Allergy sufferers often see plants such as dandelions as the source of springtime misery. However, for those who do not suffer from seasonal allergies, dandelions can be useful when steeped in hot water and had as tea. While helpful for a variety of medical ailments, this tea interacts with some drugs negatively.
While dandelions have some culinary and medicinal uses, they can be a major problem as weeds. Like most weeds, the dandelions can harm other plants by absorbing too many nutrients. The dandelions usually spring up among turfgrass and are often contributors to pollen-related allergies. These dandelions are also difficult to get rid of. However, those who have yards full of dandelions can benefit by turning some of these dandelions into dandelion tea.
Dandelions create very tough roots that can penetrate very deeply, allowing them to survive and lay dormant during winter. In the spring, these dandelions spring up. They are often recognized in two forms. The most common form is that of a bright yellow flower with a large number of petals and a pale-green stem. Another form that the dandelion comes in is often described as a puffball. This form is a large cluster of small white seeds that are eventually blown off of the flower by a strong wind and carried away to locations where they can germinate.
Both the dandelion leaf and the dandelion root are used to make dandelion tea. The dandelion leaf is removed and dried. Then 1 to 2 tsp. dried leaf is steeped in hot water for five to ten minutes. The root of the dandelion is placed in boiling water for five to ten minutes.
The benefits of dandelion tea described by the University of Ohio included lowered blood sugar, a reduction in acne, weight loss, diuretics, better menstrual symptoms and lower blood pressure. The diuretic function of dandelion tea has been shown to help those with poor digestion and liver disorders, according to the University of Maryland. Despite being used for weight loss, the dandelion tea stimulates appetite.
The University of Maryland warns that those who are allergic to pollen will also be allergic to the dandelion tea. In addition to an allergic reaction, the dandelion can cause mouth sores, stomach acid and heartburn. Those taking lithium, antacids and antibiotics might experience a bad reaction to dandelion tea and should avoid consuming the tea.