Dandelion Tea, a Nutritious and Delicious Drink

Dandelion seedheadDandelion tea is a refreshing drink that can be enjoyed at any time of day. This caffeine-free herbal beverage is made from a plant that for centuries has been acknowledged for its medicinal properties. The dandelion's unmistakable bright yellow flowers that transform into fluffy, puff-ball seedheads, evoke childhood memories of 'dandelion clocks', and making wishes as the seeds are blown away. There are hundreds of species of dandelion, a herbaceous, perennial plant belonging to the Asteraceae family. The botanical name of the common dandelion is Taraxacum officinale; 'officinale' being indicative of its use in medicine and herbalism. The word 'dandelion' originates from the French, 'dent de lion', meaning 'tooth of lion', presumably because of the shape of its jagged leaves. The plant originates from Europe and Asia, but can now be found in many countries, including North and South America, India, Australia and New Zealand.

Dandelions can grow in all kinds of habitat, including meadows and fields, woodland, along roadsides and in gardens, where they are sadly too often regarded as weeds. They thrive in a moist, sunny or partially shady environment. Although they are pollinated by insects, dandelions are able to self-pollinate. This tenacious herb can also sprout new shoots from roots that grow deep beneath the ground; gardeners who try to eliminate them from their lawns really have their work cut out! The flowers bloom in spring as single flowers on hollow stalks, that open during the day and close at night and also when it rains. They can flower again in autumn and go dormant when the weather turns cold, but are hardy enough to survive a light frost. Their seeds disperse in the wind and can travel far and wide before they land and germinate.

Dandelions are consumed in many cultures for their health and nutritional benefits. Their medicinal use was recorded as far back as the 10th century. They were used by the Ancient Romans, Anglo Saxons, and are a valued ingredient in traditional Chinese medicine. Native Americans have been known to use them as a food source and for medicinal purposes. Every part of the dandelion is edible. For culinary purposes, leaves can be added to salads and also cooked, and flowers can be eaten cooked or raw. As well as being infused for delicious herbal teas, they can also make a flavoursome country wine, and their roots can be roasted and used as a coffee substitute. Dandelions contain vitamins A, B6, C and K and high levels of potassium, as well as thiamin, riboflavin, magnesium, calcium, iron, manganese, phosphorus, zinc, copper and folic acid. Their leaves are a rich source of beta-carotene.

A well-known fact about dandelions is that they are natural diuretics. Indeed, some children may associate them with being told they may wet the bed if they touch or eat them! Whilst such warnings are somewhat far-fetched, the diuretic effects of dandelion leaves can be valuable in alleviating water retention and bloating, as well as helping to lower blood pressure. It is said they can also prevent recurrent urine infections, and their high potassium content can help redress electrolyte imbalances. The roots and leaves are beneficial for a number of digestive problems.

There are properties in the roots and leaves of dandelions that can help to cleanse and detoxify the liver and support kidney function. Dandelions have anti-inflammatory properties that may ease the pain of rheumatism, and studies have shown they can help with inflammation caused by eczema. They are rich in antioxidants, have antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, and are thought to help boost immunity. The stems and leaves contain a milky sap, that may ease skin conditions, such as blisters, calluses and warts, when used topically.

As well as being of benefit to people, dandelions are good for wildlife too. Bees, butterflies and other garden pollinators rely on them as a source of pollen and nectar from early spring, and some birds feed on their seeds later in the year.

At Tea-Direct.co.uk, our Dandelion Herbal Tea is just one to try from an extensive range of wonderful loose leaf teas and sumptuous infusions from around the world, that can be delivered directly to your door. Through our network of gifted buyers, we carefully select the very finest varieties for your enjoyment, and swiftly deliver them to your home, work or anywhere else!