What is it? Dandelion tea is made from Dandelion, Taraxacum officinale, the same dandelion that grows seemingly everywhere come springtime. Native to Europe and North America, every part of the plant is edible, from the sunny yellow flower to the bright green leaves and all the way down to the root.
Dandelion has been consumed as food since prehistoric times — the flowers can even be made into wine! — but only recently has it received wider attention for its many benefits. The tea is often made using the roots and leaves, though a coffee alternative similar to chicory (which is in the dandelion family) is also available and made using the roasted roots.
Dandelions are native to Eurasia and North America; the two species, T. officinale and T. erythrospermum, are found as weeds worldwide. The name dandelion comes from the French word dent-de-lion, meaning “lion’s tooth.” Dandelion plants are from the Asteraceae family and part of the Taraxacum species. They look like very small flowers that are collected together into a flower head, or floret.
Many Taraxacum species produce seeds asexually by apomixis, meaning the seeds can be produced without pollination. This is why dandelions are genetically identical to the parent plant.
The leaves of a dandelion flower are typically five to 25 centimetres long. The flower heads are a yellow to orange colour; they open in the daytime and stay closed at night. When you break the stem of a dandelion, it exudes a white and milky liquid. When the flowerhead matures, it becomes a white ball that contains many seeds and fine hairs.
Dandelion Tea Cleanses the Liver
The role of our liver is to produce bile, which helps enzymes in the body break down fats into fatty acids — and to filter and detoxify our blood. The liver also has the amazing ability to break down and store amino acids, synthesise and metabolise fats and cholesterol, store glucose, and regulate our internal functions. The vitamins and nutrients present in dandelions help cleanse our livers and keep them working properly.
Dandelions aid our digestive system by maintaining the proper flow of bile. Dandelion tea or stems are also good vitamin C foods, which helps with mineral absorption, reduces inflammation and prevents the development of disease.
Another important dandelion benefit is its high antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are substances that help prevent certain types of cell damage, especially those caused by oxidation. The body uses antioxidants to fight free radical damage, which is very dangerous for the body’s tissues and is connected to cancer and premature ageing.
Luckily, drinking dandelion tea helps the body avoid cell damage from free radicals. In fact, a study conducted in 2011 by the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at the University of Windsor in Canada found that dandelion root extract was effective in killing different cancers as a result of its free radical-fighting abilities.
Dandelion root has a natural diuretic effect, allowing your liver to more quickly eliminate toxins. It also helps to strengthen the immune system, balance blood sugar levels, relieve heartburn, and soothe digestive upset.
- 1 bag dandelion tea or 1 scoop loose tea
- 1 cup
- Optional: ½ tsp raw honey (I don't sweeten mine, though you may like to if the taste isn't to your liking at first)
- Bring water to just before boiling.
- Pour into a mug and add the tea bag or steeping ball or teapot filled with loose tea.
- Allow to steep, covered, for 10-15 minutes.
- Remove bag or steeping ball and add honey, if desired.
As dandelion tea is a diuretic, it’s not recommended to drink this tea right before bedtime. Also consult your doctor if you’re already taking a medicine that acts as a diuretic, as the two should not be mixed.