DANDELION LEAF

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Herbal Monograph

Herb: DANDELION LEAF (Taraxacum officinale; Compositae, Asteraceae)

Other Names:  Blowball, Cankerwort, Lion’s Tooth, Priest’s Crown, Swine Snout, Wild Endive  (2)

          Pu gong ying (whole plant)  (15)

Character/Energetics: bitter, cold   (6); cold, bitter, sweet.  (15)

Meridians/Organs/Body Parts affected:  bladder, liver   (6); liver, kidneys, gall bladder, stomach,   pancreas, intestines and blood  (14)

Parts used:      aerial parts  (2);   leaf   (6)

Identification & Harvesting:  Harvest before flowering season.  Perennial and hardy, grows in most temperate regions of Europe and Asia.  Golden yellow composite flower.  Head is solitary, 3-5 cm diameter.  Fruit is small, light grey-brown, has a parachute-like tuft of hair.  Leaves are glabrous or villous, deeply notched, lanceolate, ending in a large deltoid tip.  (2)

Harvest throughout the growing season.  (15)

Grown commercially in both US and Europe.    (61)

Active Constituents: Sesquiterpene lactones (bitter substances):  including, taraxinacetyl-1’-O-glucosides,  11,13-dihydrotaraxinacetyl-1’-O-glucosides, taraxacolide-1’-O-glucosides,  4alpha,15,11beta,13-tetrahydroridentinB;  Triterpenes and sterols:  beta-sitosterol, beta-sitosterol-glucosides, taraxasterol, psi-taraxasterol, taraxerol, taraxol;  Flavonoids:  including, apigenin-7-O-glucosides, luteolin-7-O-glucosides;   mucilage;  inulin.  (2)

taraxin, ceryl alcohol, lactucerol, taraxacerin, inosite, choline, vitamins A and B, nicotinic acid, arnidiol and faradiol      (6)

bitter glycosides, carotenoids, terpenoids, choline, potassium salts, iron and other minerals, vitamins A, B, C, D.  (15)

Actions: cholagogue, diuretic, appetite stimulant  (2)

diuretic, alterative   (6)

hepatic, lithotriptic, stomachic, alterative, astringent, galactogogue  (14)

diuretic, liver and digestive tonic.  (15)

Leaves have similar properties to roots, but are more diuretic.  Cooling;  therefore, lowers metabolic rate and body temp.  Demonstrated action vs. tumors.   (1c)

Diuretic, tonic and slightly aperient.    (57)

The leaves are diuretic but also high in potassium, so they help to compensate for the potassium lost with increased urination.  Bitters in the leaves and root have increased bile secretion in animals by more than 40%.  Also considered mildly laxative.     (61)

Conditions and Uses:  Dyspeptic complaints, urinary tract infections, kidney and bladder stones, liver and gallbladder complaints, loss of appetite.  Used for disturbances in bile flow and dyspepsia.  Hemorrhoids, congestion in the portal system, gout, rheumatic disorders, excema and other skin disorders.  Has a positive diuretic effect on kidney stone and gravel formation.  (2)

Has been clinically tested and shown to be as effective a diuretic as any drug.  It may be eaten steamed, or used as a healthful pot herb.  It has a very high potassium and vitamins A and C content. Dandelion leaf is effective for bladder and kidney infections.     (6)

Acne:  tincture, fluid extract, decoction.  Anemia:  decoction*, powder*.  Blood purifier:  tincture, fluid extract, powder, decoction.  Boils:  tincture, fluid extract, powder, decoction.  Bronchitis:  

powder*, decoction*.  Constipation:  decoction.  Cramps:  tincture, fluid extract.  Diabetes:  infusion, decoction.  Gall stones:  decoction*.  Indigestion:  infusion.  Kidney diseases:  decoction.  Kidney stones:  decoction*.  Low blood sugar:  infusion, decoction.  Psoriasis:  tincture, fluid extract, infusion, decoction.  Skin diseases:  tincture, fluid extract, infusion, decoction.  Spleen, liver, pancreas, gall bladder obstructions:  decoction. 

