Food farmacy; tender leaves valued as potherb; Winnebago make wine from the flowers when someone marries. Dandelion is sometimes eaten raw in salads, but often blanched like endive and used as a green; frequently cooked with salt pork or bacon to enhance the flavor. Roots are sometimes pickled. Ground roasted roots used for dandelion coffee, and sometimes mixed with real coffee. Dried leaves are an ingredient in many digestive or diet drinks and herb beers (BIB; NPM; WIN). 0.5 oz dry leaf/cup water (APA); 1-3 tsp powdered root/cup water (APA); 3-5 g dry root 3 x/day (APA); 1-2 tsp tincture to 3 x/day (APA); 1 Tbsp dandelion juice morning and evening (APA); 4-10 g dry leaf, as tea, 3 x/day (CAN); 4-10 ml liquid leaf extract (1:1 in 25% ethanol) 3 x/day (CAN); 2-8 g dry root, as tea, 3 x/day (CAN); 5-10 ml root tincture (1:5 in 45% alcohol) 3 x/day (CAN); 4-10 ml dandelion juice (CAN; PNC; SKY); 0.5-1 g powdered root (KAP); 28-56 ml root decoction (KAP); three 510-mg capsules 3 x/day (NH); 2 tsp root juice 3 x/day for stomach (NPM); 1/4-1/2 cup fresh root (PED); 6-12 g dry root (PED); 9 g dry root:45 ml alcohol/45 ml water (PED); 1-2 tsp (for tea)
to 3-4 tsp (for decoction) cut herb/150 ml water (PH2.). 4-10 g dry leaf 3 x/day; 1-2 tsp root/cup/ morning and evening; 3-4 g powdered root (PIP); 10-15 drops root tincture (PIP); 2-8 ml liquid extract (PNC); 3-4 g/day (SHT); 2-5 ml leaf tincture3x/day (SKY).
• Asian Indians suggest 10 to 15 grains root as hepatic stimulant (NAD).
• Asian Indians, suggestive of Carter's Little Liver Pills, recommend 1 to 2 oz root (fluid extract or decoction) with podophyllin (a bit dangerous in my opinion) for dyspepsia, hepatitis, and jaundice (NAD).
• British regard this universally as a diuretic, but also use for colds, coughs, respirosis, and warts (AAH).
• Irish have even more uses for dandelion than British, adding boils, consumption, cuts, dermatosis, diabetes, fractures, hepatosis, nervousness, sore eyes, sprains, swellings, and thrush (AAH).
• Irish, because of its many "lion's teeth," believe it good for toothache (AAH).
• Italians apply dandelions to warts (X15664457).
• Lebanese extract the root in wine as a laxative or purgative, depending on the strength. Noting that "medical usage of dandelion came to western civilization through the Arabs," Philips says that gypsies use the root infusion as a depurative, and laxative, for the liver, rheumatism and sciatica, the raw leaf for a spring tonic, and the leaf tea for heavy breathing and kidney ailments (HJP).
• Limerick citizenry believe that eating a leaf with red midvein is tonic for a woman, white vein tonic for a man (AAH).
• Nepali suggest 2 tsp root juice 3 x /day for gastrosis (NPM).
Class 2d (AHP, 1997). No health hazards or side effects known with proper therapeutic dosages (PH2). Commission E reports contraindications: biliary obstruction, empyema of gallbladder, ileus; adverse effects include gastric complaints and ulcers (AEH; CAN; SKY). Other contraindications reported include biliary inflammation (AEH). Newall, Anderson, and Phillipson (1996) caution that the sesquiterpene lactones are allergenic and may cause dermatosis. May interefere with diuretic and hypoglycemic therapies (CAN). " [H]erbs with diuretic properties, such as juniper and dandelion, can cause elevations in blood levels of lithium" (D'epiro, 1997). Not for use with acute gallbladder problems (WAM). Use in cholelithiasis only under a doctor's supervision (PIP). Surprisingly, Jacobs and Burlage suggest that the root causes "mental excitement, vertigo, headache, nausea, colic, frequent urination, and gastric irritation" (BUR). Blumenthal et al. (1998) caution that, "As with all drugs containing bitter substances, discomfort due to gastric hyperacidity may occur" (KOM). Do I need to write out this caveat for all the salubrious bitter herbs of the Bible? Warning: may cause hyperacidity and gastric distress!
Natural History (Dandelion):
Birds like the seeds and pigs devour the whole plant. Goats eat the leaves, but sheep, cattle, and horses do not care for it. Omur and Handa (2005) demonstrated a priority of color over scent during flower visitation by adult Vanessa indica butterflies. Most flower visitors innately prefer a particular color and scent, and use them as cues for flower recognition and selection. Of colors, V. indica showed a color preference for yellow and blue. Aromatically, they seemed to prefer benzaldehyde, acetophenone, and (E+Z)-nerolidol. But butterflies preferred odorless yellow models to scented purple models. V. indica depends primarily on color and secondarily on scent during flower visitation (X15688217).
LD50 herb = 28,800 ipr mus (CAN); LD50 root = 36,800 ipr mus (CAN). The leaves have a higher Vitamin A content (14,000 IU/100g) than carrots (11,000 IU/100g). Coumestrol is estrogenic. Flavo-noids antiinflammatory; increase urine flow. Inulin and mucilage sooth digestive tract, absorb toxins, and regulate intestinal flora through prebiosis (help friendly flora thrive and inhibit unfriendly bacteria) and relieve muscle spasm. (PED). PH2 says the amaroids (bitter compounds) in dandelion are cholagogue (I agree) and secretolytic (I disagree; I think they are secretogogue rather than secre-tolytic; PH2 also says the drug is "secretion-stimulating"). Tillotson (AKT) notes that clinically the leaf is a more effective diuretic than the root and a safer alternative to Lasix. Onal et al. (2005) found anti-glucosidase activity, suggesting antidiabetic potential, in three biblical herbs: dandelion, myrtle, and stinging nettle. Agents that inhibit alpha-glucosidase can be useful oral hypoglycemics (X15704495). Proestos et al. (2005) checked the species for flavonoids and phenolics and their antioxidant and antimicrobial activity, finding circa 30 ppm caffeic acid, 20 ppm ferulic acid, eriodic-tyol, and 4 ppm (-)-epicatechin in dandelion (X15713039). Seo et al. (2005b) showed that dandelion protects against cholecystokinin-induced acute pancreatitis in rats. At 10 mg/kg orally, dandelion significantly decreased the pancreatic weight/body weight ratio in CCK octapeptide-induced acute pancreatitis, and IL-6 and TNF-alpha decreased, suggesting a protective effect against induced pancreatitis (X15641154). Czech scientists showed that dandelion root tea stimulated in vitro growth of 14 strains of bifidobacteria, the oligofructans providing an important source of carbon and energy (X15567259). Hu and Kitts (2004) found that luteolin and luteolin-7-O-glucoside from dandelion flower suppress iNOS and COX-2 at concentrations lower than 20 pM. The ethyl acetate fraction of dandelion flower extract contains 10% luteolin and luteolin-7-O-glucoside (X15543940). Hussain et al. (2004) demonstrated that dandelion increased insulin secretion, but at rather high dosage (40 pg/ml) (X14750205).
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