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 Herbal Materia Medica: Dandelion  
Taraxacum officinale


Habitat: Widely distributed throughout most of the world as a "troublesome weed."

Collection: The roots are best collected between June and August when they are at their bitterest. Split longitudinally before drying. The leaves may be collected at any time.

Part Used: Root or leaf


  • Sesquiterpene lactones; taraxacoside (an acylated [[gamma]]-butyrolactone glycoside) & at least 4 others of the eudesmanolide, germacranolide & tetragydroridentin types
  • Triterpenes; taraxol, taraxerol, [[psi]]-tarazasterol, [[beta]]-amyrin, stigmasterol, [[beta]]-sitosterol
  • Phenolic acids; caffeic and [[rho]]-hydroxyphenylacetic acids
  • Polysaccharides; glucans and mannans and inulin
  • Carotenoids such as lutein and violaxanthin
Actions: Diuretic, hepatic, cholagogue, anti-rheumatic, laxative, tonic, bitter.

Indications: Dandelion leaf is a very powerful diuretic, its action comparable to that of the drug `Frusemide'. The usual effect of a drug stimulating the kidney function is a loss of vital potassium from the body, which aggravates any cardio-vascular problem present. With Dandelion, however, we have one of the best natural sources of potassium. It thus makes an ideally balanced diuretic that may be used safely wherever such an action is needed, including in cases of water retention due to heart problems. As ahepatic & cholagogue Dandelion root may be used in inflammation and congestion of liver and gall-bladder. It is specific in cases of congestive jaundice. As part of a wider treatment for muscular rheumatism it can be most effective. This herb is a most valuable general tonic and perhaps the best widely applicable diuretic and liver tonic. Ellingwood recommends the root for the following patholgies: chronic jaundice, auto-intoxication, rheumatism, blood disorders, chronic skin eruptions, chronic gastritis, aphthous ulcers.

Combinations: For liver and gall-bladder problems it may be used with Barberry or Balmony. For water retention it may be used with Couchgrass or Yarrow.

Preparations & Dosage: Decoction: put 2-3 teaspoonfuls of the root into one cup of water, bring to boil and gently simmer for l0-l5 minutes. This should be drunk three times a day. The leaves may be eaten raw in salads. Tincture: take 5-l0 ml of the tincture three times a day.

Citations from the Medline database for the genus Taraxacum

DandelionAkhtar MS Khan QM Khaliq T Effects of Portulaca oleracae (Kulfa) and Taraxacum officinale (Dhudhal) innormoglycaemic and alloxan-treated hyperglycaemic rabbits.

JPMA J Pak Med Assoc 1985 Jul;35(7):207-10Baba K Abe S Mizuno D [Antitumor activity of hot water extract of dandelion, Taraxacumofficinale-correlation between antitumor activity and timing of administration(author's transl)]

Yakugaku Zasshi 1981 Jun;101(6):538-43 (Published in Japanese)Chakurski I Matev M Koichev A Angelova I Stefanov G [Treatment of chronic colitis with an herbal combination of Taraxacumofficinale, Hipericum perforatum, Melissa officinaliss, Calendula officinalisand Foeniculum vulgare]

Vutr Boles 1981;20(6):51-4 (Published in Bulgarian)Racz-Kotilla E Racz G Solomon A The action of Taraxacum officinale extracts on the body weight and diuresis of laboratory animals.

Planta Med 1974 Nov;26(3):212-7

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 About The Author
David Hoffmann BSc (Hons), MNIMHWhilst working in conservation and lecturing in ecology and the eco-crisis for the University of Wales, David Hoffman became convinced that to heal the world, to embrace planetary wholeness and responsibility for it......more
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