*Usually used in combination with other herbs when treating the indicated problem.  

Used to treat anemia due to its high mineral content.  (14)

An effective diuretic, rich in potassium (appropriate because potassium is lost through the urine).  Used to alleviate fluid retention, especially with heart problems, and for other urinary disorders.  

In China, the flowers, leaves, root, and seed heads of either the common dandelion or an Oriental species, T. mongolicum, are considered to clear heat and toxins from the blood, so are used for boils and abscesses.  (15)

Fresh leaves, usually blanched, are eaten with salads or cooked like spinach, often mixed with sorrel.  Flower petals are made into wine.  In Chinese medicine, taken internally for breast and lung tumors, mastitis, abscesses, jaundice, hepatitis, urinary tract infections;  externally for snakebite.  Leaves and roots flavor herbal beers and soft drinks, such as dandelion and burdock.  (38)

Ayurveda particularly reveres dandelion for its use in treating problems of the breast and mammary glands, according to Frawley and Lad in The Yoga of Herbs…the root of the dandelion is commonly used but the leaves have similar properties and are more diuretic…(as a cooling herb), esp. recommended for conditions involving heat, such as inflamed breasts…promotes detoxification of the lymphatic system, the breast, and lymphatic system, the breast, and lymph tissue surrounding the breast…useful for sore breasts, breast tumors, suppressed lactation, and swollen breast lymph glands.(1c)

Chiefly used in kidney and liver disorders, and perhaps one of the most generally prescribed remedies.    (57)

Culinary use as a coffee substitute and salad ingredient. Used for centuries to treat liver, gallbladder and kidney ailments, weak digestion and rheumatism.  Leaves are prescribed as a diuretic in cases of water retention and for bloating accompanied by flatulence and loss of appetite.    (61)

Combinations: Can be found in commercial preparations with kelp and alfalfa.  (1)

Good in kidney formulas.  (14)

Use a simple or combine with vervain, barberry, wahoo, or fringe tree;  or add 5 drops goldenseal to improve liver function.  (15)

Combines well with blackroot, common barberry, and turtlehead for gall bladder complaints.  (38)

May be given in any form, but its beneficial action is best obtained when combined with other agents.    (57)

DANDELION LEAF (Taraxacum officinale; Compositae, Asteraceae)

Precautions:  Avoid when taking diuretic medications.  (1b)

Consultation with a doctor is necessary in the presence of biliary ailments.  No health hazards are known in conjunction with proper administration of designated dosages.  Superacid gastric complaints could be triggered, due to secretion-stimulating effect.  Possesses a weak potential for sensitization reactions.  (2)

Taking with diuretic medicines like Lasix or hydrochlorothiazide could cause serious dehydration or loss of potassium, which could disrupt the heart’s rhythm.    (1d)

German Commission E monographs indicate that in cases of gallstones, dandelion products should be used only under a physician’s supervision, and not at all if bile ducts are obstructed.  The milk latex in fresh dandelion leaves may cause contact dermatitis.    (61)

Tincturing Process:  Vita Mix: Speed 5. Place (dry) dandelion leaf 4-5” above blades level in VM container. Process 90 seconds. 50% alcohol.  Tincturing ratio–6 gr leaf:1 oz menstruum   (1a)

Applications: Decoction:  1-2 tsp finely cut aerial parts, 150 ml boiling water;  strain after 15 min and drink warm.  Infusion:  1 tbsp cut parts per 1 cup water.  (2)

Infusion:  steep 30 min.

