Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) – Caisearbhán (Irish)
Herbal Categories: Hepatic, diuretic, cholagogue, aperient, depurative, tonic, stomachic, nutritive.
The Dandelion has always been a flower I feel very connected to. I remember using it on warts as children and the funny names given to it. I mostly like it for its stunning colour. This year was a great year for Dandelions they were bigger, brighter and more beautiful then I can ever remember. They have been part of my juicing regime for many years now, which is how I discovered their power in clearing up blemished skin. A few days of juicing the leaves of dandelion and you will see a noticeable improvement with any skin condition. A cleaner iris picture is also evident.
Dandelion as a food is very high in nutrients, e.g. inulin (said to be beneficial for diabetes), alkaline salts (important for an acidic body), choline (one of the vitamin b complex), sodium and potassium, as well as being high in calcium vitamin a and c.1 It also contains iron and magnesium. This makes it an effect substitute to dairy as a reliable source of calcium as well as a wonderful food for treating anaemia. The magnesium aids in the absorption of calcium and its high levels of vitamin c help in the absorption of iron. Dandelion is also very high in vitamin K, which is recognised as important for protecting against osteoporosis2. Ìn astrological terms, dandelions are ruled by Jupiter and have an opening and cleansing quality.3 Jupiter is associated with good fortune and good spirits (jovial). Dandelion is used as a general tonic to lift the spirits and Dr. Culpeper (17th century botanist) also mentions its benefit for the hypochondriac.4
As a Medicine: Dandelion supports overall health by gently working to improve the function of the liver, gallbladder, urinary and digestive systems and belongs to many herbal categories. It is a carrier eliminating toxins and fluids down and outward through the body. The root (used in tinctures is a mild laxative and good for constipation. The whole plant can be used i.e. leaves, roots, flowers and sap. The leaves in particular can be used to help the kidneys due to their diuretic properties, although unlike chemical diuretics’ e.g. frusemide5, dandelion replenishes the body with sodium and potassium lost during elimination. Dandelion is high in sodium and this natural salt purifies and neutralises acid in the blood.6 This creates an alkalising effect making it a good herb for treating inflammation and associated conditions like psoriasis and arthritis. Dandelions diuretic effect would make it good for conditions of fluid retention and high blood pressure and strengthens the urinary tract. It can be useful for children in bedwetting. The root has antiviral properties and contains chemicals e.g. choline7 that stimulates the flow of bile, this helps promote digestion and gastrointestinal health. Dandelion also encourages the growth of healthy bacteria, and alleviates flatulence (stomachic). This is namely due to its bitter quality, a substance taraxacin (sesquiterpene) also listed on the journal 100 Herb Syllabus.8
Preparation:The flower infused in oil can be used for muscle tension, muscle aches and arthritis.9 The sap can be used for wart, calluses, corns and rough skin.
The leaves can be eaten whole or juiced or made into a tea. The roots and leaves can be used separately for tinctures but generally the whole plant together is used. Dig up the whole plant and cover with vodka and leave for 2 weeks and then squeeze through a muslin cloth. The root can be dryed and ground into a powder.
Combination: For water retention couch grass or yarrow and for gallbladder, barberry. Contraindication: Dandelion is a gentle herb and there are no known side affects.
1. C.Gileadi, ,D.Christopher, D.Morris, L.Wolsey, N.Jayes. Title: 100 Herb Syllabus 2009 Dandelion pg 4 of 7.
2. http://www.betterbones.com/bonenutrition/vitamin-k/benefits.aspx by Dr. Susan E. Brown Phd.
3. The Complete Herbal by N. Culpeper pg 62
4. The Complete Herbal by N. Culpeper pg 62
5. The New Holistic Herbal by David Hoffman pg 196
6. Back to Eden by Jethro Kloss pg 123
7. C.Gileadi, ,D.Christopher, D.Morris, L.Wolsey, N.Jayes. Title: 100 Herb Syllabus 2009 Dandelion pg 6 of 7.
8. C.Gileadi, ,D.Christopher, D.Morris, L.Wolsey, N.Jayes. Title: 100 Herb Syllabus 2009 Dandelion pg 6 of 7.