Do You Let Dandelions Grow in Your Garden?
You know exactly how important it is to have dark, leafy greens as part of your diet. You know the many health benefits associated with kale and spinach and Swiss chard, and you know that the antioxidants in green tea help keep you calm while also preventing cancer. Did you know that there is a fresh leafy green that is considered a weed in most gardens and has also been found to provide tremendous health benefits? Yes, it’s the lowly dandelion.
Even though I’ve considered growing them for their health benefits, I confess that I consider them a weed in my yard. Dandelion is a very hardy perennial. It is just so easy to be overrun with them if you’re not careful. I guess I’m just not that diligent of a gardener.
My answer is simple. I use organic dandelion root tea in my herbal preparations instead of growing my own.
I like to drink dandelion root tea as a coffee substitute and for its health benefits, but it can have a slightly bitter, earthy taste.
The benefits outweigh a bit of bitterness (there is creamer after all!) Dandelion roots support healthy digestion, kidney health, and liver function. It helps to detox the liver and kidneys from toxins that can build up over time. Healthy digestion helps the body to absorb more nutrients and improve physical and cognitive functions.
Raw vs Roasted Dandelion Root
When it comes to dandelion root, roasting is mainly for flavor. Specifically, the roasted dandelion root is ideal for coffee lovers looking to cut down on caffeine. When roasted, dandelion root has a very earthy flavor that is quite similar to coffee.
If you want to maximize the health benefits you want raw dandelion root. The raw version of dandelion root allows you to maximize your intake of cancer-fighting antioxidants and other nutrients that keep your body in optimal shape.
Harvest and Roast Your Own Roots
As a kid, my sister and I were paid to dig up dandelion roots from the front yard. We really didn’t like that job and we never saved the roots, my parents would not even have considered such a thing. Anyone who has tried to dig up a root from the lawn knows how hard it is. Our favorite tool for accomplishing this task was a long screwdriver.
If you do happen to have the plants in your yard and have not sprayed them with chemicals, you may want to harvest your own roots. It’s fairly simple. Even a kid can do it!
Kathie at Homespun Seasonal Living suggests these storage ideas in her post How to Harvest Dandelion Root “Once the root is harvested, it can be used fresh, after a good scrubbing, but for long-term storage, it’s easy to dry. Simply scrub, chop into pieces and dry in a dehydrator until crisp. Store in airtight container until ready to use.”
There are many herbal preparations that you can make with dandelion root. Here are three of my favorite.
Besides drinking tea, I make a cooling liver herbal tincture with the herbs found in the tea packets. This recipe comes from my favorite herb book – Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs. From Rosemary “Too much heat in your system? An overly hot condition is indicated by a red or ruddy complexion, agitation, hot temper and an often ‘fired up’ personality. Heat is good for the body, but too much heat can cause hypertension, heart problems, and liver disorders.”
Recipe for Cooling Liver Tincture:
1 part burdock root
1 part dandelion root tea
1/4 part cinnamon bark
80 proof alcohol, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar, or glycerin
Chop the herbs and place them in a clean, dry glass jar. Pour enough liquid to cover the herbs by 2 to 3 inches. Cover tightly and give them a good shake. Herbs have a tendency to float, so check and see if you need to add more liquid to reach that 1 to 3 plant to liquid ratio. Place the jar in a warm, sunny spot and let the herbs soak for 4 to 6 weeks. Shake the jar every day or two.
After 4 to 6 weeks, strain the herbs out of the liquid and pour it into a clean jar with a tight-fitting lid. An alcohol based tincture will keep for many years. A glycerin or vinegar based tincture will keep for 2 to 3 years. You will probably not have it that long!
To use: Take 1/2 to 1 teaspoon 3 or 4 times a day for 4 to 6 weeks. Burdock, dandelion, and cinnamon are considered medicinal foods and have no harmful side effects, even over long-term use.
Skin Treatment with Dandelion Root Tea
Dandelion root is useful for skin treatments because it contains a rich emollient that is useful in cleaning skin, lotions, and for dry sallow skin.
Recipe for Vanilla Body Lotion- Makes 8 ounces
¼ cup dandelion root tea made in distilled water. (Let it steep for 15 minutes)
½ teaspoon borax powder
3 tablespoons beeswax, grated
¼ cup sweet almond oil
¼ cup olive oil
20 drops vanilla extract
In a saucepan bring the dandelion root tea/water to a boil and add the borax, simmer until dissolved. Place the mixture in a separate bowl until needed. In the saucepan, over low heat, combine the oils, stirring until the beeswax has melted. Remove from heat and slowly pour the water/borax mixture into the oils while stirring with a wire whisk.
Place your saucepan in a sink or bowl of ice water and continue stirring until the mixture thickens. Add the essential oil and place into a wide mouth container.
Apple Dandelion Vinaigrette
1 tbsp. dandelion roots or tea, ground
1 ½ tsp. fennel seeds, ground
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
½ tsp. each sea salt & black pepper
1/8 cup grapeseed oil
1/8 cup olive oil
Place all ingredients in a tall sided bowl. Using a whisk or immersion blender, combine ingredients until slightly frothy. Pour over your favorite salad or use as a marinade for fish or poultry. Makes 2 servings.
I am not a doctor, nurse, or trained herbalist. Just a mom trying to live as naturally as possible. You should do your own research and use your own discretion when using any herbal recipe like the dandelion root tea. There are affiliate links in this post. Thanks for supporting PreparednessMama in this way!