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Taraxacum-Officinale (view original)

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Taraxacum Officinale (Dandelion)
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Other names

pu gong ying
Taraxacum officinale [Weber] ex Wigg.
The Genus and Species name refers to the plant's medicinal use. Taraxacum meaning 'to stir up', and Officinale meaning 'medicinal' [4]
There are two synonyms according to the Catalogue of Life, with "Taraxacum officinale" commonly used as collective name for most of the apomictic species in the genus.[6]
The Chinese Materia Medica uses Taraxacum sinicum Kitag. and Taraxacum mongolicum Hand.-Mazz as its standard species[1]


bitter, sweet, cold[1][3]
Tonic [20][28]
Emetic/Purgative [20][22][27]
Laxative [22][26]
Cholagogue and choleretic[30][31]

Channels entered

JueYin, YangMing (LV/PC, ST/SI)[1][3]


Clears Heat, Drains Dampness (湿), Disperses Phlegm (痰), Soothes the Liver[1][3]


For hard masses, inflammation, red eyes, jaundice from Damp-Heat, and Lin syndrome (painful micturition from Damp-Heat),[1][3]
Indolent ulcers, stomachaches and pain, heartburn, sore throats, toothaches and tooth decay[15][17][18][22]
Chest pain when other remedies have failed[25]
Insufficient or difficulty commencing lactation[19]
Back pain, kidney trouble, and edema of the legs[21]
Swollen lungs[22]
Testicular trauma[22]
Menstrual cramps[23][24]

Indigenous usage

The Anishinaabeg used a compound infusion of dandelion root to hasten postpartum lactation,[19] and an infusion of dandelion root was taken for heartburn.[25]
The Haudenosaunee used a compound decoction of dried dandelion for pain and sores from bad blood; a compound infusion for back pain,[21] kidney trouble, and edema; they used an infusion with other herbs as a wash for liverspots or dark circles and puffy eyes; an infusion of roots as an emetic; a compound decoction of flowers and leaves as a laxative; a compound decoction of the dried plant for swollen lungs; they chewed the flower stem for worms in the teeth that cause decay; they used a decoction of plants with dandelion or a poultice of smashed dandelion flowers applied to swollen or smashed testicles; and finally the Haudenosaunee used a decoction of plants with dandelion for anemia.[22]
The Keetoowah or Tsalagi made infusions of dandelion to calm the nerves and help blood, and chewed the plant to alleviate toothaches.[18]
The Kiowa used a decoction of young dandelion leaves, and the Tohono O’odham used an infusion of dandelion blossoms to treat menstrual cramps.[23][24]
The Lenapes used dandelion to make a laxative-tonic.[20]
The Meskwaki used an infusion of dandelion root for chest pain when other remedies have failed.[25]
The Mohegan used a compound infusion or decoction taken as a tonic and a strong infusion of dried dandelion leaves were taken as a purgative.[20][27]
The Potawatomi also used the root as a tonic.[28]
The Rappahannocks used an infusion of the root for indigestion.[29]
The Sugpiaq and Unangas peoples made a poultices of steamed or wilted dandelion leaves applied on indolent ulcers, applied on the stomach for stomach aches, or applied to the throat for sore throats.[15]

Posology and method of administration

For indigestion in adolescents, adults, and elderly:
a) comminuted dried root with herb: 3-4 g as a decoction, or 4-10 g as an infusion up to 3 times daily
b) coated tablet, 300 mg dry extract, 2 times daily; or 1-2 coated tablets, 150 mg dry extract each, 3 times daily
c) liquid extract 90 drops (90 drops = 3.15 ml = 3.31 g), 3 times daily
d) liquid extract 35 drops (35 drops = ca. 1 ml = 1 g), 3 times daily
e) expressed juice from fresh flowering Taraxaci radix cum herba single dose 10 ml, 3 times daily[33]

For use as a diuretic in adolescents, adults, and elderly:
a) comminuted dried root with herb, 3-4 g as a decoction, or 4-10 g as an infusion up to 3 times daily[33]


Dandelion and Prunella vulgaris (common self-heal, xia ku cao) work well together in the treatment of early stage breast abscesses, in the treatment of swollen sore throats, red swollen eyes, (damp-heat) skin lesions, hepatitis, and cholecystitis.[1]
Dandelion with Patrinia scabiosifolia Fisch. ex Trevir., or Patrinia villosa, also known as Patrinia or bai jiang cao, strongly moves blood and treats stasis from heat-toxins, thereby addressing health issues such as bloating, abdominal pain including menstrual cramps, abdominal masses, jaundice (from damp-heat), and abnormal vaginal discharge involving damp-heat and blood-stasis.[1]

