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    1. #1
      Nia Imani's Avatar
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      The healing power of the dandelion.

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      You may think of dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) as just a bright yellow common weed overtaking your lawn, but this plant has long been heralded in the East and West for its culinary and medicinal value. The use of dandelion, most often as a diuretic (a substance that promotes excretion of salts and water from the kidney) or weight-loss agent, has played a role in traditional, Chinese, and herbal medicine for centuries.

      Dandelion leaves contain the highest vitamin A content of all greens, and are rich, as well, in vitamin C. You can eat the young leaves fresh in salads or sandwiches, or use herbal preparations that contain them. Some wines, beers, and coffee substitutes are made from dandelion.


      Plant Description

      Hundreds of subspecies of dandelion grow in the temperate regions of Europe, Asia, and North America. Dandelion is a hardy, variable perennial that can grow to a height of nearly 12 inches. Its short root divides at the crown into a tapered, multi-headed taproot. Dandelions have a distinctive rosette of deeply notched, toothy, spatula-like leaves that are shiny and hairless. Each rosette is capped by a head of composite bright yellow flowers. The grooved leaves funnel the flow of rainfall into the tapered root.

      Dandelion flowers are light-sensitive, characteristically opening in the morning and closing in the evening and during gloomy weather. The roots are fleshy and brittle, with a dark brown exterior, and filled with white milky latex that is bitter and slightly odorous.


      Parts Used

      Dandelion leaves produce a diuretic effect, while the roots act as an appetite stimulant and digestive aid.


      Medicinal Uses and Indications

      Dandelion is a natural diuretic that increases urine production by promoting the excretion of salts and water from the kidney. Dandelion may be used for a wide range of conditions requiring mild diuretic treatment, such as poor digestion, liver and gallbladder disorders, high blood pressure, and congestive heart failure. One advantage of dandelion over other diuretics is that dandelion is a source of potassium, a nutrient often lost through diuretic use.


      Available Forms

      Dandelion is available in a variety of forms, including tinctures, prepared tea, capsules, and dried or fresh leaves or roots.


      How to Take It


      To increase stomach acid and bile flow in a child, adjust the recommended adult dose to account for the child's weight. Most herbal dosages for adults are calculated on the basis of a 150 lb (70 kg) adult. Therefore, if the child weighs 50 lb (20 to 25 kg), the appropriate dose of dandelion for this child would be 1/3 of the adult dosage.

      Dandelion may be used in a variety of available forms:

      Dried leaf infusion: 4 to 10 g three times a day
      Dried root (infusion or decoction): 2 to 8 g three times a day
      Herb: 4 to 10 g three times a day
      Leaf tincture (1:5) in 30% alcohol: 5 mL three times a day
      Powdered solid extract (4:1): 250 to 500 mg per day
      Root tincture (1:2) fresh root in 45% alcohol: 5 mL three times a day



      Dandelion is generally considered safe even in large quantities. You can use dandelion for an unlimited duration. Some individuals, however, may develop allergic reactions from touching dandelion, and others may develop mouth sores. People with health conditions involving bile (a thick fluid secreted by the liver that helps with digestion) and gallstones should consult a health care provider before eating dandelion.


      Possible Interactions

      Although the components of dandelion have diuretic effects, no noteworthy interactions (positive or negative) between this herb and diuretic or other medications are known to have been reported in the literature to date.

      Another species of dandelion, Taraxacum mongolicum, also called Chinese dandelion, may decrease the effectiveness of quinolone antibiotics. It is not known whether Taraxacum officinale, or common dandelion, would interact with these antibiotics in the same way. As a precaution, you should not take dandelion at the same time as these antibiotics.


      Supporting Research

      Akhtar M, Khan Q, Khaliq T. Effects of Portulaca oleraceae (kulfa) and Taraxacum officinale (dhudhal) in normoglycaemic and alloxan-treated hyperglycaemic rabbits. J Pakistan Med Assoc. 1985;35:207-201.

      Baba K, Abe S, Mizuno D. Antitumor activity of hot water extract of dandelion, Taraxacum officinale-correlation between antitumor activity and timing of administration [in Japanese]. Yakugaku Zasshi. 1981;101(ISS 6):538-43.

      Blumenthal M, ed. The Complete German Commission E Monographs. Boston, Mass: Integrative Medicine Communications; 1998:118-120.

