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DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.



DANDELION
COMPOSITAE
aka Blowball, Cankerwort, Doonhead Clock, Fairy Clock, Irish Daisy, Lion's Tooth,
Oduvanchik (Russ),Peasant's Cloak, Pise-en-lit (Fr), Piss-a-bed, Priest's Crown, Pushki (Russ),
Sun-in-the-Grass, Swine's Snout, White Endive, Wild Endive, Yellow Gowan

(Taraxacum officinale)
[pu gong ying]
imageImage

CAUTIONChildren can be affected by nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and palpitations from sucking the fresh sap from flower stems.
CONTRAINDICATED Not to be used with obstructions of bile ducts, gall bladder, or bowel

FYI A common perennial native to Europe and Asia, although Greece has been argued as its specific origin. LEAVES are oblong, spatulate, or oblanceolate; deeply toothed or lobed or in a few cases smooth; appearing in a rosette in early spring. Deep yellow, multi-petaled, chrysanthemum-like FLOWER heads rise on hollow stems up to 18 inches high and open in the morning, then close in the evening or in dull weather; petals are actually hermaphrodite florets which produce the familiar down-attached SEEDS (achenes) appearing as a globular cluster. The RHIZOME is short and leads to a long, thick TAPROOT which is dark on the outside (brown to black) and white on the inside. When cut, the plant exudes the familiar milky white fluid.

It first appeared in Chinese medical literature ca 659 CE and was in use in Europe by 1485. Dandelion was known and used by Arabian physicians by the 11th century CE. Its scientific name is believed to have originated with the Greeks, 'taraxos' meaning disorder, and 'akos' meaning remedy. The common name Dent de Leon, literally 'teeth of the lion' is in reference to the appearance of the deeply indented leaves.

More than 80 species of insects dine on its pollen and bees use its nectar in their honey. The seeds appeal to song birds.

The dried rhizome and root were official in the USP from 1831-1926 and in the NF until 1965.

