When people hear about dandelion, they think about the pesky weed. However, did you know that the plant you label as ‘weed’ is an herbal medicine that has been used for many centuries?
You can drink a tea of the plant’s roasted roots or leaves. This plant belongs to the daisy family and has a rosette of leaves as well as bright yellow flowers.
To make tea from it, you have to dry its leaves or roast its root first. And the best thing is that dandelion tea has many health benefits.
In this guide, we will talk more about dandelion tea benefits and how to make dandelion tea.
But Before Then, What Is Dandelion Tea And How Does It Taste?
Dandelion tea is prepared from dandelion flowers, leaves, or roots, with the latter being the most popular method. Herbal tea made from flowers tends to be sweeter than tea made from the leaves or roots of the plant.
Dandelion leaves are harvested in the spring while flowers and roots for tea are collected in the fall. For people who do not grow dandelion, you can buy dandelion extract in the form of tea bags from your local tea shop or online.
Known by its botanical name Taraxacum officinale, dandelion is often seen as a weed, but those who know its health benefits prepare tea from its various parts.
Regarding taste, dandelion tea has a lightly-sweet and delicate flavor. Roasted dandelion tea tends to have more intense in terms of flavor and have a deeper aroma. Because of its mild taste and aroma, you can combine this tea with teas that have bold flavors such as black tea leaves and masala chai. You can flavor or sweeten it using citrus fruits.
How to Make Dandelion Tea
Making Dandelion Tea from flowers
You will need to boil water in a saucepan. You can boil enough water to fill your teapot. While your water boils, put 10-20 dandelion flower heads into your teapot (you should use ten flower heads in one cup). Also, make sure that you remove the green section supporting the flower.
Now pour boiling water into your teapot and allow the yellow flowers to steep inside for about 20 minutes. Ensure the teapot has a lid. Once the steeping process is over, add your desired sweetener or flavor to the tea and enjoy.
Making Tea from Dandelion Roots
Tea from dandelion roots has become popular in recent days because of the many health benefits it is associated with.
Not to mention that dandelion grows in many yards, which means people get them for free. To obtain dandelion leaves, dig up the entire plant to get the taproot. This is the part with the most nutrients and minerals.
After digging out the plant, cut out its taproot and rinse it thoroughly in cold water and allow it to dry. Boil one quart of water in your saucepan and chop the root into chunks. In powder form, you will need to add two teaspoons of dandelion root to a quart of water. However, since you will be using chopped root, you can add one-piece or two to your boiling water. Cover the pot for around one minute and allow the root to boil.
After that, allow the steeping process to take place for another 40 minutes. Strain the root from the water and pour the tea into a cup. Add your preferred sweetener and enjoy your tea.
Making Tea from Dandelion Leaves
Some people prefer to make tea from dandelion leaves rather than flowers. If you prefer this process, make sure to use younger buds that are still delicate as they have the best flavor and taste. After picking your dandelion leaves, wash and dry them.
To make tea from leaves, boil your water in a saucepan and ensure it is enough to fill your teapot. A cup of water needs six leaves of dandelion to taste good. Therefore, if your pot has a capacity of 2 cups, you will need to use 12 leaves.
Place the dry dandelion leave in a teapot and add boiling water to it. Leave them to steep for about 10 minutes.
After that, you can strain them out. Add your desired sweetener or flavor and enjoy your dandelion tea.
Making tea from dandelion leaves, flower, or roots is easy. We hope you will be able to make delicious, healthy tea from the above recipes.
To wind up our dandelion tea recipe guide, let’s discuss its side effects.
A Brief History of Dandelion
In the 10th century, there was an Arab doctor who first recorded the curative properties of dandelions. (1)
This plant was once labeled “Piddle Bed” because of its ability to boost urine flow.
Another reference for dandelion in history came in 1880 when studies showed that dandelion is effective for treating hepatitis and swelling of the liver. (2)
In another study, dandelion was found to reduce gallstones and alleviate jaundice. Newer research shows that dandelion root can help protect the liver against harmful toxins such as carbon tetrachloride.
As you can see, dandelion benefits began to be studied a long time ago, but what do newer research say about the benefits of dandelion tea? Let’s discuss this…
Benefits of Dandelion Tea
Dandelion is rich in nutrients such as vitamin A that can greatly benefit one’s health. Let’s explore the potential health benefits of dandelion tea;
1. Has Anti-Inflammatory Effects
Research shows that all parts of a dandelion plant are loaded with many natural antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compounds. (3)
Doctors believe that inflammation is one of the causes of many types of diseases, and although there is no proven connection between drinking dandelion tea and reducing inflammatory-related diseases, the anti-inflammatory compounds in this plant could promote better health and also reduce inflammation.
