Common Name: Dandelion | Scientific Name: Taraxacum Officinalis

Family: Compositae

RESOURCES
Dosage and Duration
Fact sheet
Chapter from Thirty Plants That Can Save Your Life
Chapter from Healing Plants of the Bible
Eclectic Notes


Dosage and Duration

Dandelion is very safe and can be used for extended periods of time. It stimulates the organs of waste excretion half shortly after it is used so it has immediate effects against water retention and constipation. As a tonic and to clean up a human waste depot, it must be used long term. It should be used for a month before its effects are evaluated. Three doses per day for all purposes.

Dried dandelion root: boil one tablespoon in one cup of water for ten minutes. Strain and drink.

Tableted dandelion root: (2) 500 mg tablets

Tincture 1:5: one teaspoon(5ml)

Tincture 1:1 20 drops


Fact Sheet

Dandelion

Taraxacum officinale

Parts Used: Root

Remember This: Human Dust Buster

Reasonable uses : toxin mover, toxin remover, cleansing agent, to increase the liver and kidneys removal of toxins from circulation, constipation, reduce water retention, lack of vitality due to toxin retention, poor complexion .

History and Traditional Uses .

Its tiny, parachute-tufted seeds have helped dandelion blow itself to the four corners of the globe, and wherever it lands, people usually make it into vitality tonics.

Dandelions scientific name comes from the Greek words for “disorder” and “remedy.” The Greeks felt that no matter what ailed you, dandelion would help In China, dandelion has been used to treat serious conditions for more than 1,000 years. Globally people believe dandelion stimulates the organs of waste excretion, and with the toxins out of the body, health and vitality shines through.

Scientific Back Up

Dandelion contains sterols, flavonoids, mucilage, and compounds called eudesmanolides which are unique to it. The unique cocktail of compounds found in the plant have been established to stimulate the immune system, increase the liver and kidneys cleansing of the blood, and act as anti-cancer agents. The ancients said that dandelion increased “wellness” be ridding the body of waste and lab workers have backed them up.

Herbalists use it to……

Clean Up a Personal Toxic Dump

Some people live the life of a garbage pail. They pour every known toxin in their mouth and, surprise, surprise, their health begins to slip. Sometimes for some unknown reason, these self-destructors see the light and clean up their act. Herbalists recommend these folks use dandelion to get the garbage out of their system and thereby reclaim their health.

Loosen the constipated

Dandelion contains compounds which increase the livers production of bile, the bodies own natural laxative! With regular use people make more regular visits to the toilet.

Dry water retainers

Dandelion contains sugars which act as diuretics, that is they increase the kidneys production of urine. Increased urination means reduced fluid in the tissues. For most woman water retention is cyclical. Dandelion can be used to reduce cycle based bloating.

Energise the Weary

If you feel run down, tired, and lethargic all the time and for no good reason, dandelion may be the tonic for you. It stimulates the liver which results in increased energy levels. Herbalists find it gives an energy boost to those that find their get up and go has gone for no apparent reason.

Dosage and Duration

Dandelion is very safe and can be used for extended periods of time. It stimulates the organs of waste excretion half shortly after it is used so it has immediate effects against water retention and constipation. As a tonic and to clean up a human waste depot, it must be used long term. It should be used for a month before its effects are evaluated. Three doses per day for all purposes.

Dried dandelion root: boil one tablespoon in one cup of water for ten minutes. Strain and drink.

Tableted dandelion root: (2) 500 mg tablets

Tincture 1:5: one teaspoon(5ml)

Tincture 1:1 20 drops

Shopping tips

When purchasing dandelion tincture make certain the labeling states dandelion root. If it does not make this plain move on until you find one that does. Avoid products containing other herbs.

Warning

Dandelion increases bile flow which can be a problem for people with obstructed gallbladder ducts. If you know you have gall bladder disease, avoid dandelion.

Alternatives

Constipation: Slipper Elm(Ulnus fulva)

Water retention: Astragalus(Astragalus membranaceous)


Chapter from Thirty Plants That Can Save Your Life

Dandelion

The dandelion is a plant that everyone knows, even the people that have never seen greenery save in a public park. The dandelion lives on all continents, sprouting up in yards worldwide. Though the dandelion has made the world its home with its blowing puffy balls of seeds, it’s actually native to Asia . Over the centuries of trade the dandelion is likely to have spread from the Orient to Persia , then on to Arabia, then on to Europe, and from Europe to all points by way of the colonials. It’s hard to imagine a world without the dandelion. Most of us hate the dandelion, the curse of the front yard. How sad that we hate the dandelion, it is a leader in the tonic hall of fame.

The name dandelion derives from Dent de Lyon, the lions tooth. If you look not so closely at the leaf, you understand the reference. No one is quite sure when people started calling it that, but in an herbal dating to 1488, the author, Johann von Cube, calls the plant Dens leonis, so however it got started, the name has stuck for almost five hundred years.

