Plant Profile: Dandelion

Dandelion
(Taraxacum officinalis)


Family: COMPOSITAE/ASTERACEAE

Part(s) Used: Whole plant

Energetics: Leaf & Root: Cooling/Drying 

Taste: Leaf: Bitter. Salty. Root: Bitter. Sweet.

Systems Affected: Liver. Spleen. Pancreas. Gallbladder. Kidneys. Bladder. 

Preparations: Decoction (root), Infusion (leaf), Food, Tincture

Key Components: Calcium. Carrotinoids. Inulin. Iron. Lactupicrine (bitter principle). Potassium. Sesqueterpines. Vitamins A, B, C, D

Actions: 

Leaf
Foundational: Bitter. Stimulant.
Primary: Alterative. Choleretic (Increases volume of bile produced by the liver). Digestive Stimulant. Diuretic. 
Secondary: Nutritive.

Root
Foundational: Bitter. Stimulant. 
Primary: Alterative. Cholagogue. Mild Laxative. 
Secondary: Nutritive


Medicinal Uses:
  • Poor digestion
  • Water retention (including in cases of water retention caused by heart problems)
  • Inflammation and congestion of liver and gallbladder
  • Jaundice
  • Liver tonic (supports healthy liver function). 
  • Anemia. 
  • Stimulates the liver and the secretion of bile to help clear obstructions and toxins from the blood. I believe in this way it is helpful in lowering high blood pressure.
  • Hepatitis.
  • Works equally well ad clearing blockages from the pancreas, spleen, gallbladder, kidneys and bladder. 
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Cystitis. 
  • Nephritis. 
  • Aiding in weight loss. 

Breast cancer, UTI, liver problems, skin eruptions, high blood pressure, arthritis, gout, irregular blood sugar levels, skin diseases, women imbalances, indigestion. ROOT: One of the most gentle liver herbs along with burdock. Clearing obstructions of the spleen, gallbladder, pancreas & kidneys. Stimulates and decongests the liver. Bitter compounds stimulate receptor sites on the tongue that signal the digestive tract that food is on its way (leaf has similar effect)! Root also stimulates bile production to help break down cholesterol & fat. Liver tonic & blood purifier. All of this encourages optimal digestion. hepatitis, decreases high blood pressure,Safe even when a diuretic action is needed for water retention due to heart problems. Inflammation and congestion in liver and gallbladder. Flowers & stem have a milky latex that is useful for getting rid of warts (apply fresh letter several times a day to wart for at least 2-3 weeks). Roasted root makes a great coffee substitute.


Contraindications: Some people are allergic to the milky latex in the plant. Discontinue use of you develop a rash or other sign of an allergic reaction. Possible contraindication in bile duct obstruction or acute gallbladder inflammation. 

Personal Experience: I simmered 4 tablespoons in 4 cups of water for 30 minutes. The taste was similar to that of a strongly steeped chamomile. The bitter components are very noticeable. I drank 1 cup of it and put the rest in the refrigerator to drink the next day so as not to waste it. EWWW I guess its not so good cold! All in all, even after only 1 cup, I like the way it feels to the body, especially the digestive system. 

Harvesting Dandelion: The greens are best harvested early in the season as they will be less bitter and more tender, but they can really be harvested at any time throughout the season. Roots should be harvested at the end of the season. 

Sources:

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