2. Reducing liver damage
The National Institutes of Health claim that people have used dandelion plant extract as traditional medicine for years, especially in treating health problems that relate to the gallbladder, bile duct, and liver. (4)
Another study published in Nutrition Reviews on dandelion root claimed that it reduces liver damage in rats. Although this research was done on rats, and there is no scientific evidence to suggest the same thing can happen in humans, we can say that tea prepared from dandelion roots can be healthy for your liver. (5)
3. May help lower cholesterol levels in the body
A study done in 2002 and published in Nutrition Reviews showed that dandelion was effective at reducing hyperlipidemia in rats. Hyperlipidemia is a condition characterized by having high lipids level in the body, including cholesterol in the blood.
From the research, it was found that both the levels of total cholesterol and triglycerides in rats greatly declined after the rats were made to eat dandelion flower extracts.
The theory behind dandelion flower extract lowering cholesterol levels is that it inhibits the production of pancreatic lipase, an enzyme that promotes digestion of fat. By restricting this enzyme’s activity, it alters the way in which the body absorbs fat.
Of course, more research needs to be done on human, but there are positives we can take from this study on rats. We can say that by drinking dandelion tea prepared from flower extracts, you can lower the level of unhealthy cholesterol in the body. (6)
4. Dandelion tea can cause diuretic effects in the body
As mentioned in the history section of this guide, dandelion was used as a natural diuretic in the past, and its diuretic effect means that you will urinate more after taking this tea, which reduces the rate of water retention in the body.
Therefore, by drinking more dandelion tea, you can encourage fluid release from your body, and thus helps the kidney maintain a good water balance in your body.
This means dandelion tea may help your kidney release more water, thereby reducing events of experiencing discomforts and bloating, but this not yet proven. And since it is a non-alcoholic beverage that encourages urination, it can be healthy to drink dandelion tea.
And on urinary tract health, dandelion teas and extracts can help treat urinary infections. This is according to a study posted in the Virology Journal. (7)
5. May help to fight flu
In the same study that claimed that dandelion tea and extracts might help treat urinary tract infections, it was found out that dandelion extracts can help suppress the effects of human influenza virus A.
The extracts were found to reduce viral load in the body and lower their harmful effects on healthy cells. However, there is a need for more research to determine if the extracts would be effective in reducing the effects of influenza virus A. (8)
Note that dandelion tea cannot be used as a substitute for flu vaccine or medicine, but it may help recovery and ease symptoms.
Related Article: What Is Echinacea Tea? And Can It Help a Cold?
- Dandelion tea is packed with antioxidants and nutrients that can boost your health. And the best thing is that every part of dandelion plant, from its roots and leaves to its vibrant flowers, are edible and have their share of antioxidants. You can find antioxidants such as beta-carotene that may help prevent cell damage.
- In addition, dandelion flowers and leaves are rich in vitamin C, which is known to boost immunity and ward off flu and common cold. Dandelion leaves are also a good source of protein, and thus can make a good post-workout drink
- Tea made from dandelion roots boasts significant health benefits due to high levels of calcium, phosphorus, and potassium. All of these minerals promote teeth health and strengthen bones. Magnesium in dandelion roots may help alleviate pain and relax muscles. Besides, because of the diuretic effect of dandelion roots, drinking tea made from them can help purify your body.
- The roots are also loaded with antioxidants, which may help eliminate free radicals in your body. Free radicals have been linked with cancer and premature aging. Many of the antioxidants in dandelion roots may, therefore, inhibit the growth of cancer cells. (9)
As you can see, virtually all parts of a dandelion plant are beneficial to your health, which is why you need to include this tea in your daily routine.
Now, let’s talk about how you can prepare dandelion tea from different.
Things you will need;
- Different parts of a dandelion plant- roots, flowers, and leaves
- Measuring utensils
NOTE: If you choose to make tea from fresh dandelions, it is important to only select dandelions that are not exposed to pesticides. When in doubt, opt for dandelion tea bags.
Side Effects of Dandelion Tea
FDA has recognized dandelion as a safe plant for consumption. However, there are a few side effects that may arise when you consume dandelion tea in excess. Keep in mind that you can experience more side effects if you harvest dandelions grown using chemicals and inorganic fertilizer. Also, dandelions growing alongside busy roadways can also result in more negative side effects.
Here are the side effects one can expect after drinking dandelion tea;
- Allergies. Dandelion tea can trigger an allergic reaction in people with sensitivities to daisies, chrysanthemums, marigolds, and ragweed. You should avoid drinking dandelion tea if you experience symptoms such as swelling of your throat or face, difficulty breathing, or hives.
- Pregnant and lactating women should avoid drinking dandelion tea
- Also, if you are under prescription drugs, you should avoid taking dandelion tea. Dandelion tea doesn’t interact well with blood-thinning medications and blood pressure medication.
Dandelion tea is a great alternative for people who want to stop or limit drinking beverages with high caffeine content such as black tea and coffee. It can be tasty and more nutritious than coffee.
And although more studies need to be done to prove its health benefits on human beings, the ones already conducted have shown its effectiveness in improving health.
Overall, it is a healthy tea we can recommend to anyone who would like to have an extra beverage that supplements a healthy lifestyle.