Read on to learn why a cup of this soothing tea might be the ingredient your New Year’s wellness reboot is missing and how to use it.
Can you believe there’s less than a week left of 2016?
When we stand on the cusp of a new year, it’s hard to know what lies ahead. What sort of surprises, delights, tests and tragedies the next 365 days will have in store for us. We have our plans and expectations, sure, but if there’s anything 2016 taught us, it’s that those plans and expectations can change for better or worse in the blink of an eye. I can’t be the only one to feel as though the past 360-something days tested us a little more than usual, and while it’s perhaps oversimplifying things to blame our troubles on the year itself, one can’t help but look forward to the opportunity to start over. To wipe the slate clean, reset, and start anew.
As New Year’s Eve shimmies closer, you’ve no doubt started dreaming of all 2017 has in store, too. Your resolutions and goals, the destinations you hope to bring yourself physically, spiritually and emotionally. For me, bettering my health it always at the top of my list of resolutions. Regardless of the gains I may have made in the past year, I know there’s always more to be done for my physical and spiritual well-being. In the small space of time between the holidays and the first of the new year, I like to take stock, clear out, and detox my life — and my body — of the things that are holding me back. In much the same way that I clear out my closets and delete old contacts from my phone, I focus on clearing my system of the things it doesn’t need. Excess sugar, alcohol and the foods I’ve no doubt consumed over the holidays in a flurry of nostalgia and emotion (to be completely honest) — all put back on the shelf and replaced with only the good stuff. It’s a way for me to set the tone for the next year, and begin the process of clearing the slate even before the clock strikes midnight. A reminder to my body and mind of what makes me feel my best, which is how I hope to feel in the year — and every year — to come. This year, I’m including a new ingredient in my wellness reboot, one that I wanted to share with you today: dandelion root tea. Read on to learn why a cup of this soothing tea might be the ingredient your New Year’s wellness reboot is missing and how to use it.
What is it? Dandelion tea is made from Dandelion, Taraxacum officinale, the same dandelion that grows seemingly everywhere come springtime. Native to Europe and North America, every part of the plant is edible, from the sunny yellow flower to the bright green leaves and all the way down to the root. Dandelion has been consumed as food since prehistoric times — the flowers can even be made into wine! — but only recently has it received wider attention for its many benefits. The tea is often made using the roots and leaves, though a coffee alternative similar to chicory (which is in the dandelion family) is also available and made using the roasted roots.
What are the benefits? While certainly out of season for growing weedy and rampant on our lawns and in our gardens, dandelion tea, available year-round, is a star detoxifier of the liver, colon and kidneys. Traditionally made using the leaves and root, potent diuretics and detoxifiers in their own right, dandelion tea harnesses the power of nearly the entire plant. The leaves act as a volume-increasing diuretic, flushing toxins from the liver, kidneys and colon, while the root helps the body rid itself of excess sodium. The tea can also have a positive effect on skin issues, such as acne, and digestion, all thanks to its body-flushing properties and support of liver function. Along with flushing the kidneys, the useage of dandelion tea helps the body pull toxins that may have been stored away in fat cells or the liver, flushing them first into the bloodstream before separating out as bile and excreted.
How to use dandelion tea: Dandelion tea is widely available in most health food stores as either a loose tea or tea bags. If you can find fresh dandelion root and leaves (the leaves are more widely available, usually on market shelves in spring and summer), you can brew your own by combining the root with 2 cups of water and bringing to a boil, then allowing to simmer for 20 minutes before straining.
The Perfect Cup of Dandelion Tea
1 bag dandelion tea or 1 scoop loose tea
8 oz filtered water
Optional: Raw honey
Bring water to just before boiling. Pour into a mug and add the tea bag or steeping ball filled with loose tea. Allow to steep, covered, for 10-15 minutes. Remove bag or steeping ball and add honey, if desired. Drink up!
As dandelion tea is a diuretic, it’s not recommended to drink this tea right before bedtime. Also consult your doctor if you’re already taking a medicine that acts as a diuretic, as the two should not be mixed.
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This information is not intended to treat, diagnose or prevent any disease or issue. Please seek your doctor’s advice for any questions regarding a specific condition and before beginning any exercise, diet or health-related regimen.