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Herb Spotlight - Dandelion

Herb Spotlight - Motherwort - Sun God Medicinals

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

Family: Asteraceae

Part Used: Root, Leaves, Flowers

Flavor/Aroma: Bitter, Sweet

Energetics: Cooling, Drying


Herbal Actions: 

Digestive stimulant, Antioxidant, Anti Inflammatory, Hepatoprotective, Cholagogue, Nutritive, Carminative, Diuretic, Choleretic, Alterative

Overview:

Dandelion has a rich history of medicinal and culinary uses, and is well known for its ability to remedy an upset stomach and for its strong detoxification abilities. Do not let its reputation as a common garden weed fool you- dandelion is a restorative powerhouse that is rich in iron, potassium, zinc, and vitamins A, B complex, and C.

Botany:

Dandelion is a perennial herb that bears deeply serrated leaves, a slightly fuzzy stalk, and blooms golden flowers when mature. The flowers close in the evening as the sun sets, and reopen with the sunshine of the day. The root develops best in deep, rich, moist soil. It likes to grow almost anywhere, including in the cracks of the sidewalk and in open fields or gardens.

Cultivation and Harvesting:

Dandelion is native to most of the Europena nations, Asia, and northern Africa, and is naturalized globally. It is produced commercially in Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, and the United Kingdom. It can grow in elevations of up to 12,000 feet, as seen in some of the Himalayan regions. The root is best harvested in the fall months, and the leaves and flowering tops in the spring and summer months.

Southern Oregon Cultivation:

Dandelion is easily identified locally, and thrives in most soil types. It can tolerate harsh conditions, including alternating climates and disturbed areas. Dandelion will do best in full sun conditions, and can be found in the wild in abundance.

History and Folklore:

Ayurvedic Medicine Uses: Dandelion has been used as a strong digestive tonic and stimulant, strengthening the gastrointestinal tract and its permeability; it was also used to stimulate the appetite and soothe emotional irritations, especially those with heat present.4 

Traditional Chinese Medicine Uses: Dandelion was traditionally used to clear excess heat patterns from the liver and gallbladder, it has been used to benefit various stomach and lung conditions, as well as being used to uplift the mood; it was also used to support lactation. 

American Native Uses: The leaves were boiled in water and taken to support urinary tract infections, general skin health, and for settling an upset stomach. The Algonquin used the leaves internally for gastric support and externally as a poultice for hot irritations. The Cherokee made a tea of the root to promote calmness and healing.¹  

Modern Applications:

Dandelion is indicated for use in loss of appetite, to tonify the gastrointestinal tract, and support constipation. It has been used to remedy liver conditions³, gout, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, as well as assist in regulating blood sugar levels- especially in those with diabetes.² Dandelion has been supportive in rebalancing the gut microbiome due to its high levels of inulin- a nutritive prebiotic useful for gut homeostasis.5    

Uses and Preparations:

Dried Herb Tea Preparation: 

Dried or Fresh Root: Decoct 1 teaspoon of root per cup of boiling water.

Leaves: The leaves can be steamed or eaten raw (peppery flavor/aroma); they can be dried and stored for later use as a tea (at 1 Tablespoon per cup of boiling water).

Using a reusable tea bag or tea ball, immerse the loose dried herbs into boiling water and allow to steep for 5-10 minutes, preferably covered, in order to release the maximum amount of herbal goodness. Some herbal tea can carry a strong flavor. We recommend organic honey as a sweetener which preserves the beneficial herbal compounds. 

Tincture: 

2-4 mL up to four times per day; may take more as needed.

Some herbal tinctures can have a strong flavor on their own. Adding your tincture to a glass of 6-8oz of water is one easy way to help, should you wish to dilute the flavor.  

Dosage:

It is important to remember that some bodies may react differently than others when using herbal products. Our recommended dosages are designed to be an average dosage only. If you have specific concerns about the dosage amount or interaction with other medication, please consult with your doctor or health care practitioner prior to using our products.  

Precautions:

Dandelion is safe for tonic use. We recommend consulting with your practitioner if you are pregnant, or plan to become pregnant, or if you are using any other medications.

References:

  1. Dandelion. (n.d.). www.mountainroseherbs.com/products/dandelion-root-powder/profile 
  2. Jeppesen PB., Lambert MN., Wirngo FE. (2016). The Physiological Effects of Dandelion (Taraxacun officinale) in Type 2 Diabetes. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28012278 
  3. Brahmi D., Hfaiedh M., Zourgui L. (31 March 2016). Hepatoprotective effect of Taraxacum officinale leaf extracts on sodium dichromate-induced liver injury in rats. www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25270677 
  4. Taraxacum officinale. (n.d.). www.henriettes-herb.com/eclectic/kings/taraxacum.html 
  5. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://cms.herbalgram.org/expandedE/Dandelionrootwithherb.html

For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.