Dandelion Root Tea: The Power of a Weed


As a young girl, I remember roaming around our yard, finding the dandelions, slyly eyeing them up, and then popping their heads off. I thought I was doing good, and I suppose I was for the lawn, but little did I know that this weed we considered so invasive to our grass would become respected for its ability to help sustain a healthy body.

I was recently visiting my aunt in New Hampshire when she set out some tea. A couple of months prior, she had gone to the dermatologist to find that she had melanoma. The treatment was successful and the outlook is good, but another aunt, the Berkeley educated California acupuncturist, also encouraged Shelly to drink Dandelion Root tea regularly as part of the plan to sustaining her health. As I had seen different ways of drinking the tea pop up on my Facebook feed, and found it quite pleasing to my palate when I added a bit of raw honey, I set out to learn more about what this earthy tea had to offer my body.

Livestrong.com’s Emily Shetler writes that dandelion tea contains “vitamins A, C and D, and significant amounts of zinc, iron, magnesium and potassium. Rich in vitamins and minerals, the dandelion contains more beta-carotene than carrots per serving.” The golden-hued tea has been used for centuries in alternative and Chinese medicine, and, while further studies are necessary, many naturopathic followers cite evidence that it helps to detoxify the liver, may block the invasion of some cancerous cells, and acts as a mild laxative.

As with most herbs, there may be adverse reactions. If you’d like to read more about the warnings and contraindications of Dandelion Root tea, you may read further in Shetler’s article The Benefits and Risks of Dandelion Tea.

Altogether, it does not pose a risk for most tea sippers. Here are a couple of ways to enjoy it:

If you are a regular tea drinker, you might be delighted with Elana’s Pantry’s Instant Dandelion Latte. If coffee is usually your jam, Dr. Mercola suggests a recipe for Dandelion Coffee. As mentioned above, simply putting one or two teabags in your mug with a teaspoon of raw honey will also make for a lovely morning or evening beverage. Note: Dandelion Root is not caffeinated. While many caffeine-averse people use it as a substitute for regular coffee, it will not keep you up counting sheep at night.  

Like with any other food or drink, it is wise to make sure you are putting high quality goods into your body. I know it is not the only good choice on the market, but the tea I like best here is Traditional Medicinals Dandelion Leaf and Root.

Having a bit more reverence for this many petaled flower (more flower than weed), the next time I pass a patch of them, I think I will give the dandelions a gracious nod and let them keep on living.

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About Jamie Bacigalupo

Having first traveled from her hometown of Minneapolis, Minnesota, to live in Quito, Ecuador, she decided to give the East a run and is now a resident of Shenzhen, China. She earned her degree in Communication Arts/Literature and Communication and Secondary Education from Gustavus Adolphus College and is enthusiastically exploring Asia by teaching abroad. She digs hanging out with her students by weekday, and relishes finding new restaurants to eat authentic Chinese food and finding new hiking paths on the weekends. In addition to sticking her nose in a book to recover from an intense workday, Jamie also loves exploring all manner of flavors in the kitchen, especially when she is whipping up some recipes for her friends and family.