To many people, dandelion may be a simple weed, and a pesky one at that. They are most often thought of as invasive garden pests that only deserve to be promptly removed out of the scene.
But think again before you do, as the dandelion plant actually has many health benefits to redeem its bad reputation. Dandelion has been used as a source of healing material for several generations. Herbalists have come to think of it as a cure for many ailments, from water retention to liver issues. You can actually use its dried roots to make a tea.
Naturally, this has made dandelion root tea an attractive subject, not just for those who want to live a better lifestyle (but for some reason or another are averse to drinking the more common types of tea) but also to scientists who wanted to test whether these centuries-old beliefs about dandelion are true. And in their testing, scientists have unlocked a variety of research-backed benefits from the humble dandelion root.
Let us discover the various ways on how dandelion root tea can benefit your health.
Dandelion Root Tea Benefits
1. Dandelion root tea helps cure leukemia
Recent studies show promising results that it has anticancer benefits where it slows cancer growth and prevents the spread of the disease. Leukemia is a cancer of the blood, and like many other teas, dandelion root tea has shown potency in helping kill cancer cells without harming the healthy ones.
In a review of anecdotal evidence, a group of researchers have found instances when myelomonocytic leukemia has been treated solely with dandelion root tea, instead of traditional cancer-killing medicines. The person treated remains in remission, whereas similar persons who did not receive the same treatment succumbed to the disease.
2. Dandelion root tea helps cure melanoma
There are other types of cancer, as well — and dandelion root tea has also been proven to help in destroying various types of cancer cells. A Canadian study in 2011 found that dandelion root extract can kill melanoma cells without affecting non-cancerous cells.
In the study, for example, researchers have found that this type of tea can kill melanoma cells, with the first effects showing within 48 hours. It has also been found that dandelion root tea extract can directly affect the mitochondria of the cells. It is to be noted that mitochondria is the cell’s powerhouse, and losing it means losing the cells ability to survive.
Another study showed that it has this similar effect on pancreatic cancer cells.
3. Dandelion root tea helps cure even drug-resistant melanoma
We already know of various natural concoctions that can cure cancer, so what’s special with dandelion root? A study has found that dandelion root can kill even melanoma cells that are resistant to common cancer-fighting drugs. This happens also without any concurrent toxicity reported in non-cancer cells, making dandelion root tea a great alternative for those with the illness.
4. Dandelion root tea helps to protect the liver
Dandelion root has always been used as a liver tonic in folk medicine. It is an important medicinal item used by the American Indians. It has also been commonly used to remove toxins, balance electrolytes, and help with symptoms of liver disease.
A group of scientists studying the components of dandelion root extracted in tea has found that these substances could help protect the liver from damage. The different chemicals in the tea activate a different kind of pathway in the liver, allowing the organ to shield itself from injury, and allowing dandelion root tea to become an effective hepatoprotective agent.
Dandelion root tea has also been observed to contribute in weight loss by helping the liver remove waste products and increasing urination that decreases water retention in a safe way. Also, as it contains no calories, it will not contribute to any weight gain.
5. Dandelion root tea helps reduce oxidative stress in the body
Dandelion root tea has also been shown to have a significant level of antioxidants, therefore making it an effective antioxidative agent. The herb being rich in antioxidants can be helpful in preventing free radicals from damaging DNA and the cells of your body.
In addition, this antioxidant effect helps in reducing the lipid content of the blood, therefore also reducing the harmful effects of LDL cholesterol and other “bad fat” from a person’s diet.
By drinking dandelion root tea, you will also gain nutritional benefits being abundant in zinc, iron, potassium, calcium, and Vitamin A, C, D, and B complex contents.
6. Dandelion root tea helps in the prevention of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases
In a study that determined the efficacy of different parts of the dandelion plant, it was determined that dandelion-sourced preparations can help prevent and treat cardiovascular ailments. The same study also sought to find any adverse effects of the same preparations in the body, especially when it comes to blood platelets, and found there were none.
Dandelion root tea also has the capacity to help build up and purify your blood. It can assist in lowering high blood pressure by its effects on increased urination. The high iron and zinc content makes it an ideal natural treatment for anemia.
If you happen to suffer from pre-diabetes or diabetes, dandelion root tea would be ideal to help regulate your blood glucose levels in a natural, safe way. As it is a diuretic, it will increase urination which can in turn remove excess sugar from your blood. This will help prevent dangerous sugar spikes and lows.
7. Dandelion root tea helps protect the kidney
Dandelion root has been used historically as a liver protectant. In fact, it is among the various substances studied and found to have large quantities of inulin, which is helpful as an osmotic diuretic, therefore working to prevent the formation of kidney stones. Adding dandelion root tea to one’s daily intake could, therefore, prevent the onset of various kidney diseases or slow the progress of existing ones.
When combined with another herb called uva ursi, dandelion tea can help prevent urinary tract infections. This works by the anti-bacterial properties of uva ursi and the increased urination effects of dandelion root.
8. Dandelion root tea helps improve the gut flora
We have a host of helpful bacteria in our gut, and among them is the bifidobacteria. These help in ensuring that our digestive system works properly. Among the many natural substances that can help maintain this gut flora is dandelion root tea, which contains a helpful level of saccharides and other substances that help these bacteria to thrive.
Dandelion root tea also increases stomach acid and bile, which makes digestion easier. It also stimulates appetite, acts as a mild laxative, and balances the natural bacteria in your intestines.
All these beneficial effects to the digestive system, combined, will make your digestion a more pleasant experience.
9. Dandelion root tea helps in killing pancreatic cancer
Among the different types of cancers, pancreatic cancer is dreadful due to its 100% mortality rate. A study has found, however, that dandelion root tea may, in the future, be helpful in curing this menace. Dandelion root tea has been found to be able to kill pancreatic cancer cells while not harming the normal human cells. The study has not yet pointed to it being a definitive cure for this cancer type, but that is not too unlikely in the future.
10. Dandelion root tea is a potent antidepressant
Tea has naturally uplifting properties, but dandelion tea is unique in that it has actually been studied as an antidepressant drug. According to a 2013 research, dandelion extract has been found to decrease the immobility time of test-subjects with induced depression, helping them break out of scientifically-conceived models of “behavioral despair” by affecting the neural pathways and the endocrine system.
How do you make dandelion tea?
If you need to avoid caffeine, you can use dried and roasted dandelion roots as a coffee substitute. You can take the easy way out and buy it readily prepared in a health food store, or make your own.
To do this, roast the roots in the oven, ground them, place in hot water, strain, and enjoy. The best way to make this is by oven-roasting the root first, then steeping it in boiling water for just around 10 minutes. This method makes a type of coffee-like drink that takes advantage of the bitter flavor of dandelion root.
Because dandelion root is different from the “regular” tea varieties (mostly made from the Camellia sinensis plant), the way it is brewed can differ. The most common way of making dandelion root tea is by steeping about an ounce of the root (other parts may also be included) in about 5 ounces of already boiling water. Leave this for about 30 minutes, and you can extract the full potential of the dandelion roots. If you would like a milder-tasting beverage, adding more stems, leaves, and flowers in proportion to the root can lessen the bitter flavor.
Although dandelion root is generally considered safe, those who are allergic to ragweed, daisies, marigolds, and chrysanthemums may also be allergic to dandelion as well. You may need to consult with your doctor before taking dandelions in any form.
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