Spring is near and one of the first flowers to sprout and bloom is the humble dandelion. With the abundance of this well-known 'weed' many wonder what are the benefits of dandelion root? There are really so many uses for dandelion's from making dandelion wine to dandelion jelly but the root is really where it is at when it comes to medicinal uses for the dandelion. Especially when you can use dandelion root in this chocolate truffles recipe. But I'm getting ahead of myself...
Before we start: This herbal information is just that, information. This blog post and I DO NOT INTEND to treat, cure, or diagnose any disease or illness. This is for informational, educational, and entertainment purposes only. Please consult a physician before using herbs medicinally. Grab all the deets on the Medical jargon here. This post also contains affiliate links. Translation: We get a little kickback for sharing certain products, at no additional cost to you, should you choose to purchase said items. And - thank you for supporting our farm and family! Read the full disclaimer here. PHEW! Let's carry on, shall we?
While the majority of people see dandelions as a noxious weed they really have so many different medicinal uses that are super beneficial especially during the season of spring. As many people see this previous plant as a weed it's important that when using dandelion for medicinal purposes we make sure that they are not growing in an area that has been sprayed. A chemical pesticide can certainly ruin any medicinal benefits that dandelion can have for us.
What part of the dandelion plant is used for medicine?
While the flowers of the dandelion can be used for edibles like salads or petals in tea along with making dandelion wine and dandelion jelly. The leaves can also be used in salads like any other salad green and contain some valuable properties like acting as a diuretic and having loads of potassium.1 The root of the dandelion is where most seek the bulk of the medicinal properties of dandelion.
The roots of the dandelion plant reach deep down in the earth taking up with it many different minerals and nutrients. Including flavonoids, potassium, magnesium, beta-carotene, calcium, iron, and zinc. 2
Dandelion root has been shown to be useful for inflammation and congestion of the liver and gallbladder acting as a hepatic (tone and strengthening herb) and cholagogue (herbs that stimulate bile). Dandelion root is also known to be used for congestive jaundice along with treatment for muscular rheumatism.1
While dandelion, and especially the root, really shine when it comes to liver health, dandelion has many other great benefits including1,2,3:
With such an easily accessible herb that has so many wonderful health benefits, there is not many reasons to NOT add it to your springtime or pre-spring diet. While this herb is super useful those who have eczema are more likely to have an allergic reaction to dandelion so proceed with caution or consult your physician. Also, those with a blood clotting disorder may slow the blood clotting process and cause those with this issue to be at risk of bruising or clotting issues. Also, anyone with a ragweed allergy could be allergic to dandelion root and should proceed with caution. 4
If you aren't one of the people listed on the pre-caution list above one of the best ways to get your daily or weekly dose of dandelion in is to make some dandelion root tea! Y'all knew that tea was involved here right? Yes, I thought so.
How do you harvest dandelion root for tea?
Dandelion roots can be a little troublesome to harvest depending on the soil they are growing in because their tap root goes so far down into the earth. A dandelion digger like this one will come in the handiest when harvesting. It will save your back, your time, and your hands, and get you this fabulous tea even faster! If you don't have a dandelion digger us a gardening fork to loosen up the ground around the dandelion root and then gently pull the root from the clump being very careful not to break the root and thereby losing any part of it.
How do you process and dehydrate dandelion root for tea?
To process the now dug-up root wash and scrub well and remove as much of the soil as possible from your dandelion root. Chop the root into the size pieces you would like for your tea. This root once dehydrated is very hard to process into smaller pieces without some high-end and usually expensive equipment. It's best to dry it in the size you will use it for this reason. Dehydrate the root in an electric dehydrator at approximately 130 F° for about 8 hours. The drying time will depend on the humidity in the room of the dehydrator, the moisture in the dandelion root, and the temperature/time of year. Dry the dandelion root until hard and no moisture is left in the root.
Makes 1 cup
1 tsp dried dandelion root
6-8 oz water
1.) Steep the water until boiling.
2.) Place the loose dandelion root in an unbleached, fillable tea bag or metal tea infuser. Place in a mug.
3.) Pour boiling hot water over a dandelion root and infuse for 5-7 minutes. The longer the bolder the tea will be. Enjoy!
Now if you really don't feel like going outside and digging up your own dandelion root. Because let's be honest, it's not like there won't be a little tug of war, a bunch of scrubbing, a bunch of chopping, and then of course the waiting for it to dry in the dehydrator. But maybe you would just like to enjoy a relaxing cuppa dandelion root tea now. After all, it's one of the herbs that tastes most similar to coffee, and dandelion root works as a fabulous herbal coffee substitute. These fabulous roasted dandelion root granules make an instant almost coffee-like drink in no time. Or try these herbal loose leaf teas featuring dandelion from Farmhouse Teas with 3 flavors to choose from: Mountain Hazel Not Coffee® Tea (lighter brew and slightly nutty), Sugar Maker's Not Coffee® Tea (bold and most coffee-like), or for the chocolate lovers Chocolate Conniption Not Coffee® Tea (which makes a fabulous mocha-style drink).
Photo by @KaylaJoyCreatives
Well if tea just doesn't sound like it would hit the spot and help get this liver loving1 dandelion herb into your diet. Maybe truffles will make it easier.
What are truffles? Well, there are those truffle kinds of mushrooms, but the truffle I'm talking about today is the creamy type chocolates that are rolled in yummy toppings like cocoa powder or powdered sugar or nuts. Maybe when you think of truffles you think of Lindt milk chocolate truffles or Lindor dark chocolate truffles. But this truffle recipe I'm about to share is a much healthier version and doesn't use any processed sugar.
Instead of processed sugar and milk-filled chocolate, these truffles are filled with superfoods, some of the best superfoods on the list. Hazelnuts, cocoa, coconut oil, dates. To all this goodness is added either ground dandelion root powder or Farmhouse Teas Chocolate Conniption Not Coffee® Tea. No need for Teeccino® herbal coffee or Feelgood Organic Superfoods™ powders. Chocolate Conniption Not Coffee® Tea is the best hazelnut coffee replacement and turns this recipe into a real chocolate hazelnut coffee type treat! If you go with the Chocolate Conniption Not Coffee® Tea in this truffle it features a local, fresh ground hazelnut powder. It's almost like eating a mix of chocolate hazelnut spread along with a good cuppa joe... minus the caffeine high and the bad calories.
So without further ado, let's get to the grub!
Photo by @KaylaJoyCreatives
Photo by @KaylaJoyCreatives
Well, I don't know about you. But now when I see dandelions I see coffee-like tea, I see my liver smile, I see a fabulous detox-system. I see a tasty ingredient that I can use with chocolate or any recipe that pairs well with a coffee flavor. I most willingly go out in late spring and blow those little dandelion seeds across the yard hoping to spread the herbal goodness all over! Though I do look to make sure no neighbors are around who might think I'm super crazy. Though I bet I could talk them into loving dandelions if I took them some chocolate truffles. Maybe they would come to blow the seeds around with me too.
What do you think about dandelions? Will you come and blow the seeds around with me or are they still just a weed? Leave me a comment below and let me know... if you're a dandelion lover, how do you use them?
1Medical Herbalism By: David Hoffman, FNMH, AHG taraxacum officinial Weber ex. Wigg page 587