Wednesday, January 30, 2013


Herbal Joint: Herbs from A-Z; Dandelion

By Jalapeno Gal77 -via APN

The dandelion, well-known as an annoying weed in our grass, is actually a very useful flower.  A very interesting herb, it has one of the longest flowering seasons of any plant, it opens in the morning and closes in the evening to sleep, and their seeds can be carried up to 5 miles!!  The Dandelion is a perennial flower that is found in North America, Asia, and Europe, and can grow has high as 12 inches.  It is a bright yellow flower with tooth like petals.  In the seed stage, they are white and fluffy. You might remember as a child, picking those white cotton like flowers that you blow into the wind and make a wish on? 

Tragopogon dubius.However, there is another plant that looks similar to the dandelion when it’s in its seeding stage called Tragopogon dubius.  Some other common names are goats beard, wild oyster, and yellow salsify.   The only part that resembles the dandelion is the seed head.  The difference being that the goats head is much larger in diameter than the dandelion.   It is edible and is found mostly in the United States and Canada.

  • The leaves, petals and roots are all used as either a food source or medicinal source.  Dandelion petals, untreated, can be added to salads and other recipes.  (I will add some towards the end.)  It is slightly bitter compared to other plants.
  • It is known as a liver detoxifier for its ability to stimulate bile.
  • Improved digestion and appetite.
  • Enhances your mood.
  • Skin problems.  Gives a healthier skin tone.
  • Vitamins A,B,C content
  • Minerals:  Iron, potassium, zinc.
  • Breast problems such as swelling or lack of milk stimulation.
  • Fever
  • Boils
  • Inflammation
How it works:
Dandelion is known as a liver and kidney tonic because of its ability to increase gastric and salivary juice secretions.  It stimulates the release of bile from the gallbladder and liver.  Dandelion has been used in many studies and has been shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells and kill leukemia cells.  It comes in extracts, root, teas and capsules.

Warning: As always, this article is not meant to replace your doctors’ directives.   Always consult your doctor when thinking of trying an herbal remedy or changing your current medication, especially if pregnant.  In no way am I suggesting you use herbal medicine without your doctor’s consent or to replace any medications prescribed by your doctor. 

Reactions to look for:
  • If allergic, reaction is contact dermatitis,  or photo-sensitivity.
  • Diarrhea/upset stomach may occur in some people when they first start drinking dandelion tea, but usually passes quickly.  (no pun intended lol)
  • According to Medline Plus, Dandelion may interfere with these drugs: Lithium, Ciprofloxacin, enoxacin, orfloxacin, ofloxacin, grepafloxacin and gatifloxacin.
  • Drug Interaction:  Antidiabetic drugs:  Might enhance the effects promoting hypoglycemia. Avoid dandelion with these drugs.
  • Drug Interaction:  Anti hypertensives:  May have additive or synergistic hypotensive effect. Avoid dandelion with these drugs.
  • Drug Interactions:  Diuretics:  May potentiate fluid and electrolyte loss.  Avoid dandelion with these drugs.
  • Drug Interactions:  Quinolone Antibiotics:  High mineral content, absorption of quinolones is decreased.  Administer interacting drug doses 2 or more hours apart.
  • If you are allergic to ragweed, marigold, yarrow, daisies, iodine, chamomile, or chrysanthemums you should avoid the dandelion as well.
Ask your doctor to help you determine the right dose for you.  Some traditional doses include:
  • Dried leaf infusion:  1 – 2 teaspoonfuls, 3 times daily.  Pour hot water onto dried leaf and steep for 5 – 10 minutes. Drink as directed.
  • Dried root concoction:  1/2 – 2 teaspoonfuls, 3 times daily.  Place root into boiling water for 5 – 10 minutes.  Strain and drink as directed.
  • Leaf tincture (1:5) in 30% alcohol:  30 – 60 drops, 3 times daily
  • Standardized powdered extract (4:1) leaf:  500 mg, 1 – 3 times daily
  • Standardized powdered extract (4:1) root:  500 mg, 1 – 3 times daily
  • Root tincture (1:2) fresh root in 45% alcohol:  30 – 60 drops, 3 times daily
Note: You should not use this plant in any way after using a pesticide/ herbicide  of any sort on the plants.  It will make you sick.

Growing Dandelions:
Dandelions grow best in full or partial shade and have no specific soil needs.  As you know, they grow everywhere! :)

Dandelions should be direct sown in spring.  Stratification and indoor starting can be done to give your plants a head start before moving them out doors.  To sow, seeds should be lightly tapped into the soil. Seeds require light to germinate so make sure to leave the seeds close to the surface to ensure the sprouting process.

Harvesting the plant:
Leaves or plant can be harvested at any time.  If you are trying to harvest the root, it is best to use a gardening shovel or spade and dig around the roots.

Please feel free to leave any knowledge you have AND your sources in the comment area or any testimonies you have as well. The more testimonies we have the more popular herbs will become in the community!

Keepin It Spicy,
Jalapeño Gal


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