Harvested roots of the dandelion plant. Each plant has one taproot.
Harvested roots of the dandelion plant. Each plant has one taproot.

Dandelion 'coffee' (also dandelion tea) is a tisane made from the root of the dandelion plant. The roasted dandelion root pieces and the beverage have some resemblance to coffee in appearance and taste, and it is thus commonly considered a coffee substitute. Dandelion root is used for both medicinal and culinary purposes and is thought to be a detoxifying herb.[1]


The usage of the dandelion plant dates back to the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. Additionally, for over a thousand years, Chinese traditional medicine has been known to incorporate the plant.[2]

Susanna Moodie explained how to prepare dandelion 'coffee' in her memoir of living in Canada, Roughing it in the Bush[3] (1852), where she mentions that she had heard of it from an article published in the 1830s in New York Albion by a certain Dr. Harrison. Dandelion 'coffee' was later mentioned in a Harpers New Monthly Magazine story in 1886.[4] In 1919, dandelion root was noted as a source of cheap 'coffee'.[5] It has also been part of edible plant classes dating back at least to the 1970s.[6]


Roasted dandelion root, ready to be used to prepare dandelion coffee
Roasted dandelion root, ready to be used to prepare dandelion coffee

Harvesting dandelion roots requires differentiating 'true' dandelions (Taraxacum spp.) from other yellow daisy-like flowers such as catsear and hawksbeard. True dandelions have a ground-level rosette of deep-toothed leaves and hollow straw-like stems. Large plants that are 3–4 years old, with taproots approximately 0.5 inch (13 mm) in diameter, are harvested for dandelion coffee. These taproots are similar in appearance to pale carrots.

Dandelion roots that are harvested in the spring have sweeter and less bitter notes, while fall-harvested roots are richer and more bitter.[7]


The dandelion plant must be two years old before removing the root.[1] After harvesting, the dandelion roots are dried, chopped, and roasted. After harvesting, the dandelion roots are sliced lengthwise and placed to dry for two weeks in a warm area. When ready, the dried roots are oven-roasted and stored away. To prepare a cup, one will steep about 1 teaspoon of the root in hot water for around 10 minutes. People often enjoy their dandelion coffee with cream and sugar.[8]

Packaged dandelion root coffee
Packaged dandelion root coffee

Health claims and uses

Although popular in alternative health circles, there is no empirical evidence that dandelion root or its extracts can treat any medical condition. In addition, very few high-quality clinical trials have been performed the investigate its effects.[9]

Health risks associated with dandelion root are uncommon; however, directly consuming the plant by mouth could lead to stomach discomfort, heartburn, allergic reactions, or diarrhea.[10]


Dandelion root has been linked to a possible treatment for cancer.[11]

A 2016 study result's suggests that colon cancer cell's metabolic activity can be reduced with doses of dandelion root extract. Research points towards a potential decrease in colon tumors with a scheduled and consistent dose of dandelion root extract.[11] In a November 30, 2017 interview, Caroline Hamm, the oncologist running the study, shared her concerns regarding premature internet hype about these studies. She specifically expressed alarm over individuals contacting her who wanted to abandon standard care.[12]

It's horrible if someone were to believe this and not take standard of care... And I get emails every week from people around the world thinking they want to stop their standard medicine and take [dandelion tea] instead because of these really unfounded claims. They can die if they do that.

— Dr. Caroline Hamm


Unroasted Taraxacum officinale (among other dandelion species) root contains:

Sesquiterpene lactones
Phenolic acids
Cyanogenic glycosides
Sesquiterpene lactones (of the germacranolide type)

See also


  1. ^ a b Chevallier, Andrew (2016). Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. New York: DK Publishing. p. 141. ISBN 9781465449818.
  2. ^ "Ten Things You Might Not Know About Dandelions". Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners. Retrieved 2021-02-04.
  3. ^ Moodie, Susanna (4 December 2007). Roughing it in the bush. McClelland and Stewart. p. 385. ISBN 9780771034923. Retrieved 7 July 2011.
  4. ^ Whiting, Julia D. (1886-09-01). "The End of a Love Match". Harpers New Monthly Magazine. Retrieved 2008-12-26. ((cite journal)): Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  5. ^ "Much of the surpassing cheap brand coffee is made from dandelion root, according to Prof. William Trelease, of the department of botany at the University of Illinois." Jul 6, 1919 p. V13 Los Angeles Times
  6. ^ Edible Wild Plants Class to Feature Dandelion Coffee Jun 16, 1977 p. CS8 Los Angeles Times [1]
  7. ^ Mars, Brigitte (1999). Dandelion Medicine. Storey Publishing. p. 64. ISBN 978-1580172073.
  8. ^ Mars, Brigitte (1999). Dandelion Medicine. Storey Publishing. p. 189. ISBN 978-1580172073.
  9. ^ "Dandelion". NCCIH. Retrieved 2022-12-21.
  10. ^ "Doxycycline". Reactions Weekly. 1753 (1): 149. May 2019. doi:10.1007/s40278-019-62041-6. ISSN 0114-9954. S2CID 241943146.
  11. ^ a b Ovadje, Pamela; Ammar, Saleem; Guerrero, Jose-Antonio; Arnason, John Thor; Pandey, Siyaram (2016-08-22). "Dandelion root extract affects colorectal cancer proliferation and survival through the activation of multiple death signalling pathways". Oncotarget. 7 (45): 73080–73100. doi:10.18632/oncotarget.11485. ISSN 1949-2553. PMC 5341965. PMID 27564258.
  12. ^ "How a Canadian doctor's study on dandelion tea became fake news fodder | CBC Radio".
  13. ^ Ahmad, Viqar Uddin; Yasmeen, Shazia; Ali, Zulfiqar; Khan, Murad Ali; Choudhary, M. Iqbal; Akhtar, Farzana; Miana, Ghulam Abbas; Zahid, Muhammad (2000). "Taraxacin, a New Guaianolide from Taraxacum wallichii". Journal of Natural Products. 63 (7): 1010–1011. doi:10.1021/np990495+. ISSN 0163-3864. PMID 10924189.