Botanical Name: Taraxacum Officinale
Member Of The: Asteraceae Family (Sunflower / Aster / Daisy)
Herbal Actions: Anti-Oxidant, Diuretic, Anti-Inflammatory
Also Referred To As: Lions-Tooth, Blowball, Cankerwort, Irish Daisy
How To Identify: Bright Yellow Flowers, Single Hollow Stems, Jagged Leaves That Produce A Milky Sap, White “Puffball” Seed Head, Deep Fleshy Taproot
Internal Body Benefits: Gently Stimulates The Liver, Supports The Kidneys, & Promotes Healthy Digestion
When To Use: When You Want To Support Your Liver / Kidneys, Want To Stimulate Digestion, Desire An Herbal Diuretic
In our “modern times,” dandelions are often seen as the bane of the grassy lawn. But there was a time when this particular plant was referred to as “peasant gold.”
Why? Because when it comes to edible wild plants, the dandelion is a forager's delight, offering a bounty that extends far beyond its vibrant yellow flowers.
Every part of the dandelion plant is edible (including the roots, stems, leaves, & flowers), will cleanse a different part of your body, and offers numerous nutritional benefits.
The young, tender leaves of the dandelion plant are known as “dandelion greens” and are packed with vitamins A, C, and K, as well as iron and calcium. Plus, they can help detoxify the blood & lymphatic systems. The leaves can be foraged and then added to salads raw, they can be cooked and eaten wilted, or dried and made into tea.
Dandelion flowers are rich in antioxidants, and are often made into jams and jellies. They are even used to make “dandelion wine.”
The stems support the liver and spleen.
A dandelion's taproot offers a treasure trove of earthy goodness. Their roots can be harvested, cleaned, and roasted to create a rich and robust, caffeine-free coffee substitute. It has a similar taste (a bitter under-note) and appearance (dark brown) to coffee, while also delivering detox properties.
Plus, they can be used to stimulate digestion and can support your body’s natural detoxification process. (So of course it's an herb included in HippyBritt's Detox Tonic.)
Where Do Dandelions Grow?
The dandelion plant is native to Europe and Eastern Asia, but it has now naturalized on all seven continents.
This perennial plant is incredibly adaptable and can thrive in a variety of environments including lawns, fields, and meadows, along with being found in both urban and rural areas. (I’m sure you've probably seen a dandelion poking its way up through a sidewalk crack.)
How Do You Identify Dandelions?
Dandelions have a rosette of leaves that are deeply toothed, point backwards, and form close to the ground. A solitary, hollow flower stalk will rise from the center of its rosette. This stalk will be leafless and contain a single yellow flower head. These bright yellow flowers have toothed tips, and close at night.
When dandelions have gone to seed, you can spot a white “puffball” around their seed head. Their seeds are attached to parachute-like structures called "pappuses," and mainly spread via wind. (But that wind is sometimes produced by people making wishes.)
Dandelions have a long taproot that is thick and fleshy. This taproot can be difficult to remove entirely, which is one of the reasons dandelions can be quite resilient.
Here Are A Few Foraging Tips:
Dandelions are an awesome choice for foraging beginners as they can be easy to find, are easily recognizable, and every part is edible.
Avoid foraging in areas that may be contaminated with pesticides, as many people view dandelions as a “pervasive pest” and will do their best to kill them off.
Prioritize picking dandelion flowers during the late morning when blooms will be completely open and dry from dew.
Opt for dandelion greens that are young and tender for the best flavor and texture. Older, more mature leaves may be more enjoyed cooked, as opposed to raw.
Fall is the best time of year to forage for dandelion root. The plants have had all summer to grow, and then after the first frost, they store all their potent plant energy in their taproot. Harvesting will be easier in soft soil and you may want to bring a small shovel and / or gardening gloves to get to the root. Don’t fret if you can’t get the whole thing, that simply means that particular dandelion will definitely grow back again next season.
What Are The Benefits Of Dandelion Root?
As with all herbs, it’s important to remember that individual responses may vary.
For some people, dandelion root can act as a diuretic. Diuretics reduce fluid buildup in the body by helping your kidneys remove salt and water via urine. (Essentially, they make you pee.)
Dandelion root can also stimulate bile production, which aids in digestion and the removal of waste products from your liver.
Speaking of digestion, dandelion root can also have a mild laxative effect, which can promote regular bowel movements and help alleviate constipation.
Plus, it’s a powerful antioxidant.
Is Dandelion Root Tea Good Before Bed?
While dandelion root tea is caffeine free, and can calm your stomach, it may be wise to wait until the morning to make yourself a cozy cup. Dandelion root can have a diuretic effect. So if you sip on some before bed, you may find yourself rousing in the night to visit the bathroom.
How Does Dandelion Root Detox The Body?
Two of our liver’s main jobs are to produce bile, which helps the enzymes in our body break down fats into fatty acids, and to filter and detoxify our blood.
The many vitamins and nutrients present in dandelions can help cleanse our liver.
Plus, dandelion is an excellent source of potassium, a mineral and electrolyte that can help your kidneys filter toxins more effectively and improve blood flow.
Does Dandelion Root Have Side Effects?
As with all herbs, it’s important to remember that every body is different, and may respond differently. Also, the perception of a “side effect” may vary among individuals.
Dandelion can increase urine production due to its detoxifying properties. So while drinking dandelion root tea, you may need to pee a lot more than usual. This can indeed be beneficial to your body, but can also be a bit inconvenient depending on your environment / daily schedule.
You may also have an easier time moving your bowels, or because you’re drinking dandelion, do so more frequently. Again, this can be very beneficial, but can also feel inconvenient.
People who are allergic to plants in the Asteraceae family, such as ragweed, marigolds, or daisies, may be more prone to allergic reactions to dandelion and will want to exercise caution when it comes to consuming it.
Also, people who are taking certain medications, including antibiotics, anticoagulants, diuretics, and those for blood pressure, diabetes, and for their liver and kidneys may want to withhold dandelion root from their diet.
Anyone with any doubts whether or not dandelion is a wise herb for them to add to their wellness regiment should consult a naturopath, herbalist, or another knowledgeable medical professional for guidance.
This herbal breakdown is for informational purposes only, and is not intended as medical advice.
While many of us have been convinced to view dandelions as an unwanted weed, hidden within the often-overlooked dandelion root is a treasure trove of potential positive body benefits.
Dandelion root offers an abundance of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which makes it an excellent source for nutrition straight from nature. (Just imagine the nutrient powerhouse HippyBritt’s Nutrient Dense tea must be if dandelion root is only one of the many amazing herbs included in their expertly hand-selected blend.)
Dandelion root also has the ability to support liver and kidney function, aid in digestion, and can act as a diuretic. Essentially, it supports your body’s natural detox functions, and makes sense as a main ingredient in HippyBritt’s Detox Tonic.
Whether enjoyed as a warm cup of tea, incorporated into culinary creations, or utilized in herbal preparations, dandelion root offers a bounty of body benefits.
***This herbal breakdown is for informational purposes only, not intended as medical advice.***