Natural Remedy: Dandelion Root for Liver Health and Fat Digestion


dandelion root tea

While we were at the naturopath’s a couple weeks ago, as a part of the intake questions our doctor asked me if my little one had any allergies. I started to say no because she doesn’t have any known drug allergies and then caught myself- this child is allergic to everything! After I rattled off my list (conventional crib mattresses, polyester, acrylic, synthetics in cosmetics, food additives, and more!) the doctor remarked that having that many allergies is a sign that the liver has toxins built up in it. We were at the appointment to start methyl B12 injections (more about this in another post), but I knew when I got home I’d be sure to look up how to do a liver cleanse for a child.

I remembered that Raine had posted about her liver and gallbladder cleanse a while back, but this protocol was a little intense for a small child, I didn’t think she’d do well with the fasting. Next Michele of Herbal Nurturing recommended looking into dandelion root to stimulate bile production. The increased bile production would help clean the liver because it would flush out the toxins.

The next time I was at the health food store I picked up Dandelion Root tea, which I made just like regular tea. It has a woodsy earthy taste, which I liked and my little one didn’t mind at all. To give it to her I waited until it was just luke warm and then put some honey in it and she drank it down happily.

The next day I noticed her bowel movements were much darker, thanks to the increased bile production! I love being able to see that natural remedies are working, and this was very apparent!  I had actually noticed her movements were lighter colored than normal, but had attributed that to her grain free diet.  Now I see that she likely had a lowered bile production, and so this increased production is a welcome change.  We continue to give her the dandelion root tea every day or every other day, and I’m curious to see if she’s less sensitive to synthetic clothing and other things she had previously reacted to. I also have had many allergies, and so does my son, so we’ve all been taking the tea.  My little girl is the one who really reacts to everything though, so I’m looking forward to seeing how this helps her.

Dandelion Root Tea for Gentle Liver Cleansing

Bring water to a boil.  Remove from heat and add tea bags. Cover and allow to steep until cool enough to drink, 20-30 minutes.  Stir in honey and enjoy!

Allergies aren’t the only reason one might want to do a liver cleanse.

Signs you may benefit from a liver cleanse:

  • Vitamin A, D, or E deficiency (all are produced in the liver!)
  • High or low cholesterol numbers (the liver also produces and balances cholesterol)
  • Hormonal problems- the liver filters out mutated hormones
  • Excessive gas or bloating
  • Allergies to chemicals or things in the environment
  • Inability to digest fats, feeling ill after eating a high fat meal
  • Blood sugar fluctuations (the liver helps regulate blood sugar along with the pancreas and adrenals)
  • Gallstones

** This is purely based on my research as a mother ~ If you have major health problems, or minor health problems that you would like to stop before they become big health problems I would encourage you to approach the problem holistically with the help of a medical professional as needed.  I especially encourage you to look at how all the body systems could be involved in your health issue (digestion, thyroid, adrenals, kidneys, nutrition, mental health, etc).

  • More about using dandelion root for liver health
  • If you found this interesting you would be interested in Herbal Nurturing, an e-book about home remedies that are useful for families and are simple enough for us busy moms to do!
  • And a great start for learning about how all the body systems work together is by reading the Gut and Psychology Syndrome Book- available here.

dandelion root tea liver health

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  1. says

    Dandelion is one of my favourite liver herbs of all time. It’s super gentle and works like a charm– especially in cases where there’s irritability or heat (agitation) of any kind. I’m so glad it’s working for you. It always makes me to happy to see other people discovering herbal medicine :).

    • Cara says

      I love dandelions! I think they’re so sunshiny and cute, even in the lawn :) That’s my son up in the picture, unfortunately we’re in a rental and when we moved they apologized that the spray they used didn’t kill them all :Z So even though we have a bunch in our yard we still have to buy the tea at the store!

      • says

        I also love seeing dandelions in my yard! :) And violets and other little flowers. To me, thats so much happier looking than just grass.

  2. says

    Cara – this is a very informative post, I am so glad to see something easy for parents to do with children who have liver toxicity issues! It’s probably really necessary too, as in this generation of children, they are dealing with many more chemicals and toxins in their environments and in food, water, air, etc, than we did and our parents did before us. So they need all the help they can get! I have read about dandelion tea many times, but didn’t realize just how effective it was for liver and general detoxing strategies. Many thanks for sharing – I hope this remedy continues to be a good solution for your family, especially because it’s natural. :)

    • Cara says

      Thanks Raine! Yes, I bet most Americans do have liver toxicity issues. There was one book I was reading about curing autism who’s theory was that the toxins in the children’s liver and brain ‘attracted’ parasites, so both the parasites and heavy metals needed to be dealt with to heal the child. Interesting Theory. The book was The Cure for All Diseases

  3. Mountainash says

    Awesome, Cara! Thank you so much for passing this info along.

