Monthly Archives: February 2011

All about Dandelions

-written by Hunter Cubitt-Cooke

The Latin name is Taraxacum officinalis.

Common names include: lions tooth, white endive, wild endive, swine snout, canker wart and puffball.

Actions: Traditionally Dandelion has been used as a powerful diuretic, bitter, pancreatic regulator, galactogogue (stimulates flow of breast milk), cholagogue (stimulates bile), aperient, stomachic, tonic, anti-rheumatic, mild laxative, urinary anti-septic, and detoxicant herb.

Uses: Dandelion is used as a cleansing herb affecting the circulatory, digestive, urinary tract and lymphatic systems. As a bitter, it is useful for indigestion and used to gently stimulate and improve a lack of appetite. The leaves are rich in vitamins A, B, C, and nutrient minerals. Taken as a tea the dandelion leaves help to remove excess water. Dandelion leaf also contains potassium which is often depleted with synthetic diuretics, thus it is remineralising as it removes excess fluid from the body. The root stimulates and flow of bile and especially effects secretions and excretions of the liver and gall bladder. The milky sap from the fresh stem is used for the removal of warts.

Called Pu Gong Ying in TCM and frequently used for cooling, it is sweet and pungent. In Ayurvedic medicine it is a detoxifying herb for ama and pitta conditions, dispelling accumulated and stagnated pitta and bile.

I was taught as a child that dandelions are unwanted and to be killed with poisons. They are beautiful, especially in great numbers and destroying them didnt make sense to me. In fact, this wonderfully useful plant removes poisons from our bodies, as well as acting as a general tonic.

Preparations. If harvesting fresh, use the whole plant before flowering, the leaves during flowering, and the root can be gathered in the fall. Make an infusion of the leaf by pouring 1 cup of boiling water over 3-4 tsp. of leaves. Let steep 15 minutes and drink 3 times daily. To prepare the root, make a decoction by using 1 tsp. of the root to each cup of boiling water and let simmer for 15 minutes. Drink 1 cup, 3 times daily. As a cold extract use 2 tsp. of plant with 1 cup cold water and let stand for 8 hours. For a tonic or as a stimulant, make a juice by pressing the leaves in milk or using an electric juicer. Take 1 tsp. of juice 3 times daily. For warts, express milky sap and wipe the topical wart frequently. References and

Recommended Readings: The Herb Book , John Lust. The Yoga of Herbs, Frawley/Lad. Herbal Healing for Women, Rosemary Gladstar. Bartrams Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine, Thomas Bartram.

-written by Hunter Cubitt-Cooke. Hunter is a plant enthusiast currently working to expand his understanding and knowledge of plants and their healing potential. He has studied with the Alberta Wild Rose College of Natural Healing and volunteers at Alchemy and Elixir Health Group in Vancouver.