You know what’s amazing? The delightful dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) – yes, the one that grows in your backyard!
We’ve been taught that this plant is a weed, and then of course we spray them to death. But there are actually so many awesome dandelion benefits that we should all appreciate how easily this little flower grows!
The flowers, leaves, and roots of the dandelion plant all have some pretty incredible qualities.
So don’t go spraying weedkiller on these little marvels- read on to find out just how good dandelion is for you!
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TBH, I’m not impressed at all when I see a perfectly green lawn with zero dandelions or other “weeds”. To me, that’s a sign of unhealthiness! It’s an unnatural monoculture that uses toxins and carcinogens to keep it looking that way. Pass!
Dandelion plants are cheerful, bright, and a pretty sign of spring.
And you can eat them!
And they’re good for you!
Let’s dive in.
Dandelion leaf benefits
Dandelion leaves are rich in vitamins A, B, and C.
They’re a good source of minerals including zinc and iron and are packed with antioxidants. (source)
Besides being nutritious, dandelion is beneficial for the liver. It also supports the gallbladder and helps with digestion and appetite stimulation, and might help to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.
The flavonoids, sterols, and other compounds in dandelions make them useful in bolstering the immune system, cleansing the blood, energizing, and detoxing. (source)
Using dandelion leaf and flowers
You can use dandelion leaves as a flavorful addition to salads, sandwiches, or pesto. Or dry them and use them for tea!
And the springtime flowers? You can use dandelion flowers in mead, or on salads for a pretty display. They have a yummy honey flavor.
You can even use dandelion on your skin!
There are many dandelion salve uses: to decrease inflammation, to remediate eczema and bruises, and more.
For some of my favorite recipes for dandelion flowers and leaves, as well as how to forage and clean your backyard dandelion, visit my post on 11 ways to use the dandelions in your backyard.
Dandelion root also has a ton of benefits and creative uses!
Dandelion root benefits
The benefits of dandelion don’t end above the ground. Dandelion root is great for you too!
The roots are easy to find and harvest (fall is the best time to harvest roots- learn more about that here) and have even more health benefits for ya!
Dandelion root helps with weight loss by aiding fat metabolism and balancing hormones so that you store less fat. Just drinking dandelion root tea can help you lose weight and boost your metabolism. (source)
It’s fantastic for liver health and balancing blood sugar. It’s also a slight diuretic, meaning it helps to increase the production of urine. This can help to fight bladder infections and UTIs!
Just like chicory root, dandelion root also has inulin, a prebiotic fiber that feeds a healthy gut and helps support digestion while reducing constipation.
Some studies suggest dandelion root can even reduce fatigue and lower cholesterol! Dandelion root also supports the liver and helps the body get rid of waste and toxins.
Doing your own dandelion root tea detox is easy!
How to make dandelion root tea
The best way to benefit from all that dandelion root goodness? Just take it as a simple herbal tea!
To make dandelion root tea, just take a teaspoon of roasted dandelion root and steep it just like regular tea for 5-10 minutes.
Drinking dandelion tea before bed can also aid in detoxification and help you sleep. Drink a cup one or two hours before you go to bed for the best results!
Related: Tips for a great night’s sleep
One of the side effects of dandelion root is a slight diuretic effect– or an increase in urine. This is great for cleansing the body, but it might not be the best idea to drink loads of dandelion tea immediately before bed!
Starwest Botanicals also has dandelion tea blends.
One is a Joint Support tea (with other herbs including burdock root, licorice, turmeric, and cinnamon!).
Another one is called Regularitea for… erm… regular #2s. It’s got a fantastic blend of herbs including buckthorn bark, marshmallow root, and ginger.
Want something even simpler?
If you’re just looking for a pre-made mix that you can just stir up to go in the morning, you should try Maca coffee- the Morning Motivator!
Where to buy dandelion root
If it isn’t a good time of year for harvesting dandelion, or you don’t have access to enough, don’t worry!
Dandelion root is affordable and fairly easy to find in stores.
Plus there’s a lot less work to do if you buy it instead of digging up, cleaning, and drying your own dandelion roots!
I buy my organic dandelion root at the same place I get most of my other herbs- Starwest Botanicals! It’s also cheaper than buying it straight from Amazon. Surprise!
Dandelion root is also easy to roast if you want to save some money by buying it raw.
How to roast dandelion root
If you buy your own raw dandelion root, you'll need to roast it for the best flavor.
Just spread it out in a cast iron pan and stick it in the oven on broil (stirring occasionally) until it's golden brown.
Make sure to keep a close eye on your roasting dandelion root- it bakes quickly once the oven is hot! Stir it as soon as the top layer turns golden brown and fragrant. It burns easily so stir every minute or so after that as well, until there aren't any more pale-looking pieces.
Store your roasted dandelion root in a cool, dry place in an air-tight jar.
Other ways to use dandelion root
My favorite way to use roasted dandelion root is in my root coffee recipe.
You can also take the root as a plain tea (scroll up for instructions), sautee the raw root like carrots, or tincture it!
For more dandelion recipes, check out this post on 11+ ways to use dandelion.
Dandelion side effects
If you're allergic to ragweed, daisies, chamomile, or other plants in related families, you might have a reaction to dandelion.
Try a small amount and keep an eye out for a reaction before taking dandelion regularly.
And if you're currently taking any medications, consult your physician before adding dandelion to your supplements.
Let's work on retraining our minds.
If we can start seeing dandelions as healthy -and weedkiller as the poison it is- we'll all be better off! Feel free to correct someone next time you hear them complaining about these "weeds".
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