Non-medicinal uses

The young greens make a tasty stir fry with chilii pepper, sichuan peppercorn, and black bean sauce. The flower is also tasty and similar to morels when it's fried in butter. The flower can also be used to make wine, and the whole plant can be used to make beer. The roasted and steeped roots taste similar to coffee.[3][4] The Hesquiaht used dandelion stems to make whistles.[5]

Contraindications, known toxicity, and adverse reactions

Avoid, or use extreme caution, using dandelion with those who have hypersensitivity to plants in the Asteraceae family, i.e. ragweed; those with bile duct obstruction, cholangitis, liver
diseases, gallstones, and active peptic ulcers, or other biliary diseases.[33]
The use of dandelion in patients who have renal failure and/or diabetes, and/or heart failure should be avoided, or used with great caution, because of possible risks of hyperkalemia.[33]
Epigastric pain and hyperacidity may occur.[33]
Be sure to collect in sites away from pesticide/herbicide application.
Because the herb is cold, be cautious using dandelion with those who have insufficient Yang.

Notes on identification:

There are quite a number of species in the Taraxacum family that were used medicinally:
Taraxacum brassicifolium Kitag. (jie ye pu gong ying)
Taraxacum calanthodium Dahlst. (li hua pu gong ying)
Taraxacum californicum Munz & I.M.Johnst. is an endangered species.[2]
Taraxacum ceratophorum (Ledeb.) DC., horned dandelion is quite similar.
Taraxacum erythropodum G.E.Haglund (hong geng pu gong ying)
Taraxacum erythrospermum Andrz. ex Besser
Taraxacum heterolepis Nakai & Koidz. ex Kitag. (yi bao pu gong ying)
Taraxacum platypecidium Diels ex H.Limpr. (he bei pu gong ying)

Not to be confused with:
Emilia sonchifolia (L.) DC. ex Wight (tu gong ying)
Elephantopus scaber L. (di dan cao)
Hypochaeris radicata L. also known as False Dandelion, or Cat's Ear, is quite similar. Both Taraxacum officinale and Hypochaeris radicata have similar flowers and form windborne seeds, but Hypochaeris radicata stems are forked and solid, whereas dandelions have unforked hollow stems.
Picris divaricata Vaniot (yun nan mao lian cai)


Taraxacum officinale (Dandelion) has some anti-diabetic properties due to its bioactive chemical components; chicoric acid, taraxasterol (TS), chlorogenic acid, and sesquiterpene lactones.[7] meaning it may have some use in treating type II diabetes, but more research is needed.
Taraxacum officinale showed strong pancreatic lipase inhibitory activity in vitro and in vivo[8]
The anti-inflammatory effects of Dandelion is likely from reducing nitric oxide (NO), prostaglandin (PG) E2, TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6, and cycloxygenase (COX)-2reducing nitric oxide (NO), prostaglandin (PG) E2, TNF-α, IL-1β, IL-6, and cycloxygenase (COX)-2.[10]
The anit-inflammatory properties of dandelion leaves are likely due to down-regulation of NO, PGE2, and pro-inflammatory cytokines and reduced expressions of iNOS and COX-2 via inactivation of the MAP kinase signal pathway.[11]
Taraxacum officinale contains anti-angiogenic, anti-inflammatory and anti-nociceptive activities through its inhibition of NO production and COX-2 expression and/or its antioxidative activity.[9]
Dandelion petals may be useful for diseases associated with oxidative stress by inhibiting lipid peroxidation, protein carbonylation and oxidation of protein thiols.[12]
Methanol hydrophobic crude extract (DRE3) of Taraxacum officinale demonstrated the strongest inhibition of microbial growth against Staphylococcus aureus, methicillin-resistant S. aureus and Bacillus cereus strains. [13]
The oligosaccharides of dandelion show high antibacterial activity against Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis and Staphylococcus aureus, indicating that dandelion-derived oligosaccharides have potential use as antibacterial agents.[14]

