Have you ever heard that dandelion tea is good for your health? Yes, this small plant is part of traditional medicine in several countries and in this article you will learn more about it and its benefits.
The plant called the dandelion ( taraxacum officinale ) is considered harmful by many. Such is the ease with which it spreads, including through children’s games, which blow its seeds in the wind, spreading them and helping the plant to germinate.
In the northeast of Brazil it is known as “hope” and in our country receives several other names, such as: taraxaco, dog lettuce, amargosa, amor-de-man, etc. In the United States, they used to use their flowers to make a liquor.
In addition to being part of the cuisine of European countries, this very common plant has been routinely used in salads and juices. It also has several health-beneficial properties and has been used as a tea for centuries for various indications.
Dandelion tea is very nutritious and has little caloric value. Check out the nutrients found in this plant below:
- is rich in vitamins
- rich in minerals
- has more vitamin A than carrots
- rich in vitamin c
- has vitamin B6
- minerals (calcium, potassium, copper, magnesium and iron )
- a cup of tea has the same amount of calcium as 1/2 cup of milk.
Dandelion also has a high concentration of flavonoids, substances found mainly in flowers and leaves that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects .
Other substances found in large amounts in the herb are compounds called alkaloids and steroids. These are responsible for the action of controlling blood glucose and as a natural analgesic. ( 1 )
How many calories does dandelion have?
Approximately 25 calories is the stipulated value for 50 grams of raw dandelion. When cooked, the flowers and leaves of the dandelion decrease in size. In this way, one cup is the equivalent of just over 100 grams of the herb and has only 35 calories per serving.
The good news is that even after the cooking process the herb retains its nutritional properties and very little fat. ( 2 ) And as seen, this is an extremely rich plant in vitamins and minerals, which explains its use in cooking in various regions.
The leaves have carbohydrates and around 8% of the recommended dietary fiber for a day. With this, it can help regulate the bowel and increase the feeling of fullness. Also, a cup of herb tea delivers all of the vitamin A and nearly half of the recommended daily vitamin C.
Other nutrients present in the plant are vitamin E, K and B complex. Dandelion leaves are also rich in various minerals, such as calcium, representing 10% of the daily value recommended by nutritionists. Other minerals present in dandelion are: iron, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, zinc , copper, magnesium and selenium. ( 3 )
Know what this plant does for health
This tea is detoxifying, being appropriate for a “cleansing” of the body, especially after a period of exaggeration or accumulation. Thus, the liver is the organ most benefited by dandelion, as it helps to eliminate toxins from the blood and unclog the bile ducts.
These liver benefits are one of the main reasons for the plant’s popularity around the world. This is because, several researches have confirmed this property, especially in Germany, where the plant is quite popular.
Dandelion is also a powerful diuretic, and its leaves are indicated for this purpose. Diuretics usually cause a significant loss of potassium, but this does not happen with dandelion, since this plant has a high content of the mineral in question.
In addition to these, dandelion also has the following indications: cleansing for the whole body, treats arteriosclerosis, asthenia, arthrosis, cellulitis, gallstones, cystitis, cirrhosis, colds, cholesterol, menstrual disorders, diabetes, hepatitis, obesity, gastritis, constipation (mild laxative), varicose veins and gallbladder.
Besides the benefits mentioned, dandelion can also be effective in the treatment of scurvy, excess uric acid in the body and also for skin problems, such as dryness and pimples, for example. ( 4 )
Does dandelion tea treat liver problems?
The tea or the extract made from the leaves and roots of the dandelion are considered effective remedies against liver and gastrointestinal problems. One of the factors considered responsible for this are the components that give the herb its bitter taste.
Found in greater amounts in leaves and roots, they help stimulate digestion and discard ingested fat. However, in large amounts it can have a laxative effect. ( 5 ) In addition, the herb has antioxidant effects, which reduce liver damage caused by some types of substances.
Can it help with cancer treatment?
In folk medicine, dandelion tea is also used to treat many types of cancer. Such as those that affect breast, uterus and liver tissue.
Due to the herb’s potential, studies regarding its anticancer action have been carried out all over the world. The main discoveries were the inhibition of tumor growth in mice and also the containment of the metastasis process, a process in which cancer cells spread to other parts of the body. ( 6 )
In addition, the plant’s anti-inflammatory effects helped to inhibit the necrosis process in tumor tissues. That is, it prevented cell death in areas affected by cancer cells. ( 5 )
Did dandelion tea lower cholesterol?
