Scientific Name:Taraxacum officinale
About this Herb:Dandelion is a hardy perennial that can grow to a height of nearly 12 inches. Dandelions have deeply notched, toothy, spatula-like leaves that are shiny and hairless. Dandelion stems are capped by bright yellow flowers. The grooved leaves funnel rain to the root.
Dandelion flowers open with the sun in the morning and close in the evening or during gloomy weather. The dark brown roots are fleshy and brittle and are filled with a white milky substance that is bitter and slightly smelly.
Common Names:Lion’s Tooth, Blowball
Uses:Dandelion is used by some as a liver or kidney “tonic,” as a diuretic, and for minor digestive problems. The leaves and roots of the dandelion, or the whole plant, are used fresh or dried in teas, capsules, or extracts. Dandelion leaves are used in salads or as a cooked green. They are a rich source of vitamins A, B complex, C, and D, as well as minerals such as iron, potassium, and zinc. The flowers are used to make wine.
Dandelion leaves act as a diuretic, increasing the amount of urine the body produces. The leaves are used to stimulate the appetite and help digestion. Dandelion flowers have antioxidant properties. Dandelion may also help improve the immune system.
Herbalists use dandelion root to detoxify the liver and gallbladder, and dandelion leaves to support kidney function.
Used as a summer Tonic, to purify and detoxify the body of fats and blockages.
Applications:Tea: 2 oz. of the dried herb or root in 1 quart of water, boiled for 30 min. take in ½ cup doses every 3 hours for stomach, kidney, gallbladder, and liver problems. Used as spring tonic.
Tonic: Place the crushed or chopped, dried dandelion leaf into a teapot or other suitable container and pour in boiling water. Let this concoction steep for around 4 or 5 minutes and then strain off the liquid into a coffee or teacup. Let the tonic cool down a bit until it is a bit warmer than room temperature or so. Drink for digestive benefits. Dandelion tonic is bitter, but a popular folk remedy for constipation. You might wish to offset the bitter taste a bit with other additives, including a bit of crushed lemon peel, a teaspoon of honey, and the addition of mint leaves to the dandelion leaf. If you prefer, you can also use fresh (non-dried) dandelion leaf, but in such cases, it is advisable that you use around 2 tablespoons of finely chopped fresh leaf instead.
Warnings:Dandelion use is generally considered safe. However, there have been rare reports of upset stomach and diarrhea, and some people are allergic to the plant.
People with an inflamed or infected gallbladder, or blocked bile ducts, should avoid using dandelion.