When you see your lawn covered with dandelions in the spring, you probably cringe. Like most homeowners, you probably think the dandelion is a weed. But, what if you were told that dandelion is a nutrient powerhouse? What if it could actually be beneficial for your health?
Well, get ready to be surprised, because the root of the dandelion is so much more than just weed. You will be surprised that it has so many health benefits.
Nutritional Values of Dandelion Root
Dandelion root has long been regarded for its medicinal qualities, especially by Native American tribes. It contains a number of nutrients, vitamins and minerals that are essential to the body, including:
- Beta-carotene, which the human body turns into vitamin A
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin D
- Trace minerals
- Organic sodium
- B complex vitamins
Dandelion root has been used for centuries to treat common ailments, such as scurvy, anemia, disorders of the skin and blood, and even depression.
Health Benefits of Dandelion Root
There are several ways that dandelion root can be beneficial to human health. Some of the most notable benefits include:
- Digestive System: Acts as a digestive aid, promoting healthy digestion, stimulating the appetite and balancing the essential bacteria that are naturally found in the intestines.
- Kidney Health: Works as a diuretic, helping the kidneys process and clear waste materials, such as salts and excess buildup of water.
- Liver Health: Promotes the production of bile to detoxify the blood. Removes toxins in the liver and neutralizes hydration and electrolytes, thus improving the functions of the liver.
- Circulation: Normalize blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
- Anti-Aging: Full of antioxidants, which help to ward off the damage caused by free radicals.
- Anti-Cancer: Protects the body from cancer, as it slows the growth of cancer cells and prevents it from spreading.
These are just a few of the benefits that dandelion root can provide. If you are interested in learning how this organic material can improve your health, keep on reading to find out how you can add it to your diet.
Dandelion Roots And Your Diet
Every part of dandelion is edible and rich in nutrients. Dandelion leaves can be used in salads, soups, juiced, and cooked the same way as spinach. The flowers or roots can be roasted in the oven for making tea.
The first step in adding dandelion root to your diet is to locate the roots of these plants. You can remove them from your yard or the yard of someone you know, or purchase them from a distributor. Whichever option you choose, make sure that the dandelions have not been treated with pesticides. Pesticides not only alter the composition of the dandelions, but they will also directly expose you to the dangerous composition of the pesticides.
Caution: There are a few dandelion lookalikes. The dandelion used here is not prickly but I know of at least one imposter which is, so it’s easy to confuse them.
How To Make Dandelion Root Tea
Making your own dandelion root tea is easy once you have the dandelion digged up with the roots.
Preparing The Roots
- Cut the root from the plant and wash away the soil
- Dry them up with paper towels and chop up the roots into smaller pieces of about ¼ to ½ inches
- Spread out the chopped roots on a roasting pan and bake at 250 degrees for 2 hours. Flip after one hour to make sure all the sides are roasted. Once they are cooked, let it cool and chop them into even smaller pieces.
- Store in airtight container in a cool place.
Preparing Your Dandelion Root Tea
- Put about 2 teaspoons of your dandelion root into a tea infuser, in your favorite mug
- Pour boiling water into your mug and let the root steep for about 15-20 minutes
- Serve and drink warm.
Dandelion root tea tastes very light and earthy. It’s a little sweet and bitter. You can squeeze some lemon juice into it and add a little honey, or add a cinnamon stick or cloves for added flavor.