everyday meals. One of the best ways to experience all of the dandelion benefits is by making your own dandelion tea.
If you like to drink other herbal teas such as chamomile or nettle, you may also enjoy dandelion tea and vice versa.
You can make tea with the dandelion roots or flowers. It’s very easy — follow these simple directions:
- Steep about one tablespoon of the stems or flowers for 30 minutes in five ounces of boiling water.
- Strain the roots and flowers or drink them up with your tea.
- This recipe can be doubled or tripled if you plan on making several days’ worth of tea.
You can also buy organic dandelion tea bags at most health food stores. You may even find teabags that are made with both dandelion and turmeric.
You can also roast the root of your dandelion plant to make a coffee-like beverage. Here’s how it’s done:
- After cleaning the root, chop it in a food processor.
- Use a baking sheet and roast the pieces in an oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit for two hours.
- Then let it steep in boiling water for 10 minutes before drinking.
Source: Internet & Other sources
The views expressed in this article should not be considered as a substitute for a physician’s advice. Always make sure to seek a doctor or a professional’s advice before proceeding with the home treatment plan.