Dandelion – Taraxacum officinale
Habitat: Widely distributed throughout most of the world as a troublesome weed.
Collection: The roots are best collected between June and August when they are at their bitterest. Split longitudinally before drying. The leaves may be collected at any time.
Part Used: Root or leaf
- Sesquiterpene lactones; taraxacoside (an acylated g-butyrolactone glycoside) & at least 4 others of the eudesmanolide, germacranolide & tetragydroridentin types
- Triterpenes; taraxol, taraxerol, y-tarazasterol, b-amyrin, stigmasterol, b-sitosterol
- Phenolic acids; caffeic and r-hydroxyphenylacetic acids
- Polysaccharides; glucans and mannans and inulin
- Carotenoids such as lutein and violaxanthin
Actions: Diuretic, hepatic, cholagogue, anti-rheumatic, laxative, tonic, bitter.
Indications: Dandelion leaf is a very powerful diuretic, its action comparable to that of the drug Frusemide. The usual effect of a drug stimulating the kidney function is a loss of vital potassium from the body, which aggravates any cardio-vascular problem present. With Dandelion, however, we have one of the best natural sources of potassium. It thus makes an ideally balanced diuretic that may be used safely wherever such an action is needed, including in cases of water retention due to heart problems.
As a hepatic & cholagogue Dandelion root may be used in inflammation and congestion of liver and gallbladder. It is specific in cases of congestive jaundice. As part of a wider treatment for muscular rheumatism it can be most effective. This herb is a most valuable general tonic and perhaps the best widely applicable diuretic and liver tonic. Ellingwood recommends the root for the following patholgies: chronic jaundice, auto-intoxication, rheumatism, blood disorders, chronic skin eruptions, chronic gastritis, aphthous ulcers.
Combinations: For liver and gallbladder. problems it may be used with Barberry or Balmony. For water retention it may be used with Couchgrass or Yarrow.
Preparations & Dosage: Decoction: put 2-3 teaspoonfuls of the root into one cup of water, bring to boil and gently simmer for 10-15 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day. The leaves may be eaten raw in salads.
Tincture: take 5-10 ml of the tincture three times a day.