Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is a common plant from the compositae family of flowering plants. It is one of the safest and most popular herbal remedies on the market. Its benefits are strongly related to the ability to clear obstructions and aid the liver in detoxification, acid indigestion and blood purification. The roots have been used in the treatment of the spleen, kidneys, bladder, pancreas, stomach, and intestines (Tierra, 1998).
The leaves nicely blend with salads and do well either sautéed or steamed. Many claim the taste and properties are similar to that of endive (Cichorium intybuds). Dandelions leaves are actually extremely nutritious, higher in bets carotene than carrots, and more iron and calcium than spinach. Dandelion leaves are also full of vitamins B-1, B-2, B-5, B-6, B-12, C, D, E, P, biotin, inositol, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, and zinc.
Traditionally, dandelion has been made into a tonic that is known for strengthening the entire body, especially the liver and gallbladder because it promotes the flow of bile. Dandelion root contains taraxacin so it reduces the inflammation to the bile ducts and reduces gallstones. It is commonly used for hepatitis, liver swelling, and jaundice.
Also known in France as dent de lion or “lion’s tooth”, its leaves or the root has a tendency to act as a diuretic on the kidneys. Unlike many common diuretics, dandelion does not remove potassium from the body.
Dandelion root tea has helped some actually avoid surgery for urinary stones, and good for the overall health and well being. Many herbalists claim that incorporating dandelion into meals assists in digestion.
Dandelion has been popular in the past for making dandelion jam, dandelion wine and as a coffee substitute. Today, people around the world use dandelion plant to make herbal medicines for fluid retention, cystitis, nephritis, weight loss, and to produce positive benefits for the liver, spleen, kidneys, bladder, and the stomach.
Mowrey, D. (1994). The Scientific Validation of Herbal Medicine. New Canaan, CT: Keats Publishing, Inc.
Tierra, M. (1998). The way of the herbs. New York, NY: Pocket Books.