Acne:  tincture, fluid extract, decoction.  Anemia:  decoction*, powder*.  Blood purifier:  tincture, fluid extract, powder, decoction.  Boils:  tincture, fluid extract, powder, decoction.  Bronchitis:  

powder*, decoction*.  Constipation:  decoction.  Cramps:  tincture, fluid extract.  Diabetes:  infusion, decoction.  Gall stones:  decoction*.  Indigestion:  infusion.  Kidney diseases:  decoction.  Kidney stones:  decoction*.  Low blood sugar:  infusion, decoction.  Psoriasis:  tincture, fluid extract, infusion, decoction.  Skin diseases:  tincture, fluid extract, infusion, decoction.  Spleen, liver, pancreas, gall bladder obstructions:  decoction. 

*Usually used in combination with other herbs when treating the indicated problem.  (14)

Fresh:  add to salads.  Juice:  puree the leaves when a diuretic action is needed.  Take up to 20 ml juice, 3 x daily.  Infusion:  Less effective diuretic than juice, makes a cleansing remedy for toxic conditions incl. gout and eczema.  Make with freshly dried leaves.  Allow tinctures or fluid extracts to cool.  (15)

A pleasant way of taking it is in the form of a substitute for coffee.  The roasted roots are ground and used as ordinary coffee, giving a beverage tasting much like the original, and certainly possesses most beneficial properties in cases of dyspepsia, gout and rheumatism.   (57)

Divination: y r  (48)

Dosage:  Taken orally.  10-15 drops of tincture, 3 x daily.  Take decoction morning and evening.  (2)

                     Standard infusion or 3‑9 gms.    (6)

  Infusion, 3-4 cups daily, hot or cold.  Tincture, 30-60 drops frequently.  

               Powder, 10-20 #0 capsules (60-120 grains) frequently.  (14)

Extracts in 25% alcohol are best for increasing bile flow.  Eat young leaves raw or lightly cooked in spring.  Take 3-9 tsp dried leaf daily.  Liquid extract 1:1, 45% alcohol, 30-60 drops 3 x daily.    (61)

General Notes:  “It is colde, but drieth more and doth withall clense and open by reason of the bitternes which it hath joined with it…”  John Gerard, 1597.

A relatively recent addition to the medicinal repertoire, dandelion was not mentioned in Chinese herbals until the 7th century, and in Europe it first appears in the Ortus Sanitatis of 1485.  The name dandelion was apparently invented by a 15th-century surgeon, who compared the shape of the leaves to a lion’s tooth, or dens leonis.  In the West, we separate the leaves and root;  the Chinese use the whole plant, which they call pu gong ying.  (15)

7000 IU vitamin A per oz.  (1)

Both a nutritive herb and one of nature’s best medicines.  Main influence is upon the liver.  An excellent blood purifier for conditions as eczema, dropsy and diabetes.  (14)

A potent diuretic, hence the French name, pissenlit, “wet the bed”.  Possible mentions dating back to Pliny, 1st century.  Promoted by Arab physicians in the 11th century, it became an “officinal” drug by the 16th century.  (38)

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References:

(1)  Joniris Herbals Research Data,  Nature’s Field, July/August 1999;  

(1a)Joniris “Dandelion Leaf ” Tincture file

(1b)Tufts University Health and Nutrition Letter,  March 1998

(1c)  “Herbs for Health”, Nov/Dec ’99, p. 58

(1d) Joniris Herbals Research Data, “If You Take Herbs, Tell Your Doctor”, Tufts University Health & Nutrition Letter, Mar. ’98

(2) PDR for Herbal Medicines (Medical Economics Co., 1998), pgs. 1174-75

(6) Planetary Herbology by Michael Tierra, C.A., N.D., pg. 218

(14) Natural Healing With Herbs by Humbart Santillo BS, MH, pgs. 111-12

(15) The Complete Medicinal Herbal by Penelope Ody, p. 103, 154-55

(38) Encyclopedia of Herbs & Their Uses by Deni Bown, p. 360

(48) The Rulership Book by Rex E. Bills, p. 34

(57) Potter’s Cyclopaedia by R.C. Wren, F.L.S., p. 120

(61) 101 Medicinal Herbs by Steven Foster, pgs. 64-65