Conservation/IUCN/CITES Status

Taraxacum Officinale has not been evaluated (NE) for the IUCN Red List

1. Bensky, D.; Clavey, S; Stöger, E.; Chinese Herbal Medicine Materia Medica 3rd Edition. Eastland Press Inc, 2004. pages 162-164, 174
2. Brock, Marcus T. The potential for genetic assimilation of a native dandelion species, Taraxacum ceratophorum (Asteraceae), by the exotic congener T. officinale American Journal of Botany 8 January 2004 : http://www.amjbot.org/content/91/5/656.full
3. Garran, T.; Western Herbs According to Traditional Chinese Medicine: A Practitioner's Guide. Healing Arts Press 2008. pp. 83-85
4. Parish Coupé Lloyd.; Plants of Southern Interior British Columbia and the Inland Northwest B.C. Ministry of Forests and Lone Pine Publishing 1996, pp 112
5. Turner, Nancy J. and Barbara S. Efrat, 1982, Ethnobotany of the Hesquiat Indians of Vancouver Island, Victoria. British Columbia Provincial Museum, page 62
6. Hassler M. (2017). World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World (version Jan 2017). In: Roskov Y., Abucay L., Orrell T., Nicolson D., Bailly N., Kirk P., Bourgoin T., DeWalt R.E., Decock W., De Wever A., Nieukerken E. van, Zarucchi J., Penev L., eds. (2017). Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life, 27th February 2017. Digital resource at www.catalogueoflife.org/col. Species 2000: Naturalis, Leiden, the Netherlands. ISSN 2405-8858.
7. Fonyuy E. Wirngo, Max N. Lambert, Per B. Jeppesen; The Physiological Effects of Dandelion (Taraxacum Officinale) in Type 2 Diabetes
Rev Diabet Stud, 2016, 13(2-3):113-131 DOI 10.1900/RDS.2016.13.113
8. Zhang J, Kang MJ, Kim MJ, Kim ME, Song JH, Lee YM, Kim JI. Pancreatic lipase inhibitory activity of taraxacum officinale in vitro and in vivo. Nutr Res Pract. 2008 Winter;2(4):200-203. https://doi.org/10.4162/nrp.2008.2.4.200
9. Hye-Jin Jeon, Hyun-Jung Kang, Hyun-Joo Jung, Young-Sook Kang, Chang-Jin Lim, Young-Myeong Kim, Eun-Hee Park, Anti-inflammatory activity of Taraxacum officinale Journal of Ethnopharmacology Volume 115, Issue 1, 4 January 2008, Pages 82–88 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jep.2007.09.006
10. Ge Hu, Junjie Wang, Dong Hong, Tao Zhang, Huiqin Duan, Xiang Mu Effects of aqueous extracts of Taraxacum Officinale on expression of tumor necrosis factor-alpha and intracellular adhesion molecule 1 in LPS-stimulated RMMVECs 11 Jan 2017, DOI: 10.1186/s12906-016-1520-3
11. Yoon-Jeoung Koh, Dong-Soo Cha, Je-Sang Ko, Hyun-Jin Park, and Hee-Don Choi. Journal of Medicinal Food July 2010, 13(4): 870-878. doi:10.1089/jmf.2009.1249.
12. Dariusz Jędrejek, Bogdan Kontek, Bernadetta Lis, Anna Stochmal, Beata Olas Evaluation of antioxidant activity of phenolic fractions from the leaves and petals of dandelion in human plasma treated with H2O2 and H2O2/Fe Chemico-Biological Interactions Volume 262, 25 January 2017, Pages 29–37 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.cbi.2016.12.003
13. Kenny, O., Brunton, N. P., Walsh, D., Hewage, C. M., McLoughlin, P. and Smyth, T. J. (2015), Characterisation of Antimicrobial Extracts from Dandelion Root (Taraxacum officinale) Using LC-SPE-NMR. Phytother. Res., 29: 526–532. DOI: 10.1002/ptr.5276
14. Qian, Li; Zhou, Yan; Teng, Zhaolin; Du, Chun-Ling; Tian, Changrong; Preparation and antibacterial activity of oligosaccharides derived from dandelion. 2013 Elsevier B.V.DOI: 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2013.12.031
15. Smith, G. Warren, 1973, Arctic Pharmacognosia, Arctic 26:324-333, page 327
16. Black, Meredith Jean, 1980, Algonquin Ethnobotany: An Interpretation of Aboriginal Adaptation in South Western Quebec, Ottawa. National Museums of Canada. Mercury Series Number 65, page 242
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18. Hamel, Paul B. and Mary U. Chiltoskey, 1975, Cherokee Plants and Their Uses — A 400 Year History, Sylva, N.C. Herald Publishing Co., page 31
19. Densmore, Frances, 1928, Uses of Plants by the Chippewa Indians, SI-BAE Annual Report #44:273-379, page 360
20. Tantaquidgeon, Gladys, 1972, Folk Medicine of the Delaware and Related Algonkian Indians, Harrisburg. Pennsylvania Historical Commission Anthropological Papers #3, page 39
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22. Herrick, James William, 1977, Iroquois Medical Botany, State University of New York, Albany, PhD Thesis, page 477
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33. European Medicines Agency Sciences Medicine Health Committee on Herbal Medicinal Products (HMPC) Community herbal monograph on Taraxacum officinale Weber ex Wigg., radix cum herba 12 November 2009 EMA/HMPC/212895/2008


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