Dandelion: Weed or Medicinal Powerhouse?

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) has a bad reputation as nothing more than a pesky week.  Like most other weeds that people regard as a mere nuisance, dandelion has scientifically-proven medicinal properties and an extensive history of use.

An Arabian doctor first recorded dandelion’s curative properties in the tenth century.  Dandelion was once called “piddle bed” because of its ability to increase urine flow.  The French has a less tactful name for the plant as well:  “pissenlit.”  For those of you who don’t speak any French I’ll let you know that “en lit” means “in bed.”  I’ll leave you to figure out the rest.

The Australian Journal of Medical Herbalism cites research supporting the liver-regenerating properties of dandelion, particularly in cases of jaundice, liver swelling, hepatitis, and indigestion.

In a study published in the journal Molecules, researchers found that animals given dandelion had a reduction in fatigue and a boost in immunity.

According to Ann Louise Gittleman, PhD, author of The Fat Flush Plan, dandelion root aids the liver and fat metabolism in two ways:  it stimulates the liver to produce more bile to send to the gallbladder, and at the same time causes the gallbladder to contract and release its stored bile, assisting with fat metabolism.

Some health professionals advise taking dandelion root tea for people on antidepressant medications since these drugs can impede the liver’s detoxification pathways.

According to research cited in The Purification Plan, dandelion helps break down toxins before they have a chance to damage cells and may therefore be useful for cancer prevention.

In a study published in Advances in Hematology, researchers found that dandelion significantly increased both red and white blood cells, making it a possible aid in the treatment of anemia, blood purification, immune system modulation.

Due to pesticides and pollutants I don’t recommend picking dandelion root from your lawn unless you live away from traffic and are confident of the land’s organic status.  You can take one to two teaspoons of dandelion root extract or supplement with 500 to 2000 mg daily in capsules for two weeks to help cleanse your liver.

Dandelion greens tend to work best on the urinary tract while the root works on the liver.  If you choose to incorporate dandelion greens into your diet, check out my article 10 Sensation Spring Superfoods.

If you plan to use the root to give your liver a boost, a typical dose is 500 to 2000 mg of dandelion root in capsule form.  You can also make a decoction (a type of herbal medicinal tea) by using two teaspoons of powdered dandelion root per cup of water.  Bring to a boil and simmer for 45 minutes.  Make a large enough batch that it won’t just evaporate during the cooking time.  Drink one cup three times daily.  A third option is to take one teaspoon of alcohol-based tincture, three times daily.  Be sure to consult with a naturally-minded doctor if you suffer from any health conditions or if you are taking prescription drugs as some drugs can interfere with herbal medicines.

We spend billions of dollars searching for the one miracle pill that will cure what ails us while Mother Nature has provided medicine right beneath our noses.  If we’d only stop killing the “weeds” we contend with on our lawns and instead cultivate these powerful healing herbs we’d be much healthier (that is, unless you live in a high traffic area or spray your lawn with toxic pesticides).

Adapted from The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan.


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Margie F
Margie FOURIE2 years ago

Dandelions are also very high in Vit K.

Rehana VN
Rehana VN2 years ago

Thank you

chris b.
chris B3 years ago

Heard several great things about dandelions. Good for pancreatic cancer, good for cleansing liver, good for detox, good for the bees. So let grow, and use as an herb. Save yourself and the environment to boot!

Genoveva M.
Genoveva M6 years ago

I would like to try them n salad.

Janet D.
Janet D6 years ago

I am type 2 diabetic with polycystic kidney disease. In March I started drinking nettle tea and dandelion tea. Because my kidneys can't filter out toxins as well as they used to, I looked for herbs that help purify the blood and these two are said to do that along with boosting liver function. Seems they work. In 2 months time my creatnin decresed by .6 points and my BUN decreased by 16 points - all I changed was drinking these teas daily, sometimes together, sometimes alternately. My diabetic neuropathy is better and my kidneys, back, and joints don't have pain like they used to.

Christine Stewart

I save my dandelion flowers for my baby tortoise- so the plants are kept safe from any harm!

Ethel Harris
Ethel Harris6 years ago

If a dandelion grows by your front door, it is trying to get into your house and go in your salad.
Shame society does not use it more, and it is sprayed with pesticides!

Quanta Kiran
Quanta Kiran6 years ago


Sheila D.
Sheila D6 years ago

Good information. Thanks for the article.

Manuela C.
Manuela C6 years ago

They're gourmet weeds!