Dandelion leaves / Piss-en-lits
Taraxacum officinale (Asteraceae) Dandelion is also known as bitterwort, blowball, clockflower, fairy clock, lion’s tooth, sun-in-the-grass, tell time, piddly bed, wet-a-bed, wild endive and dent-de-lion.
Parts used: The leaves can be harvested from April until late August. They are best harvested in early spring before the flower buds are visible.
Habitat: Perennial. The common dandelion grows throughout Ontario. The plant enjoys disturbed areas and so is found in close proximity to human habitation. The plant can tolerate dry conditions but prefers some moisture. Open fields are where it will grow in profusion. Dandelion is originally native to Europe and western Asia. It is now naturalized across Ontario. In addition to Taraxacum officinale there are more than 150 useful species of dandelion.
Properties: Anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, appetite stimulant, bitter, cholagogue, choleretic, diuretic, depurative, hepatic, nutritive and urinary tonic.
Uses: One of our best diuretics and suitable for use in all conditions of the urinary tract – poor kidney function, prostatitis, kidney and bladder stones, nephritis, urinary tract infections. Aids in the elimination of uric acid and can be very useful in the treatment of gout. Dandelion has a significant advantage over pharmaceutical diuretics – it contains large quantities of potassium. Diuretics typically leach potassium from the body. Dandelion replenishes the supply of potassium. A potent blood purifier dandelion is useful in all conditions associated with chronic toxicity. Helps to support lymphatic drainage. An infusion of the flowers in olive oil makes an excellent massage oil for neck, shoulder and back pain. Dandelions are a powerhouse herb – providing both medicine and nutrition. The leaves can be eaten in spring as a potherb and are an excellent spring tonic after a winter of heavy food.
Preparation/Dosage: Fresh or dried tea or tincture.
Safety Considerations: None. Not for use during pregnancy as detoxification is not recommended at this time. The leaves are safe during pregnancy as a food. The fresh sap can cause contact dermatitis in some individuals.