Astrologically ruled by Jupiter and Sagitarius §

CONTAINS: Bitter glycosides (especially in the sap), iron, calcium, choline, potash, gastrin (hormone), magnesium salts, sodium salts, silica, sitosterol, lacvulin, photosterols, tarazacin (hepatic stimulant), taraxasterol, taraxerol, amyrin, taraxacin, myristic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid, lauric acid, caffeic acid, phenolic acid, lutein, flaxanthin, lechithin, violaxanthin, pectin, inulin, fructose, glucose, sucrose, phytosterols, tannins, starch, vitamins A, B1, C, G, and D2, potassium salts (high levels, perfect for a diuretic), potash, and 15% starch, water when fresh 85.7%, water when dried 8.7%.
LEAVES CONTAIN: Bitter glycosides, carotenoids, terpenoids, choline, potassium salts, iron, minerals, boron, taraxin, ceryl alcool, lactucerol, taraxacerin, inosite, choline, nicotinic acid, anridiol, faradiol, vitamins A, B, C, D.
ROOT CONTAINS: p-hydroxyphenylacetic acid, 4-dihydroxycinnamic acid, androesterol, homoandrosterol, cluytianol, palmitic acid, carotic acid, malessic acid, oleic acid, linolic acid, linoleic acid, aneurine, trace of nicotinic acid, trace of nicotinamide, ceryl alcohol, lactucerol, phlobaphenes, tannin.
BASED ON ZERO MOISTURE, ROOT CONTAINS: 65.6 mg aluminum, 8.0% ash, 614 mg calcium, 0.09 mg chromium, 0.80 mg cobalt, 9.6 mg iron, 157 mg magnesium, 0.68 mg manganese, 3.31 mg niacin, 362 mg phosphorus, 1200 mg potassium, 0.21 mg riboflavin, 0.086 mg selenium, 0.47 mg silicon, 113 mg sodium, trace mg thiamine, 1.3 mg tin, 14,000 IU vitamin A, 37.6 mg vitamin C, 0.13 mg zinc.
FLOWERS CONTAIN: Lecithin, choline, helenalin.
PROPAGATION By SEED or by DIVISION. A common lawn and wayside wildflower.
NEEDS Perennial to zone 3. Prefers moist soils of pastures, meadows, lawns, waysides and waste places. Grown as crop spaced 8 to 10 inches apart in moist to dry, neutral to alkaline soil in full sun. When grown as a crop should be dead-headed to prevent seed formation.
HARVEST WHOLE PLANT before it flowers; LEAVES for culinary purposes before flowering while still young and tender, otherwise may be taken throughout the season; FLOWERS are harvested fresh (in spring for winemaking) and used immediately; ROOTS are collected no earlier than the 2nd year after a spring sowing and may be taken in either spring or fall. Roots are washed and cut into long pieces then dried.
PART USED Roots, Leaves, Flowers. Stocks are replaced yearly.
FORM Infusion, liquid extract, tincture, juice, decoction (especially in Chinese medicine), syrup.
SOLVENT Boiling water, alcohol
RELATED SPECIES ASIAN DANDELION/Mongolian Dandelion (Taraxacum mongolicum) [pu-kung-yin], [huang-hua ti-ling], [ju-chi ts'ao]: Drug Interaction: Check with your doctor about possible interaction with ciprofloxacin.
RED-SEEDED DANDELION (T. erythosperum syn T. laevigatum): Native to Eurasia
USES
MEDICINAL:
♦ High levels of potassium salts make this one of the better natural diuretics, insuring that potassium balance is not lost with loss of fluid from the body.
Benefits metabolism; Root is alterative, antilithic, anti-inflammatory, antiscorbutic, antispasmodic (weak), appetite stimulant, astringent, bitter, blood cleanser, deobstruent, depurative, diaphoretic, digestive, diuretic (potent), antipyretic, aperient, laxative (lowers transit time through the bowel; absorbs toxins from the bowel), cholagogue, detoxicant, galactagogue, hepatic, hypoglycemic, lithotriptic, sialagogue, stomachic, tonic, lowers cholesterol and blood pressure (root); affects digestive system, glandular system, circulatory system, liver (supports liver function), kidneys, gall bladder, pancreas, blood; taste is bittersweet. Juice has also been used as a diuretic.
Has been used for its demulcent, antibacterial, antifungal activity on the digestive tract, inhibiting unfriendly bacteria, while assisting friendly flora to thrive. Has also been used for heartburn.
Together with diet has been used for anemia, hypoglycemia, diabetes, and to lower blood pressure (main consideration here is as a diuretic), and edema associated with high blood pressure, as well as heart weakness (usually taken in tincture form added to other remedies to insure adequate potassium levels).
Has been used for obstructions of the pancreas, spleen, gall bladder, and kidneys; also for other kidney, liver, spleen and gall bladder problems; other uses have been for hepatitis, kidney infection, jaundice, congestive jaundice, cirrhosis, bile duct stones, gall bladder infection, urinary stones, urinary infection, prostate enlargement, dyspepsia with constipation. For gall bladder problems has been combined with Veronicastrum virginicum, Berberis vulgaris, and Chelone glabra. Has been used for hormonal imbalances (female) related to kidney/liver problems. At one time the dandelion root was simmered in water along with a few sorrel leaves and the yolk of one egg to make a broth that was taken daily for several months to cure chronic liver congestion. Has also been used for chronic constipation, phthisis, and dropsy (infusion taken 3 times daily). For gall bladder stones a combination of 1 oz dandelion root, 1 oz parsley root, 1 oz lemon balm, 1/2 oz ginger root, and 1/2 oz licorice root has been gently simmered in 2 quarts of water down to 1 quart, then strained and a wineglassful taken every two hours. For jaundice a combination of 1 oz dandelion root, 1/2 oz ginger root, 1/2 oz caraway seed, 1/2 oz cinnamon, 1/4 oz senna has been simmered down in 3 pints of water to 1½ pints, then strained and 1/2 lb of sugar dissolved in the hot liquid; it was brought to a boil, then skimed until clear when it was cooled and taken in teaspoonful doses. Another approach for gall stones, jaundice, and liver problems has been an infusion of the fresh root.
Leaves have been used for fluid retention in particular that associated with heart and urinary problems and to supplement remedies for a failing heart; has also been used for chronic hypertension and as a digestive tonic. Leaves are bitter and stimulate function of gall bladder and liver. Have been used for liver troubles, especially during hepatitis. Also used for jaundice and cirrhosis (as an adjunct).
Root and leaves have been used for arthritis, rheumatism, chronic joint pain, swellings, and gout and as a preventative for osteoporosis (as part of the diet due to presence of boron and calcium); also for skin problems, eczema, acne, scurvy, scrofula, dropsy, bowel inflammation, fever, dyspepsia with constipation (lukewarm tea), insomnia (warm tea taken 30 minutes before retiring), hypochondria, cancer, hypoglycemia, inability to digest certain foods, food allergies, and as a lymphatic cleanser (tea). Dandelion wine has also been used for these problems. For indigestion a strong decoctions has been taken 3 times daily.
Has been used for anemia (taken as tea and eaten in salads) and loss of appetite.
The greens and roots simmered in water have been used to treat pneumonia and bronchitis; the greens and roots eaten and the water in which they cooked having been drunk. For asthma the roots have been combined with equal parts of coltsfoot leaves and rosemary and smoked in a pipe.
At one time tuberculosis was treated with a strong decoction of the root taken 3 times daily.
In Europe the juice of the root (as well as the wine) has been used to treat diabetes, liver diseases, and to build blood in cases of anemia.
In Chinese medicine most applications are by decoction and has been used for breast and lung tumors. For mastitis the decoction (1 oz minced root in 2 cups water, boiled down to half) has been applied as a compress. The decoction has also been used as a syrup by the addition of sugar and used for tonsilitis. Other uses of Dandelion in Chinese medicine have been to treat abscesses/boils (whole plant), jaundice, hepatitis, urinary tract infections, general infections, pneumonia, rheumatism, scurvy, scrofula, eczema, and snakebite. The whole plant has been used as a diuretic and liver stimulant.
In Russian Folk Medicine the root is prepared as an extract in vodka and taken like tea or coffee; called 'Life Elixir' it is used as a blood purifier, expectorant and nervine (probably more due to the vodka than the dandelion root), and to treat liver problems/diseases, jaundice, gall bladder problems, skin conditions, digestive problems.
The Mohegan Indians of North America steeped the leaves for a physic. The Potawatomis used the roots as a bitter tonic. The Meskwakis used the root for chest pain when other remedies did not work.
In the North country of England the folk have used the root in combination with burdock to make a beer which acts as a tonic and blood purifier.
Has been used as a backup for all degenerative diseases.

