People can brew dandelion tea at home or find it in health-food stores. It is also available to purchase online.
Dandelion teas vary in their nutritional content because people use different quantities of plant material to brew them, and some manufacturers add other ingredients to the drink.
In this article, we look at the possible health benefits of dandelion tea and discuss some of the research on this plant.
Possible benefits of dandelion tea
Dandelion tea contains nutrients, such as vitamin A, that can be beneficial to a person’s health. We explore the potential health benefits of this beverage in more detail below.
Alternative hot beverage
Dandelion tea offers an alternative for people who want to stop drinking caffeinated beverages, such as coffee and black tea, or limit their daily consumption.
Research suggests that all parts of the dandelion plant contain many natural anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compounds.
Doctors believe that inflammation plays a role in many types of disease. Although there is no proven link between drinking dandelion tea and a reduction in inflammatory-related diseases, it is possible that the compounds in this plant could promote better health overall by reducing inflammation.
According to a 2012 study in Nutrition Reviews, dandelion may reduce hyperlipidemia in rats. Hyperlipidemia is an abnormally high level of lipids, which include cholesterol, in the blood.
The researchers noted decreases in the levels of both triglycerides and total cholesterol in rats who ate dandelion flower extracts.
The theory is that dandelion extract has an inhibitory effect on pancreatic lipase, an enzyme that is key to digesting fat. Restricting this enzyme’s activity could alter the way in which the body absorbs fat. However, there is no proof of this occurring in humans.
Reducing liver damage
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), people have used dandelion in traditional medicine for years, believing that it can treat health problems relating to the liver, gallbladder, and bile duct.
According to the Nutrition Reviews study, dandelion root lessens the extent of liver damage in rats. Again, there is no scientific evidence to suggest that this could work in humans.
Dandelion also has a history of use as a natural diuretic, according to the NIH. Its diuretic effect means that the tea encourages both urination and reduced water retention in the body.
Drinking more of any beverage will typically encourage fluid release because the kidneys maintain water balance in the body.
It is possible that dandelion may help the kidneys release more water to reduce sensations of bloating and discomfort, but this is not clear.
Drinking dandelion tea, or another nonalcoholic beverage, to occasionally encourage urination is unlikely to be harmful.
An article in Virology Journal that discusses the role of dandelion extracts and teas in traditional Chinese medicine notes its use as a treatment for urinary infections.
The same study uses in vitro testing to look at the effect of dandelion extracts on human influenzavirus A.
The extracts led to a reduction in virus levels, and there were no harmful effects on healthy cells. However, more research is necessary to determine whether the extracts would be effective in humans.
Dandelion tea cannot substitute the flu vaccine, but it may ease symptoms or help recovery.
It is important to note that some people have allergic reactions to dandelion root and teas. The NIHwarn that people are more likely to be allergic to dandelion if they are also allergic to similar plants, including:
Anyone who reacts to these flowers should drink dandelion tea with caution or avoid it altogether.
Dandelion tea can be a tasty and nutritious alternative to coffees and teas containing caffeine.
Although animal and laboratory studies have shown that this beverage has many potential benefits, there are no large-scale human studies to confirm its effectiveness in improving health.
People who are not allergic can use dandelion tea to supplement a healthful lifestyle.