Though dandelions are often considered weeds, the whole plant can be eaten. One especially popular use of the plant is steeped as a delightful herbal tea touted for its health benefits. Dandelion tea, sometimes called dandelion coffee, can be made by roasting and steeping the roots or by steeping the tender green leaves, with or without the soft yellow buds. While many drink dandelion tea as a homeopathic aide, others take the tea as a substitute for regular coffee, black tea, and other beverages.
- Origin: Europe, Egypt, China
- Alternative Names: Dandelion Coffee, Lion's Tooth Tea, Blowball Tea
- Temperature: 212 F
- Caffeine: None
- Main Ingredient: Dandelion roots, leaves and/or flowers
What Is Dandelion Tea?
Many cultures have embraced dandelion tea and it has been drunk across China, Europe and Egypt for over a 1,000 years. Often this drink is made and consumed as a health aide, used for detoxifying the body, and as a probiotic and to reduce inflammation. While this plant is a common ingredient in Chinese medicine, dandelions can be found around the world in many gardens, parks, and cracks in sidewalks. The quick growth cycle of the plant makes it a simple and commonly-harvested perennial that many gardeners treat as a weed.
To make dandelion tea, the root of the plant is roasted, giving the tea a richer experience similar to coffee. Some brews are made with the tender leaves, creating a lighter drink similar to green tea. Additionally, the flowers can be steeped as long as they have not seeded. Many dandelion teas are mixed with other herbs and flavors, too, such as ginger, mint, honey, green tea, and licorice root.
Health Benefits of Dandelion Tea
The health aspects of drinking dandelion tea is the main reason people choose to add this tisane to their diet. A tea composed of the roots, petals and leaves is rich in vitamin A, calcium, zinc, magnesium, potassium, beta-carotene and iron.
Dandelion tea is a mild diuretic, which means it can help flush toxins from the body, promote liver health, and can help with bloating. Some people take dandelion tea to promote weight loss, and it can help support gut health and regulate metabolism. Additionally, there have been studies suggesting dandelion root could help fighti gastric cancer.
How To Drink Dandelion Tea
Dandelion tea is usually drunk hot and it can be made in a variety of ways. The most common form of dandelion tea is created from the roasted roots of the plants, but the leaves and flowers can also be added, or they could comprise the entire brew. Each aspect of the plant lends a certain flavor to a cup of dandelion tea. The roasted roots give the drink a bold, toasty, coffee-like flavor. If the tisane is made of flowers it has a light, floral sweetness. And, when the young dandelion leaves are brewed the tea has a fresh green tinge more akin to a light green tea.
Caffeine Content in Dandelion Tea
There is no caffeine in dandelion tea, which is one reason the drink is touted as a healthy alternative to coffee.
Buying and Storing
Dandelion tea is widely available and sold in many health food stores and in the tea aisle of larger grocery chains. A few popular companies make dandelion tea, including Traditional Medicinals, Yogi Tea and The Republic of Tea. The drink can also be found under the name dandelion coffee, though it is not as common.
To store dandelion tea, keep it in the container in which it was bought. Most of these are air tight and sealed, which is best when dealing with any loose-leaf tea. Since many dandelion teas are in individual tea bags, these can be kept in the package until ready to use. In general, dandelion tea can be kept for years. However, the tea will deteriorate and can alter the taste, giving it a musty ordor.
What's In Dandelion Tea
Most dandelion tea is made from the roasted roots of the plant. However, some recipes call for steeping the young leaves and/or flowers. All these components can be brewed together or separately to make the tisane. Many commercial tea makers will grind the roots and bag the mixture for easy brewing. The leaves and flowers are more likely to be dried and broken apart to make a loose leaf tisane.
Types of Dandelion Tea
In traditional Chinese medicine, dandelion tea is known as pu gong ying; in Ayurvedic medicine, it is referred to as simhadanti. Due to its diuretic effect, the French all it pissenlit, which translates into the English folk name, "piss-a-bed".
Types of dandelion tea vary depending on the part of the plant used and how much. There are varieties composed of solely roasted roots or dried young leaves or buds and varieties with a mixture of the three. However, the most common is a tea made with the roots and leaves.
If there is a history of allergies to plants in the daisy family—daisies, marigolds and chrysanthemums—the same reaction will happen with dandelion and, therefore, should not be ingested. Dandelion tea should also be avoided by those on kidney medications, blood thinners or any diuretic. Because dandelion tea is, itself, a diuretic, combined with another it will result in more frequent urination than normal.
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