To many people, a lawn covered with dandelions looks like a bed of weeds. With a different perspective, though, you will see that it is actually a medicinal gold mine. Dandelions are versatile plants whose roots and leaves have many health benefits. While its greens can be eaten raw in salads or cooked, many prefer to use this plant to make tea. Although its slightly bitter taste can be a turn-off for some, dandelion tea is beneficial in many different ways.
Dandelion Tea and the Liver
Dandelions can be a great help in maintaining the health of the liver. A study conducted by the Inje University Biohealth Products Research Center in Korea found that dandelion tea was an effective way to protect against liver damage. It can help the liver produce bile, which helps to remove toxins from the body.
Dandelion tea can also boost the liver’s ability to make glycogen, a trait that makes it particularly useful for diabetics. While dandelion tea should never be used as an alternative to the treatment plan recommended by your doctor, drinking it may help stabilize blood sugar levels if they get too high.
Dandelion Tea and the Digestive System
Drinking dandelion tea can have a positive effect on your body’s ability to remove waste. It contains compounds that can help reduce constipation. It is a common ingredient in colon cleanses, removing toxins while providing the body with vitamins A, C, and D.
Dandelion tea has been shown to have a stimulating effect on the kidneys, leading to an increase in urine flow and output. Because it is such a potent diuretic, the tea is recommended for people suffering from kidney stones. The increased urine flow may help to remove stones more quickly, before they become large enough to cause pain.
Dandelion Tea and Weight Loss
Dandelion tea is often referenced as a tool for weight loss. Much of this ability stems from its diuretic properties. Because it stimulates urine production, it helps keep the body from retaining water and salt. This type of weight loss occurs on a short term basis and does not necessarily lead to long term results. However, if you switch to drinking dandelion tea instead of soft drinks or sweetened coffee beverages, you will be reducing your caloric intake. Maintaining a calorie deficit will help lead to weight loss. Dandelions also contain many essential vitamins and minerals, nourishing the body while providing a tasty and healthful drink.
Making Dandelion Tea
The ubiquity of the dandelion makes it easy to make dandelion tea. There is no need to shop for unusual or rare ingredients – simply head out to the back yard and pull out a handful. Both the flower and the root can be made into tea. To make dandelion flower tea, pour 12 oz of boiling water over eight flowers. Allow the mixture to steep for five minutes and then sweeten to taste.
Dandelion roots can be roasted and combined with other ingredients to make a delicious tea. To roast the roots, dig up several dandelions and rinse the roots under a hose or faucet until they are clean. Rub them gently while washing if needed.
Chop the roots up into sections about the size of your thumb. Allow the segments to soak in cold water for a few minutes to get any remaining dirt out. Once clean, chop them up roughly. If you have a dehydrator, dehydrate them first and then roast for 10 minutes in a 300 degree oven. If you do not have a dehydrator, you can roast them on a cookie sheet for two to three hours in a 200 degree oven.
Once your roots are roasted, add a tablespoon to half a teaspoon of minced garlic and one cardamom seed. Pour 12 ounces of water over the mixture, allow it to steep, and then sweeten and enjoy.
Many people find the taste of dandelion tea to be offensively bitter. Honey can be added to improve the taste, as can cinnamon and nutmeg. However, keep in mind that it is a taste you can acquire. Drink it on a regular basis and you will soon come to love it. With so many amazing benefits, dandelion tea is indeed a drink that is easy to love.
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