Fine and Dandy, Dandelion Tea! The Surprising Health Benefits of a Common Little Weed.
Dandelion is often discarded as a pest weed that pops up throughout lawns and gardens. However, in fact, dandelions offer plenty of welfares for your health, and these little yellowy-orange flowers are not all that they seem.
For those more in the know, dandelion has covered off many uses for the treatment of muscle aches and joint pain, upset stomachs, a loss of appetite, gallstones, intestinal gas, and as an aid to help with bowel motions. Dandelion use is also apparent in the treatment of viral infections and some cancers.
Dandelion can also be beneficial for the treatment of some skin conditions such as eczema and bruises, has been used as a toner for your skin, and as a blood and digestive tonic.
It does not stop there; it’s a great cooking ingredient too. The green parts from dandelion can be welcomed as a garnish or extra ingredient for sauces. You can enjoy them raw. However, most people like to cook them slightly to reduce the bitter flavour that can be apparent. The roots from dandelion, as well as their stems and flowers, are used to create a healthy mishmash of benefits in tea.
Moreover, you thought they were literally a pest weed, what you did not realise was you probably have one of nature’s rare super foods growing right there in your yard, free of charge!
So, I know what you are thinking. How exactly can you safely consume dandelion?
The stems of the dandelion are full of a white milky liquid, and this is most noticed when the stems are snapped. Once the yellow-coloured flower reaches maturity, it transforms into a ball of fluffy white hairs that are abundant of seeds. It is completely safe, and amazingly advantageous to your health, to eat every part of the dandelion, including its roots. Usually, it is the stem or flower which is eaten raw.
Try brewing your own cup of dandelion tea goodness. Just one cup contains only 25 calories, and;
- 42mg of sodium, 218mg of potassium, 5g of carbohydrates
- 7 percent dietary fibre
- Vitamins – broken into 535% vitamin K, 111% vitamin A, 32% vitamin C, 5% vitamin B6
- Minerals – broken into 10% calcium, 9% iron, 5% magnesium
Ensure your dandelions are free from any pesticides or weed killing sprays. If you want to use the roots, dig them up in one entire heap and rinse well until all the dirt has been removed. You can use the roots raw for your tea. Like any salad mixes, make sure you wash your dandelions thoroughly before you eat them. They are usually good stored in the fridge for up to one week, however the fresher, the better for you.
As with all good herbs, there are some possible side effects from dandelions that you should be aware of:
- Allergic reactions if taken orally or topically for those sensitive people. If you have an allergy to ragweed and its related plants (daisies, chrysanthemums, marigolds), then it’s quite possible you will also be allergic to dandelion. Check with a healthcare professional before consuming dandelion.
- Dandelion may also reduce how much antibiotic your body absorbs and, dandelion combined with antibiotics could decrease their effectiveness. Some antibiotics that have a potential to interact with dandelion include ciprofloxacin, enoxacin, norfloxacin, sparfloxacin, trovafloxacin and grepafloxacin.
- Dandelion could decrease the effectiveness of ridding your body of lithium due to its diuretic properties and could result in serious side effects. Potassium is also found in some diuretic pills, so remain vigilant if taking water pills, as an abundance of lithium or potassium is not good in the body.
- Dandelion could also decrease how speedily your liver breaks down some medications. It’s best to chat with a health care advisor if you are taking any medications which are impacted by the liver. Some of these could include amitriptyline, haloperidol, ondansetron, propranolol, theophylline and verapamil.
Dandelions and dandelion tea can offer up many advantages for your health. Protecting your bones, a liver cleanse, helping with the fight against diabetes, beneficial for your skin, packed full of antioxidants and fibre, a good source of vitamins, and dandelion tea works as a diuretic and preventative of urinary tract infections.
Combine your dandelion intake with regular exercise and a healthy eating plan to maximise the clearly beneficial properties.
Now, get out there and get looking for this little beauty in your own backyard. I know I am about to!
* Note, we advise to check with a health care professional should you have any pre-existing medical conditions, are taking regular medication, or have been known to be sensitive to herbs and plants in the past. We are not medically trained, and this information should be taken as general use only.