But look at the list of synonyms: blow ball, peasants clock, cankerroot, down-head, yellow gowan, witches gowan, milk vetich, swine snout, puff ball, lion’s tooth, white wild endive, priest’s crown.

The plant is tough and adaptable, manifested in its colonialization of the entire world. The dandelion has an interesting physical feature built in, the plant grows in a funnel shape so that any water that falls rolls right down to the plant’s center, towards the root, exactly where it is needed. The seeds, which have a helicopter built, fly from the plant in every direction, another plant adaptation that makes the plant impossible to eradicate. One white bloom hit with a good gust of wind can start 200 or more new plants. Built to last, I like to say.

When you start looking into the top tonic plants the world has known, you realize that these same plants are surrounded with myth and legend. The dandelion is no exception, take a look at some of the myths collected in Utah by a folklorist:

“If a dandelion held under the chin, reflects yellow onto the skin, it means you like butter.”

“Blow dandelion fluff three times, and the number of seeds left tell you what time of day it is.”

“If you can blow the fluff off the dandelion in one puff, your mother needs you at home.”

A commonly held belief is that the dandelion captures and holds the power of the sun. The plant is said to trap the sun’s energy, and store it in its leaves, root, and flower.

Shockheaded dandelion,

That drank the fire of the sun:

Hawkweed and marigold,

Cornflower and campion.

Robert Bridges

Dandelions have been said to predict just about anything you can imagine, from the weather to the number of children a bride will have. The important part here is that the plants were so powerful that people thought they had to be magical, and many magical traits were conveyed onto the plants. Many people use the fact that these plants have superstitious beliefs attached to them as a means to discredit their folk medicinal beliefs, this is a mistake. When a culture bothers to create myths around a plant it is because the plant has proven to have some power.

Let’s look at some of the health powers of dandelion. In that the plant is grown worldwide, we have a large selection of uses to study. Let’s go back to Utah and see what the folklorists found there.

“Herb tea to remain strong in old age: peppermint, dandelion greens, spearmint, alfalfa. Dry tea, steep, but do not boil, honey may be added to improve the taste,” told by a seventy year old man from Logan , Utah .

“In the spring dig dandelion and brown the roots, then make drink from them. Make at tea from the tops of the plant. Dandelions prepared this way, they are very good in organizing the blood in the spring, clear the blood for the summer from the winter thickness,” told by an 86 year old woman from Providence , Utah .

“To purify your blood, boil dandelion roots and hip roots into a kind of root beer. Add yeast and sweeten it.”

“Parsley tea and dandelion greens are good for the kidneys,” told by an 87 year old informant from Province, Utah .

“To cure rheumatism, drink tea made out of dandelion greens.”

“Dandelion juice and alcohol is good against sprains and problems with the joints.”

You will notice the informants from Utah were all packing some age, which tends to be the case. The younger generation in America never learned the home treatments that were available in the yard.

The notion of purifying blood with the dandelions springs from an old medical notion of feeling but not knowing. People could feel sluggish but didn’t always know what the sluggishness was from, nor did they care. They had the solution growing out in the field. In this case dandelion greens.

Knowing full well my readers out there are nodding their heads saying “yeah right, dandelions, the things I dig up every spring and toss out, could save my life. I think we will do a little globe trotting and check out what other people have said on the topic.

Next stop, Santa Fe .

The region we now call New Mexico , the upper Rio Grande was once a place of wild cultural interaction. The Spanish settlers met and mixed with the Native Americans, the cultures shared information and a cultural marriage occurred. The time is the 1820s, the place the parched land of the New Mexican landscape.

Dandelions came to New Mexico with the Spaniards, but the Native Americans quickly learned of the plant’s usefulness. Chicoria as it was known, was used for both food and medicine. To cure heart trouble the yellow blooms were collected and boiled in water until the water turned bright yellow, then the liquid was allowed to sit out of doors over night, then a glassful drunk every morning for a solid month. The yellow of these teas appealed to the Indians and they used the same flowers to dye deer skins yellow.

Travel a few miles in the other direction, to San Ildefonso Pueblo, and we find the mothers of the villages grinding the leaves of the dandelion and applying the paste to broken bones, wrapping the wound with bandages encrusted with the fresh leaves. The feeling was that this dandelion poultice speeded healing. In Santa Clara , ground dandelion leaves were added to dough and applied to really bad bruises to take the blood out.

Moving northward on the map and backwards in the history books, our next stop is French Canada. In 1748 the Swede, Peter Kalm, traveled by foot and canoe from the last American fort, Fort Nicholson in Albany to the first French fort, Fort St. Frederic, in French Canada. The trip was quite an adventure, bearing in mind there was nothing but wilderness between the two points. Let’s say it was one of the first outward bound kind of trips ever taken. Our friend Peter was a botanist, at least in heart, and guess what he found in French Canada? the dandelion. He said the Frenchman has carried the plant to the new world and were using the roots of “dent de lyon” as a bitter addition to a healthful tonic salad.

