Dandelion

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Taraxacum officinale (Dandelion)

Taraxacum officinale also known as dandelion meaning “lion’s tooth” was named after it’s “lion’s tooth” leaf appearance, and grow with hollow green stalks producing yellow flowerheads when in full bloom.1 Originally cultivated in France and Germany and of thought of as a weed, dandelion is now found to grow throughout the globe.1 The leaves are harvested in the spring and used for both medicinal and culinary purposes in salads.2  The root is harvested in the autumn, and when roasted can be used as a coffee substitute or a food flavor additive.2
 
Anciently, the root was used Chinese Herbal Medicine to strengthen and nourish the liver and relieve toxicity. In folk medicine, leaves were valued for their diuretic properties and were often consumed in salads.3
 
Clinical research has found the leaves to be a potent diuretic due to it’s high levels of potassium, and can be used to treat high blood pressure through reducing fluid volume overload in the body.3 Additionally, the root is known to be a great herb for detoxification and intestinal cleansing by removing excess waste products from the liver and gallbladder.3 Both the leaf and root of the dandelion have been well studied in preventing gallstones, the leaves have been found to help dissolve formed gallstones and hence aid with gallbladder dysfunction.3,4 The plant can also assist in removing excess toxins from urine through stimulating the kidneys.3  
 
Additionally due it’s anti-inflammatory properties, dandelion can be used to treat muscular rheumatic issues and for skin conditions such as acne and skin boils.5 
 
References:
 
1. Mills, Simon. The Dictionary of Modern Herbalism. Healing Arts Press, 1988. Print.
2. Williamson, Elizabeth. Potter’s Newcyclopaedia of Botanical Drugs and Preparations. Potter’s Limited, 1988. Print.
3. Chevallier, Andrew. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants. DK Publishing, 1996. Print.
4. Bone, Kerry. The Ultimate Herbal Compendium: A Desktop Guide for Herbal Prescribers. Phytotherapy Press, 2007. Print. 
5. Hoffman, David. Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Healing Arts Press: 2003. Print.

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