Dandelion is a bitter tonic that’s known for its detoxifying effects. It helps eliminate toxins, pollutants and wastes from the kidney and liver. Blood and tissues are cleansed in the process. The bitter root and leaves also help the digestive system. Dandelion may be used in the treatment of liver diseases, such as hepatitis and jaundice. It may relieve symptoms connected with a sluggish liver, such as skin problems and headaches. It is used to treat gallbladder infections and stimulate the excretion of insulin in the pancreas. The leaves are an effective diuretic that help in cases of fluid retention and prostate or urinary problems.
Common Name of the Herb: Dandelion
Latin Name: Taraxacum officinale
Parts Used: roots, flower head and leaves
Actions: Diuretic, hepatic, digestive and liver tonic, stimulant, and antirheumatic
Preparation and Use: Place two to three teaspoons of the dried roots into one cup of water. Bring it up to a boil, then let it simmer for ten to fifteen minutes. The young leaves may be eaten in a salad. In tincture form, take 1-2 droppersful three times a day.
Cautions and Limitations of Use:
- Dandelion is generally considered to be a relatively gentle herb without any serious side effects
- Juice extracted from the stems or roots is a very strong diuretic and may cause nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, and diarrhea.
- If you have gall bladder disease, consult your health professional before taking dandelion root
- Caution for all herbs and foods: Stop using if you experience symptoms of allergy. Seek emergency medical attention if you experience symptoms of a serious allergic reaction including difficulty breathing; closing of your throat; swelling of your lips, tongue, or face; or hives. People who are allergic to other foods in the asteraceas family may be allergic to dandelion. Consult your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking prescription medications, regarding possible interactions.
- If in doubt about the safety of any herb, consult a doctor with special knowledge and experience with herbs.
- Constituents: Bitter glycosides, terpenoids, carotenoids, choline, iron, potassium salts, minerals, tannins, triterpenes, sterols, asparagin, inulin, and Vitamins A, B, C, and D
- Growing the Herb: dandelion should be planted in spring. It is grown from seeds, or from replanting the wild plants found almost everywhere.
- How to Gather: The roots are best harvested in mid to late summer. That’s the time that they are the bitterest. The leaves can be collected anytime of the year but they are best in early summer and spring.
- Other English Common Names: Blowball, common dandelion, cankerwort, dandelion herb, leontodon taracum, pissenlit, lion’s tooth, priest’s crown, taraxaci herba, swine snout, wild endive, fairy clock
- Where it Grows: Dandelion grows in the wild in most parts of the world, and is often found growing in lawns.
- How to Identify: The leaves are five to twenty-five centimeters long and form a rosette above the central taproot. The flower heads are yellow to orange in color. They open during the day and close for the night.