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Dandelion, or scientifically known as Taraxacum officinale Weber, is native to Europe and widely distributed in the Northern Hemisphere’s warmer temperate regions. It is considered a non-toxic herb and has been cultivated for its medicinal and culinary capacities for hundreds of years. It is also commonly found in North America; many people could recognize it on sight.
You can use most of its parts to make tea, including its leaves, flowers, and root. Several studies over the years reported various potential health benefits of drinking dandelion tea, including lowering blood pressure. But does dandelion tea make you poop more too?
Here’s what you need to know about dandelion tea and its effect on your digestive system.
Does dandelion tea make you poop?
Dandelion tea serves as a diuretic that helps add more water to your digestive system and your feces. The extra water in your poop makes it softer and helps it pass through your gut easily and smoothly. It also acts as a laxative and helps relieve mild digestive issues like mild constipation and bloating.
Drinking warm, herbal tea like dandelion tea is also a great way to hydrate your body. The better lubricated your gut is, the more moisture will remain in your feces.
Another way dandelion tea aids your digestive system is by keeping a proper flow of bile. Specifically, dandelions stimulate your liver to release bile, which helps reduce the risk of constipation indirectly.
Bile secreted into your gallbladder also helps emulsify fats, making it vital for fatty acids digestion and the absorption of fat-soluble nutrients.
Early research of dandelion as a medical agent that promotes bile discharge or cholagogue dated back to 1931. Other animal studies also support these findings. All these findings further support the conventional use of dandelion as an appetite and digestive stimulant.
In addition, a study involving 24 adults with chronic colitis found that treatment with various dandelion-containing herbal mixtures helps improve diarrhea, intestinal cramping, and constipation in almost 96% of the patients.
Other studies also showed positive effects in animals with gastric metaplasia, hyperplasia, and gastric ulcers.
Dandelion also helps maintain a healthy balance of beneficial bacteria in your intestines.
A review by researchers from Germany’s Hohenheim University’s Institute of Food Technology has studied dandelion root’s health effects in relation to its inulin proportion, a soluble fiber that acts as a demulcent to boost immunity and as a prebiotic to support gut health, improve digestion, and elimination.
Moreover, researchers from the Czech Republic found that dandelion root infusion helped stimulate the growth of 14 probiotic strains (bifidobacteria) in vitro.
Medical News Today recommends drinking one cup of dandelion tea after meals to help ease your digestion process.
Can dandelion tea give you diarrhea?
According to WebMD, dandelion is generally safe for most people when consumed by mouth in an amount typically found in food or in medicinal amounts. However, some people may develop adverse effects or allergic reactions, including diarrhea, heartburn, and stomach discomfort, when consuming it.
The NCCIH or National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health stated that people who are allergic to dandelion are more likely to be allergic to other related plants.
For instance, if you are allergic to chamomile, daisies, yarrow, ragweed, marigolds, and chrysanthemums, chances are, you are allergic to dandelion as well. So it’s probably best for you to avoid drinking dandelion tea.
You can read more about other potential side effects of dandelion tea below.
How to make dandelion tea?
One of the best things about dandelion tea is that it is easy to prepare.
You can make a tasty and nutritious herbal tea with dandelion flowers, leaves, stems, or roots.
If you personally harvest the plant, be sure it has not been treated with any chemicals. It is best to harvest the plant when it is still young.
Here’s how to make dandelion tea (as recommended by Healthline and Dr. Axe):
- Step 1: Wash the leaves, stems, flowers or roots thoroughly.
- Step 2: Take a certain amount and steep them in hot water. For stems or flowers, steep about 1 tbsp for about 30 minutes in 5 oz of boiling water. For roots, steep about 1 to 2 tsp in hot water for around 10 minutes.
- Step 3: Strain the mixture before drinking, or you can drink them up altogether.
If you want to make several days’ worth of tea, just double or triple the amounts recommended above.
You can also try making a coffee-like drink by roasting the dandelion root.
Here’s how you can make your own coffee-like dandelion drink (as instructed by Dr. Axe):
- Step 1: Clean the roots thoroughly
- Step 2: Chop them into fine pieces or use a food processor
- Step 3: Use a baking sheet and roast them on high in an oven at 300°F
- Step 4: Steep them in boiling water for about 10 minutes
- Step 5: Strain and enjoy the taste of natural coffee substitute
If you don’t have access to the plant, you can simply purchase organic dandelion tea online or at your local health shop. You may even discover dandelion tea that is enriched with other flavors like peach, caramel, and roasted nuts.
Other dandelion tea benefits you probably didn’t know about
Apart from helping you poop and ease your digestive system, studies found various other health benefits of drinking dandelion tea.