      Brinker F. Herb Contraindications and Drug Interactions. 2nd ed. Sandy, Ore: Eclectic Medical; 1998.

      Davies MG, Kersey PJ. Contact allergy to yarrow and dandelion. Contact Dermatitis. 1986;14 (ISS 4):256-7.

      Dorland's Illustrated Medical Dictionary. 25th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: W.B. Saunders; 1974.

      Grieve M. A Modern Herbal. Vol. I. New York, NY: Dover; 1971:249-255.

      Gruenwald J, Brendler T, Jaenicke C. PDR for Herbal Medicines. Montvale, NJ: Medical Economics Company; 1998:1174-76.

      Hobbs C. Taraxacum officinale: A monograph and literature review. In: Eclectic Dispensatory. Portland, Ore: Eclectic Medical Publications; 1989.

      Mascolo N, et al. Biological screening of Italian medicinal plants for anti-inflammatory activity. Phytotherapy Res 1987:28-29.

      Miller L. Herbal Medicinals: Selected Clinical Considerations Focusing on Known or Potential Drug-Herb Interactions. Arch Intern Med. 1998;158:2200-2211

      Murray MT. The Healing Power of Herbs. 2nd ed. Rocklin, Calif: Prima Publishing; 1995: 86-91.

      Newall C, Anderson L, Phillipson J. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-care Professionals. London, England: Pharmaceutical Press; 1996:96-97.

      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;26: 212-217.

      Tyler V. The Honest Herbal: A Sensible Guide to the Use of Herbs and Related Remedies. 3rd ed. New York, NY: Pharmaceutical Products Press; 1993:109-110.

      White L, Mavor S. Kids, Herbs, Health. Loveland, Colo: Interweave Press; 1998:22, 28.

      Yamashita K, Kawai K, Itakura M. Effects of fructooligosaccharides on blood glucose and serum lipids in diabetic subjects. Nutr Res. 1984;4:491-496.


      Copyright © 2003 OneMedicine

      The publisher does not accept any responsibility for the accuracy of the information or the consequences arising from the application, use, or misuse of any of the information contained herein, including any injury and/or damage to any person or property as a matter of product liability, negligence, or otherwise. No warranty, expressed or implied, is made in regard to the contents of this material. No claims or endorsements are made for any drugs or compounds currently marketed or in investigative use. This material is not intended as a guide to self-medication. The reader is advised to discuss the information provided here with a doctor, pharmacist, nurse, or other authorized healthcare practitioner and to check product information (including package inserts) regarding dosage, precautions, warnings, interactions, and contraindications before administering any drug, herb, or supplement discussed herein.


    2. #2
      Nia Imani's Avatar
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      Dandelion is known worldwide by a variety of names including lion's tooth, fairy clock, priest's crown, swine's snout, blowball, milk gowan, wild endive, wet-a-bed, white endive, cankerwort, puffball, and Irish daisy. the plant is a variable perennial that grows to a height of around 12 inches. Its leaves resemble a spatula and are deeply toothed, shiny, hairless, and arranged in a ground-level rosette. For most of the year, the blooming yellow flowers can be seen. These are sensitive to light, as they open at daybreak and close at nightfall. The flowers are also sensitive to weather, opening and closing in fine and wet weather respectively. Upon maturation, the flower closes up, the petals wither, and it forms a puffball containing seeds that are dispersed by the breeze.

      The plant most likely originated in Asia and spread throughout the world, preferring cooler climates and moist, nitrogen-rich soils at altitudes of less than 6,000 feet. The root is most commonly used, but the leaves and the whole plant may be used also. In addition to medicinal uses, dandelion can be used as a nutritious food and beverage. Leaves are used raw in salads and sandwiches, or are used for tea. The roots can be used to make a coffee substitute and the flowers are often used for wine and schnapps.

      Chemical Composition

      Therapeutic actions of dandelion are believed to be due to taraxacin, various terpenoids, inulin, and its excellent nutritional profile. Dandelion is a rich source of vitamins and minerals. The leaves have the highest vitamin A content of all greens (14,000 IU/100g raw greens) and also contain ample amounts of vitamins D, B complex, and C. Minerals such as iron, silicon, magnesium, sodium, potassium, zinc, manganese, copper, and phosphorus can also be found in the leaves. Dandelion also contains high levels of choline, an important hepatic nutrient.

