“This is the celebrated plant in which the common people of every land have faith” – James Neil
Latin names: Taraxacum officinale
Common names: Common dandelion root
Parts Used: Root of a 2-3 year old plant
Constituents: Glycosides, lactupicrine, tannins, triterpenoids, inulin, choline, potassium 1
Almost anyone who has seen grass is familiar with dandelions (although it is not found in the Southern Hemisphere according to Mrs. M. Grieve). Most folks consider this amazing healing plant to be a pest and an eyesore on their lawns. Little do they know that dandelions contain medicine in every part of the plant. Today we will be discussing the healing properties of the root of the plant.
Harvested in the fall as the plant is dying back, you want to find plants a larger plant, indicating it’s a bit older. This will ensure a larger root and higher yield for the herbal preparation you are making. Dandelions have a long tap root that digs deep into the ground. A resilient plant, even if you break the root deep underground, unless you get all of it, it will return for another cycle.
Under the dominion of Venus (as read in Nicholas Culpepper’s book), Taraxcum has an opening and cleansing energy about it making it the perfect ally for inflammatory and toxicity related conditions.
The practice of eating dandelion leaves to aid digestion is a very old one, brought over to North America by European settlers. Even today you can find dandelion greens in most grocery stores during the early summer months.
Anti-inflammatory, antirheumatic, aperient, appetite stimulant, choloagogue, choleretic, depurative, diaphoretic, diuretic, immune stimulant, pancreatic, spleenic, stomachic, peripheral vasodilator
Energy and Flavours
Leaves are cool and bitter. The root is bitter, moist, earthen, sweet and cool.
As a Depurative
- Chronic inflammatory conditions
- Acne, eczema, psoriasis, gout
- Chronic joint inflammation including rheumatic conditions and arthritis
- Inflammatory conditions of the urinary tract (incl. chronic conditions)
- Including kidney stones
- Also appropriate for water retention due to heart conditions
Liver and Gallbladder
- Inflammatory conditions of the liver and gallbladder (incl. chronic conditions)
- Including gall stones
- Aids the liver in removing toxins from the blood
- Michael Tierra speaks highly of its use in treating hepatitis
- Chronic constipation
- Interestingly enough I found this herb listed as a mild aperient (only having very mild action on the eliminatory systems) to a full laxative. My studies at school listed it as an aperient, having a gentler action on elimination and not forcing the body to expel waste as a laxative does.
- Congestion of either organ
- A specific for congestive jaundice
- Menopausal problems due to poor liver function (the liver cannot break down and excrete excess hormones)
- Hypoglycemia, diabetes (specifically type II)
- Aids in cases of poor appetite
- Aids in digestive due to its depurative nature and the ability to move fluids through the body
- Can be used to improve peripheral circulation in cases of high blood pressure and/or cholesterol
In my reading I also discovered that dandelion was often used in the treatment of breast hardness, lumps (including cancer) and mastitis. This information did not appear in all texts and we did not discuss it in school so I have no personal experience in this area.
- No known toxicity
- Use with caution during pregnancy and lactation due to it’s depurative properties
- There are no duration restrictions with this herb
Powers: Divination, Wishes, Calling Spirits
A old folk tale speaks of the dandelion’s ability to predict how long you will live. Blow the seeds off the plant and the number remaining will tell you how long you will live.
An infusion of the root is said to promote psychic powers.
If you bury dandelion in the northwest corner of your home, it will bring favourable winds.
Class Notes – Living Earth School
Culpeper’s Complete Herbal – Nicholas Culpeper
Earthwise Herbal, The – Matthew Wood
Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs – Scott Cunningham
Holistic Herbal – David Hoffman (1 )
New Encylopedia of Herbs & Their Uses – Deni Bown
Modern Herbal, A – Mrs. M Grieve
The Way of Herbs – Michael Tierra