DANDELION (Taraxacum officinale)

Family: Asteraceae 

Parts commonly used: Root and leaf.

Properties/energetics: Diuretic, nutritive tonic, laxative, cholagogue, choleretic, stomachic, antirheumatic.

Systems predominantly affected: Digestive, musculoskeletal, urinary.

Uses: Dandelion root acts to detoxify (cool) the liver. It is considered a passive agent that can be used for a wide range of inflammatory conditions without seeming to aggravate them. It gives a toning disease-preventive action for the liver as well as a restorative therapy during and after liver disease such as hepatitis. This root decreases blood cholesterol and estrogen. Dandelion stimulates cell metabolism in the body as a whole, making the body dump its metabolic waste into the blood, which then proceeds to the liver for cleaning. Use of Dandelion tea is protective against formation of gallstones, due to its choleretic (bile-production) and chologogue (bile-flow) actions. Its high inulin content makes the root an osmotic diuretic, which stimulates proper development and elimination of urea and the excretion of uric acid. Dandelion root has alterative action when used in autointoxication that gives rise to skin disorders, mouth ulcers, and joint problems associated with toxicity. Dandelion works well as part of a treatment for muscular rheumatism and is a useful tonic for mild cases of excess stomach acid. Dandelion leaf is a safe, highly effective diuretic high in potassium (higher than the root) that helps avoid potassium depletion.

Combinations: Combines well with Chamomile for stomach complaints and with Oregon Grape root for liver and gallbladder conditions. For treating water retention, combines well with Yarrow and Couch Grass.

Affects on specific body types: The general effect of this herb is to mildly counteract any excess anabolic processes in the body. It counteracts the tendency toward subclinical acidosis, which is a hallmark of the Warrior-dominant constitution that spends too much time creating structure without clearing out the associated waste products. Dandelion is a good protective for cardiovascular problems in the Warrior-type, due to its ability to remove cholesterol and decrease blood volume (pressure) through its diuretic action. This herb is a good general tonic for oily, red, inflamed, acne-ridden skin and is an exceptionally appropriate herb for cooling those individuals who run hot, crave oily foods, tend toward anger, force and fiery emotions, experience heat imbalance, and suffer recurrent joint pain. Dandelion is also appropriately used with the Seer and the Monarch types when a gentle liver cleanser is required or for anyone who isn’t getting rid of what he or she should be losing (cholesterol, excess protein, gout, and so on).

Preparations/dosage: Decoction (the root): ½ cup three times a day. Infusion (the leaf): Drink hot throughout the day for a diuretic. Inulin, an important constituent of Dandelion, is not alcohol soluble, so this herb is not as effective when taken as a tincture.

Precautions: Large amounts can cause colic in cases of gallstones or obstructions of intestines or bile ducts

By James Green, Herbalist, copyright 2008

For more information please refer to James Green’s book, The Male Herbal, 2nd Edition