Let’s move downward on the map and on the time line to Pennsylvania , mid eighteenth century. Here we find a large group of Mennonites, having fled Germany due to religious persecution. The Mennonites believed killing was against God’s orders, and refused the draft in Prussia , for which they were shown the door. To Russia , and North and South America they flew. With them came Pissabet or bittera tzelaut, the dandelion. The young plant was used as the first green eaten in spring as a tonic for the whole body. This was rather smart of the Deutche, the leaf contains six or seven times more units of vitamin A per ounce than lettuce or carrots, and it is also a source of vitamins B and C.

In the Mennonite home the dandelion was the chief home remedy for any kidney or liver trouble a person might be having. If the liver was acting up, manifested by jaundice or yellowing of the skin, dandelion was immediately administered.

These Germans, soon to be called the Pennsylvania Dutch, held a superstitious belief that also came from the muterland. They felt that one had to eat dandelions on Green Thursday or Maundy Thursday as it was called, to ensure good health through the coming year. Maundy Thursday is the Thursday of the Holy Week celebrating Christ’s last supper. To this day, dandelions are the vegetable du jour on Maundy Thursday on the Pennsylvania Dutch dining table. Health is important to those that work the land with their hands and backs, and dandelions are one of the ingredients used by these refugees.

Next stop, a Shaker village, middle of the 19th century. A very interesting group of people that came from England and picked up some converts along the way. The group was into helping people, doing service, and making the world a nicer place. They got into the herb business and became famous for their health products. It seems in 1837, one such group offered for sale in their catalogue “Taraxacum Blue Pills.” I’m not certain what the common blue pill was, but in the catalogue the proprietor happily states his taraxacum blue pill has, “nearly double the effect upon the liver and its secretions as the common blue pill.” Taraxacum by the by, refers to the plant’s scientific name, taraxacum officinalis.

At approximately the same moment in time in a different Shaker village, a certain Mr. Fowler is recorded to have processed 6 or 8 thousand pounds of herbs into extracts to be sold to the failing of health. He says that that year the demand for extract of dandelion was far greater than any other herb, totaling 3700 pounds. To make a pound of extract requires 10 pounds of dandelions, this poor old boy was out digging dandelions in big buckets.

The Shakers felt that dandelion helped the liver, and from the records of their sales of dandelion products, the public, who commissioned them to make the stuff, felt the same way. These communities of do-gooders didn’t believe in having sex, and with the universal theme taken out of the picture they had a lot of time to get real clear on what plant was good for what condition. Their recommendation is a serious one.

Last stop in North America, the Delaware Valley . As we all know, all it takes is one house in the neighborhood with a health patch of dandelions, and everyone has them. As the white man set up outposts and planted the dandelion, the seed caught the wind and before you know it, they were springing up in the Native Americans’ backyards. The Native Americans quickly got into the act and the Delaware Indians found the dandelion the most excellent spring tonic. The Tewa tribe found the same to be true and esteemed the leaves in spring salads.

Fasten your seatbelt, our next flight is an international one, we have to fly south to the Spanish Americas where we have a number of stops to make. As in New Mexico , the dandelion arrived to the South American continent with the Spaniards, who planted the plant in New Mexico . Costa Rica is rather famous for its herb markets, as the climate produces an incredible range of fruits, herbs, and vegetables, the scene is a melange of wild color, filled with exotic foods, animals running about, children and country people buying the food for the day. And what do we have? a medicinal herb seller in the San Jose farmers market selling dandelions to be used for diabetes.

In our next farmers market, located in Guatemala , we find not one but two different dandelions being sold by the fresh medicine man. A narrow leaved dandelion, called diente de leon , is being sold as a tonic for all over body health. A second variety, called amargon, is being sold as a salad green and is directed to be boiled with water to make a blood strengthener, especially in the case of anemia. In Brazil , the Portuguese brother of this Guatemalan herbsman says the same thing, dandelion is the blood purifier, with added benefits of treating liver problems, scurvy, and any urinary complaint that might be present.

Moving up to Mexico we find the entire plant for sale at the herb market, the herb salesman instructs that the plant should be boiled in sweetened water to increase the appetite, tone the body, get rid of excess water due to menstruation and other causes, and to overcome liver problems and the resulting skin problems.

Let’s jump a flight and make our next stop, the center of the soon to be British empire, its not an empire yet, but it’s on the way.

The dandelion traveled from the Orient in a year that no one knows. The plant is mentioned by Rhazes in the tenth, by Avicanna in the eleventh centuries, and was used in Welsh medicine in the 13th century. By the time we arrive in Britain , it’s been around for awhile.

