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Dandelion 101

Dandelion flowers blooming in a field
Updated on March 19, 2020
Originally Posted in Plants on

Dandelion is undeniably the unsung hero of the plant world. Often overlooked or dismissed as a weed, the sunny dandelion manages to rise above stereotypes to be one of the great medicinal plants in Traditional European Herbalism. Its natural resilience and ability to transform make it the ideal herb for gently stimulating the liver, supporting the kidneys and promoting healthy digestion in general.*

Given the impact of digestion on overall health, herbalists would argue that there are few herbs as vital or as accessible as dandelion in maintaining everyday wellness. That explains why we feature it in so many of our teas, such as Dandelion Leaf & Root, Roasted Dandelion Root, EveryDay Detox® Dandelion, Dandelion Chai Probiotic and Green Tea Dandelion.

Dandelion is a small perennial from the Asteraceae family that grows well in soils of all types—a quality that makes this plant so resilient, adaptable and widespread. Although a native of Europe and Western Asia, dandelion is now naturalized in many countries around the world. It attracts pollinators and earthworms and loosens the soil with its strong roots, and inspires the hopeful to make wishes by blowing its delicate puff ball. For these reasons, herbalists, like the bloggers at The Practical Herbalist, have always associated dandelion with, “practical, gentle, and intentional transformation.”

Its jagged leaves earned it the name, dent de lion, or “lion’s tooth” in French, and its round yellow flower has inspired others to call it “swine snout.” But it is dandelion’s botanical name of Taraxacum officinale, which speaks more favorably to the herb’s true purpose, in some translations as “healing herb.” This said, dandelion is certainly not an herbal cure-all, but it is nonetheless heroic. Healers have looked to dandelion throughout the ages for various reasons, but its use to support detoxification function is common to all.

Dandelion’s role as a bitter herb and a diuretic makes it a great herb for general health and wellness. With so many of modern life’s health issues linked to gut health, a bitter herb like dandelion can potentially help address troubles before they start. Healthy elimination is also vital, which is why a gentle diuretic like dandelion can help support the body’s natural detoxification processes.*

Whether you want to enjoy dandelion’s bitter green leaves in your cooking, its flower in homemade wine, its roots in a traditional root beer, or sip it as a morning tea, there are lots of great ways to incorporate this approachable and incredibly helpful herb into your everyday wellness rituals. The next time you find yourself ignoring the humble dandelion, just remember that behind the façade of its soft, sunny flower and delicate puff ball is an herbal powerhouse of wellness.