Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) gets a bad rap because it’s classified as a weed. But dandelion has long been used as an herbal medicine to enhance digestion and stimulate appetite. In Traditional Chinese and Native American Medicine, the root of this plant is also used to relieve stomach and liver conditions.
The entire dandelion plant, from its sturdy taproot to its bright yellow blossom, is edible. The root has a mildly bitter, chicory-like flavor, which is why it is sometimes used to make a caffeine-free coffee alternative. When brewed or juiced, dandelion root can be used to detoxify the liver as well.
Dried or fresh dandelion root can be used to make tinctures, infusions and poultices. It is also available as an extract and supplement in many health food stores.
Detox with dandelion root
Today, foods and beverages that help detoxify the liver are becoming increasingly popular among consumers because of how unhealthy the average person’s diet is. Grocery stores sell many processed foods that are full of saturated fat, added sugar and other additives that can overwhelm the liver. Excessive consumption of alcohol, as well as prolonged use of prescription drugs, can also cause the liver to work double time.
When toxins become overwhelming, the liver suffers and gets bogged down. This could lead to a slew of health problems, such as fatigue, nausea and diarrhea. As liver failure advances, symptoms may become more severe. In later stages, symptoms of liver failure may include jaundice or the yellowing of the skin and eyes, confusion, extreme tiredness and fluid buildup in the arms and legs.
In some cases, the liver may fail suddenly. This is known as acute liver failure. People with acute liver failure may experience bleeding, movement problems and a general feeling of being unwell.
Luckily, dandelion root helps enhance liver function by restoring hydration and electrolyte balance. Dandelion root also helps stimulate toxin elimination.
In his book “Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine,” renowned herbalist and healer Andre Chevallier wrote that dandelion root helps support liver detoxification and promotes increased bile production. Researchers attribute these amazing benefits to taraxacerin, a bitter compound found in dandelion root. Taraxacerin is thought to boost the amount of bile released by the gallbladder.
In one study, researchers analyzed the effects of dandelion root extract on alcohol-related liver damage in mice. They found that the extract stimulated healing and helped remove toxins from the mice’s blood. Another study on mice showed that dandelion promoted healthy lipid profiles and stopped fat buildup in the liver.
Additionally, dandelion root has been linked to many other health benefits because of its high antioxidant content. Here are some other health benefits of consuming dandelion root:
- Dandelion root can help treat premenstrual bloating and water retention due to its diuretic properties
- Dandelion root can help treat rashes, psoriasis and eczema because of its anti-itching properties
- Dandelion root stimulates pancreatic cells to produce insulin for better blood sugar control
- Dandelion root may help treat and prevent cancer because of its potent antioxidants
How to prepare dandelion root
You can brew fresh or dried dandelion root to make tea or feed the roots through a juicer to make juice. Follow the recipes below to start detoxing with dandelion root.
Dandelion root juice
To detox with dandelion root juice, combine one tablespoon of the juice, a glass of water and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Drink this at least 30 minutes before a meal. You can also drink dandelion root juice alone. However, take note that pure dandelion root juice tends to have an extremely bitter flavor.
- Wash the dandelion roots under running water to remove dirt and soil.
- Cut the roots into chunks and feed them through a masticating juicer.
- Pour into a glass jar. Start with one teaspoon a day until you can handle up to three tablespoons.
Roasted dandelion root tea
If you’d rather drink dandelion root tea, drink at least one to two cups every day to detoxify your liver. Here’s a simple recipe for roasted dandelion root tea:
- 2 cups water
- 1–2 tablespoons vegan butter
- 4 1/2 teaspoons dried dandelion root
- 1 cinnamon stick or 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger (optional)
- Place the dried dandelion root in a pot. Toast over medium heat until fragrant and golden brown.
- Pour in the water and add a cinnamon stick or dried ginger if using.
- Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and simmer for 30–45 minutes.
- Strain the roasted roots. Serve hot.
Dandelion root helps remove toxins from your body and supports healthy liver function. Detoxify your liver by adding dandelion root juice or tea to your daily routine.
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