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Dandelion

SCIENTIFIC NAME(S):Taraxacum officinale Weber, also referred to as Leontodon taraxacum L.
Family: Compositae

COMMON NAME(S):Dandelion, lion's tooth

Dandelion, the enemy of suburban lawns, happens to be a very nutritious food and has been used for medicinal purposes since the 10th century. The leaves contain substantial levels of vitamins A, C, D, and B complex as well as iron, magnesium, zinc potassium, manganese, copper, chlorine, calcium, boron, and silicon.

History

The dandelion was used in 10th century by Arab physicians for medicinal purposes. The plant was also recommended in an herbal written in the 13th century by the physicians of Myddfai in Wales. It is native to Europe and Asia, but was naturalized in North America and now grows as a weed in nearly all temperate climates. It is cultivated by some European growers and more than 100 specialized varieties have been developed. The bitter greens are used raw in salads, in wine-making, cooked like spinach. The root is roasted and used to brew a coffee-like beverage said to lack the stimulant properties of coffee. Dandelions have long used in herbal remedies for ,diabetes disorders of the liver and as a laxative and tonic. The juice of the leaves has been used to treat skin diseases,loss of appetite, and stimulate the flow of bile.

Botany :- The dandelion is a weedy compositae plant with a rosette of leaves radiating from its base.The stem is smooth, hollow, and bears a solitary yellow head consisting solely of ray flowers, which produces a cluster of numerous tiny,tufted, single-seed fruits. The plant has a deep taproot. The leaves may be nearly smooth-edged, toothed, or deeply cut; the toothed appearance ,gives rise to the plant's name.This Perennial plant can reach 50 cm in height. It grows wild in most parts of the world and is cultivated in France and germany.

Uses of Dandelion

Dandelion has been used for its nutritional value in addition to other uses including diuresis, regulation of blood glucose, liver and gall bladder disorders,as an appetite stimulant, and for dyspeptic complaints

Side Effects of Dandelion

Contact dermatitis and gastric discomfort have been reported.

Dosage

As a general liver/gallbladder tonic and to stimulate digestion, you can take 3-5 grams of the dried root or 5-10 ml of a tincture made from the root can be used three times per day. Some experts recommend the alcohol-based tincture because the bitter principles are more soluble in alcohol.

As a mild diuretic or appetite stimulant, 4-10 grams of dried leaves can be added to a 250 ml (1 cup) of boiling water and drunk as a decoction;8 or 5-10 ml of fresh juice from the leaves or 2-5 ml of tincture made from the leaves can be used, three times per day.

Toxicology

Like many plants in this family, dandelions are known to cause contact dermatitis in sensitive individuals. A case report of a 9-year old boy describes positive patch test reactions to dandelion and other compositae­ plant oleo resins. Two out of 7 patients, each with histories of dandelion dermatitis, reacted not only to dandelion extracts, but to a sesquiterpene mix. These sesquiterpene lactones are believed to be the allergenic principles in dandelion.Taraxinic acid 1' -O-beta­D-glucopyranoside has also been identified as an allergenic component.

Acute toxicity of dandelion is low. LD50 values in mice for the root are 36.8 g/kg and for herb are 28.8 g/kg. A case report describes toxicity in a patient taking an herbal combination tablet that included dandelion. It was unclear as to which constituents were responsible. Dandelion may be potentially toxic because of the high content of potassium, magnesium, and other minerals.

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