DANDELION ROOT

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Herbal Monograph

Herb:  DANDELION ROOT (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, sweet, cool   (6)  (15)

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

Part used:   root  (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 gray-brown, has a parachute-like tuft of hair.  Leaves are glabrous or villous, deeply notched, lanceolate, ending in a large deltoid tip.  Has a short rhizome, which turns into a many-headed, 20-50 cm long and 2 cm thick taproot.  (2)

Harvest in the fall.  (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)

lactupicrine, a bitter principle, tannin, inulin, and a latex‑like substance. (6)

bitter glycosides, tannins, triterpenes, sterols, volatile oil, choline, asparagin, inulin.  (15)

Actions: cholagogue, diuretic, appetite stimulant  (2)

alterative, cholagogue, diuretic, stomachic, aperient, tonic    (6)

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

liver tonic, promotes bile flow, diuretic, mildly laxative, antirheumatic.  (15)

slightly diuretic  (50)

Cooling;  therefore, lowers metabolic rate and body temp.  Demonstrated action vs. tumors.   (1c)

Diuretic, tonic and slightly aperient.    (57)

Considered mildly laxative.  Bitters in the leaves and root have increased bile secretion in animals by more than 40%.  The bitters in the root help stimulate digestion and are mildly laxative.  Roots have been shown to be moderately anti-inflammatory, supporting their traditional use in treatment of rheumatism.    (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, eczema and other skin disorders.  Has a positive diuretic effect on kidney stone and gravel formation.  (2)

It is used for all heated liver conditions, breast tumors, abscesses, boils, fluid retention, stomach disorders, constipation. Dandelion root is one of the best remedies for the treatment of hepatitis and a possible preventative for breast cancer.   (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: decoction.  Gall stones:  decoction*.  Jaundice: decoction.  Kidney diseases:  decoction.  Kidney stones:  decoction*.  Low blood sugar: decoction.  Psoriasis:  tincture, fluid extract, decoction.  Skin diseases:  tincture, fluid extract, 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)

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.  The white sap from the stem and root is corrosive and can be used as a topical remedy for warts.  Root is used as a gentle cleansing tonic for a range of problems including gallstones and jaundice.  Can be useful for constipation and in chronic toxic conditions such as joint inflammations, eczema, and acne.  (15)

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.  The root is used for dyspepsia, loss of appetite, as a diuretic, and for bilious debility in the liver.    (61)

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

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 ROOT (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)

Avoid contact between sap and surrounding skin, when treating warts.  (15)

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.  The bitterness of the root may cause hyperacidity in some individuals.    (61)

Tincturing Process: Vita Mix: Speed 5. Place five large spoonfuls of (dry) dandelion root in VM container. Process about 1 min 45 sec or until chunks are no longer heard during procedure.  

50 % alcohol. Use 420 gr dandelion root and approx 1600 ml menstruum per (1) 2-qt mason jar. (1a)

Applications: Decoction:  simmer root 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: decoction.  Gall stones:  decoction*.  Jaundice: decoction.  Kidney diseases:  decoction.  Kidney stones:  decoction*.  Low blood sugar: decoction.  Psoriasis:  tincture, fluid extract, decoction.  Skin diseases:  tincture, fluid extract, decoction.  Spleen, liver, pancreas, gall bladder obstructions:  decoction. 

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

Tincture: use fresh root for toxic conditions such as gout, eczema, or acne.  Decoction: use for same conditions listed under tincture.  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 decoction or 3‑9 gms; tincture, 10‑30 drops.      (6)

  Decoction, 6 oz frequently or 3-4 x daily, hot or cold.  Tincture, 30-60 drops frequently.      Powder, 5-10 #0 capsules (30-60 grains) frequently.  (14)   

Extracts in 25% alcohol are best for increasing bile flow. Liquid extract 1:1, 45% alcohol, 30-60 drops 3 x daily.  Steep 1-2 tsp cut dried root in a cup of hot water for 10-15 min, twice daily, morning and evening.    (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)

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.  Always use the root when treating hepatitis and jaundice.  Roasted root is a caffeine-free coffee substitute.  (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)

Virtues greatly over-rated.  (50)

Fresh root thought to be more potent than the dried root.    (61)

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References:

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

(1a)Joniris “Dandelion Root” 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., pgs. 193-194

(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, 160-61

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

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

(50) The Practical Herbalist and Astrologer by Ira N. Shaw, p. 38

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

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