The taraxacum (Taraxacum campylodes), also known as "dandelion" or "lion's tooth", is a rather common plant in the meadows and the countryside, so much so that we hardly notice when we look down at its beautiful sun-yellow flower and its jagged edges, which vaguely resemble the teeth of a feline. The dandelion is known for the particular feature that, after flowering, forms a soft "seedhead" on the top of the stem, composed of many achenes, which all children remember having blown with a wish.
The dandelion, however, is not just any herb: it hides a medicinal soul and medicinal properties known and used for centuries by traditional medicine, especially in the form of herbal tea, decoction and mother tincture.
Dandelion: benefits and healing properties
In past centuries, dandelion has been defined as a liver remedy, an ally for wound healing and as a stimulant of diuresis (a quality which has been confirmed by contemporary phytotherapy studies).
The millennial traditional Chinese medicine considers the dandelion as a useful medicine to:
- support liver health,
- stimulate the cleaning of the urinary tract,
- promote bone and joint health.
In many ancient medical texts, dandelions are also recommended to treat infections, skin problems such as eczema and joint pain.
Today's herbal medicine considers dandelions a natural remedy with a detoxifying action on the liver and gallbladder. In particular, the leaves are used to help kidney function and as a draining against water retention, as well as being a support for digestion.
The notoriety of this healing herb derives above all from the fact that the dandelion root has excellent purifying properties, stimulating the biliary, hepatic and renal functions, that is, activating our "excretory organs" (liver, kidneys, skin) used for transformation and disposal of toxins through feces, urine, sweat.
Active ingredients of dandelion
These beneficial actions at the body level derive from the particular composition of the active ingredients of dandelion, which give the plant, especially the root, tonic, and digestive properties.
The dandelion root contains:
- vitamins A, B1, B2 B3, C, E, K;
- alpha and beta carotene;
- minerals such as calcium, sodium, iron, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc and selenium;
- caffeic and coumaric acid;
- inulin, a prebiotic fiber that nourishes the bacterial flora and improves intestinal transit.
- Potassium and flavonoids that have a draining action in the kidney and stimulate the production of urine and the drainage of excess fluids.
Perhaps the most important active ingredient of the taraxacum is taraxacin, a bitter compound that stimulates the gallbladder to contract to increase bile flow thereby stimulating purification. Its stimulating secretory action is not limited to bile, but stimulates the secretions of all the glands of the gastrointestinal system (saliva, gastric, pancreatic, intestinal juices) as well as the muscles of the digestive system, slightly promoting the secondary laxative action.
Besides, dandelions can be capable of promoting immunological function and enhancing the immune response of the lymphatic system. The nitric oxide (NO) contained in it is involved in the regulation and defense processes of the immune system and in fact, acts as an intracellular messenger stimulating the phagocytic activity of the cells.
When use is recommended
This "pool" of highly purifying, anti-inflammatory and detoxifying substances is the cure-all that made the taraxacum known to traditional medicines. The bioactive components favor the elimination of waste (sugars, triglycerides, cholesterol, and uric acids) making the dandelion a "hepatoprotective" plant, very suitable in case of:
- liver failure,
The lion's tooth is contraindicated in case of gastritis, ulcer and predisposed hypotheses. There have been interactions with some medicines such as diuretics and to highlight that it can interact with NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). Those who undergo this type of therapy always consult their doctor in any case before any other supplement.