Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is a common flowering plant belonging to the Asteraceae family, which includes sunflowers and daisies. It is native to Europe and Asia but has become naturalized in many regions worldwide, including North America. Dandelion is well-known for its distinctive bright yellow flowers, deeply toothed leaves and spherical seed heads composed of fluffy, wind-dispersed seeds.

History of Dandelion

Dandelion as a medicine was first mentioned in the works of the Arabian physicians of the tenth and eleventh centuries, who speak of it as a sort of wild Endive (Daisy), under the name of Taraxcacon. In the West we find reference to Dandelion in the Welsh medicines of the thirteenth century. Dandelion was much valued as a medicine in the times of Gerard and Parkinson, two historical figures known for their contributions to the field of botany and herbal medicine. Dandelion is still extensively used today.

Medicinal Uses of Dandelion

Dandelion for Liver Health

Dandelion root has long been used on the Continent, and the plant is cultivated widely in India as a remedy for liver complaints.

Daniel Mowrey PH.D, author of “The Scientific Validation of Herbal Medicine” states, “Dandelion heads the list of excellent foods for the liver.” The herb has been used for centuries to treat jaundice and the yellowing of the skin that comes with liver dysfunction, cirrhosis, hepatitis and liver disease. Modern naturopathic physicians use dandelion to detoxify the liver and reduce the side effects of prescription medications.

Other Health Benefits of Dandelion

Liver function isn’t the only use of this nutritious plant. Dandelion root is also used to treat infections, swelling, water retention, breast problems, gallbladder problems, pneumonia and viruses. Studies have shown that dandelion stimulates bile flow and has a mild diuretic effect.

Properties of Dandelion Root

Dandelion is on the FDA’s list of safe foods and is approved by the Council of Europe.

The chief constituents of Dandelion root are; Taraxacin, acrystalline and Taraxacerin, an acrid resin, with Inulin (a sort of sugar which replaces starch in many of the Dandelion family, (Compositae), gluten, gum and potash. It contains substantial levels of; vitamin Avitamin Cvitamin Dvitamin B complexironmagnesiumzinc, potassiummanganese, choline, calcium and boron.

Diuretic, tonic and slightly aperient (gentle laxative), Dandelion root is a general stimulant to the system, especially to the urinary organs. This is why it’s chiefly used in kidney and liver disorders.

Dandelion is used in many patented medicines. Due to it not being poisonous, quite big doses of Dandelion root preparations may be taken. The beneficial action of Dandelion root is best obtained when combined with other agents.

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Dandelion Herb Notes / Side Effects

Because of dandelion’s diuretic effect, women who are pregnant or breast-feeding may want to avoid it.

Dandelion may intensify the blood sugar-lowering effect of the diabetes drug, glipizide. Use with caution. If taken in large quantities, (much more than commonly recommended), it may cause a skin rash, diarrhea, heartburn, or stomach discomfort. Stop using the herb if these reactions occur.

Avoid if your doctor has advised you that you have a gallbladder problem, a blockage or inflammation of the bile duct, or an obstruction of the bowel, (often signalled by persistent constipation or lack of bowel movements). Also, don’t use dandelion during an acute gallstone attack as this requires professional medical treatment.

Latin Names

Taraxacum officinale, Leotodon taraxacum

Common Names

Dandelion, Blowball, Canker Wort, Irish Daisy, Lion’s Tooth, Puffball, Wild Endive.

Properties of Dandelion Root

Diuretic, tonic and slightly aperient (mild laxative).

Dandelion Root Uses

Anemia, constipation, gallstones, kidney and liver disorders, jaundice and the yellowing of the skin that comes with liver dysfunction, cirrhosis, hepatitis and liver disease, encourages normal digestion.

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