Dandelion Herbal Information
ALSO KNOWN AS
pise-en-lit, pee-the-bed, lion's tooth, fairy clock, blowball, cankerwort, priest's crown, puffball, swine snout, white endive, wild endive.
Root or leaf.
TRADITIONAL HERBAL USES AND MEDICINAL PROPERTIES
Dandelion is known primarily for its action on the kidneys and liver, it is a herbal tonic for both of these systems. Dandelion flushes out the renal system (kidneys and bladder), assisting with the release of water retention and toxicity. It also stimulates the flow of bile in the liver, which assists with the breaking down of fats and the removal of toxins. As a liver tonic, it also relieves the congestion of the liver and gall bladder.
Dandelion is a powerful diuretic, and its action is comparable to the action of the commercially used diuretic drug frusemide. Unfortunately frusemide draws on the bodies vital potassium source which aggravates any cardio vascular problems present. Where as Dandelion will act as a diuretic and is a rich source of potassium. It is safe to take for the water retention that exists as a part of an existing heart condition.
FOLKLORE AND HISTORY
Dandelion was first mentioned in Chinese herbals as late as the 7th century, it was used by the Arabian physicians of the 10th and 11th centuries and in Europe it first appears in the Ortus Sanitatis of 1485.
Dandelion's common name was apparently invented by a 15th century surgeon, who compared the shape of the leaves to a lion's tooth, or dens lionis.
In the West, the root and leaves are distinct remedies, but the Chinese use the whole plant, which they call pu gong ying; it is used as a galactagogue ( an agent that induces the flow of breast milk). Dandelion is believed to clear heat and toxins from the blood and is also used for boils and abscesses.
Dandelion leaves may be used as a salad vegetable, particularly in spring. The root, when roasted, can be used as a coffee substitute, and the flowers are often used to make wine.
Leaf: bitter glycosides, carotenoids (including lutein and violaxanthin), terpenoids, choline, potassium salts, iron and other minerals, Vitamins, A, B, C, D (the vitamin A content is higher than that of carrots).
Root: bitter glycosides (taraxacin), tannins, triterpenes (including taraxol and taraxsterol), phytosterols, volatile oil, choline, asparagine, carbohydrates (including inulin, up to 40% in autumn, 2% in spring; sugars), pectin, phenolic acids, vitamins, potassium.
TYPICAL PREPARATIONS AND DOSAGE
Tonic for liver or gallbladder:
3 - 5 g dandelion root made as a decoction, taken 3 times per day.
5 - 10 ml tincture taken 3 times per day.
Used as a diuretic:
4 - 10 g dried Dandelion leaves infused into 1 cup of boiling water, left to sit for 10 - 15 minutes. Then drink as tea, sweeten if required.
Dandelion is contraindicated where there is occlusion of the bile ducts or gall bladder empyema. Please consult a herbal practitioner when wishing to take dandelion in the cases of liver disease or oedema of a medical nature.