You may think of dandelion as that annoying weed that seems impossible to eliminate from your lawn. However, this remarkable herb has a long folk medical history in many cultures throughout the world. Its versatility stems from a wide variety of phytochemicals that influence our metabolism in different ways. Overall, dandelion is a top detox herb for use internally and for herbal skin care.
Dandelion in Folk Medicine
The common dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is a widespread weed that many cultures have known for centuries. Every culture where it grows has adapted it for multiple medicinal uses. The root has been used mostly as a gastrointestinal remedy, in support of digestion, as for liver function. The leaf has been used as a bitter digestive stimulant and a diuretic.
Native Americans used the boiled plant to treat kidney disease, skin disorders, and upset stomach. In Traditional Chinese Medicine it is known for helping with digestive problems and for improving milk production in breast-feeding women. European herbalists even today continue the traditional use dandelion as a treatment for fever, diarrhea, and diabetes.
In addition to its folk medical history, dandelion has traditionally been consumed as a leafy green vegetable. It is often added as a tasty green to mixed-leaf salads.
Dandelion in Modern Herbal Medicine
The folk medical history of dandelion has attracted a substantial amount of scientific research that documents a wide variety of health benefits. The German Commission E monographs, a modern compendium of herbal medicine based on scientific research, includes dandelion as one of its 380 recommended herbs. The Commission approved this herb for use as a diuretic and as a treatment for anorexia, indigestion, and abnormalities in bile secretion.
In addition, a recent search on Taraxacum officinale in PubMed, the medical database at the U.S. National Institutes of Health, yielded a list of 230 published research articles. This material has been reviewed for the key applications of dandelion in human health. The review was published in 2009 in the journal, Integrative Medicine, by Dr. Eric Yarnell of Bastyr University in Seattle and herbalist Kathy Abascal of the nearby Botanical Medicine Academy.
According to Yarnell and Abascal, dandelion leaf and root have been especially well-studied for their benefits on digestion, as so-called bitter digestive stimulants. Root extracts have also been shown to relieve inflammation, to modulate the immune system, and to have antibiotic properties. Furthermore, a relatively new detox action by dandelion was discovered at Columbia University in 2007. Researchers there found that the herb has a potential role in enhancing the detoxification of androgenic (testosterone-producing) hormones in premenopausal women.
Dandelion in Herbal Skin Care Products
Dandelion root is a key ingredient in the Detox Spray by Jadience Herbal Formulas. In this formula dandelion synergizes with burdock root, licorice, inulae, and ginseng in a revolutionary formula that is designed to deeply penetrate the acupressure points of the feet. These same key ingredients for herbal skin care are also combined in Jadience’s Detox Formula, which is taken internally to support the liver’s function in the normal cleansing process that helps remove toxins that we are often exposed to in everyday living.