Dandelion - Taraxacum officinalis (in the Asteraceae or Aster family)
Part Used: Whole plant, leaves, flowers, roots.
Taste/Smell: Leaves and root are somewhat bitter but also slightly sweet taste in the root.
Tendencies: Cooling and drying.
Dosage: Decoction: 1 heaping teaspoon of root per cup of water; infusion: 1 heaping tablespoon of the leaf per cup of water; or 1:1 fresh + dry liquid extract: 1-60 drops, 1- 4 times per day in a little water.
Mental picture and specific indications: Dandelion is indicated for persons with a mapped tongue, bitter taste in the mouth and pain in the sternomastoid muscle. It is specific for low-grade internalized heat or infectious conditions, especially if related to allergies. Edema or boggy mucous membranes may be present. There is often a history of chemical insult or other environmental assaults pointing to liver involvement. The individual may feel worse from resting, sitting and lying, and feel better from touch.
Use: (a) Diuretic, whole plant, especially the leaf, (b) Stomachic, (c) Mild laxative, (d) Cholagogue, (e) Choleretic, (f) Anti-platelet aggregating action.
Dandelion is used for arthritis, gout, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, edema and abnormal blood sugar levels. It is indicated for many female problems and skin diseases due to its action on the liver. The whole plant, especially the root, is beneficial to the liver but is slow in producing the desired action. Autumn roots are roasted and used as a coffee substitute.
Dandelion leaves contain aesculin that improves vascular resistance and reduces pathologically-induced capillary wall permeability. Dandelion contains bitter substances, eudesmanolides, germacranolides, triterpenes, sterols, carotenoids, flavonoids, carbohydrates (in the root), 18% fructose in spring, mucilage, 4.5% potassium found in the greens, 2% inulin in spring rising to 40% in autumn. One of the sterols, sitosterol, has anti-inflammatory effects. The diuretic action is due to inhibition of sodium reabsorption.
Contraindications: Physical contact with the fresh latex in dandelions can cause contact dermatitis. Dandelion is contraindicated in bile duct obstruction, acute gall bladder inflammation, acute gastrointestinal inflammation and intestinal blockage.