    I have all of those symptoms except I’ve never had my cholesterol levels checked and I’ve never had a gallstone. I have had terrible gallbladder pain, though.

    I’m going to try this.

  4. says

    Thanks for the reminder about dandelion root. We have had the tea and I have a tincture in my supplements stash. We also eat fresh from our yard in the early Spring. My kids enjoy making the flowers coated in batter and fried in coconut oil.
    It should be a staple in our diet.
    We like clover blossoms and tea for the similar benefits

    great article!

  5. Michelle S. says

    How old is your daughter and at what age do you consider old enough to try herbal tea remedies? I have a 4 month old who is either constantly congested or has a runny nose. Thanks for the info!

    • Cara says

      Hi Michelle, my daughter just turned 4. For a 4 month old, if you’re breastfeeding I’d try having you take the herbal remedies first and see if that worked for her. If not, personally I would consult a naturopath before doing something with a baby that little, but natural remedies would still be preferential to, say, children’s Tylenol or other mainstream medicines.

  6. says

    I’m so glad the dandelion is helping (and you’re enjoying the book)!

    Detoxing with dandelion is also helpful in preparation for pregnancy, as I’ve heard that build-up of toxins in the liver can sometimes contribute to morning sickness (and overall health, obviously). Many “pregnancy teas” actually have dandelion in them! :)


    • Cara says

      I had heard that liver toxicity can contribute to morning sickness, and that milk thistle can help too. I might look into milk thistle next, especially before conceiving again.

  7. Keli says

    Cara, thank you so much for posting this! I have been having some of these issues come back up, as I have gone back to a more regular real food diet (I was only doing it about 50% for awhile). I knew all the nutrients were pulling out the toxins but it seemed like my body was overwhelmed with actually getting rid of them. So thank you for a safe and natural answer!

  8. Charlotte says

    Hi Cara, this is really interesting, let us know if you feel it makes a difference in the longer run, this is def something i will look into further. Also hope it goes well with the MB12, we are trialling this at the moment, the needles are so fine and it’s pretty straightforward. I stuck one of the needles in myself to test and it was painless (I’m not saying don’t use analgesia with a child although we don’t since he is 10 and we can explain to him that it will be a little prick at worst – he does flinch slightly on occasion).

    • Cara says

      MB12 is actually fantastic- longer attention span, more words, and obvious detoxing (her detox signs are *not sleeping* and undereye circles) I’ll do a post on it in a little bit. Epsom salt baths have been helping with the detoxing. I just bought a ‘shotblocker’ off of ebay and am curious to see if it works for her. So far she is not a fan of the shots ;) It took me forever to decide to do these, it just seems like such an invasive supplement! She wasn’t vaccinated, so these are the only ‘shots’ she’s ever had. Makes a mama nervous!

  9. says

    Thanks so much for sharing this, I just found your site from your sandwich cookies post on twitter, and saw this article – perfect for where I’m at right now, struggling health wise. Looking forward to exploring the rest of your site!

  10. Faith says

    Thanks for the information regarding the tea and your small daughter!

    My daughter is 14 and dealing with a congested liver…congested bile ducts…has had recent hair loss and nail fungus. I personally have been doing liver flushing for myself for the past five months. It is a bit harsh but I feel it has saved my life. Because of my daughter’s issues…I wanted to find a much gentler way to detoxify her. I was considering the herbs but wanted to do a search to see what my options are. A dandelion tea would work since it is already prepackaged and a milk thistle supplement as well.

    She already takes tumeric which also helps to detoxify the liver! Other things that we take to detoxify the liver are kombucha…kelp….and kefir!

    I wish you and your family well on your detoxification journey!

    • Cara says

      Once a day is good for us, I think that’s something you might want to ask a naturopath if you have something specific that you’re trying to remedy.

  11. says

    Dandelions are my 5 year olds favorite flower. Last spring when we were planting seeds for the garden he said “I would plant all dandelions”. I will have to try this tea. I bet it won’t be hard to get him to taste it as well. The SCD has gotten a great deal of his allergies under control, but we both have room for improvement. I have begun to take an interest in herbal remedies. 2010 was our first antibiotic free year and I have found some herbs to be very helpful.

  12. Jennifer R says

    Awesome reminder that herbs are so very useful! Two of my three kids do methyl B12 injections (my husband gives the shots to them — every 3 days). Our pediatrician called a compounding pharmacy and they make up the shots and ship us a 3 month supply (no preservatives). Been working great!

    We also do kidney/liver cleanses using homeopathic drops by Unda (the numbers for this are Unda #1, Unda 2, and Unda #20). Our doctor usually starts adults on a more gentler cleanse, but she’s found the kids handle it with no problems. She says you should do it at least twice a year (you take the drops for 3 weeks for one cycle).

