Health and Healing Benefits of Dandelion Root
Did you know dandelions have been used for hundreds of years as a spring tonic? During the winter months, food was limited to meat and root vegetables. But when spring came, people would eat the early spring dandelion greens to detox their bodies from the winter's "sludge" that had built up in their livers.
Don't mow dandelions but instead grow them for their terrific herbal medicinal benefits. The young leaves can be used in salads while the flowers can be made into syrup. The whole plant is useful, right down to the sap it produces, which can be used to treat warts.
What Are the Health Benefits of Dandelion Root?
Vitamins and Minerals Found in the Root
- Vitamin A, Vitamin B complex, and Vitamin C—all important for good heart health
- Vitamin D
- The root is an herbal bitter and, therefore, used as a liver tonic. It helps to cleanse the bile ducts and promote healthy digestion.
- It's one of the most detoxifying herbs. It mainly works on the liver and gallbladder to promote removal of waste products. It also encourages the steady elimination of toxins due to infection or pollution.
- Research conducted in 1974 confirmed the roots and leaves are a powerful natural diuretic due to their potassium content. This can help clean out the kidneys and promote proper kidney function. Other over-the-counter diuretics deplete potassium, which is very harmful to the body.
- It is used by herbalists to prevent gallstones.
- It can help with occasional constipation since it is considered a natural laxative. It is usually combined with other laxative herbs, depending on the severity.
- It's very useful for treating skin conditions such as acne and eczema. Using a tincture or salve made with dandelion can help both skin conditions.
- Drink a cup of dandelion root tea to help promote cleansing from the inside as well.
- In 1999, a study in Japan showed that dandelion could be used as an anti-cancer agent.
People taking blood-thinning medications should not use dandelion leaves. If you are allergic to dandelions, stay clear.
This article only represents an overview. Do not self-diagnose; consult a healthcare professional well-versed in herbs before self-treating. Herbs are natural but can interact with other medicines, as well as other herbs.
How to Use Dandelion Root
- If you have chunks of a root, or what is called cut and sifted, you will have to make a decoction, not a tea. A tea would not extract enough of the medicinal benefits.
- You could also make a tincture with dandelion root (either fresh or dried).
- For dandelion root powder, you can make a tea using a cotton tea bag. Use 1 teaspoon per coffee-sized cup of water. Add honey or your favorite sweetener. You can also buy dandelion already bagged. It is sold in most health food stores.
How Do You Dry Dandelion Root?
- You can either buy dandelion root or dig it up and dry it yourself.
- After collecting the roots, wash them thoroughly.
- Slice or cut them into small pieces and put them on a cookie sheet.
- Bake in the oven on a very low temp for several hours until dry. Alternatively, you can use a dehydrator set between 95-105 degrees Fahrenheit
- .Be sure they are completely dry, otherwise, mold can occur.
- Store in paper bags or sealed glass jars. Do not use plastic since the plastic can leach into the root.
How to Make Coffee Using a Dandelion Root
Dandelion root makes a very earthy-tasting coffee. It can be drunk alone or added to your favorite coffee mix.
- Powder or crush the herb in a blender since it's best to get it to a coffee-like texture.
- To roast it, bake on a medium temperature, around 300 degrees. Stir and shake often. Don't let it burn, as this will taste awful and ruin the herb. Time will vary depending on your oven.
- Roast until brown. Let it cool, and then store in a glass jar out of sunlight, which will destroy the properties.
Have you ever tried dandelion coffee?
Dandelions grow wild in most parts of the world. Germany and France cultivate them for medicinal use around the world. The plant is propagated from seed in spring. You can also allow it to go to seed and let nature take its course. The root of two-year-old plants is pulled in autumn and dried. Plants that are too young do not contain the key constituents of the mature plant.
Interested in growing your own? It is very easy. Get some seeds from a reputable seed company. We prefer buying ours at Johnny's Seeds. They are of great quality, and we have had good luck with both their herbs seeds as well as their veggie seeds.
If you don't plant by seed, you can just allow the ones in your yard to go to seed every year. Your lawn will become a beautiful sea of yellow in just a couple of years.
© 2012 Healing Herbalist