Atherosclerosis is a chronic disease that causes the arteries to harden due to the accumulation of fatty plaques.
However, dandelion tea has been shown to be effective in combating this disease. That’s because, its antioxidant effects from the infusion helped reduce cholesterol in the arteries of rabbits.
But in addition, dandelion also acts to lower triglycerides and helps to raise the level of HDL in the blood, which is considered good cholesterol. ( 7 )
What parts of the plant are used?
All parts of the dandelion are used. Younger and fresher leaves are very popular ingredients in salads. The older ones can be cooked and added to the preparation of other foods.
Flowers also go into salads, mainly because of their lush appearance. Another traditional recipe is called dandelion wine or dandelion wine , made mainly in the United States and part of Europe.
The roots, on the other hand, are often dried and prepared in the same way as coffee, receiving the name chicory coffee. The seeds can also be consumed, when the bud part of the flower is removed. ( 4 )
How can the dandelion plant be used?
- The leaves can be used raw in salads, cut into small pieces. Prefer young leaves, harvested as soon as they start to grow, so that they do not have a bitter taste (the oil used can dilute the bitter taste of the more developed ones)
- In juices (start with a small amount) or cooked like spinach, sauteed with onions and spices. Better if they are eaten raw, because it keeps all the nutrients. Start adding dandelion daily to your cooking preparations and notice the positive changes in your energy level, vitality and well-being
- The whole plant can be used as a diuretic, to purify the blood, as a laxative, a digestive aid and an appetite stimulant. It can also be used in cases of constipation
- From the root, massage oil is made to treat rheumatism and also arthritis.
Dandelion Tea Recipe
Bring a liter of water and two tablespoons of the herb to a boil. Once you start the boiling process, turn off the heat, cover the container and wait for the infusion to be ready after 10 minutes. Then just strain and drink. However, the recommendation is not to exceed three cups a day.
Are there any side effects from drinking tea?
Dandelion has been considered one of the safest plants for consumption for centuries, both in medicine and in food. For this reason, it is highly appreciated in the most diverse types of raw foods and cooked preparations. ( 4 )
Thus, the appearance of side effects is not common, except in individuals allergic to the herb. That’s because it can cause allergic reactions through contact with leaves or flowers.
Another guideline is for hypertensive people, since this infusion has diuretic properties. In this case, the tea may end up potentiating this effect and causing a possible hypotension. ( 8 )
Where to find the dandelion?
Dandelion grows most often in parks, gardens, roadsides and crops. Mainly in states in the southern region of Brazil, which has the most receptive climate for this type of plant. ( 4 )
It can also be found ready to make tea in health food stores, both online and physical. In addition to being common to find dandelions in open markets.
For those who want to grow grass at home, the seeds can easily be found at garden stores. Growing is simple, as it is not a demanding plant and grows even in mountainous regions with constant frost. However, it needs to be placed in a location with direct sunlight and watering should be done frequently.
What is Dandelion?
Dandelion is the popular name for several plants of the taraxacum genus . However, most of these species are wild herbs belonging to the Asteraceae family and are native to the European continent.
The most popular and well-known plant of the type is T araxacum officinale . Accustomed to temperate and sub-tropical climates, the herb can be found from places with snow and frost, to near the equator.
In Brazil, it is most commonly found in southern states, where it usually grows during the autumn and winter months. In addition, the dandelion can also be called bitter or wild chicory. The herb was widely used as food during the Middle Ages and is still appreciated today.
In the national territory, the dandelion is considered a weed. That’s because its growth is fast and doesn’t present requirements for cultivation. Another facility is its seeds that can be spread by the wind and reach great distances. ( 4 )
What are the characteristics of the herb?
Dandelion is a short, evergreen plant. It is also long-lived, possibly over two years old. Its main characteristics are the jagged and green leaves, which when young are used in different types of salads. ( 9 )
In addition, it has a strong bitter taste. The roots, on the other hand, are usually firm, long and brittle, and can be dried and ground or used in decoction. ( 4 )
Dandelion flowers are small, yellow and sensitive to light variations. In this way, they bloom in sunny periods and close during cold months and with little sunlight.
When dried, the flowers resemble small balls of white fur, formed by hundreds of seeds. When fresh, flowers also become a popular and popular ingredient in salads. ( 9 ) The leaves and roots are also used in the manufacture of dandelion tea.