Dandelion Leaf Tea Benefits, History, Recipes & Side Effects
Dandelion leaf tea has been consumed for hundreds of years for its natural diuretic properties. The leaves of this plant contain sesquiterpene lactone compounds which help to increase urination and eliminate water weight.
Dandelion leaf tea is described as having almost buttery, slightly bitter flavor. The leaves of this plant can be used on their own, but more commonly they are combined with the roots to prepare a tea.
In traditional medicine, the dandelion plant was used to improve a lack of appetite, ease digestive disorders and detoxify the blood. Preliminary research suggests that some of these traditional are well-founded.
Aleut native populations in the United States would steam the leaves and apply them topically to alleviate sore throat. Cherokee indigenous people prepared the flowers and leaves into a calming tea that acted as an alterative tonic.
Some of the popular uses for dandelion leaf tea today include alleviating constipation, soothing digestive ailments, reducing bloating and water retention and supporting weight loss.
Dandelion RootHerbal Supplement Liver Health Detox Immunity How It Works:Supports liver and kidney healthUsed as a diuretic & detox supplementExhibits anti-inflammatory propertiesDosage:Varies depending on formulationSafety:Rated Likely Safe
Dandelion Leaf Tea Health Benefits
The leaves of the Taraxacum officinale plant are a source of a number of different nutrients and phytochemicals with beneficial effects on human health.
In early European folklore medicine, dandelion was used for fevers, diarrhea, diabetes and conditions affecting the hepatobiliary system.
In traditional Chinese medicine, the roots and greens of the plant were used for bone and joint health, to support detoxification pathways, liver health and as a general tonic for good health.
It is referred to as ‘Xin Xiu Ben Cao‘ in the Chinese Tang Materia Medica circa 659 B.C.E. In TCM, it is considered a sweet, drying, cooling and energetic herb that helps to reduce excess heat in the liver and support mood, stomach health, lungs and lactation.
Some of the nutrients that have been identified in the leaves include protein, beta-carotene, vitamin A (retinol), thiamin, riboflavin, Vitamin K, Vitamin C, potassium, sodium, calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, antioxidants and kynurenic acid.
In order to be considered pharmacopeial grade, dandelion leaf must be harvested prior to flowering. Older leaves develop a strong bitter taste and are not usually consumed in teas. The leaves are then dried and processed to contain no less than 20% water-soluble extractive.
According to the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, (NMCD), dandelion is used orally for heart failure, heartburn, gallstones, stimulating bile production and alleviating joint pain. It is also used for arthritis, eczema, bruising and UTIs, viral infections and cancer.
Many people also use dandelion leaf and/or root tea as a laxative, blood tonic to support circulation and digestive aid. It has also been studied in preliminary research trials for its effects on cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and various health conditions.
According to a 2015 research study, this plant demonstrates “choleretic, diuretic, antitumor, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and hepatoprotective properties.”  These effects have been noted in animal studies with mice, rats and rabbits, but not necessarily in human studies.
While this herb has a long history of use in traditional medicine practices, there is little research available to evaluate its efficacy for therapeutic use. Dandelion teas are not approved by the FDA as a drug for the prevention or treatment of any medical conditions.
Dandelion Leaf Tea for Bloating & Water Retention
Dandelion has long been recognized for its diuretic effects, despite limited research available to assess its efficacy.
The French name for Taraxacum is Pissenlit, which translates to “pee in bed” in English. This name is demonstrative of the plant’s reputation for increasing the need to urinate.
Research from one small human study showed that dandelion leaf extract increased urination frequency in 100% of subjects. It also increased the amount or volume of urine produced by the kidneys.
By stimulating diuresis, dandelion leaf tea is purported to support kidneys and urinary tract health. This is also said to improve detoxification by stimulating the elimination of toxins in the body.
According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), maintaining kidney and urinary tract health is important for several reasons. These systems are involved in:
Synthesizing hormones that help to maintain proper blood pressure;
Preventing accumulations of excess fluids and waste in the body;
Maintaining proper electrolyte levels;
Maintaining healthy bones;
Producing red blood cells;
Doctors prescribe pharmaceutical diuretics for heart disease and high blood pressure (hypertension) – and sometimes for dysfunction of the kidneys and/or liver. These medicines are often called “water pills”.
Some of the most commonly prescribed water pills are Diuril (chlorothiazide), Hygroton (chlorthalidone), Lozol (indapamide), Lasix (furosemide) and Aldactone (spironolactone). These medications are associated with certain adverse side effects.
According to RXList, some of these possible adverse effects include dry mouth, weakness, drowsiness, muscle cramps, confusion, low blood pressure and gastrointestinal problems. Less frequent side effects of diuretics include gout, tachycardia, and neurologic damage.
Dandelion is a natural substance and is sometimes used because it is viewed as a safer alternative by consumers. However, there are no comparative studies available to determine whether this herb is safer than prescription diuretics for long-term use.
