Dandelion Root Detox Tea

picture of a dandelion By Joel Wasmann

The Dandelion is used as an herbal remedy in European, Ayurvedic, and Traditional Chinese Medicine, and oh yeah, its also a lawn weed.  The roots, leaves and flowers are all edible and very healthy, containing vitamins A, C, Potassium, Iron and Zinc, in much denser proportions than any other leafy green. The primary reason this flower is used worldwide however is for its bitter properties. “Bitter,” a taste that has become quite rare in our diet, is actually very important for our health. Our palate has a diminished  sense for the flavor “bitter” as salty and sweet have become increasingly and overly represented. Bitter naturally increases the flow of gastric juices including saliva in the mouth and bile flow which benefits the liver and gallbladder. Bitter flavors aid digestion but also help regulate blood sugar. Dandelion assists with these crucial functions especially well.

The Dandelion flower can be eaten fresh, just pick one and nibble on the yellow flowers. A very old Northwest foraging recipe is to simply add the Dandelion flowers into pancake mix. The leaves, especially the new ones emerging in spring, shine in a salad with a warm dressing. The real prize of this medicinal plant, however is the root which can be dug up year round, roasted and brewed into tea.

Dandelion Root Detox Tea

1 tsp roasted dandelion root

1 dandelion flower (optional)

raw honey

If may not seem worthwhile to go through the trouble of making this tea but the method is really very simple. It is a good idea to collect Dandelions from a lawn that has not been sprayed, although the presence of dandelions probably indicates that it has not. The Dandelion sends down one large taproot that sometimes comes easy but other times does not, it usually depends on the soil. I like to slide a kitchen knife down alongside it when I pull the weed out. If the root snaps off before you get it, oh well, move onto one of the next trillion dandelions. When you get a collection of dandelion roots, separate them from the rest of the plant. Rinse them off under cold water scrubbing with the fingers and pat dry. If I have only a few roots I mince them up with a knife, otherwise a food processor works well for larger batches. Set oven rack in the middle position, and turn heat to 200 degrees. Roast for 1 hour turning the tea one time during the cooking process.  Tea can be made right away or stored.

To make tea add 1 tsp to a tea ball, pinch off and add the yellow flowers from one dandelion. Add a squirt of honey, fill teacup with boiling water and steep for 10 minutes.  Peppercorns and cinnamon stick both are good additions to this detox tea in both detox function as well as flavor. An alternative way to use the root would be to simply add 1 tsp of dandelion to coffee grounds and just brew it into your morning coffee.

A dandelion and its root system
A dandelion and its root system

dandelion rootsground up dandelion root

Enjoy a cup of this tea anytime, but it is especially useful in the support of a detox diet as it will help aid the body’s removal of toxins. Although winter seems to be a popular detox time, the spring really is a more natural period for a detox cleanse. In the winter when it’s cold our body tends to want to hold on to excess calories, fluids, materials, etc. In the spring, as the weather warms up, our bodies are more capable of releasing extra substances from the body, digesting larger amounts of fresh fruits and vegetables and operating on fewer calories.

 

About the author:

Joel Wasmann writes for his blog, By The Handful. His background is in native plant and edible gardens.  He’s currently studying to become a Holistic Nutritionist in Portland, OR and hopes to share the best of what he has learned in his life with others.

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