DOSE: TRADITIONAL DOSAGES FOR PROFESSIONAL NOTE ONLY
!All others buy commercial preparations and follow directions carefully!
LEAVES = 30 to 60 grains
ROOT = 60 to 120 grains
FRESH ROOT = 1/4 to 1/2 cup
DRIED ROOT = 1/4 to 1/3 oz (6 to 12 grams)
INFUSION = 1 oz root steeped in 1 pint boiling water for 10 minutes; taken cold, several cups daily, a mouthful at a time during the day for a total of 1 to 2 cups
DECOCTION = 2 to 3 tsp dried chopped root in 1 cup of water; simmer 10 minutes; or use 4 oz fresh plant with 2 pints water simmered down to 1 pint, then strained; taken 3 tbsp 6 times daily
DECOCTION (strong) = 1 oz sliced root to 20 oz of water, boiled for 15 minutes, then strained and sweetned with brown sugar or honey; 5 oz taken 2 times daily for stones and gravel.
TINCTURE = Combine 1 oz (28 g) of dried root with 3 oz (100 ml) water and 3 oz (100 ml) alcohol (or use 6 oz [200 ml] 100 proof vodka for total liquid); let stand for 2 weeks, shaking daily; then strain and bottle; taken 1 to 2 tsp (5 to 10 ml) 3 times daily. Can also be made by combining 4 oz. finely powdered, or finely cut, root or leaves (or combination of both) with 1 pint vodka, gin or brandy in a large jug with a lid; shake several times daily over a period of 2 weeks; let herb settle, then strain off liquid into clean bottle for storage. Can also be made using fresh leaves and roots.
JUICE = Leaves or roots are pureed then the liquid squeezed out; taken up to 1-1/3 tbsp (16 ml), 3 times daily.
COLD EXTRACT = 2 tsp plant combined with 1 cup of water; allow to stand for 8 hours
FLUID EXTRACT BP = 1/2 to 2 tsp
SOLID EXTRACT BP = 5 to 15 grains
CALMING BEVERAGE = Percolate ground root in coffeepot and take with milk; also used to reduce symptoms of low blood sugar.

