The dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is an edible herb that is used as a medicinal plant to address a number of health issues. Every part of the dandelion plant has health benefits. Dandelion root, dandelion greens, and dandelion flowers can all be used to make health-enhancing dandelion tea. You can use dandelion root tea for reducing high blood pressure, treat diabetes, to pass more urine, improve liver function, and as a blood tonic.
There are several types of dandelion drinks that have health benefits. Roasted dandelion root is made into a delicious caffeine-free coffee alternative or can be used to make dandelion tea. You can also use dandelion leaves to create dandelion tea to improve your digestive health, lower cholesterol, and even lose weight.
You can also use dandelion greens (leaves) in tasty salads.
Far from being a pesky weed that ruins the look of your lawn, dandelion has many health benefits.
In this article, you will learn about the many reasons to use the roots and leaves of dandelion. You will also get some great recipes to make your own health-boosting dandelion tea at home.
What is Dandelion Root?
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is a perennial herb that grows in most regions of the world. The dandelion plant consists of a long fibrous root, a stem, flowers, and leaves. All parts of the dandelion are edible and have many health benefits. (1)
Scientific research backs up many of the traditional medicinal uses for dandelion root. For example, the roots of dandelion contain large amounts of inulin that promote good digestive health and help prevent obesity. Dandelion root is also good to take if you have osteoporosis and it also has anticancer properties. (2)
Roasting dandelion root and grinding it into a powder creates “dandelion coffee” – a good coffee alternative without any of its side effects.
Studies have also shown that many of the health benefits of dandelion root come from its high levels of antioxidants. Extracts from both dandelion leaf and the root have free radical scavenging activity that helps prevent DNA cell damage. (2)
Benefits of Dandelion Root
Let’s look in more detail at the many benefits of dandelion root.
Dandelion Roots have Antioxidative Activities
The roots of dandelions contain a number of compounds with antioxidant activity.
According to a scientific research, antioxidants extracted from dandelion roots have many potential health benefits. The antioxidants in dandelion root may help to improve liver health, reduce the risk of heart disease, lower cholesterol, and help prevent stroke. The research concluded that antioxidants in dandelion root extracts help lower risk factors associated with coronary heart disease. (3)
Learn more about the role that antioxidants play in helping to keep you healthy.
Dandelion Root is a Natural Diuretic
One of the traditional uses of dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is helping to prevent water retention and making you pee more.
One study found that taking 8 mL of dandelion leaf extract three times a day can help to increase urinary frequency. (4)
While the dandelion leaf tea is commonly used as a diuretic, dandelion root may also help to increase urinary output. Research has shown that both dandelion root and leaf contain similar amounts of potassium. In general, the high levels of potassium are thought to stimulate urination. (5)
Learn about other natural remedies for water retention and how you can get rid of excess water naturally.
Dandelion Root May Lower Blood Pressure
One of the ways that dandelion extracts can benefit your heart health is by helping to manage hypertension.
Diuretics are sometimes used in the treatment of high blood pressure. The Mayo Clinic says that diuretics help to flush sodium and excess water from your body. (6) The diuretic effect of the dandelion root may have a positive effect on your blood pressure.
Other studies have found that dandelion roots can help to lower cholesterol levels which can then have a positive effect in reducing high blood pressure. (7)
If you suffer from hypertension, find out what other natural remedies are available to manage high blood pressure.
Dandelion Root May Protect Your Skin from Damage
Although research is limited, dandelion root extracts may help protect your skin from damage caused by UV sun damage.
A 2015 study found that dandelion extracts can protect human dermal fibroblasts from damage. In the study, dandelion leaf and flower extracts offered better skin protection than dandelion root extracts. (8)
Lab experiments have found that extracts from dandelion roots may be useful in treating skin cancer without damaging healthy cells. (9)
Before using any kind of dandelion extract on your skin, it’s important to do a small skin patch test, as dandelion can cause allergic skin reactions in some people. (10)
To help keep your skin looking youthful and vibrant, find out about how to use vitamin E to improve your skin’s appearance.
Dandelion Root is Good to Help Manage Type 2 Diabetes
All parts of the dandelion plant are beneficial for helping to control the symptoms of type 2 diabetes.
In fact, dandelion is so good for managing diabetes that researchers have called it a key anti-diabetic herb. (2)
What makes dandelion root an effective remedy for some diabetic symptoms? Dandelion root contains anti-inflammatory properties and antioxidants, some of which are strong anti-diabetic agents. Dandelion extracts also benefit diabetics because they help regulate blood glucose, insulin, and lower cholesterol. (2)
Learn about the best foods to include on a diabetes-friendly diet to help prevent blood glucose spikes after eating.
Dandelion Root Extracts Promote Good Liver Health
Dandelion root tea is a good therapeutic drink because it helps keep the liver healthy.
The reason why dandelion root protects your liver is that it contains compounds that benefit liver function. One study involving mice found that polysaccharides in dandelion root help to purify and protect the liver. Dandelion root has potential as a functional food to prevent liver injury. (11)
Other lab experiments have shown that compounds in dandelion root helped to prevent liver scarring and may even help regenerate liver cells. (12)
Further reading: The Best Scientifically Proven Foods to Cleanse Your Liver.
Dandelion Root Can Help Improve Blood Markers
Dandelion has traditionally been used as a blood tonic to help improve blood health.
The journal Advances in Hematology reported that administering dandelion extracts to mice helped to improve blood markers. Researchers noted an increase in red blood cells, white blood cells, and hemoglobin. (13)
Dandelion Root for Better Digestion
Drinking dandelion root tea may help to improve your digestive health because it acts as a prebiotic in the gut.