The year is 1633, disease and urban squalor are on the rise. Herbalists are working themselves into a frenzy to deal with all the illness. An herbalist, Gerard, is working on a new manual to assist other herbalists. Let’s see what he has down in the chapter on dandelions.

“It is cold, but it drieth more, and doth withall cleanse , and open by reason for the bitterness which it hath joyned with it: and therefore it is good for those things for which Succory is.

“Boiled, it strengthens the weak stomach, and eaten raw it stops the belley, and helps the Dysentery, especially being boiled with Lentils.

“The juice drunk is good against the involuntary effusion of seed; boiled in vinegar, it is good against the pain that troubles some in making of water; a decoction made of the whole plant helps the yellow jaundice.

Gerard indicates that dandelion is a body cleanser, a diuretic, and very good in treating liver troubles manifest in the yellowing of the skin. Remember, when the liver isn’t working, its doesn’t get all the junk out of the skin, and the result is toxins build up in the skin. This leads to the yellow coloration.

In Thackeray, Philip, II., we find an interesting quote that reflects Gerard’s opinion:

“You are bilious, my good man, go and pay a guinea to one of the doctors in those houses, he will prescribe taraxacum for you.”

Taraxacum, the old English word for dandelion, has its root in the Greek word taraxis, or trouble. The British notion was that when your health troubled you, dandelion was the cure. This may be culturally very true as alcoholism and cirrhosis of the liver are common problems in England , and dandelion is said to help the liver out.

Let’s imagine the British Empire has come and is about to go, the English scientists have come to the conclusion that dandelion does, in fact, stimulate the flow of bile into the duodenum, and helps the liver eliminate toxins and lessen congestion in that all too important organ. The improved liver function sees a return of healthy skin, or so they say. Mid 18th century, dandelion is also used to treat rheumatism, a belief shared by Americans some years later. The plant was listed in the British pharmacopia until recently as a bitter tonic, the taraxacin and insulin contained in the plant useful in treating diabetes, experimentally proven to lower blood sugar levels. They liked it so much, they imported the roots from Germany . The German roots were said to be the best, often the size of parsnips. By the by, if we had time we would skip over to Ireland , and find that they use the plant for the same things, health and liver function. The Irish stipulate the root should be dug in the fall.

Lets board the Orient Express and see what the Chinese have to say about dandelion. It is their plant originally and they have been working with it for the longest period of time, so they should have it all wrapped up. Oh my, here’s a list handed to me by a Chinese scientist reporting all the actions the annoying weed can have on the body:

diuretic

hypoglycemic

antispasmodic

anticancer

choleretic

antibacterial

antifungal activities

Somehow I knew a trip to the homeland would prove interesting.

The dandelion is, in fact, well known in China , it may have originated in the Yangtze Valley as it is found there growing great guns, but due to its happy habits, it can be found all over China growing on the side of fields and in waste places. The names for the plant in China , should you be there and want to impress your Chinese hosts, are as follows:

chiang nou tsao: plowing and hoeing weed

chin tsan tsao: golden hair pin weeed

huang hua ti ting: yellow flowered earth nail

kou ju tsao: dogs milk weed

It comes as no surprise that the dandelion is mentioned in all sorts of ancient documents, including the pentsao and the tang materia medica. Like on our other stops, the dandelion has been both food and medicine.

The Chinese feel the active ingredients of this plant enter through the liver and stomach channels, and it is there they do the most good. The plant is said to “clear heat and detoxify fire poison” from the liver, dissolve tumors of all sorts, and increase the amount of milk a mother produces. Speaking of breasts, the dandelion has been used to treat breast cancer for over 1100 years. Other uses of note in China:

cancer

abscesses

appendicitis

boils

caries

dermatitis

fever

inflammation

leucorrhea

liver

mastitis

scrofula

stomach ache

snakebite

While we are here we might as well go into the lab and see what the Chinese scientists have tacked down about the dandelion.

- Dandelion extract has in vitro bactericidal effect against Staphylococcus aureus, even when these bacteria were resistant to other antimicrobials. It has an in vitro bactericidal effect against Streptococcus pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Shigella spp., Neisseria meningitidis, Corynebacterium diphtheriae,

inhibitory activity against Mycobacterium tuberculosis, ECHO virus, and Leptospira.

- Root, leaves, juice, and extracts were effective in treating infections of various kinds (e.g., upper respiratory infections, pneumonia, chronic bronchitis, hepatitis, etc.) with few side effects (Kiangsu-2459).

It stands to reason that if the liver is in good functioning order, cleaning out all the toxins known to cause cancer, dandelion may indeed be a cancer preventative herb. Back to staying well, it’s interesting to note that the plant has been proven to kill bacteria, which is in effect purifying the blood. Our friends in Utah would be happy to know that dandelion does indeed clean the blood out of the things we don’t want there. We won’t bother going to India on this trip, but they share the same beliefs the rest of the world does, dandelion is good for the liver and staying well.