According to the University of Maryland (UMM), dandelion is generally safe for most healthy people and there are no serious side effects associated with appropriate use. This herb is also a Generally Regarded as Safe (GRAS) food item according to the US Food and Drug Administration.
Dandelion leaf tea is commonly consumed to enhance weight loss results. It is typically used as part of a detoxification program to jumpstart a diet plant.
People do experience some weight loss when they begin drinking this tea, however, this can be attributed to the loss of excess water retained in the body.
Bodybuilders have been taking advantage of this fact by drinking the tea during their pre-competition weight cutting phases. As a diuretic, this tea eliminates excess water that is held between the skin and muscle tissue which can obscure lean muscle tone.
While dandelion leaf teas and supplements may temporarily cause a slimming effect, there is no research to suggest it can significantly reduce body fat mass on its own independent of making dietary changes or exercising.
Researchers think that active compounds found in this plant extract might affect bodyweight by influencing adipogenesis and lipid metabolism. However, results are preliminary and required further study to understand the potential mechanisms.
Adipogenesis is defined as the differentiation of fibroblasts like preadipocytes into mature fat storage cells (adipocytes). This is the process by which new fat storage sites are created in the body.
According to one in vitro study, “[Dandelion] extracts regulated the expression of a number of genes and long non-coding RNAs that play a major role in the control of adipogenesis”. 
In other research, dandelion leaf extract has been shown to influence blood sugar regulation, blood pressure, chronic inflammation and dyslipidemia (elevated fatty acid levels in the blood). 
If dandelion leaf tea can inhibit adipogenesis, or affect other factors associated with body weight regulation, then it may have anti-obesity benefits. Further research is needed to determine potential benefits.
Drinking Dandelion Tea During Pregnancy
Is it safe to consume dandelion tea during pregnancy? There is currently not enough research to determine the safety of this tea for women who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant.
Roasted dandelion root tea is commonly consumed by pregnant women as an alternative to coffee. The tea has a similar texture and flavor to coffee but does not contain any caffeine.
Dandelion also has GRAS status, which means that it is presumed to be safe and pose a low risk of adverse side effects. Despite this, NMCD advises pregnant and nursing women to avoid dandelion in amounts commonly gained from the average diet.
If you are pregnant or nursing and interesting in consuming dandelion leaf tea for its purported health benefits, ask your doctor about whether this is safe for you first.
Dandelion leaf tea is easy to prepare at home using fresh or dried plants. Several brands also sell pre-packaged tea bags containing the roots and leaves of this herb.
If you are interested in harvesting your own fresh plants to make the tea, it is recommended to gather dandelions in an area that is free of pesticides or environmental pollutants. Avoid harvesting the plants within large cities or near highways or busy roadways.
Take your dandelion leaves or greens and cut them into small pieces. Bring a pot of water to a boil, then remove it from its heat source.
Once the water has stopped boiling, place the leaves into the water to steep for at least five minutes. Leaving the plant matter to steep for longer will result in a stronger tea with a more bitter flavor
Next, strain the plant material out of the tea and serve. Some people like to add lemon, honey, raw sugar and other flavor enhancers.
If you find the taste of this tea too bitter, you may want to look for younger dandelion greens and leaves to make tea from the next time you prepare this recipe. Younger leaves tend to be less bitter.
Adverse Side Effects
Rhere have been no serious side effects linked to consumption of dandelion tea. Temporary gastrointestinal side effects may result in a small percentage of users.
Some people experience allergic reactions when they come in contact with products made from this plant. If you are allergic to other plants in the Asteraceae botanical family (daisies, ragweed, marigolds, chrysanthemums and zinnias), be careful using dandelion teas.
According to the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database, this herb may be contraindicated for people with certain health conditions, including renal (kidney) impairment and bleeding disorders. Use caution if you have any serious health condition and seek medical advice before consuming this product.
Dandelion leaf tea may also interact with certain medications. Ask your doctor about using this product with antacids, anticoagulants, antiplatelets, antidiabetics, diuretics and/or antibiotics.
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González-Castejón M1, García-Carrasco B, Fernández-Dacosta R, Dávalos A, Rodriguez-Casado A. Reduction of adipogenesis and lipid accumulation by Taraxacum officinale (Dandelion) extracts in 3T3L1 adipocytes: an in vitro study. Phytother Res. 2014 May;28(5):745-52. doi: 10.1002/ptr.5059. Epub 2013 Aug 18.
Gamboa-Gómez CI1, Rocha-Guzmán NE1, Gallegos-Infante JA1, Moreno-Jiménez MR1, Vázquez-Cabral BD1, González-Laredo RF1. Plants with potential use on obesity and its complications. EXCLI J. 2015 Jul 9;14:809-31. doi: 10.17179/exclu 2015-186. eCollection 2015.
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(1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5, rated) Article last updated on: July 30th, 2018 by Nootriment