- Taraxacum officinale L.
- Leontodon taaraxacum, Wigers
- Composite family
Parts Usually Used
Roots, tops, and leaves.
Description of Plant(s) and Culture
is hardly necessary. A familiar weed; 2-18 inches tall.
A small rosette-forming perennial plant with a long thin taproot and
a clump of entire or sinuate leaves. Flowering, leafless, stalk is
hollow, with milky juice. The leaves are jagged-cut. Flowers are yellow;
March to September, or sporadically all year. Seeds form "clocks"
round balls of seeds with parachutes of hairs.
The golden-yellow flower-heads of this poor, despised plant brighten
up fields, hedgerows and many a drab piece of land. Found on lawns,
waste places, throughout the United States and Canada. Native of Europe,
found in most of the world.
Alterative, cholagogue (increase the flow of bile), deobstruent,
diuretic, stomachic, hepatic, laxative, tonic, aperient, (a very mild
laxative), liver and digestive tonic.
Biotin, calcium, choline, fats, gluten, gum, inositol, inulin, iron,
lactupicrine, linolenic acid, magnesium, niacin, PABA, phosphorus,
potash, proteins, resin, sulfur, vitamins A, B1, B2, B5, B6, B9, B12,
C, E, and P, and zinc.
Leaves: bitter glycosides, carotenoids, terpenoids, choline,
potassium salts, iron and other minerals, vitamins A,
B, C, D, G. (contain 7,000 units of Vitamin A per oz.)
(compared with lettuce, 1,200 units per oz. and carrot, 1275 per oz.)
Root: bitter glycosides, tannins, triterpenes, sterols, volatile
oil, choline, asparagin, inulin.
Legends, Myths and Stories
Potassium is often flushed from the body when synthetic diuretics
are taken. But dandelion has an abundance of potassium to off-set
The feathery seed balls of the dandelion were once used by young
girls to determine if their true loves were really true. They would
blow on the dandelion fuzzy ball 3 times; if at least
one of the fuzzy seeds remained, it was taken as an omen that her
sweetheart was thinking about her.
Culpeper says dandelion is "vulgarly called Piss-a-Beds."
Since the 7th century, the Chinese have known about the antibacterial
properties of the juice of the dandelion. Researchers recently discovered
that dandelion may protect against cirrhosis of the liver. In Europe,
the dandelion first appears as being used medicinally in 1485. The
name dandelion was invented by a 15th century surgeon, who compared
the shape of the leaves to a lion's tooth, or dens leonis.
Old timers called dandelion the "King of Weeds."
A French authority claimed that the flowers and stems of dandelion
are "enormously rich in estrogen." Dandelion was brought to the New
World by the early colonists. They used the whole plant. The flowers
made wine, the leaves made salads, the stems and roots dried and used
medicinally. According to stories, dandelion never grows where there
are no human inhabitants. The early pioneers found no trace of them
in western America. After a few years, up sprang a dandelion head
and soon there were millions of them. Native Americans learned to
love them and would walk miles to gather them if they could not be
Dandelion coffee is made of high quality roots, now grown on specialized
farms. Proper harvesting, drying and skillful roasting methods give
dandelion a remarkable roasted flavor that many people readily accept
as a coffee substitute. Dandelion coffee has been found to be of benefit
to dyspeptic people, who cannot tolerate real coffee. The roasted
root has no caffeine, so drink it as often as desired, even as a night
Roasted dandelion root has almost a magical effect upon milk. Steep
1 heaping tsp. of roasted root in 1 cup
of hot, not boiling, milk, for 5 to 10 minutes
and strain. Sweeten if desired. The resultant liquid tastes like rich
cream. Of course with fewer calories. Try on breakfast cereals, it
is great. Also, try this dandelion milk in recipes that call for milk
as an ingredient.
Add 1/4 tsp. powdered licorice to give dandelion milk
a pleasant tang.
A mildly bitter herb that cleanses the bloodstream and liver and
increases the production of bile. A natural diuretic and digestive
aid. Improves function of the pancreas, spleen, stomach and kidneys.
Take for anemia, gall
bladder problems, gout, rheumatism,
jaundice, anemia, cirrhosis,
typhoid fever, neuralgia,
hepatitis, abscesses, boils,
decayed teeth, snakebites,
cramps, fluid retention,
constipation, and breast
May aid in the prevention of breast cancer and age
spots. Reduces serum
cholesterol, and uric acid. The greatest benefit of this herb
is to help detoxify any poisons in the liver, but is also has been
beneficial in lowering
blood pressure. Root is one of the best remedies for treatment
of hepatitis and may be a possible preventative for breast cancer.
Recommended for treating arthritis;
it is said to disperse acidic deposits from the affected joints. To
benefit from this herb, the leaves (slightly bitter) should be eaten
raw in salads; or prepare an infusion in the usual way. Also, the
'milk' from the hollow stalks of this plant may be applied with good
effect to all pimples, canker
sores, ulcers, edema, and
Dried root thought to be weaker, often roasted as coffee substitute.
Dried leaf tea is a folk laxative. Experimentally, root is hypoglycemic,
weak antibiotic against yeast
infections (Candida albican), stimulates flow of bile and weight
loss. All plant parts have served as food. Leaves and flowers
are rich in vitamins A and C. Boil leaves
and serve like spinach.
In Chinese medicine, dandelion is regarded as a blood
cleanser, tonic, diabetes,
and digestive aid. It is
ground and applied as a poultice to snake bites.
Formulas or Dosages
Combine dandelion root, ginseng, and ginger root taken along with
a sound nutritional diet will help people suffering from low
blood sugar. Take a cup of this blend of tea, using either extracts
or dried herbs, 3 times a day. The white sap from fresh
plants is corrosive and can be effective against warts.
Hearty spring salads are quite effective. Gather the fresh dandelion
leaves, the young stinging nettle leaves (Urtica dioica), and the
birch leaves that are just unfolding. Mince the leaves and add this
healthful green seasoning to any clear or thickened soup, vegetable
stew, or salad shortly before serving. Sprinkle the finely chopped
dandelion leaves onto a piece of buttered bread, mix them with farmer's
cheese or another soft cheese, or put them on potatoes. If eaten regularly,
you will be stimulating your body metabolism.
Dandelion root tea: Pour 8 oz. (1/4 L)
of cold water over 2 heaping tsp. of the root plus aerial
parts, bring slowly to a boil, let steep for 10 to 15
minutes, then strain. Drink 2 cups of tea per
day; after breakfast or with breakfast, and before going to bed.
Fresh dandelion juice makes a good spring tonic. Flowers make dandelion
Calcium, fats, iron, magnesium, niacin, phosphorus, proteins, vitamins
A, B1, B2, B5, B6, B9, B12, C, E, and P, and zinc.
Rich in potassium and lecithin.
Capsules: take 1 capsule 3 times per day.
Extract: mix 10 to 30 drops in juice or water daily.
Contact dermatitis reported from handling the plant, probably caused
by the latex in the stems and leaves.