Is Dandelion Root the New Kale?
Although dandelion (taraxacum officinale) is considered by many to be a pesky weed, it’s actually a super herb! In fact, dandelion root is comparable, in nutritional quality, to broccoli or kale. The whole plant is good for you, from the petals down to the roots. If you’ve ever pulled a dandelion root from the ground, you know how thick and juicy the root is, which is great for making a detoxifying tea. That “milky” stem is actually a latex, which has even been used as a natural rubber in some applications.
Fresh, young dandelion leaves are less bitter than mature leaves and can be used in a salad. You can even add petals to a dish for taste and color. Dandelion wine is another way people have been consuming this powerful, multi-tasking herb for centuries. You may recognize dandelion as a primary ingredient in detoxifying herbal teas as well as fresh, natural juices. Dandelion root is good for the gallbladder and is a liver tonic, meaning it strengthens and gives vigor to your liver. It’s also a good source of multiple vitamins including A & C, as well as iron, calcium, and potassium.
- Tonic for liver and gallbladder
- Anti-inflammatory (particularly joint inflammation)
- Cleansing & Detoxing
- Source of A & C Vitamins
- Source of iron
- Source of calcium
- Source of potassium – which is excellent for cardiovascular health
When and How To Harvest Dandelion Root
Did you know you can harvest dandelion root straight out of your yard? Fall and winter roots have the sweetest flavor (as compared with spring and summer dandelions), so if you’re harvesting yourself, consider foraging for them during the cooler months. When you are harvesting dandelion root (or petals or leaves) for consumption, take care to avoid areas near roadways or where pesticides may have been sprayed. You certainly don’t want to be consuming car exhaust particles or pesticides when you are trying to detox. To harvest and prepare dandelion root, pull them carefully from the ground and scrub the roots well to clean. Chop or dice into smaller pieces and roast in the oven until they turn dark and brittle. Then simply grind and use as a coffee alternative.
What We’re Drinking At Branch Basics HQ
If foraging is not your cup of tea, there are many options for dandelion root teas that don’t involve getting your hands dirty. We have been drinking a lot of Dandy Blend at Branch Basics HQ this winter. Dandy Blend is great because it has the robustness of hot coffee, thanks to the blend of dandelion root as well as chicory, beet roots, barley and rye grains. You can find it at a local natural foods store or online. It boasts the same benefits of dandelion tea, but has a richer flavor than most teas, and approximates the flavor of coffee. It’s a healthy, tasty, caffeine-free alternative to coffee! We also really enjoy organic dandelion leaf and root teas from Traditional Medicinals, though they are less robust (and coffee-like) than Dandy Blend.
Mama Natural wrote a great review of dandelion root tea, which she drinks daily as a coffee alternative. Genevieve also made a video tutorial of how she prepares her Dandy Blend as a mock ice coffee using coconut milk and stevia. We also discovered a round up of 16 ways to eat dandelion on The Prairie Homestead.
Do you like to drink dandelion root? How do you prepare yours? Have you ever harvested your own dandelions?
On a detox kick? Whenever you’re detoxing your diet, we highly recommend cutting toxins out of your laundry routine and indoor air. We’ve got a quick way to detox your dryer. We also just wrote the Official Branch Basics Deep Cleaning Method if you’d like to dive deep into cleaning out toxins.