KOK Edit: Your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM)
KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) KOK Edit: your favorite copyeditor since 1984(SM) Katharine O'Moore Klopf

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Editor's Choice: Dandelion Tea

If you've followed my blog or Twitter stream for even just a few months, you know that I adore tea—whole-leaf or whole-flower teas, not overprocessed and chopped tea leaves in tea bags. Usually I drink Japanese, Chinese, Nepalese, or Indian teas—white, green, black, oolong, and darjeeling—but one of my seasonal favorites is dandelion tea.

Dandelion tea has a light vegetal taste. To make it, I collect two handfuls of flowers, rinse them in cold water to make sure that they're free of miniature guests such as ants, then pour boiling water over them into my steeping pot and let everything steep for 2 minutes. (Some people like to steep the flowers for less time, maybe 1 to 1.5 minutes.) Then I decant the tea into a cup for drinking. My steeping pot produces a little more than two 6-ounce cups of tea. You can sweeten the tea with a little honey; I drink mine plain.

Some people prefer to use the dandelion leaves instead of the flowers for making tea. If you use the greens, then you'll have some tasty steamed greens to eat afterward; they taste sort of like chicory or escarole. You can also eat the greens raw as part of a mixed-greens salad. I do that all the time because one of my favorite dishes is a salad with as many different kinds of greens in it as I can find. If you do use the greens for tea and/or eating, pick young greens. The older and larger the leaves get, the more bitter their taste.

Other people use dandelion roots for brewing tea. Here are instructions for doing so.

Dandelions have plenty of vitamin A (more than in carrots!), vitamin C, vitamin K, magnesium, calcium, iron, and other nutrients. Dandelions are good for promoting liver health, as a digestive aid, as an antioxidant, for reducing high cholesterol levels (a reason I drink it), for reducing blood-glucose spikes (a reason I drink it), reducing blood pressure (a reason I drink it), reducing arthritis pain, and for other things. You'll want to be aware that dandelion tea is a diuretic; in other words, it'll make you pee.

Online and in health-food stores, you can buy dried dandelion flowers, leaves, and roots for tea, which is handy in fall and winter when dandelions aren't growing, but I like to use the free supply in my yard when it's available. I've never tried drying the overabundance of dandelions from my yard for use in fall or winter, but here are some instructions for doing so.

Do not eat or drink dandelions in any form if you pick them from a location where chemical grass treatments and weed killers might have been used, because the dandelions will absorb these toxins: know your source. I'm comfortable harvesting dandelions from my suburban lawn because I don't use any chemical fertilizers or herbicides on it. Also, be sure to tell your health-care provider that you drink dandelion tea and how often you do so, both because of its diuretic effects and because it may change how your body handles medications that you take.

What are your favorite medicinal herbal teas? Please tell us about them in the comments and provide links to stores that offer them.

Information resources consulted for this post:


Kristine Hunt said...

I will definitely do this with my kids. Over the weekend I made a dandelion crown with all the flowers my daughter picked!

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

@Kristine: I'll bet the crown was lovely. Your reports on family activities always include a lot of fun at your house.

Barbara Coleman said...

I have always adored catnip tea. I pick the mature plants from my garden and then hang them upside-down on my porch to dry. The tea has a refreshing mint flavor and is a natural mood lifter.

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

@Barbara: Very interesting! I'll have to check that out.

Kristine Hunt said...

We just made dandelion blossom tea and it is indeed vegetal... sort of like chard water. Very yummy!

Katharine O'Moore-Klopf said...

@Kristine: I'm glad to hear that you liked it.

herbal tea said...

Dandelion Tea 's taste is very yummy. For increase the sweetness of this Dandelion tea, honey is the best option.

Mafalda said...

I love this tea! So healthy and tasty!

Being a diuretic, Dandelion tea can also reduce water retention, fight cellulite and rid the organism of unhealthy fats and toxins.

It's also great to hydrate the skin, treat rashes and skin inflammations.


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