Dandelions are not plants that you have to mail order or buy at the garden center, all you could ever use are available free for the picking. In fact, Most of your neighbors will be more than happy to share their bounty of the not so ornamental blooms around the yard. Remember, the companies that come and spray lawns are not your friends when it comes to collection dandelions, the stuff they put down is toxic to all involved, and using dandelions treated with their spray of death could lead to yours. Only collect dandelions from insecticide and herbicide free ground. You can buy them at the nature food store, but by the time you drive their, park the car, shop and make the return trip, you could have picked some fresh herb. For your tonic they are best collected in the fall after they have spent the season soaking up sun, or power, as I like to think about it. The whole plant should be gathered and tossed into your tonic plot nice and fresh, or they can be dried in the sun for later use.

I grow a patch of dandelions so I have them on hand whenever I need them, and if you like those tres chic bitter greens offered at fancy restaurants, dandelions are the easiest of the bitter greens to grow. Go gather some roots and plant a good row of them in the garden. Once they are well established, which won’t take long, cover the plants with straw for two weeks, remove the straw and gather for salad. The absence of light blanches the leaves to a white yellow, reducing the bitter contents to the point the plant is a little more pleasant to eat.


Chapter from Healing Plants of the Bible

Dandelion

Taraxacum officinalis

Compositae

Exodus 12:18 and they shall eat the flesh in that night, and unleavened bread and with bitter herbs they shall eat.

Numbers 9: 11 eat it with unleavened and bitter herbs .

Hey, we are back to bitter herbs and the Israelites living on the run. There were a number of bitter herbs available while the Israelites were running away from the Pharaoh, chicory and dandelion being just two. The Hebrew word m’rorim found in these lines refers to a bitter tasting plant, and some argue that the plant in question was the dandelion.

When you are running for your life, your main concern is keeping on the move. You eat that which presents itself to be eaten. Picky eaters on this run would have died en route. Both chicory and dandelion grew wild and were edible. Edible in the sense you would not die from eating them and they would keep you alive. I didn’t say palatable or preferable. Dandelion greens are an acquired taste. You will notice that they are only mentioned in the context of having been eaten in a time of great duress. Nobody in the Bible praises these two plants as a delicacies. They do not come up in the Song of Songs as many of the biblical treasures were. The bitter herbs were survival food and this title befits the dandelion.

Though the Israelites may not have gone out to collect a basket of dandelion for the salad bowel, they would have gone out to get some to use as medicine. The scientific name for the plant, Taraxacum, is derived from the Greek work taraxacum, which is actually to words put together. Taraxo means disorder, and akos means remedy. The general translation is “heal all things”. It was used to stimulate general well being and to treat specific conditions. Before we probe the plants medicinal actions we will have a look at dandelion’s rather incredible history.

Firstly, wherever you are reading this book, the dandelion grows near you and with no help from man. The plant is native to China though its range is currently the entire planet. The leaves are saw shaped with prominent teeth. It gets its name as a result of the teeth on its leaf. The name dandelion derives from dent de lion, or lions tooth.

People in America have waged a war on the dandelion, and despite millions of pounds of toxic herbicide, they still exist in abundance. The plant is tough and was designed for survival and proliferation. The leaves are arranged in a swirl pattern that is perfectly arranged so rain water swirls down to the root of the plant. What ever rain falls goes right to where it is needed. The root is deep driving and difficult to get out of the ground. If pulled, some of the root always stays in the ground. One tiny piece of root is enough to start a new plant. Let us not forget the seed head which can carry as many as 1000 seeds. Each of the seeds has its own parachute so the individual seeds blow far and wide in pursuit of a new home. One fuzzy dandelion head can ruin many a lawn.

Historically speaking, the dandelion is well spoken of as a result of its healing powers. It has been used from China to North Africa for medicine since before the written record. The root and the leaf are used. The root is used to stimulate the livers production of bile and the leaf to get the kidneys flushing fluid out of the system. Because the liver and kidney are responsible for getting toxins out of the system, the plant was called a blood purifier. Many conditions spring from poor liver and kidney function and dandelion has been used to treat all of these. This is old medicine and its time to stroll down memory lane. Rhazes mentions it in the tenth century and Avicenna mentions it in the eleventh century. It was a mainstay in Welsh medicine in the thirteenth century. An herbal written in 1488 by Johann von Cube refers to the plant as Dens leonis.

