Dandelion Root (Tarxacum officinale)
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ALSO KNOWN AS: dandelion, lion’s tooth, swine’s snout
PLANT FAMILY: Daisy family Asteraceae/Compositae
PART(S) USED: Whole plant
OVERVIEW: Dandelion has been used for thousands of years in traditional and indigenous practices as a restorative tonic, edible food, and in herbal beers and wines.
Dandelion grows around the world and is wild-collected in a variety of climates, even in the Himalayas up to about 12,000 feet, where it is often gathered for use in traditional healing systems of India.
The root of the dandelion is rich in the carbohydrate inulin, which is a type of soluble fiber found in plants that supports the growth and maintenance of a healthy bacterial flora in the intestinal tract.
The root is typically collected in autumn or whenever its inulin content is the highest.
TRADITIONAL USES: Dandelion root is often dried and consumed as a tea but can also be eaten in its whole form.
Dandelion is a prized edible, and has been used as a gastrointestinal aid, a cleansing alterative, and a helpful poultice or compress for skin ailments.
The Bella Coola from Canada made a decoction of the roots to assuage gastrointestinal challenges; the Algonquian ate the leaves for their alterative properties and used them externally as a poultice. The Cherokee believed the root to be an alterative as well and made a tea of the plant (leaves and flowers) for calming purposes. Dandelion was used by the Iroquois as well, they made a tea of the whole plant, and also considered it be an alterative tonic In traditional Chinese medicine, it is considered to be energetically sweet, drying, and cooling.
Dandelion root's benefit to the digestive tract is seen as twofold, as it contains inulin (a prebiotic that may improve GI health) and is also a bitter digestive tonic which tones the digestive system and stimulates the appetite. The root is also said to be used as a cholagogue, tonic, antirheumatic, bitter, alterative, mild laxative, and hepatic.
STORAGE: Keep dry. Store in an airtight container in a dry cupboard away from light.
PRECAUTIONS & CONTRAINDICATIONS:
- Use at your own risk.
- Always consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner before using any herbal products, especially if you are pregnant, nursing, have an existing medical condition, have allergies, or are on any medications.
WARNING: This information is for educational purposes only, has not been evaluated by Health Canada, and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
HEALTH CANADA REFERENCE: