Found in Eurasia and North America, the Dandelion has two edible species, known as T. officinale and T. erythrospermum. In French, dandelion means lion's tooth. A collection of florets form a composite flower head. Declared the official flower of the University of Rochester, "Dandelion Yellow" is the school's official color. Citizens of West Virginia celebrate spring with the theme as the Annual Dandelion Festival.
A beneficial weed, the dandelion has a wide range of uses. As a garden plant, its taproot absorbs nutrients for shallower-rooting plants. It is instrumental in adding minerals and nitrogen to soil. The leaves of the Dandelion are blanched to remove bitterness making them palpable. In the north-eastern parts of the United States, dandelion is served as a salad.
The flower petals are crushed to prepare dandelion wine. Caffeine-free dandelion coffee is made out of the roasted roots of a Dandelion plant. Dandelion leaves are a rich source of minerals, vitamins A, C and K, and potassium, iron and manganese.
Dandelions maintain ecological balance by bees, providing nectar and pollen to bees, butterflies and moths.
Owing to the wide number of pharmacologically active compounds present, Dandelions are prized for their medicinal properties. Useful as folk remedies in North America, Mexico and China, Dandelions are used to treat infections, bile and liver problems. Its anti-inflammatory effects cure urinary tract infections in women.
Pollen of Dandelion when eaten can cause allergic skin reactions and photosensitivity in sensitive individuals.
The presence of a high level of potassium in dandelion increases the risk of hyperkalemia when combined with potassium-sparing diuretics.
Pregnant or breast-feeding women must avoid any form of dandelion as its effects are unknown.
Dried leaf: Daily dosage of 4 to 10
Dried root dosage of 2 to 8 g-Daily
Fluid extract at the ratio of -1:1 in 25% alcohol
Dandelion root is useful to prepare tea. A herbal remedy for digestive complaints , doses of 9 to 12 g are recommended on a daily basis.