Gerard knew the plant well and insists the plant is cleansing, a notion held by all European physicians. “It is cold, but it drieth more, and doth withall cleanse , and open by reason of the bitterness which it hath ioyned with it: and therefore it is good for those things for which Succory is.(Chicory) A decoction made of the whole plant helps the yellow jaundice. Boiled, it strengthens the weak stomach, boiled in vinegar, it is good against the pain that troubles some in making of water.” Gerard mentions that chicory and dandelion are similar in their action, which is true. They are both members of the Compositae family, they were eaten by the Israelites, and they have a bitter taste.

The Shakers are most commonly known for the furniture they made in the last century. One might think they were preoccupied with furniture manufacture, but, in fact, they started out as a health food producing group. They came from England where people were rotting in the nineteenth century industrial cities. They believed that the departure from natural living was killing mankind. They escaped urban England and formed “back to nature” religious communes in America . They kept the communes open by collecting, processing, and selling medicinal plants. They felt they served God by providing people with health restoring medicines. In those days there were no chemical medicines, only botanical drugs. The doctors in America and Europe became dependant on the Shaker drugs as they were seen as being the best. The Shakers brought old herbals like Gerard’s from England and used them as recipe books to make medicines.

The Shakers manufactured a blue pill which was a compound dandelion tablet to improve liver function, to clear the skin, and treat rheumatism. Here is a quote from a Shaker journal dating to 1827. In the quote we learn dandelion was one of their biggest sellers. ” Mr. Fowler informs us that the amount of extracts manufactured at their establishment annually was about 6 or 8 thousand pounds, but since their improvements in apparatus and manipulations, this amount has been greatly increased, and the quality improved. Extract of taraxacum (dandelion) is in the greatest demand, their product in this article amounting the past year to 3700 pounds.”

The early American medical schools were set up by English doctors and English medicines were naturally used. The American Eclectic physicians liked the dandelion and used it a lot. Dr.Fyfe said that it should be used in the following conditions. “Atonic conditions of the gastro-intestinal tract; torpor or engorgement of the liver or spleen; chronic diseases of the skin. Taraxacum dens-leonis is tonic, hepatic, stimulant, diuretic, and laxative.”

In the book entitled “Indian Drug Plants”, published in Madras 1908, we find that the Indians also used the plant in medicine. ” The root is official and it is a valuable hepatic stimulant, being very beneficial in obstructions of the liver and visceral diseases. It is also a mild tonic, diaphoretic and diuretic. The root is also given in dyspepsia, dropsy, skin diseases, and cachectic(wasting) disorders generally. About an once of the sliced fresh root is put into a pint of water and boiled down to half a pint and strained; add to this quantity two drachmas of Cream of Tartar and take a wine glassful twice or thrice a day.” The Indians have used this plant for thousands of years and still do to this day. They are smart enough to leave it alone and collect it for medicine. (As compared with the neurotic American preoccupation with eradicating this “weed”.)

Dandelion root contains a complex mixture of chemicals that work together to make it active on the human body. It contains the triterpenes taraxol, taraxasterol, X-taraxasterol, and B-amyrin. It contains the sterols stigmasterol and B-sitosterol and a huge amount of the sugar, inulin. The plant contains sesquiterpene lactones that are responsible for its bitter taste.

These sesquiterpene lactones are also responsible for dandelions action on the liver. Dandelions ability to stimulate bile production has been proven in lab experiments with rats. You do not want to know what they did to the rats to come to this conclusion. The importance of a healthy liver cannot be underestimated.

The liver ships the toxins it removes from the blood into the bile. The bile enters the intestines and the toxins make their way out of the body the same way used up food exits. This is important to understand that by stimulating bile production dandelion stimulates the removal of toxic substances from the body. This cleansing feature explains many of dandelion’s uses.

It is a classic treatment in auto-immune diseases. In auto-immune diseases like Rheumatoid arthritis and Lupus, immune system waste get deposited in the tissue (immune complexes). These immune wastes cause damage to the skin and the joints. The liver is responsible for clearing excess immune wastes from the body. If the liver is really cleaning the blood, there are fewer immune complexes getting deposited in the joints and the skin. Dandelion gets all the junk out of the body and conditions based on junk build up, auto-immune diseases, are much improved under its influence. Beyond this and alone the same lines, gall stones are formed when there is lack of flow of bile. Because dandelion gets the bile flowing, people inclined to make stones lose the tendency when taking dandelion.

Its liver stimulating powers help people suffering from hepatitis in a big way. In this condition, the liver becomes so inflamed that it is unable to excrete bile, the bile backs up and is reabsorbed. Reabsorbed bile results in people turning yellow. Dandelion is able to improve the liver’s functioning so bile is produced and excreted properly. Dandelion is a classic treatment for skin conditions based on a liver malfunction. Additionally, the increased bile means that food is better absorbed and evacuation of the bowels is more efficient. Dandelion is known as a mild laxative as a result of the increase in bile production. The leaf and the root are equal in their ability to stimulate the liver, but the leaf has an added feature the root does not have.

