Dandelion root is one of the most effective detoxifying herbs. Working principally on the liver and gallbladder to help remove waste products, it also stimulates the kidneys to eliminate toxins in the urine. A well-balanced remedy, it encourages steady elimination of toxins due to infection or pollution. It is beneficial for many conditions, including constipation, skin problems such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis, and arthritic conditions, including osteoarthritis, and gout.
Lion’s tooth, wild endive, blow ball, cankerwort, piss-in-bed; Löwenzahn (German); tarassaco, soffione (Italian); Mniszek pospolity, Mniszek Lekarski (Polish); pu gong ving (Chinese); Aghrioradhiki (Greek); chicoria (Mexican); Dient de Leon (Spanish)
Introduced into European medicine by the Arabs who were writing about it as early as the 10th century. Taraxacum comes from the Greek taraxis, “to move or disturb”, but the name originally may have come from the Persian name for the herb, tarashqun. The shape of the leaves gives the French name, dents de lion, or “teeth of the lion.” Another French name is pis en lit or “pee in bed” from its diuretic effects.
Dandelion grows wild in most parts of the world and is cultivated in Germany and France. It is propagated from seed in spring. The young leaves are picked in spring for tonic salads and later as a medicine. The root of 2-year-old plants is unearthed in autumn.
Diuretic, hepatic, cholagogue, antirheumatic, laxative, tonic, bitter
Constipation, haemorrhoids, and indigestion.
German research has shown that dandelion root is a mild bitter, or appetite stimulant. Bitters of all types activate a reflex that increases the secretion of digestive juices by the lining of the stomach. Dandelion root has a significant cleansing effect on the liver by stimulating the production of bile, which ultimately results in increased transport of a variety of potentially noxious compounds to the stool. Increasing the release of bile also relieves constipation without causing diarrhoea and stops spasms of the bile duct.
Liver problems and gallstones
The bitter principles in dandelion increase bile production and bile flow in the liver. This makes it useful for people with sluggish liver function due to alcohol abuse or poor diet. It is restorative to the liver and helps reduce the risk of developing gallstones, but you should avoid it if you already have gallstones, since increasing the flow of bile could increase pressure against the stones.
European herbalists frequently prescribe dandelion tinctures as a weight-loss aid. Dandelion reduces water weight through its diuretic effect. Dandelion may increase bile flow to improve fat metabolism in the body. In one laboratory study, animals that were given daily doses of dandelion extract for a month lost up to 30 percent of their body mass.
In a randomised, prospective study, treatment of ureteric calculi with either spasmoanalgesic therapy or a herbal preparation was compared. The preparation contained dandelion root and leaf, goldenrod, Rubia tinaorum, Ammi visnaga, and a small amount of escin (a constituent of horse chestnut seed). No significant difference was observed concerning the transit times of the stones between the two groups, but side effects and treatment costs were less in the herbal therapy group. The strength of the herbal extracts in these capsules was not defined.
In a double-blind, placebo-controlled, randomised, clinical trial, 57 women with recurrent cystitis received either herbal treatment (standardised uva ursi extract and dandelion leaf and root extract) or placebo. Treatment for one month significantly reduced the recurrence of cystitis during the 1-year follow-up period, with no incidence of cystitis in the herbal group and a 23% occurrence in the placebo group. No side effects were reported. The dose of the individual herbs was not specified.
In Germany, the Commission E supports using Dandelion root with the leaf is recommended to treat disturbed bile flow, loss of appetite, and dyspepsia. This combination is also used to stimulate diuresis.
ESCOP recommends dandelion root for restoring hepatic and biliary function, dyspepsia, and loss of appetite.
Dosage (Divided Daily)
• Dried Root: 9,000 – 15,000mg (as a decoction)
• Dried Powder: 2,000 – 8,000mg
• Tincture: 3 – 6 mL (1:2)
Dandelion leaf and root are contraindicated in the closure of the bile ducts, cholecystitis, intestinal obstruction, and known allergy.
In the case of gallstones use only after consultation with a medical practitioner. Do not administer during pregnancy without professional advice. May cause stomach hyperacidity, as with all drugs containing amaroids.
Interactions with other drugs
- Balch, P. A., & Bell, S. J. (2012). Prescription for herbal healing (2nd ed.). New York, N.Y.: Avery.
- Bone, K. (2003). A clinical guide to blending liquid herbs: herbal formulations for the individual patient. St. Louis, MI: Churchill Livingstone.
- Chevallier, A. (2000). Encyclopedia of herbal medicine (2nd American ed.). New York: DK Pub.
- Herbalpedia (2013)
- Mars, B. (2007). The desktop guide to herbal medicine: the ultimate multidisciplinary reference to the amazing realm of healing plants, in a quick-study, one-stop guide. Laguna Beach, CA: Basic Health Pub.
- World Health Organization., & Ebrary. (1999). WHO monographs on selected medicinal plants (pp. electronic text.). Retrieved from https://virtual.anu.edu.au/login/?url=http://site.ebrary.com/lib/anuau/Top?id=10040306
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