Before you take out the weeds in your garden, you might want to take out the dandelions and save them for later. Why? Well, dandelion tea is actually a great herbal alternative for a lot of uses, such as managing diabetes and reducing swelling. Learn more about its benefits and how to concoct tea from a dandelion.
What Is a Dandelion?
You’ve probably already spotted it growing in your backyard. Chances are, you’ve also tried taking it out, only to see it growing in another part of your garden. Characterized by large yellow flowers and a rosette of leaves, a dandelion might appear to be just a tenacious weed, but it’s actually revered in herbal medicine. A dandelion’s roots or leaves are brewed and is used to treat numerous ailments from digestive problems to liver disease.
The Benefits of Dandelion Tea
1. Decreases Risk for Obesity
Published in the Journal of Nutrition Research and Practice, a study found that dandelion helps in weight loss. It is mainly due to its capacity to inhibit pancreatic lipase activity.
2. Helps Manage Diabetes
According to research, the roots of a dandelion reduces bad cholesterol. It also normalizes one’s blood glucose levels. For diabetics, consuming dandelion tea is highly beneficial.
3. Improves Heart Health
Potassium is a vital mineral that regulates one’s blood pressure and heart rate. The leaves of dandelion are rich in this mineral. So, drinking tea made out of dandelion leaves will certainly help one have a healthy heart.
4. Improves Gallbladder and Kidney Functions
Another way tea made from dandelion helps is through increasing the production of urine. With a surge in urination, toxins along with excess salt and water are flushed out. This, in turn, reduces the risk of gallstone formation. Thus, it keeps your kidneys and gallbladder healthy.
5. Reduces Bloating
Tea made from dandelion helps flush out excess water from the body by increasing urine production. In 2009, a study was conducted. Within a period of five hours, the study showed that the consumption of only two cups causes an increase in the rate of urination.
6. Relieves Inflammation
Due to its anti-inflammatory property, it alleviates swelling as well as other health problems that lead to inflammation.
7. Relieves Digestive Problems
Thanks to its diuretic properties, dandelion tea helps to stimulate a bowel movement. It also helps relieve indigestion and heartburn.
8. Sustains Proper Function of the Liver
Also known as a liver tonic, dandelion tea improves bile flow and detoxifies the liver. An additional study also states that the dandelion root contains water-soluble polysaccharides. This reduces the risk of hepatic injury.
If you’re a coffee drinker who wishes to cut down on caffeine, then dandelion tea can help. It tastes similar to coffee and is loaded with the aforementioned benefits, too.
What Are the Side Effects?
Dandelion is relatively safe as it has low toxicity levels. Nonetheless, it is highly advised that you consult with your physician about the use of dandelion tea, especially if you are on prescription medications.
If you have allergies to ragweed, then dandelion can trigger an allergic reaction such as contact dermatitis. It may also cause drug interactions with certain antibiotics and diuretics.
For pregnant or breastfeeding mothers, it is recommended to avoid the consumption of dandelion tea. Stay on the safe side as not enough studies have been conducted regarding the use of this type of tea during pregnancy. It is best to consult with your doctor first.
What Are the Dosages?
The leaves, flowers, and stems can be consumed as is. As for the root, it is typically dried and ground before being consumed as a tea. However, dandelion also comes in a supplemental form such as extracts, tinctures, and capsules.
The suggested dose of dandelion is as follows:
- Dried Leaves. 4 to 10 grams in a day
- Dried Powder. 250 to 1000 mg taken four times in a day
- Fresh Leaves. 4 to 10 grams in a day
- Fresh Roots. 2 to 8 grams in a day
- Fresh Juice from Leaves. 1 teaspoon (approximately 5 ml) taken two times in a day
- Fluid Extract. 1 to 2 teaspoons (approximately 5 to 10 ml) daily
- Leaf Tincture. 0.4 to 1 teaspoon (approximately 2 to 5 ml) taken three times in a day
How to Select and Utilize Dandelion Flowers
Are you ready to create your dandelion tea? Well, here are a few pointers to take note of.
- Evaluate Area First
Check to see if the area the dandelions are is free of pollutants. Also, make sure weed-killer wasn’t sprayed on the area. If you’re unsure of the cleanliness and safety of the area, then opt to purchase dandelions at a local store instead. Make sure to pick the young bunch as these will have a reduced bitter taste.
- Dig Deep
If you were lucky to find a clean and safe spot where dandelions grow, then make sure to dig deep for the roots. Pull it out entirely. Wash it with clean water until no traces of dirt is left. The raw roots can be used for tea or coffee, depending on how you roast them.
Storing Dandelion for Later Use
For those who wish to store dandelion leaves or roots for later use, then here are a few pointers to take note of.
- For the Roots
Wash and dry the roots meticulously before slicing them into tiny bits. Afterward, dry the roots. You can either lay them under the hot sun to dry or use a dehydrator. As soon as the roots are all dried up, place it in a glass jar that’s airtight. Store it in an area that’s dry and is away from direct sunlight.
- For the Leaves
The same process is followed, but it is easier for the roots. Again, wash and dry the leaves. Leave them to dry but make sure to turn the leaves regularly. Once dried up, store the leaves in an airtight jar. Also, store it in a cool and dry place that is far from sunlight.
How to Make Dandelion Tea
So, you’ve already got your dandelion (roots, leaves, or flowers). Now, it’s time to make the tea.
- For the Roots
Wash and chop to tiny bits. Set in in an oven on high for two hours. Afterward, steep it in one to two teaspoons of hot water. Ten minutes should be enough.
- For the Leaves and Flowers
Same as with the roots, but no need to chop. Wash and steep the dandelion leaves or flowers in hot water. Fifteen to 20 minutes should do.
Dandelion tea is a great alternative to over-the-counter supplements readily available. However, do take note that it is not the sole treatment for diseases or infections.