Some dandelion tea benefits according to research include:
- Decreases water weight: It acts as a diuretic that increases urine output.
- Detoxifies your liver: In traditional medicine, dandelion root has long been recognized as a liver tonic, partly due to its ability to increase bile flow. A recent study also found that polysaccharides in dandelion may benefit liver function by lessening stress on the liver and supporting its bile production ability.
- Prevents urinary tract infections: Some research suggests that dandelion leaves and roots may help prevent UTIs when paired with another herb, uva ursi.
- Has potent antioxidants: Dandelion is rich in antioxidant polyphenols and beta-carotene, which help protect against oxidative stress and cellular damage.
- Helps reduce inflammation: Dandelion has taraxasterol, a substance with considerable antioxidant properties that help fight inflammation and regulate white blood cells.
- Helps maintain blood sugar level: Dandelion contains chicoric and chlorogenic acid, bioactive compounds that help lower blood sugar.
- Helps lower cholesterol level: Some studies found that dandelion extract help decreases cholesterol and triglyceride levels significantly.
- Helps lower blood pressure: Dandelion tea is a great source of potassium, an electrolyte and mineral that stimulates heartbeat, improves kidney function, and enhances blood flow.
- May help fight cancer: Several studies reported the potential benefit of dandelion extract in preventing or slowing the growth of cancerous cells in various tissues, including colon, pancreatic, and liver tissues.
- Boosts your immune system: Some studies suggest the potential ability of dandelion to fight bacteria and viruses, which help support the body’s capacity to prevent infection. The plant also contains vitamin C, which is essential for immune function.
- A natural alternative to coffee: You can enjoy roasted dandelion roots tea as a natural and tasty coffee substitute.
Potential dandelion tea side effects
Dandelion tea is generally considered safe for most people. However, it may cause some adverse or side effects in some people because of certain potent ingredients it contains.
One of the side effects of drinking dandelion tea is an allergy, which I already mentioned and explained above.
Moreover, dandelions may also interact with some medications and cause interference. These medications include diuretics and lithium.
Dandelion may also reduce antibiotic absorption. Consuming dandelion tea along with some antibiotics may decrease their effectivity
Antibiotics that may interact with dandelion include ciprofloxacin, enoxacin, norfloxacin, and sparfloxacin.
So if you are taking any prescription medications, you should talk to your doctor before drinking dandelion tea.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, you should probably stay on the safe side and avoid drinking dandelion tea as the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health indicated that there is insufficient reliable information on the safety of taking dandelion during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
Medical experts from RxList also advise people with bleeding disorders and kidney failure to be especially cautious when planning to consume dandelion. The plant may increase the risk of bleeding and bruising in people with bleeding diseases and increase the risks of the complications of people with kidney issues.
Risk factors you should consider when drinking dandelion tea as natural laxatives
According to Healthline, only adults should drink herbal teas with laxative effects.
So if your kid is constipated, you should consider other constipation-relief methods, such as drinking more liquids, exercise, and incorporating more fiber-rich foods to their diet.
There are also some over-the-counter laxatives with doses suitable for children.
If you are generally healthy, trying commercial products like herbal dandelion tea to treat constipation is likely safe.
Since the US FDA does not regulate teas for constipation relief, you can’t be completely sure what kind of ingredients the tea contains. You also have no way to know if the tea has passed any reliable testing for safety and effectiveness.
To ensure dandelion tea is really safe for you to drink, talk to your doctor.
Is dandelion tea a laxative?
Dandelion tea may provide laxative effects and help ease some minor digestive symptoms, including occasional constipation and bloating. It can alleviate constipation by stimulating bile production and acting as a diuretic, which helps increase the amount of water in your stools and gastrointestinal system.
Does dandelion tea make you lose weight?
Some studies conducted on animals proposed that bioactive components in dandelion may help maintain body weight and promote weight loss. These effects are believed to be due to the plant’s capacity to boost carbohydrate metabolism and decrease fat absorption. However, human studies to support this claim are insufficient.
Does dandelion tea have caffeine?
Dandelion tea has a satisfying coffee taste but is caffeine-free. It is rich in nutrients, such as vitamin A, antioxidants, and minerals like iron, and provides various health benefits, including anti-cancer. Thus, dandelion tea makes an excellent alternative to caffeinated-drinks like teas and coffees.
Is dandelion tea good for IBS?
Some wellness experts recommend dandelion tea for IBS. However, there is insufficient research on the effect of dandelion on IBS. Only anecdotal evidence supports its use. Herbal teas that have been scientifically proven to help relieve IBS include peppermint anise, chamomile, turmeric, and fennel tea.