The journal Fitoterapia reported that dandelion root benefits digestion because it stimulates probiotic growth. Naturally-occurring sugars in dandelion root act as “food” for bifidobacteria which are needed for a healthy digestive system. (14)
Dandelion Root has Anticancer Properties
One of the promising uses of dandelion root as a medicinal herb is its potential use in treating cancer.
Research into root extracts from dandelion has shown that they contain compounds that can kill off cancer cells. One study found that dandelion root extract can help prevent cancer cells from spreading, especially in cases of liver cancer. (15)
Other laboratory studies have found that dandelion extracts have anti-inflammatory activity in certain cancer cells. (17)
What is Dandelion Tea or Dandelion Root Tea?
Dandelion tea is a hot water herbal infusion using the dandelion root, leaves or flowers. You can make dandelion tea from fresh leaves steeped in hot water.
Some people also make dandelion root tea by chopping up the roots and letting it infuse in simmering water for 20 minutes.
Another dandelion root drink is dandelion coffee. This healthy beverage is made by drying, roasting, and grinding the dandelion root into a powder. This type of dandelion root “tea” has a similar taste to coffee, but contains no caffeine.
Benefits of Dandelion Leaf Tea or Dandelion Root Tea
What is dandelion tea good for? Let’s look briefly at the many benefits of regularly consuming tea made from dandelion leaves or roots.
1. Helps to lower cholesterol. Dandelion tea is a good cholesterol-lowering remedy. Both dandelion leaf tea and dandelion root tea help lower cholesterol and increase antioxidants in the body. (3)
2. Can protect your liver health. As already mentioned, dandelion root tea has been used for centuries as a liver tonic to boost liver health and function. Dandelion root also helps to prevent damage to the liver caused by alcohol. (18)
4. May help you lose weight. Drinking dandelion tea may help you shed extra pounds quicker when you are on a diet. One lab study found that dandelion compounds have a similar effect to a popular weight-loss drug. Ingesting dandelion helps to break down fat. (20)
5. Benefits to your digestion. Having a daily cup of dandelion root tea can boost your digestion as it encourages the growth of healthy gut bacteria. Other studies have shown that dandelion tea has a positive effect on your digestive processes. (21)
6. Immune system booster. Regular consumption of dandelion tea may help to strengthen your immunity because dandelion contains vitamins A, C, D, E, and B. Some studies have also shown that dandelion extracts have antiviral activity and may reduce the severity of influenza infections. (2, 22)
7. Promotes good cardiovascular health. Dandelion tea can be good for your heart as it contains antioxidants, helps lower cholesterol, and can help prevent obesity. (23)
8. Helps protect your skin. Using dandelion tea as a skin tonic could help improve your skin’s health and prevent damage by UV rays. (24)
9. Dandelion root tea for type 2 diabetics. One medical study found that consumption of 5 g of dandelion leaf and root powder for nine days significantly reduced the fasting blood glucose levels of of type two diabetic patients. (28)
10. Dandelion root tea is a great coffee substitute. One great reason to drink dandelion root tea is that it is a good caffeine-free coffee alternative. Many people say that the taste of dandelion root tea is similar to coffee.
You can buy organic dandelion root tea in Amazon here.
How to Make Dandelion Tea
It is very easy to make your own health-enhancing dandelion tea from the fresh or dried leaves or blossoms.
Here are some ideas on how to prepare your own dandelion tea:
Fresh dandelion leaf tea. Cut 6 fresh dandelion leaves into small pieces, put them in a cup, fill with boiling water, cover with a lid and allow to infuse for 10 minutes.
Dandelion root tea. Put a tablespoon of chopped dandelion root in a cup of boiling water, cover, and let to steep for 20 minutes. Strain and enjoy your healthy dandelion root tea.
Dandelion tea from dried leaves. In a pan, put 2 teaspoons of dried dandelion leaves and 2 cups of water. Bring to the boil, cover, and then simmer for 10 minutes. Allow the dandelion tea remedy to cool slightly. Strain into a cup and consume.
You can also buy in Amazon dandelion tea bags like these.
How much dandelion should you consume daily if you use the herb for medicinal purposes?
According to the British Herbal Pharmacopoeia, the recommended doses to use dandelion therapeutically are as follows: (2)
- 2 – 8 g of fresh roots daily
- Fresh or dried leaves 4 – 10 g daily
- Dried dandelion powder pills 250 – 1,000 mg daily
- Dandelion tincture 2 – 5 ml 3 times a day
- Dandelion fluid extract 1 – 2 teaspoons every day
Dandelion Greens (Dandelion Leaves)
Eating dandelion greens is a great way to get even more benefits from Taraxacum officinale (dandelion).
Dandelion leaves are extremely healthy as they are packed with vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and fiber.
The United States Department of Agriculture reports that one cup of chopped dandelion greens (55 g) contains nearly 2 g of fiber which is 8% of your recommended daily intake (RDI). So, apart from the ways already mentioned, dandelion greens help your digestion because they are high in fiber. (25)
Consuming dandelion greens also helps to strengthen your bones, protect your cognitive function, and keep your blood healthy. A 55-g serving of dandelion leaves contains 428 mcg of vitamin K which is 535% of your RDI. (26)
The high vitamin A content also means that dandelion greens are good for your vision and skin. In fact, gram for gram, dandelion leaves contain the same amount of beta-carotene (the precursor to vitamin A) as carrots. (2)
Antioxidants such as lutein and zeaxanthin that are found in dandelion greens help protect your eyesight from age-related macular degeneration. (27)
Dandelion greens are good for strengthening your immune system because they also contain good amounts of vitamin C, E, and B-group vitamins. Dandelion greens also have calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, and manganese.
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