Dandelion Tea Benefits
What are the benefits of drinking dandelion tea? Many people think of the common dandelion, known in botanical circles as the Taraxacum officinale, as a bothersome weed. However, herbalists consider it to be valuable as a food item and powerful healing remedy. Dandelion is rich in many nutrients, such as the B-complex vitamins and certain minerals. Dandelion has shown anti-cancer activity, has a diuretic effect and may reduce total cholesterol levels, among other benefits. Drinking dandelion tea is one way to ingest the potent health-promoting compounds.
Dandelion Tea: Use
Currently, dandelion leaves are routinely added to salads for flavor and texture. Both the leaves and the ground, dried root can be used to prepare tea. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, a common dose is 1 to 2 teaspoons ground dandelion root or leaves steeped in water and consumed three times daily. Leaf and root tinctures, as well as standardized, powdered extracts (of either leaf or root) are other available forms.
Anti-Cancer Benefits of Dandelion Tea
An article published on the CBS News website (out of Windsor, Ontario) in February 2012 briefly profiled a 72-year-old man that was undergoing treatment for leukemia at Widnsor Regional Cancer Centre. After three years of aggressive therapy without success, he was discharged to ‘put his affairs in order’ with his family. When he left, clinic professionals suggested he try drinking dandelion tea. After only four months of ingesting the tea, he returned to the clinic and was proclaimed officially ‘in remission.’ He has been cancer free for three years.
Researchers had previously discovered that dandelion roots kill cancer cells in laboratory settings. They now hope to be able to test dandelion tea therapy on (human) cancer patients in association with the Windsor Regional Cancer Centre. According to Dr. Caroline Hamm of the WRCC, dandelion root extract’s uniqueness lies in it’s ability to fight chronic myelomonocytic leukemia.
Blood Glucose and Cholesterol
Some early animal research studies are suggestive that dandelion (and its tea) is a promising remedy for normalizing blood sugar levels. Other research studies show that dandelion extract reduces total cholesterol and triglycerides levels in mice with diabetes. At the same time that it reduces total chol/TG levels, dandelion elevates HDL or “good,” cholesterol. The research is still preliminary, not all studies have yielded positive outcomes and human trials are necessary.
Other Uses and Benefits of Dandelion Drink
Dandelion leaves act as a natural diuretic. Diuretics increase urine output, which mimics the action of many medications used to treat high blood pressure. Herbalists recommend dandelion to aid in stomach and digestive health and they also believe that it enhances immune system function due to its antioxidant activity. Herbalists use dandelion root as a liver and gallbladder ‘detoxifier’ and to support kidney function.
Taking dandelion extract tea can be harmful as it may interfere with chemotherapy. It may also interfere with other drugs, such as antacids, diuretics and antibiotics. Never combine natural remedies with traditional drugs without speaking to your physician first. While dandelion is generally considered safe (GRAS); some individuals may develop an allergic reaction from touching the weed while others may develop mouth sores after ingesting it. Avoid dandelion if you are allergic to related plants, such as chrysanthemums, marigolds, chamomile, daisies and ragweed.