The leaf contains chemicals that increase the production of urine, simply put, they get the kidneys flushing. Sugars contained in the leaf alter the kidney tubules reabsorption, the end result is more urine is excreted. Dandelion leaf is used as a diuretic to reduce water retention, whether due to cardiac insufficiency or menstrual cycling.(Different than Bicycling) The leaf has been proven to be as effective as most chemical diuretics with an added feature. It contains potassium, the mineral people loose while taking diuretics. Normally people on a diuretic treatment need potassium supplements, not in this case.

There was a very famous centre of medicine in Wales around the 12th century AD. The dandelion was one of this schools favourite drugs and I thought we would check in with our Welsh herbalist friend to see if any of their knowledge had been maintained in the present day. It would be helpful if you read these lines with a Welsh accent. Stuart Fitzsimmons, “Dandelion is brilliant, it really is the herb for everything, especially liver and kidney ailments. Its so simple, it grows everywhere, and it works like a dream. The leaf is used for the kidney and the root for the liver. Any one who tends to form kidney stones should take dandelion leaf tea on a daily basis. The leaf is a highly effective diuretic and reduces the tendency to stagnation and stone formation. Crystals or stones form because the urine is too concentrated, dandelion keeps the urine flowing and dilute.

It is a classic blood cleanser which means it helps the body remove toxins from the system. Dandelion does this in two way. By getting the kidneys flushing toxins get carried out of the body in the urine. This makes it helpful in gout, where you have uric acid crystals forming in the body. One teaspoon of dried dandelion leaf in a cup of hot water three times a day will do the trick.

The root is for the liver, keeping it healthy or helping it manage once its been damaged. Hepatitis, cirrhosis, any liver damage will be helped with dandelion. People that have taken steroids taken for along time, asthmatics,people with chronic skin conditions,and professional athletes,tend to have liver damage, and dandelion will help. Alcoholics and people that take medication like antidepressants and sleeping pills have liver damage and they could use dandelion as well. One teaspoonful of dried dandelion root in a cup of hot water three times a day.

Dandelion is cleansing in part due to its action on the liver. It gets the liver doing its job of cleansing. Toxins are shipped out in the bile and exit the body via the digestive tract. The increased bile has a laxative action, people with chronic constipation will be helped by it. Women who want a diuretic and a laxative will find both in the whole dandelion plant, root and leaves. One teaspoonful of dried whole plant in a cup full of water, three times per day.”

There is little more that need be said! Our m’rorim or bitter herbs, chicory and dandelion are two bitter tonics that are not to be overlooked. The modern life is a sluggish affair, we sit all day long on the job and come home and watch television. No surprise, our internal body act as sluggish. Dandelion, like its close relation chicory, jump start the digestive tract and get it moving. Sluggish digestion makes life unpleasant and with this plant it will quicken. As the digestion improves their is often an improvement in how a person looks and feels, an added bonus.


Eclectic Notes

TARAXACUM OFFICINALE

COMPOSITAE

DANDELION

1854; King J; (Materia Medica) – TARAXACUM DENS-LEONIS – DANDELION

Properties and Uses. – Dandelion root when dried exerts but little therapeutic influence upon the system; but in its recent state it is slightly tonic, diuretic, aperient, and alterative. It is supposed to act especially upon the liver, proving effectual in torpor and chronic engorgements of that organ, as well as of the spleen. It is also reputed useful in dropsical affections depending on an abnormal condition of the abdominal organs, in uterine obstructions, cutaneous affections, and in derangements of the hepatic and digestive systems. Its diuretic and aperient effect is augmented by the addition of bitartrate of potassa. As far as my own experience with this article goes, I think its virtues have been overrated. The existence of an irritable condition of the stomach or bowels, or acute inflammation contra-indicate its employment. Dose of the decoction one or two ounces; of the extract from five to thirty grains.

1874: SCUDDER

Preparation – Prepare a tincture from the fresh root gathered in July or August, 3viij. to Alcohol 76degree Oj. Dose from gtts. v. to 3ss.

The Taraxacum loses its medical properties by drying, hence that usually supplied by the drug trade is wholly inert. Prepared as above, it will prove a valuable remedy.

It exerts a stimulant influence upon the entire gastro-intestinal tract, promoting functional activity. Whilst its action is feeble, it is very certain, and will frequently prove more desirable than the more active remedies.

1883: Scudder: (diuretic)

The root of leontodon taraxacum. Preparations: Extract of Taraxacum. Tincture of Taraxacum. Dose: Of the extract, gr. j. to grs. v. Of the tincture, gtt. v. to 3ss.

Dose: Of a decoction of two ounces of the bruised root to a quart of water, boiled down to a pint and strained, one to three ounces, three or four times a day. Of the extract, from twenty grains to one drachm, three times a day.