  13. says

    I always try to tuck a little dandelion greens into smoothies and drink a tea of it in the spring to help with the seasonal liver cleanse. I always was so happy to see the dandelions sprout up in spring and then the old timers, bent over by the road sides, harvesting the wild ones for their spring times constitutionals! Glad to see you have used a herbal remedy to work with your child’s issues! All the best, Alex

    • says

      How is the taste with the smoothies? My husband has a “mystery” liver problem his ND can’t understand why its low functioning, and he’s been drinking smoothies for breakfast, but will not allow me to put greens in it. Wondering if I can sneak some in without him noticing?

  14. monica says

    Will keep us updated on if the dark circles go away? My 1st and 3rd children have persistent under eye circles. Nothing seems to be making them go away. GAPS for 9 months. before that no dairy for 3 months. They drink a lot of kefir/probiotics and seem to be digesting things well… I think I need to get to a naturopath and see if they have any deficiencies. Any recommendations on getting *accurate* results for possible deficiencies? We are going to have to start getting back to the chiropractor.

    • Cara says

      I’m not sure about anything other than educated guessing and checking to check for deficiencies. I’ll keep you updated with the chropractic for undereye circles :) What we’re doing is KST (you can look it up) which hopefully will be effective for getting to the root of the problem.

  15. A. F. says

    Did you look into mercury toxicity? Being allergic like that is more of a sign of mercury toxicity, as well as a sign of liver toxicity. So it’s something you may need to look into. Have you had mercury fillings before giving birth to your child? Did you detoxify your body from mercury before giving birth to your child? Mercury is passed to the baby during pregnancy, and so I recommend you give her a fecal metals test and see if she has high mercury levels.

  16. According to Avalon says

    When I first looked for dandelion tea, all I could find was the roasted root powder, it’s sold as a coffee substitute and includes roasted chicory – I’m long off caffiene, and it did taste like a passable substitute for coffee, but would it have the same effect I wonder?

      • says

        oops you said that already!
        do you mean will the roasted dandelion root have the same effects as dried? most dried dandelion is at a low temperature whereas roasting it is much higher, thus will kill more of the beneficial aspects of dandelion.. we dehydrate dandelion root and sometimes roast it in the oven for ‘coffee’

  17. says

    Great post Cara, thanks for sharing the live example of your kids case, Self experiences will always impact on your readers and they are more trustworthy, Your blog is very authentic and interesting, I’ll keep coming back,
    Here is one more article on basic introduction to dandelion root teafor the beginners

  18. says

    Interesting article, sounds like something I should try. So, how do you harvest dandelion roots since if you pull on the stem it usually just breaks off? Do you have to dig out the root? Does it need to be dried before making the tea?

  19. says

    Does roasted dandelion work? I buy this at the local health food store in bulk. Wasn’t sure if roasting would decrease it’s efficiency. I once tried digging up dandelion roots, cleaning and roasting them, but it was so bitter I couldn’t drink it. Must be a trick to it.

  20. says

    That’s interesting! I usually think low iron count if I see light colored stools. I never thought it had anything to do with bile production.

  21. says

    Hi there, really interested in your post and will try this gentle liver cleanse option for our 3 year old, with current eczema and auto-immune issue and light stools similar to you daughter.

    Ive since read up on other liver cleanse supplements and the key ingredient is milk thistle, plus varying extras, so it may also be worth added the age correct dose of milk thistle for additional liver cleanse.

    I’ll also try to share this post on my FB page – leafie

  22. Maggie Swaim says

    Cara, it was wonderful to read about this! My 11 month old (who is still breastfeeding) and I have been on GAPS for nearly 6 weeks to heal his eczema which has only become explosively worse since starting. I feel he needs more liver support. I purchased the tea and am starting him out with 1 t. a day. Does that sound okay? I don’t know what else to do for him as we’ve cut out practically EVERYTHING and I still don’t know what the trigger is for his eczema.

  23. Amy says

    When I was pregnant with my first I broke out in a terrible, itchy rash around my back, belly and the crooks of my arms. I went to two doctors. It was diagnosed as a heat rash (even though it was February and I live in Colorado) and I was given a perscription to sterioid lotion. I didn’t feel comfortable using this, so I continued looking. I found posts of other women who took dandelion root. After taking it for 3 -4 days my rash went away. I took it throughout the remainder of my pregnancy (started at 16 weeks). Just wanted to share how this ‘miracle herb’ worked for me!

  24. amanda says

    My brother has that liver disease will it work on him? I know it wont cure it but I been told he can revive the liver or something to help him better his liver

  25. milena says

    i want to give dandelion tea for my 9 year old boy,but i read that has too many side efects?is that true it is dangeour?thank you


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