Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is an herb native to Europe. The leaf, flower, and root have been used for centuries to treat various ailments including liver disease, high blood pressure, appetite loss, upset stomach, intestinal gas, gallstones, joint pain, muscle aches, eczema, and bruises. It has also been used as to increase urine production and as a laxative to increase bowel movements. The root is best known for its detoxification properties, especially for the liver.
Dandelion root is rich in vitamins A, C and K, and contains calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc. It contains plant compounds called phytochemicals, including sesquiterpene lactones, that may help lower cholesterol levels when taken regularly over time. The antioxidants in dandelion root have also been shown to fight free radicals that can cause damage to cells and DNA.
The root is also believed to have magical powers -- the Encyclopedia of Magical Herbs recommends dandelion root tea to aid in divination and prophetic dreaming.
The rest of the dandelion plant -- flowers, leave and stems - have their own array of traditional medicinal properties, from digestive to wart-curing and more. And of course the flowers symbolize transformation and new beginnings, turning from vibrant yellow petals to that puffy white substance filled with seeds that blow off to cultivate new plants in new corners of earth.
Important Notes on Potential Side Effects!
If you are allergic to ragweed or any other members of the asteraceae family, you may experience an allergic reaction when taking dandelion root supplements. This can include hives, swelling around the mouth or throat, difficulty swallowing, dizziness or lightheadedness.
Dandelion root can lower blood pressure if taken in high doses. If you have low blood pressure already this could cause problems for you so talk with your doctor before starting any new medication or supplement regimen including dandelion root if possible
It may interact with some medications and supplements. If you are taking any prescription drugs or supplements, make sure to speak to your doctor before using dandelion root.