As a diuretic and curative agent, Taraxacum is beneficial in those dropsical cases occasioned by hepatic torpor or engorgement, and visceral enlargements and obstruction, when unattended with over-excited vascular action. Its tonic, aperient, and alterative properties, associated with its diuretic action, contribute much undoubtedly to the relief of those cases to which it is thought to be especially adapted. It is mostly employed in the form of a decoction or extract. The bitartrate of potash, or some other saline purgative, is frequently added to the decoction.

1883: Scudder (alterative)

(The root of Leontodon Taraxacum)

Preparations – Extract of Taraxacum. Tincture of Taraxacum.

Dose – Of the extract, gr. j. to grs. v. Of the tincture, gtt. v. to 3ss.

Therapeutic Action – Taraxacum is alterative, tonic, cholagogue, aperient and diuretic.

In small doses it acts as a tonic and stomachic, and in larger doses as an aperient. Its diuretic action is, in most cases, manifest, though not in all cases so obvious and so constant as its other effects. In chronic disorders its long continued exhibition is followed by alterant, resolvent and deobstruent effects.

Taraxacum is much used in chronic affections of the liver, both functional and organic, as in engorgements, obstruction, torpor or deficient biliary secretion, jaundice, chronic inflammation, enlargements, congestions, or indurations of that organ; also in dropsies occasioned by hepatic obstruction, and likewise in constipation or habitual torpor of the bowels, and dyspepsia dependent upon the same causes.

1911: Atonic conditions of the gastro-intestinal tract, torpor or engorgement of the liver or spleen, chronic diseases of the skin. Taraxacum dens-leonis is tonic, hepatic, stimulant, diuretic, and laxative.

1895: Watkins – TARAXACUM, SP MED

Anorexia, feeble digestion, torpid liver, constipation. Ten to twenty drops three times a day.

1898: Felter and Lloyd – TARAXACUM (U.S.P.) – TARAXACUM

Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage – Dandelion root, when dried, possesses but little medicinal virtue; when recent, it is a stomachic and tonic, with slightly diuretic and aperient actions. It has long been supposed to exert an influence upon the biliary organs, removing torpor and engorgement of the liver as well as of the spleen. It is also reputed beneficial in dropsies, owing to want of action of the abdominal organs, in uterine obstructions, chronic diseases of the skin, an dimpairment of the digestive functions. It should not be used by those whose digestive organs are weak, as it is apt to occasion dyspepsia, flatulence, pain, and diarrhoea. The addition of cream of tartar to its decoction will render it more diuretic and laxative. Prof. King states that, as far as his experience with this article had gone, he thought its virtues had been overrated. Nevertheless, it is a slow, but efficient agent when properly prepared for use. The existence of an irritable condition of the stomach or bowels, or acute inflammation, contraindicate its employment. Dose of the decoction, 1 to 2 fluid ounces; of the extract, from 5 to 30 grains; of a strong tincture of the fresh root (3viii to alcohol, 76 per cent, Oj), from 1 to 30 drops.

Specific Indications and Uses – Loss of appetite, weak digestion, hepatic torpor, and constipation.

1911: LLOYD

The dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is a plant familiar to all, being found throughout the whole of Europe, Central Asia, and North America , even to the Arctic regions. Although the word taraxacum is usually considered to be of Greek origina, there is no authentic record that the plant was known to the classical writers of Greece , and Rome . The herbal, 1488, of Johann von Cube (173) gives it a position under the name Dens leonis . It is mentioned by Rhazes in the tenth and by Avicenna (30) in the eleventh centuries, and it was used in Welsh medicine in the thirteenth century. In domestic mediaeval medication and as an ingredient of many popular American “bitters” and “Blood purifiers” taraxacum was employed extensively. It yet enjoys a high reputation as a home remedy.

1921: Lloyd

Introduced in Pharmacopeia of 1830 (both editions). Official in all editions following, including that of 1910.

The dandelion, Taraxacum officinale, is a plant familiar to all, being found throughout the whole of Europe, Central Asia, and North America , even to the Arctic regions. Although the word Taraxacum is usually considered to be of Greek origin, there is no authentic record that the plant was known to the classical writers of Greece and Rome . The herbal of Johann von Cube (173), 1488, gives it a position under the name Dens leonis. It is mentioned by Rhazes in the 10th century, and by Avicenna (30) in the 11th, and it was used in Welsh medicine in the 13th century. In domestic medieval medication and as an ingredient of many popular American “bitters” and “blood purifiers,” taraxacum was extensively employed. It yet enjoys a high reputation as a home remedy. Dandelion wine is an alcoholic liquid made by fermentation of a solution of sugar mixed with dandelion flowers. The province of the flowers is that of a flavor. Professor L. E. Sayre has given taraxacum much research. (See Proceedings of the American Pharmaceutical Association.)



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