Dandelion Tea Guide: Health Benefits, Side Effects, and Flavor Profile
What most people find to be an annoying weed, can actually be a healthy beverage and tasty tea. Dandelions crop up in gardens across the globe every springtime and last throughout the summer. Their vibrant yellow leaves are easy to spot and their seed pods are often used to make wishes. These plants offer potent health benefits when consumed as food or in beverages like tea.
We've put together a list of dandelion tea benefits that will inspire you to brew a cup of this vibrant tea. Whether you like light floral flavor or prefer strong coffee-like tastes, dandelion tea has something to offer everyone.
What Is Dandelion Tea?
Dandelion tea is an herbal tea made from various plant parts of the dandelion plant known as Taraxacum officinale. There are several different types of dandelion tea depending on whether the tea is made from the leaves, flowers, or roots of the plant. One of the most common is known as roasted dandelion root tea or "dandelion coffee". The tea gets its name from the dark color of the roasted root, which resembles coffee beans. This type of dandelion tea is often used as a coffee substitute.
Dandelion tea made from flower petals offers a delicate, sweet taste. Roasted dandelion root teas offer bolder flavor with smoky and toasty notes that are paired with robust flavor. Dandelion leaf teas offer an earthy and herbaceous flavor that can have astringent notes.
Health Benefits of Dandelion Tea
1. Contains High Amounts of Fiber
Dandelion greens contain large concentrations of fiber, which helps streamline digestion and improve overall health. Eating a high-fiber diet can help improve digestive health and ease strain on the intestines. The dietary fiber in dandelion leaves can also help prevent digestive system problems such as irritable bowel syndrome and kidney stones.
2. Rich In Vitamin A
Dandelion leaves are chock full of vitamin A, which can help improve the look of your skin and reduce inflammation. Vitamin A is also essential for healthy vision and can prevent serious problems such as macular degeneration. Vitamin A may also lessen the symptoms of measles, a disease that is rare in the United States, but has recently increased in frequency due to anti-vaccination movements. Taking vitamin A can shorten the duration of symptoms including upset stomach, diarrhea, and fever (1).
3. Good For Bone Health
Dandelion root tea contains high amounts of vitamin K, which is known to help build bone strength. In fact, studies show that vitamin K, particularly K2 may be a better choice than calcium for bone health. Calcium can cause stiffness in arteries, which can increase the risk of blood clots. Vitamin K2 offers the same healthy bone mineral properties, without heart health side effects. Drinking dandelion tea helps prevent fractures and breaks from bones that don't have strong bone mineral density (2).
4. Helps Target Free Radicals
Dandelion tea contains antioxidants that fight free radicals—compounds that can cause oxidative stress and damage to healthy cells. Antioxidants work to eliminate free radicals from the body, protecting from long-term damage. Free radicals have been linked to a host of health problems including cancer and premature aging.
5. Protects the Liver
Dandelion leaf tea may help protect liver function and promote overall digestion. A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that the antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties of dandelion leaves help prevent liver damage in mice caused by unhealthy diets (3).
Dandelion tea contains vitamin C, which improves the absorption of minerals. It also boosts the immune system and fends off disease including the common cold and flu. Antioxidants in this tea also help stimulate the production of bile, which helps the body break down and process foods.
6. May Help Fight Cancer
Dandelion root tea may induce cell death of certain types of cancer cells. A study published in Evidence Based Complementary Alternative Medicine examined these cancer-fighting properties. Researchers found that dandelion root extract—when combined with the diabetic drug metformin—had the ability to treat G361 human melanoma. The dandelion extract itself also induced apoptosis in A375 melanoma in human cells within 48 hours. More studies are needed at larger scale and in human clinical trials to confirm these results (4).
7. Can Prevent Urinary Tract Infections
Dandelion tea has natural diuretic properties. These diuretic properties may also help regulate blood sugar levels and improve overall health. Consuming dandelion tea can help the body flush toxins and wastes and prevent bacterial infections in the urinary tract. This occurs because healthy compounds in the dandelion tea decrease inflammation and the diuretic effect increases the production of urine. One study found these effects to be more pronounced when dandelion was combined with uva ursi, known as bearberry (5).
8. May Aid Weight Loss
Dandelion teas may help accelerate weight loss when used in conjunction with a healthy diet and exercise regimen. Since the tea has natural diuretic properties, it helps decrease water weight. Antioxidants in dandelion leaves, dandelion flowers, and dandelion root extract also help to speed up metabolism and improve fat burning.
Replacing sugary drinks with dandelion tea can also help cut calories. You still get sweet, delicious flavor without the extra calories that can pack on the pounds. The flavor of dandelion tea is also more exciting than plain old water, so it's easier to stay hydrated and stick to your diet.
Side Effects of Dandelion Tea
If you are allergic to ragweed, you may also experience an allergic reaction to dandelion tea. Avoid drinking this tea if you have allergies to the dandelion plant or related plants including daisies and chrysanthemums. Stop use immediately and contact a healthcare professional if you experience symptoms including skin rash, difficulty breathing, and itchy throat.
Dandelions may inhibit the absorption of certain antibiotics, thus effectively decreasing the effectiveness of the medications. Talk to your healthcare provider before taking dandelion if you are on antibiotics including Cipro and norfloxacin.
Dandelion may also interfere with some diuretic medications and cause other side effects. The main thing to watch out for is potassium content. Some diuretic medications contain potassium, which when taken with dandelion tea, may reach levels that are unhealthy in the human body. Always talk to your doctor before using herbal medicine or teas if you take any medications.
A significant increase in dandelion tea consumption in conjunction with liver medications may also decrease the effectiveness of those medications. Consume this tea in moderation and double check that the tea won't interact with your medications.
How to Brew Dandelion Tea
The process for brewing dandelion tea differs depending on which type of dandelion tea you are making. You can check out our guide on how to brew dandelion tea for all the details. In general, dandelion tea should be brewed using hot water or boiling water. It's also best to brew using loose leaves, fresh flowers, or dried roots rather than tea bags. Leaves and flowers should steep for about 5 to 10 minutes while roots are best between 6-8 minutes.
Sunny and Bright Dandelion Tea
Dandelion tea is a delicious herbal tea that can bring sunshine into your world. The vibrant flowers look stunning as they brew in hot water and infuse endless health benefits. You can also opt for dandelion leaf or root teas if you prefer stronger flavors. Pour yourself a delicious cup of dandelion tea and soak in the health benefits.
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