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TikTokers Are Eating Dandelions. Is It Healthy?

Dandelion tea

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Key Takeaways

  • People on TikTok are including dandelions in their teas, dishes, and syrups for potential health benefits.
  • Dandelions are rich in nutrients and can be a part of a healthy lifestyle.
  • When choosing dandelions, make sure the flowers you are consuming are not doused with pesticides and herbicides.

TikTok's latest trend encourages people to put their lawn care leftovers to good use. Instead of tossing their dandelion weeds into the trash, people on the social media app are using them as an ingredient in teas, syrups, and more. 

The videos instruct viewers to take dandelions found growing in nature, wash them, and steep them in a teapot. According to TikTok, the resulting tea supposedly has amazing health benefits. 

But are dandelions really the key to supporting our health, or is it just another health fad?

Those yellow flower-looking weeds are technically a flowering plant. TikTok, this time, is on to something. For years, dandelions have been used for medicinal purposes across many cultures. These videos are revitalizing a tried-and-true healthy tradition.

Dandelions Can Be a Healthy Addition to Your Diet

Including dandelions into your lifestyle may actually offer some health benefits. 

“Research has demonstrated dandelions may…aid in liver detoxification," Cory Ruth, MS, RDN, a California-based registered dietitian, tells Verywell.

Like many other plants, dandelions contain vitamins and minerals, including beta-carotene and lutein, both of which help maintain eye health. And inulin, a prebiotic that supports a healthy microbiota, makes up 45% of the root of the dandelion plant.

Other nutrients naturally found in dandelion include:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin E
  • Vitamin K
  • Folate
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • Zinc
  • Manganese

In other words, these little yellow weeds are a nutritional powerhouse. 

Research also highlights how consuming dandelion may have anti-diabetic properties in many ways, including improving muscle insulin sensitivity. Dandelion can also offer a diuretic effect and may be anti-inflammatory, although strong clinical trials in humans are needed to make firm recommendations.

Is There Any Risk?

There aren't many risks in consuming dandelions. However, Ruth cautions that “dandelions have been found to interact with certain medications like lithium, Cipro, and diuretics.” And like with most things, there is always a risk of developing contact dermatitis if you're sensitive to the plant. 

If you are snagging dandelions from your lawn after it was sprayed with heavy herbicides or pesticides, you may inadvertently take in toxins as a result. 

What This Means For You

Including dandelions in your diet may be a good idea for some natural health benefits. However, make sure you pick dandelions that haven't interacted with pesticides or buy a commercial version of the tea.

How Do You Include Dandelions in Your Diet?

There is no right or wrong way to eat dandelions. From adding them to salads to steeping them in hot water to make a tea, you'll be reaping the health benefits either way.

Since certain areas of the plant are richer in certain nutrients, you should be mindful of which part to eat. For example, because the stem is richer in prebiotic fiber than the flower, the stem should be your focus if you're looking to support your gut health.

“My favorite way to use dandelions is to make a tea,” Ruth explains. “You can either pick the flowers and leaves and wash them, then steep in hot water for 20 minutes or rinse and chop the roots and bake on high for a couple of hours. Then, you can steep 1-2 teaspoons of the root pieces in hot water for 20 minutes.” 

Ruth also shares that, for those of us who prefer a faster route, “commercially made [dandelion tea] is just as nutritious and delicious.”

You can enjoy the greens any way you typically enjoy herbs. Add them to sauces, include them in salads, and even sprinkle them on top of your morning eggs. To enjoy the flower part, you can simply batter them with flour, eggs, and milk and cook them in some oil for a nugget-like dish. For an impressive addition to your bread, include pieces of the dandelion flower in your butter before serving.

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  2. Wirngo FE, Lambert MN, Jeppesen PB. The physiological effects of dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) in type 2 diabetes. Rev Diabet Stud. 2016 Summer-Fall;13(2-3):113-131. doi:10.1900/RDS.2016.13.113

  3. U.S. Department of Agriculture, FoodData Central. Dandelion greens, raw. Updated April 1, 2019.