HOMEOPATHIC:
Homeopathic preparations are used to treat flu, bilious attacks, debility, diabetes, gall stones, headaches (of gastric origin), jaundice, liver problems, neuralgia, nightsweats, rheumatism, geographic tongue, typhoid fever.
VETERINARIAN:
Dandelion is used as part of a cleansing diet for fever in dogs; the leaves and flowers are used as part of treatment for anal gland problems; also, fur loss due to illness, dropsy, heart weakness/disease, hepatitis, jaundice and obesity.
In farm animals, dandelion is employed for skin eruptions, sluggish blood flow, weak arteries, liver problems, jaundice, constipation; a dose being 5 raw roots finely cut and mixed with bran, given once daily; or given several handfuls of leaves once daily.
CULINARY:
♦ Highly recommmended for anyone planning to explore the culinary delights of dandelions is: The Dandelion Celebration by Peter Gail, Goosefoot Acres Press, Cleveland Ohio
ALSO SEE: Dandelion - Cooking with Herbs and Wild Foods.
Flowers used for wine; fresh young leaves for salads (boiled 5 to 10 minutes, or simply blanched). Chop the young raw leaves and sprinkle over the sour cream on a baked potato. Some people like to soak the young leaves in salt water for 30 minutes to remove the bitter taste.
The Pennsylvannia Dutch make a salad dressing of hot cider and sugar to use over dandelion greens.
The flowers are minced and added to butters and spreads for color. Flowers are also used to make jelly, muffins, cookies, and soup.
The root is cut in small pieces, then slow roasted in oven at 225 degrees F. until color of coffee, then ground up for coffee substitute (a pinch of orange peel makes a nice addition to a cup of this beverage). The roasted and ground root was once combined in equal parts with roasted acorns and roasted rye as a coffee substitute.
A tea can be made from the root by adding about 4 Tbsp of dried herb to 1 quart of water; cover and bring to a boil; reduce heat to a simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
Young flower buds can be boiled for several minutes like a vegetable and served with butter or pickled. Along with rose petals and honey, the buds are also used to make yublo, a cake of Arabian cuisine.
Flowers are good dipped in batter and fried.
Extracts are used commercially to flavor ice cream, candy, baked goods and soft drinks. Leaves and roots have been used to flavor herbal beers and soft drinks.
NEW ENGLAND DANDELION WINE = **Please note that this is made without yeast, relying instead on wild yeasts which to one degree or another are available in the environment** Take 2½ gallons of dandelion flowers which have just begun to open and remove stems; slice thinly 6 oranges; have at hand 10 lbs of sugar and 4 gallons of lukewarm water. Make 6 alternate layers of 1.flowers 2.sugar 3.oranges 4.flowers 5.sugar 6 oranges in a 5 gallon crock; pour the water over all and cover with muslin; leave at room temperature until the bubbling stops (usually 3 weeks); strain into bottles through a double layer of cheesecloth; place balloons over bottle tops and and store in a cool, dry place for one month, then cap.
DANDELION WINE 2: ♦ Recipe is broken up into two parts: a small recipe and a larger one in parentheses) You will need: 6 quarts (8 gallons) of flower heads, 3 quarts (4 gallons) water, 1 (5) quartered oranges, 1/2 (2) quartered lemons, 1¼ tsp (2 pkgs) dry yeast, a small amount of crushed ginger root (optional), 2-2/3 cups (7 lbs) sugar. Collect flower heads on a bright sunny day. Spread newspapers outside and empty flowers onto them giving the insects a chance to crawl away. Wash the flowers and place them in a crock. Pour the boiling water over them; cover and wait for 24 hours. Strain into a large enamel canning pot; add oranges, lemons and ginger root. Boil for 30 minutes; strain; add the sugar and dissolve. Pour into the cleaned crock. When cooled to lukewarm, stir in the yeast which has been dissolved in 2 Tbsp of the liquid. Cover with a clean towel or several layers of cheesecloth and wait till it stops 'working' or 'bubbling' - about 10 days depending on temps. Do NOT become discouraged - the process is not attractive. When stopped, siphon into gallon jugs; cork loosely (or place balloon over top) and wait one month before decanting the wine into bottles. Will be excellent by Thanksgiving.
COSMETIC:
Use infusion or decoction as tonic for skin and in bath water for inflamed skin.
DYE:
Red or magenta-pink on wool by using all parts of plant with no mordant (some species only).
Light beige with no mordant.
Beige with alum mordant.
Medium olive with chrome.
Light olive with copper.
Soft gold with tin.
Grey-green with iron.
Flowers produce yellow for wool.
OTHER:
During World War II a rubber latex was made from Russian dandelions.
An old charming practice was for children to blow against the seedheads as hard as they could, then count the remaining seeds to see how many children they would have. OR you can blow your romantic thoughts to your sweetheart.
Dreams with a dandelion present were believed to be bad luck, although how that got started is anyone's guess. Today's understanding is that there is something good in your life which you are overlooking, symoblically: the gold or sun at your feet.

©2001 & 2006 by Ernestina Parziale, CH

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