Taraxacum officinale, Compositae. It is also known as lion's teeth and fairy clock.

The roots and leaves are the parts of the plant used. The roots are best gathered in mid to late summer when they are at their bitterest. The leaves may be collected at any time but are best in spring and early summer.

The dried roots can be ground as a coffee substitute, the flower heads can be used to make wine and the leaves eaten fresh or slightly cooked.

Functions of dandelion

Dandelion is famous for its general detoxifying bitter tonic. Dandelion:

  • increases the elimination of toxins, wastes and pollutants through the liver and kidneys and thus cleanses the blood and tissues. The bitters in both the root and leaves assist the digestive system and liver. It can be used for:
    • liver disease, including jaundice and hepatitis, and for problems associated with a sluggish liver, such as, tiredness, irritability, skin problems and headaches.
    • gallbladder infections,
    • in the pancreas it stimulates the excretion of insulin and can therefore be of assistance in diabetes.
  • leaves are particularly effective as a diuretic and can assist in fluid retention, urinary problems and prostate problems.

Notes on dandelion

  • If children excessively suck the milky juice it may lead to nausea, vomiting or diarrhea.
  • Pharmaceutical diuretic drugs take potassium from the body. Dandelion, however, is high in potassium content and this is usually sufficient to replace what is lost. As well as containing potassium dandelion is extremely rich in beta-carotene, boron, calcium and iron.
  • If you have gallbladder disease consult your health professional before taking dandelion root preparations.
  • Do not use dandelion as a weight loss aid.


Decoction: put 2-3 teaspoonsful of the root into one cup of water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10-15 minutes. This should be drunk three times per day. The leaves may be eaten raw in a salad.

Tincture: take 5 - 10 ml of the tincture three times per day.

For the gardener

Dandelion is an extremely common and invasive weed often found in waste land gardens and lawn. Grown from seeds or the digging and replanting wild plants.


Duke, J. A. 2000, Anti-aging Prescriptions. Rodale.

Hoffmann, D. 2000, The New Holistic Herbal. Element Pub.

McIntyre, A. 1995, The Complete Women's Herbal. Henry Holt Reference Books.

Mills, S. Y. 1989, The A-Z of Modern Herbalism: A Comprehensive Guide to Practical Herbal Therapy. Thorson.

Woodward, P. 2003, Grow Your Own Herbal Remedies. Hyland House.




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