Dandelion - Facts on Root & Herb, and Uses
Facts on Root & Herb, and Uses
Dandelion - Taraxacum officinale
Dandelion is a common meadow herb of the Asteraceae or sunflower family, closely related to chicory. There are about 100 species. Its name is a corruption of the French "dents de lion", meaning "teeth of the lion."
Folk names include lion's tooth, bitterwort, wild endive, priest's crown, doonheadclock, piss-a-bed, Irish daisy, blow ball, yellow gowan, puffball, clock flower, swine snout, pu gong ying, fortune-teller, and cankerwort.
The generic name derives from the Greek words taraxos, meaning disorder, and akos, meaning remedy. The designation officinale indicates that Dandelion was officially listed as a medicinal.
Dandelion has a long history. Early colonists brought it to North America, where indigenous people saw its value and used it for its medical and nutritional benefits.
Dandelion leaves and roots have been used for centuries to treat liver, gall bladder, kidney, and joint problems. In some countries, Dandelion is considered a blood purifier and is used for ailments such as eczema and cancer. Dandelion has also been used to treat poor digestion, water retention, and diseases of the liver such as hepatitis.
The first mention of the Dandelion as a medicine is in the works of Arabian physicians of the tenth and eleventh centuries. Thirteenth-century Welsh medicine lauds its properties.
Dandelion is a source of potassium, sodium, calcium, phosphorus and iron. The leaves are a richer source of Vitamin A than carrots and contain some amounts of Vitamins B, C and D. The root contains bitter glycosides, tannins, triterpenes, sterols, volatile oil, choline, asparagin, and inulin.
Diuretic, hepatic, cholagogue, anti-rheumatic, laxative, tonic, bitter. It is a general stimulant to the system, especially to the urinary organs, and is primarily used in kidney and liver disorders.
The bitter compounds in the leaves and root help stimulate digestion and are mild laxatives. They also increase bile production in the gall bladder and bile flow from the liver. This makes Dandelion a great tonic for people with sluggish liver function due to alcohol abuse or poor diet. The increase in bile flow can help improve fat (including cholesterol) metabolism in the body.
The whole plant is valuable as a general tonic. It may be taken as an infusion of the leaf, a juice extraction, a root decoction, a fluid extract or a tincture. Fresh leaves may be added to salads. The juice extraction is the most potent for medicinal purposes.
Many herbalists view the Dandelion as an effective treatment for liver disease, even in extreme cases such as cirrhosis. It can also benefit the pancreas, kidneys, stomach, and spleen. The dried leaf, taken as a tea, is used as a mild laxative to relieve constipation.
Dandelion leaf is a good natural source of potassium, and will replenish any potassium that may be lost due to the herb's diuretic action on the kidneys. This means Dandelion is a safe diuretic in cases of water retention due to heart problems.
The herb is useful in cases of anaemia and hepatitis, and may help to lower high blood pressure. Dandelion may also provide relief for rheumatism and arthritis.
Dandelion therapy, consisting of therapeutic doses of dandelion preparations taken over time, may help reduce stiffness and increase mobility in situations of chronic degenerative joint disease.
Dandelion as a Hepatic
A Hepatic is a herb, usually a bitter herb, which works particularly well on the liver by toning, nourishing, and strengthening it, and by empowering its activity as the primary blood-cleansing organ in the body.
The blood can be contaminated by stress, lack of exercise, poor diet, toxins, and genetic predisposition. When the blood doesn't flow actively, arthritic pains may result because gases or gravel materials are deposited in the joints. Skin disorders like eczema and psoriasis may result from the body trying to push toxins out through the skin.
Dandelion is also a bitter that functions as a Cholagogue. That is, it helps the digestion by increasing the flow of bile released from the gall bladder, which is essential in helping us utilise food nutrients and eliminate waste.
Chinese Herbal Applications
Dandelion is used in cases of jaundice, hepatitis, and red and swollen eyes, as well as urinary tract infection, abscesses, or firm, hard sores in the breasts. It is also said to be effective in increasing the production of mother's milk.
Dandelion leaf has been used for centuries in Europe as a spring tonic (a medicine that invigorates and strengthens all systems) to help to purify the body after a long winter of rich foods and little exercise. The bitter taste of the leaves stimulates bile flow, which enhances liver function.
To make a tea from Dandelion leaves, pour boiling water over two teaspoons of dried Dandelion leaves (or four teaspoons of freshly chopped) and steep for ten minutes. Strain, and drink three to four cups daily as needed. While Dandelion leaf tea is extremely safe, it's always a good idea to increase your intake of potassium-rich foods such as apples, bananas, carrots, oranges, and potatoes when using a diuretic.
As a general tonic and to stimulate digestion, 3-5 grams of the dried root, 5-10ml of a root tincture, or 20-30 drops of a fluid extract can be used three times per day. Some herbalists recommend the alcohol-based tincture or fluid extract because the bitter principles are more soluble in alcohol.
As a mild diuretic or appetite stimulant, 4-10 grams of dried leaves can be added to 1 cup of boiling water and taken as a decoction. 5-10ml of fresh juice from the leaves or 2-5ml of tincture made from the leaves can be used three times per day. The fresh juice is the most effective.
, Jaundice , and Swollen Ankles
For a Dandelion Root Coffee, the roots are never used fresh, but are prepared first. Slice the roots and roast at 180C until fully dried and lightly browned. pour near-boiling water over the roasted root and let steep 5-10 minutes. Standard quantities are 30g dried herb to 500ml water. The Infusion must be taken same day. It may be sweetened, but do not add milk.
Simmer the root for 15-30 minutes and strain. Standard quantities are 75g fresh or 30g dried herb to 500ml water. The Decoction must be used on the same day.
, Chronic Skin Diseases(when combined with Yellow Dock root), Gallbladderand Urinary Disorders , and as a Liver Tonic
A poultice consists of a pulp or paste made by heating chopped fresh, dried, or powdered leaves and flowers with a lttle water. Spread the paste between two layers of gauze and apply (as hot as possible) externally to the affected area. Replace as necessary.
, Acne , Boils , Eczema , Gout , and General Skin Complaints
Apply the juice from the stems onto the affected area.
Dandelion is a safe and nutritious herb widely used throughout the world. No health hazards have been reported when Dandelion is used in designated therapeutic doses.
No interactions have been reported between Dandelion and standard medications.
Because Dandelion acts as a cholagogue, which means that it increases the flow of bile, people with closure of the biliary ducts and other biliary ailments should not use it.
Use in small doses, and take advice from a practitioner if you are using any other medication or suffer from any chronic conditions. Seek medical advice during pregnancy.
Those experiencing fluid or water retention should consult a practitioner before taking Dandelion leaves. people taking the leaves should be sure that their practitioner monitors potassium levels.
The milky latex in the stem and leaves of fresh Dandelion may cause an allergic rash in some individuals.