Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is a perennial herbaceous herb in the family Asteraceae. Native to Eurasia, it has adapted to various climates and now grows in every continent. It is a typical “kid’s plant” not only because it is popular among children, but also because it is safe for children. The name, dandelion, is a corruption of the French dent de lion, or lion’s tooth since the leaves resemble a lion’s tooth.
Health Benefits of Dandelion
Dandelion could be nicknamed “the ginseng of the west”. And for good reasons: it is a master healer. Along with artichoke and thistle, is one of the most important herbs to regulate liver function, combat chronic fatigue and treat joint wear and tear. It makes the liver more efficient, regulates gallbladder secretion, improves overall digestion and supports all organs, especially the kidneys. It is rich in potassium which makes it a diuretic.
It is the ideal herb for spring cleanses because it stimulates the metabolism and soothes pain caused by rheumatism and arthritis. It goes hand in hand with fibromyalgia treatment since it reduces muscle and tendon pain.
Dandelion is used to:
- Improve and regulate metabolism
- Regulate the secretions of the gallbladder
- Relieve indigestion
- Regulate the secretion of gastric juices and threfore appetite
- Treat metabolic skin diseases and disorders
- Regulate liver function
- Reduce pain caused by rheumatism, arthritis and gout
- Improve joint mobility and decrease joint stiffness
- Reduce inflammation of the urinary tract
- Expel small kidney stones
- Combat flatulence (intestinal gas)
Since it is a diuretic, you should not drink it in the evening. Unless you don’t mind getting up several times in the middle of the night to relieve your bladder. People who are sensitive to the milk present in the leaves may experience vomiting or diarrhea.
Don’t use if you have blocked or inflamed biliary tract (liver, gallbladder and bile ducts). Talk to your doctor before using dandelion if you have gallbladder stones.
In Spring, the roots are rich in bitter-tasting compounds, which improve and regulate digestion. In Fall, the roots are rich in inulin, which is almost sweet tasting and a wonderful dietary fiber which promotes the growth of beneficial intestinal bacteria.
According to the National Nutrient Database of The United States Department of Agriculture, dandelion leaves are high in vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin E, and have more beta-carotene, iron and calcium than spinach.