At my book launch party, I served a dandelion tea that many guests thought was a regular sweetened iced tea. They were shocked to discover it had no sweetener in it, at all! It was made from dandelion tea, crushed cranberries and lemon, all of which are more on the bitter side but somehow mixed together have a very pleasing taste.
Often called the wonder beverage because it is a century old remedy for many conditions, dandelion tea is a rich source of vitamins A, K and calcium. It is good for bone health, joints, blood pressure, brain function and a healthy metabolism. Dandelions are rich in C, potassium, folic acid and magnesium. Dandelion is best known for its detox function. It is the “go to” remedy for improving liver and kidney function and combats fatty liver disease and other symptoms of metabolic syndrome. It keeps our blood sugar levels regular and our metabolism working by producing insulin. Dandelion is a natural diuretic and assists in the removal of toxins from the body. It is a bitter herb that stimulates digestion and elimination. If you suffer from constipation, try dandelion as it is extremely high in fiber.
The dandelion roots, leaves, stems and flowers are all edible and super rich in nutrients. The sap inside of the stem is highly alkaline. It is a germicide, insecticide, an analgesic and has fungal properties. If you suffer from itching, eczema, psoriasis or other skin irritation, try a little dandelion sap mixed in a carrier oil and apply topically. As the sap is high in antioxidants, it prevents cellular deterioration. Perhaps, this will be the next big anti-aging remedy!
Dandelion is one of those all around amazing superfoods (more nutritious than spinach or kale) that works on so many levels to heal the body and restore the immune systems and yet we think of it as a burdensome weed that needs to be destroyed. It is time to rethink the dandelion and dandelion tea is a great place to start.
Important Note: Do NOT eat dandelions from a yard that has been sprayed with chemicals. Also, the leaves, themselves, should be eaten in moderation as they contain oxalates (as does spinach) which can cause kidney stones. Every part of the plant is edible and can be eaten raw or cooked. The flowers are sweet and crunchy. You can find dandelion in grocery stores, natural health markets and farmers markets. I like Traditional Medicines Herbal Teas as they are organic, non-GMO and reasonably priced.
Susanne Jakubowski is a holistic nutritionist, yoga teacher, Thai Yoga Therapist, and cancer survivor.