Warm temperatures today and the arrival of spring tomorrow lured me outdoors this afternoon. I enjoyed the meditative task of transferring young flowering plants to clay pots, and strolling through my awakening gardens. One of the harbingers of spring is the appearance of bright yellow dandelions. For the first time, I gathered tender green dandelion leaves, and the sunny blooms, and created a healthy tea.
According to Anthony William, in his book Life Changing Foods, the dandelion’s defining characteristic is bitterness, and it is that very property that is restorative to the body. Says Anthony, “Dandelions shake you out of hibernation, getting your blood pumping and your organs cleaning house from radiation, toxic heavy metals, DDT, and other poisons.”
The dandelion flower, which is mildly bitter, cleanses the hollow organs such as the stomach, intestinal tract, gallbladder, bladder, lungs, uterus and heart. The leaves, being slightly more bitter, purify the blood and cleanse the lymphatic system.
The stem, more bitter still, cleanses dense organs such as the spleen, liver and brain. And the root, which is the most bitter part of the plant, purifies those dense organs at a deep level.
These cleansing properties make dandelion helpful for conditions such as lymphoma, kidney stones, obesity, blood disorders, inflammation, infections, liver disorders, digestive problems and fluid retention.
I was excited to try a healing tea, made from the tender young plants popping up in the backyard. I plucked six yellow blossoms and four leaves to make dandelion tea. I soaked the flowers and leaves in cold water while I heated a cup of water, and then rinsed them well.
I have found that using a mesh wire basket in a tea mug is a great way to brew fresh herbs. You can pick up your own handy set through the link below. I steeped the flowers and leaves for 20 minutes, covering the mug with its lid.
Curious about the degree of bitterness, I chewed on a dandelion leaf, and then popped a whole flower into my mouth, while the tea brewed. Although the blossom was slightly sweeter, both were fairly bitter, and yet entirely edible. I didn’t mind the taste at all.
After 20 minutes, I cautiously sipped my hot tea. What a wonderful surprise! The tea wasn’t nearly as bitter as the fresh leaves and flowers. Light and refreshing, the tea had an earthly taste that was pleasing and grounding. I didn’t add raw honey, choosing to drink it without.
In the past, I have been diligent about removing dandelions from my yard and garden. I will still remove them. But what a bountiful harvest I will have, for soups, salads and the healthy and cleansing dandelion tea. It is the perfect spring drink.
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