The Weed with Serious Flower Power

August 8, 2017
Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS

Award-winning nutritionist and New York Times bestselling author.

Hint: You probably think of it as a nuisance.

They pop up in your yard in all the wrong places and you’ve probably thrown many away without a second thought. Far from just a pesky weed, this plant contains secret stock piles of phytonutrients and has some seriously amazing health benefits. In fact, the entire plant can be used for health and healing, from its yellow leaves all the way to the end of its long roots.

Have you guessed it yet? If not, it’s a dandelion.

Dandelions belong to one of the largest plant families, the sunflower family (Asteraceae), which also includes daisies and thistles. They have been used medicinally as far back as the tenth century in the Middle East for everything from anemia to scurvy, skin problems, blood disorders, and depression.

Plant Power

At the present time, Green Med Info’s database for dandelions lists 47 scientific abstracts cataloging the plant’s evidence-based health benefits, with the strongest studies pointing toward anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that affect just about every system in your body. Dandelions’ anti inflammatory properties make them useful for relieving muscle and joint aches, soothing eczema, and reducing postinjury redness and swelling. Dandelions offer support to your immune system, such as helping combat antibiotic-resistant infections.

Underlying these benefits is a nutritional bounty that includes vitamin C, B vitamins, beta-carotene, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper, zinc, phosphorus, and even some vitamin D. Dandelion greens provide a staggering 535 percent of the recommended daily amount for vitamin K (K1, not K2). They are rich in fiber and boast more protein than spinach.

These superweeds act as both diuretic and laxative. They help your kidneys flush out waste by ramping up urine production, as well as increasing the activity of your digestive tract—especially fat digestion. Dandelions boost your bile production, keeping it thin and smooth flowing, which reduces gallstones. Dandelion has also been shown to help with nausea, loss of appetite, gas, and bloating. Dandelion promotes detox by reducing inflammation in your liver and gallbladder, promoting electrolyte balance and good hydration, and helping your liver filter out toxins, and it’s even been used to treat jaundice.

But wait—there’s more! Dandelions have anti-obesity properties and can lower your risk for type 2 diabetes, which is epidemic today. They stabilize blood sugar by stimulating your pancreas to produce more insulin, as well as lowering your blood pressure and working magic on your cholesterol and other lipids.

As a huge bonus, your cup of dandelion tea may keep you out of the oncologist’s office. Dandelion root was found to cause melanoma cells to self-destruct (apoptosis)—even drug-resistant ones. Additionally, in 2011 researchers discovered that dandelion root tea may contain a “kill switch” for leukemia cells. Other studies have shown dandelion to exert similar effects against cancers of the breast and prostate.

How to Enjoy

All parts of the dandelion are safe to eat. Leaves, roots, stems, and flowers can be consumed raw, as part of a salad, or cooked as you would any other greens (steamed or sautéed). Cooking, as well as adding some lemon juice, helps minimize dandelion’s somewhat bitter flavor.

As any Fat Flusher knows, dandelion roots, stems, and flowers can be brewed into a delicious antioxidant-rich tea or coffee. The root is classically used for tea, but if roasted first, you get “dandelion coffee.” Dandelion tea is useful for enhancing digestion before or after a meal and for treating indigestion after a fatty meal. I also love popping 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in my dandelion root tea or adding dandelion to my morning smoothies!

This delightful detox drink is typically found on the shelves of any health food store, but you can also brew a batch at home. Begin by chopping clean dandelion roots by hand or in a food processor. For tea, steep the root pieces in boiling water for 10 to 30 minutes; then strain. For a nutritious caffeine-free coffee alternative, arrange chopped roots on a baking sheet and roast for two hours in a 300 degree oven before steeping.

Dandelion parts will stay fresh in your fridge for about a week, and wrapping them in a damp paper towel may extend freshness. Fortunately, there never seems to be a shortage of dandelions, but do be sure that you don’t consume any that have been exposed to harmful chemicals, like non-organic fertilizers.

Many a Fat Flusher has credited the dandelion with helping them finally give up a longtime coffee and caffeine addiction. So, won’t you sit down and enjoy your daily cup with me?

To adopt the full Fat Flush lifestyle, order your copy of The NEW Fat Flush Plan. Dandelion root tea is only one of many delicious, nutrient-packed elements you can implement immediately.

Related Articles and Podcasts

Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, CNS, is an award-winning New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty books including The Fat Flush Plan series and her latest book, Radical Metabolism. She’s been rewriting the rules of nutrition for more than 40 years and is internationally recognized as a pioneer in the field of diet, detox and women’s health issues. 

For a FREE daily dose of tips and strategies for maintaining healthy weight, conquering insomnia, and much more…check out my Radical Health Tips.

I’d like to meet and greet you on my Facebook groups, so won’t you check us out at the Radical Metabolism RevolutionFat Flush Nation, or my Inner Circle!


  1. Lisa

    Good to know about the therapeutic benefits of this delicious tea. Thanks.

  2. Annette

    Ann Louise, I’m on day 5 of the Fast Track Detox. You write that we should only sip no more than 4 oz of water with a meal, then no water for 2 hours. I’m taking 6 different Uni-key supps recommended after a tissue mineral analysis, Liver-lovin, GI Cleanse, CLA, GLA, turmeric and a couple others that I can leave for later. All of these say to take them with a meal. Should I actually take them before my meals? Thank you.

    • Team ALG

      Annette, you can still take them with your meal, drinking a little extra water if needed.

  3. Peggy Lacey

    Have you heard the latest with the benefits of CBD oil …. the other hemp Weed!

  4. Team ALG

    Yes we are aware and follow the latest research with interest.


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