Other Common Names:
The other common names for the herb dandelion are Priest's crown, Swine's Snout, Blowball, Cankerwort, Lion's Tooth, Puffball, White Endive and Wild Endive Piss-a-bed.
A very common herb from the sunflower family.Interestingly, the designation as officinale indicates that the herb was officially listed as a medicinal. All nations know the plant by some equivalent for the name dent de lion - lion's tooth, which the jagged edges of the leaves, suggest. After flowering, it again looks like a bud, lowering its head to mature seed unobserved.
Presently rising on a gradually lengthened scape to elevate it where there is no interruption for the passing breeze from surrounding rivals, the transformed head, now globular, white, airy, is even more exquisite, set as it is with scores of tiny parachutes ready to sail away. It is known to the vulgar as Piss-a-Beds, which is due no doubt to its diuretic property. The Dandelion takes an important place among honey-producing plants, as it furnishes considerable quantities of both pollen and nectar in the early spring, when the bees' harvest from fruit trees is nearly over.
The dandelion is a perennial plant. The oblong or spatulate, irregularly dentate or pinnatifid leaves grow in a rosette from the milky taproot, which also send up one or more naked flower stems, each terminating in a single yellow flower. The familiar puffball that succeeds the flower is a globular cluster of achenes, each of which is fitted with a parachute-like tuft. Flowers are solitary, golden yellow, 1 to 2 in. across, containing 150 to 200 perfect ray florets on a flat receptacle at the top of a hollow, milky scape 2 to 18 in. tall.
The shining, purplish flower-stalks rise straight from the root, are leafless, smooth and hollow and bear single heads of flowers. On picking the flowers, a bitter, milky juice exudes from the broken edges of the stem, which is present throughout the plant, and which when it comes into contact with the hand, turns to a brown stain that is rather difficult to remove. The root is perennial and tapering, simple or more or less branched, attaining in a good soil a length of a foot or more and 1/2 inch to an inch in diameter. Old roots divide at the crown into several heads. The root is fleshy and brittle, externally of a dark brown, internally white and abounding in an inodorous milky juice of bitter, but not disagreeable taste.
The flower is actually native to Greece but can now be found in temperate regions all over the world. The Dandelion though not occurring in the Southern Hemisphere, is at home in all parts of the north temperate zone, in pastures, meadows and on waste ground.
A troublesome weed all over the world in meadows, pastures, gardens, Lawns, fields and grassy waste places.
Dandelion root can only be economically collected when a meadow in which it is abundant is ploughed up. Under such circumstances the roots are necessarily of different ages and sizes, the seeds sowing themselves in successive years. The roots then collected after washing and drying, have to be sorted into different grades. The root before being dried should have every trace of the leaf-bases removed as their presence lessens the value of the root. In collecting cultivated Dandelion advantage is obtained if the seeds are all sown at one time, as greater uniformity in the size of the root is obtainable, and in deep soil free from stones, the seedlings will produce elongated, straight roots with few branches.
The roots are generally dried whole, but the largest ones may sometimes be cut transversely into pieces 3 to 6 inches long. Collected wild roots are, however, seldom large enough to necessitate cutting. Drying will probably take about a fortnight. When finished, the roots should be hard and brittle enough to snap, and the inside of the roots white, not grey. The roots should be kept in a dry place after drying, to avoid mould, preferably in tins to prevent the attacks of moths and beetles. Dried Dandelion is exceedingly liable to the attacks of maggots and should not be kept beyond one season. Dried Dandelion root is 1/2 inch or less in thickness, dark brown, shrivelled, with wrinkles running lengthwise, often in a spiral direction; when quite dry, it breaks easily with a short, corky fracture, showing a very thick, white bark, surrounding a wooden column. The latter is yellowish, very porous, without pith or rays. A rather broad but indistinct cambium zone separates the wood from the bark, which latter exhibits numerous well-defined, concentric layers, due to the milk vessels.
Generally the roots, flowers, leaves of the herb are used. All the parts of the plant contain a somewhat bitter, milky juice (latex), but the juice of the root being still more powerful is the part of the plant most used for medicinal purposes.
However the dandelion roots have long been largely used.
This herb dandelion is supposed to flower through out the year.
Pests and Diseases
The roots should be kept in a dry place after drying, to avoid mould, preferably in tins to prevent the attacks of moths and beetles. Dried Dandelion is exceedingly liable to the attacks of maggots and should not be kept beyond one season.
• Dandelion has traditionally been used internally for gall bladder and urinary disorders, gallstones, jaundice, cirrhosis, dyspepsia with constipation, edema associated with high blood pressure and heart disease, chronic joint and skin complaints, gout, eczema, and acne. Soothing effect on bee stings, sores, etc.
• Skin care products to rejuvenate.
• Laxative properties.
• Source of Vitamin A, C, potassium, calcium, lethicin, iron magnesium, niacin, phosphorous.
• Cirrhosis - the herb increase bile production and cleanses the bloodstream
• Natural diuretic
• Arthritis relieves the stiffness in the joints.
• It also procures rest and sleep in those with fever. The distilled water can be drunk in pestilential fever and he used as a wash for the sores.
• Bile production by the liver and urinary output from the kidneys is increased with the use of this herb.
• The leaves are particularly strong, being equivalent to frusemide, a drug used to treat hypertension.
• It is a powerful remedy, not only for hypertension but also for cardiac oedema, hepatogenic dropsy and water retention, due to stasis or congestion in the blood vessels serving the liver.
• The diuretic effect of Dandelion is helpful in the treatment of a number of other conditions, particularly chronic disorders like rheumatisrn, gout and eczema.
• When the stomach is irritated and where active treatment would be injurious, the decoction or extract of Dandelion administered three or four times a day, will often prove a valuable remedy. It has a good effect in increasing the appetite and promoting digestion.
• A Dandelion coffee made from the roasted roots is available from health stores. The fresh, clean young leaves can be added to salads in spring.
• Young Dandelion leaves make delicious sandwiches, the tender leaves being laid between slices of bread and butter and sprinkled with salt.
• The dried Dandelion leaves are also employed as an ingredient in many digestive or diet drinks and herb beers. Dandelion Beer is a rustic fermented drink common in many parts of the country and made also in Canada.
• In Berkshire and Worcestershire, the flowers are used in the preparation of a beverage known as Dandelion Wine.
• The roasted roots are largely used to form Dandelion Coffee, which is a natural beverage without any of the injurious effects that ordinary tea and coffee have on the nerves and digestive organs. It exercises a stimulating influence over the whole system, helping the liver and kidneys to do their work and keeping the bowels in a healthy condition, so that it offers great advantages to dyspeptics and does not cause wakefulness.
• The fresh sap can be used for removing warts. It must be applied fresh each day for several weeks for the wart to drop off, but is a painfree way of getting rid of them.