Dandelion (Taraxacum Officinale) belongs to the family Asteraceae. It is also known as Priest’s Crown, Swine’s Snout, monk’s head, Irish daisy, blowball and lion’s tooth. Dandelion is native to Eurasia and North and South America. The dandelion is a perennial, herbaceous plant with long, lance-shaped leaves. The dandelion root is a fusiform, stout and fleshy, dark brown and white inside. Dandelion Root contains bitter milky latex which is more concentrated than in stems and leaves. The roots are generally harvested in summer and when the plant turns into second year of life. It is rich in beta-carotene, potassium, calcium, iron, zinc and Vitamin A and B.
Dandelion root is used to help ease upset stomach, loss of appetite, intestinal gas, joint pain, gallstones, muscle aches, bruises and eczema. It increases urine production, helps in bowel movements, and can also be used as blood tonic, skin toner and digestive tonic. Dandelion is used in soups, wine, and teas. The roasted root is used as a coffee substitute. Tea made from root has been used to relieve digestive troubles and helps to promote healthy heart function.
Dandelion root has a tonic effect on the liver and digestive system. It is a natural diuretic and prevents potassium excretion. It helps remove toxins from the body hence it is widely used in many herbal weight loss medications. Dandelion root also contains sugars and starch that can be used in diet meant to help control blood sugar levels. It can improve general health and is beneficial to the kidneys, spleen and stomach. It is recommended for the treatment of tonsillitis, osteoporosis, anemia, abscesses, boils, mammary tumors, water retention, cirrhosis, rheumatism, hepatitis, jaundice and warts. Dandelion is effective in eliminating age spots. Some people use toasted dandelion root as a healthier alternative to coffee.
Pregnant and nursing women should not use Dandelion root. It is not recommended for people with gallstones or biliary tract obstruction without first consulting a physician.