Did you know that 98% of American adults don't get enough potassium in their diets? That's because the typical American diet is lacking in potassium (and many other vital nutrients).
If you are searching for a quick and easy solution to this potassium problem, then dandelion root tea is it. There are so many benefits to drinking dandelion tea daily, and its high potassium content is one of them.
Keep reading to find out why you should start foraging for dandelion greens weekly to boost your health.
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Dandelion Root Benefits
Dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) are a type of flowering plant native to Europe, Asia, and North America. Historically, dandelion root has been used in many cultures in traditional medicine. It was eaten raw or used in a tonic or as tea.
Some Native American tribes chewed on the dandelion root to relieve pain. Others steamed the leaves and applied them topically to ease sore throats.
Nowadays, dandelion is finally getting recognition as something other than a pesky weed. There are so many benefits to drinking dandelion root tea that you would be remiss if you didn't add it to your daily routine.
Dandelion root is packed with tons of nutrients and has other benefits:
- An excellent source of Vitamins A, C, K
- Also contain Vitamin E, folate, and small amounts of B vitamins
- Have a ton of antioxidants (particularly beta-carotene and polyphenols) that can help fight disease
- Chockful of iron, magnesium, calcium, and potassium
- It's a liver tonic protecting the liver from oxidative stress
- Antimicrobial and antiviral properties
- Protects your skin, slowing down aging and damage
Dandelion root is also rich in carbohydrate inulin, a type of soluble fiber found in plants. This fiber supports the growth and maintenance of healthy gut bacteria in your digestive tract. Gut microbiome health is directly proportional to your overall health.
The high antioxidant value of dandelion root helps fight against inflammation, and thus disease. This is because low-grade inflammation is associated with most chronic diseases.
Dandelion root has been shown to potentially kill cancer cells. This includes liver cancer, leukemia, pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, esophageal cancer, and prostate cancer.
Another major risk factor for chronic disease is high cholesterol. Dandelion root has been shown to reduce total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol and improve HDL cholesterol (the good kind).
Forage Dandelion Greens
The great thing about foraging dandelion root is that the plant is easily recognizable and is abundantly available during certain seasons. This makes it a safe plant to harvest.
Great for beginner foragers, dandelion should be one of the first plants you go searching for. The bright yellow flowers and the jagged leaves are easy to spot. You probably have some dandelion growing right in your backyard. There are, however, two look-alike plants, Cat's Ear and Sow Thistle that can be mistaken as Dandelion. Both Cat's Claw and Sow Thistle do not have hollow stems like dandelion. Cat's Claw has hairy leaves and Sow Thistle has prickly spines.
It will be easy to spot dandelions when you are walking around your neighborhood or local green areas. Avoid picking dandelion roots from areas where pesticides or other chemicals have been sprayed. Also, avoid picking plants that are growing right next to the road to avoid toxic pollutants. Also, make sure that they are not in a high-traffic area that pets may use for their bathroom.
Unpolluted, unsprayed plants are the best bet when foraging dandelion roots.
The plant stores its vitamins and minerals in the root, so it's best to harvest the roots in the spring, which is when it will be highest in nutrient value.
Harvest and Cultivate Dandelions
Use a dandelion weed puller or a dandelion weeder if you have one (many tools can help with harvesting), so you can get the whole plant, root included. If you don't have a dandelion puller, then make sure to use a small shovel to dig down around the deep running root.
We love our Sharp Shooter Trowel from Homestead Iron! It's not only handy but made by hand, and in the USA as well from the wooden handle down to the iron trowel. This is a tool that you can pass down to your children and grandchildren! Grab 10% off your purchase with code farmhouse when checking out at Homestead Iron!
Dandelions can also easily be planted by seed, though you might want to make sure your neighbor isn't looking over your shoulder as you blow those fun white dandelion puffs across the way. Dandelion seeds can be collected as soon as they bloom and are showing that fluffy white head and then planted where you desire to have them. Seeds take 14 to 21 days to germinate in 50-75 F-degree weather. Spring is often a great time to get the seeds sown! Just make sure you plant them where you don't mind having more!
How to Prepare Dandelion Tea at Home
Once you harvest your dandelion root, wash the roots in water to get rid of soil debris and other remnants. If you have a dehydrator (we share our favorite one here), then you can dehydrate the root for an hour. Making sure to chop the root beforehand to the size you would like to use it once it is dehydrated. Dried dandelion root is near impossible to cut or chop once dried.
No dehydrator, no problem. Chop the root into small pieces and spread evenly on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.
The roots should get brown and dried, but not burnt. Cool them and then grind them into powder or leave them chopped if desired. Spread the powder on a baking sheet again and bake for five minutes at 350 degrees.
Side Effects and Contraindications
Most folks can drink dandelion root tea daily without any issues. But if you are on certain medications, you will want to be careful about consuming this tea.
If you are pregnant and/or nursing, then it's better to avoid the use of dandelion root tea.
Dandelion root tea will interact with the following medications and reduce their effectiveness:
Any medication that is broken down and changed by the liver
Medications that slow blood clotting
If you are on any of these medications, or if you are unsure about taking dandelion root tea, then consult with a medical professional before adding it to your daily routine. As soon as you start experiencing symptoms like swelling, redness, or itching, stop usage immediately and consult your family doctor.
Photo by KaylaJoyCreative
Dig Deeper into Herbal Medicine
Whether you are foraging for dandelion leaves for a salad, digging up dandelion root for a coffee replacement, or to use in a chocolate truffle there are so many benefits to dandelion no matter which way you cut it (or chop it, or dry it, or powder it). Dandelion is usually seen as the most hated "weed" out there but it really is a beautiful medicinal plant with a ton of nourishment. We have only scratched the surface of everything that dandelions can do!
I would love to invite you to learn about growing herbs with our free garden box download here as well as invite you to join us in our private membership area, the Herbal Studio. Inside the Herbal Studio vault is a 3-page printable document about all the wonderful things that dandelions can do medically as well as a library of 60+ other herbs and their medicinal benefits as well. Not only are there 15+ hours of video on different herbal topics as well as tea blending but a whole community of people just like you. You can be your own herbalist at home! On your own time and learn as you go.
If you want to give dandelion a taste test but don't have time or dandelion to harvest make sure you check out these tasty coffee replacement teas with dandelion in them:
- Plain Jane Not Coffee (Tea)
- Chocolate Conniption Not Coffee (Tea)
- Sugar Maker's Not Coffee (Tea)
- Mountain Hazel Not Coffee (Tea)
I must know though, are you a dandelion friend or foe now? Let me know in the comments and I'd love to know also if you have used dandelion before and how! Cheers, my herbal friends!
Read more Herb Gardening Posts Here
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- Lemon Verbena - How to Grow, Harvest & Preserve
- Chamomile Flower Tea - How to Plant, Harvest, Grow, Blend
- Is Coffee Acidic?
- How to Make Irish Coffee with Chickory Root Tea
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