      History and Folk Use

      Throughout history, dandelion has often been regarded as an unwanted weed. However in Europe, dandelion was used for the treatment of fevers, boils, eye problems, diarrhea, fluid retention, liver congestion, heartburn, and various skin problems. Historically, the Chinese used dandelion to treat breast problems (cancer, inflammation, lack of milk flow), liver diseases, appendicitis, and digestive ailments. Other areas of the world such as India and Russia have also used dandelion in much the same way.


      Digestive effects:

      The idea of aiding digestion is based on the belief that bitter principles stimulate the initial phase of digestion, particularly the secretion of salivary and gastric juices. Dandelion does this, as well as stimulates the release of bile by the liver and gallbladder.

      Liver effects:

      Dandelion root enhances bile flow, thus improving conditions such as liver congestion, bile duct inflammation, hepatitis, gallstones, and jaundice. Dandelion increases bile flow by 1) affecting the liver directly to cause an increase in bile production and flow to the gallbladder, and 2) exerting a direct effect on the gallbladder by causing a contraction and release of stored bile. Dandelion's hepatic tonic effect may be attributable to the high choline content. The ability of the plant to improve liver function most plausibly explains many of dandelion's historical uses.

      Diuretic and Weight Loss

      Dandelion leaves have confirmed diuretic activity. One study in mice showed that dandelion exerted a diuretic activity comparable to furosemide (a loop diuretic). Dandelion, however, retains potassium through diuresis, whereas furosemide does not. Therefore the potential side effects of furosemide are avoided. Mice in the study exhibited a 30% loss of body weight in a 30-day period. Much of the weight loss is attributable to the diuretic effects.


      In 1979, a Japanese study found that dandelion alcoholic extract administered to mice for 10 days markedly inhibited the growth of inoculated Ehrlich ascites cancer cells within a week after treatment. A similar US study in 1987 showed that dandelion produced antibodies to the active polypeptides in tumor-induced mouse ascites fluid.


      Dandelion and inulin have demonstrated experimental hypoglycemic activity in animals. This may be due to the fact that inulin is composed of fructose chains which may act to buffer blood glucose levels, thus preventing sudden and severe fluctuations.

      Clinical Applications:

      Dandelion benefits the entire body. It is often used as a diuretic, laxative, cholagogue, general stimulant for the urinary system, choleretic, depurative (purifier), hypoglycemic, and antitumor agent.

      Liver conditions

      Two human studies have shown dandelion to have healing properties. A 1938 Italian study involved 12 patients with severe liver imbalances, all of which exhibited classic symptoms such as appetite loss, low energy and jaundice. These patients were treated with dandelion extract (one 5 mL injection per day for 20 days). Eleven of the twelve patients showed a considerable drop in blood cholesterol. In the other study, dandelion was used successfully to treat hepatitis, swelling of the liver, jaundice, and dyspepsia with deficient bile secretion.

      It is postulated that dandelion may help in the treatment of premenstrual syndrome. PMS symptoms are believed to be caused by decreased hepatic clearance of estrogen and other hormones. Since dandelion can detoxify these hormones, symptoms may be improved.


      General tonic and mild liver remedy (TID dosing):

      Dried root: 2-8 grams by infusion or decoction
      Fluid extract (1:1): 4-8 mL (1-2 teaspoons)
      Tincture: alcohol-based tinctures are not recommended because of the extremely high dose required
      Juice of fresh root: 4-8 mL (1-2 teaspoons)
      Powdered solid extract (4:1): 250-500 milligrams
      Mild diuretic and weight-loss agent (TID dosing):

      Dried leaf: 4-10 grams by infusion
      Fluid extract (1:1): 4-10 mL

      Dandelion is extremely safe. Research has shown its toxicity to be extremely low. No toxic or adverse effects have ever been reported, either for external or internal use.


      Murray, Michael T. The Healing Power of Herbs. Prima Publishing 1995.

      Jones, Andrea and Arlen Rash. Dandelion. Presentation handout, Pharmacy 100, Fall semester, UNC School of Pharmacy, Chapel Hill, NC.


    3. #3
      Amerikah is offline Premium Member

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      Thanks for posting this valuable health information.

    4. #4
      derrickroberts is offline Premium Member

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      Love putting dandelion leaves in my green juices!

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