The common dandelion, also known as Taraxacum officinale, is often considered one of annoying weeds found in most lawns. To completely remove this pest, the lawn owners usually have to spend hours to dig up their roots. Much to the surprise of many people, this humble weed is an amazing medicinal herb with powerful diuretic and liver-detoxifying properties. When it comes to use it for detoxing the liver and gallbladder, dandelion root tea is highly recommended.
The common dandelion is a low, flowering herbaceous perennial herb of the family Asteraceae (Compositae). It has a basal rosette that has deeply lobed leaves. It can be used as a delicious food and herbal medicine at the same time. Besides of protein, vitamins and minerals, this plant also contains sterols, saponin, bitter crystalline substance, choline, inulin, glucose, pectin, inositol, caffeine, and so on. In Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), it is traditionally used to treat furunculosis, mastitis, cervical lymphadenopathy, red eyes, sore throat, lung abscess, appendicitis, jaundice, acute urinary tract infections and other diseases. And today it is commonly used in the treatment of fatty liver and other similar diseases.
Modern pharmacological studies confirmed that dandelion has a good hepatoprotective effect. Some researchers found that the bile secretion in anesthetized rats had increased by more than 40% after duodenal administration of dandelion injection or ethanol extract to rats. They believed that this is the result of direct effect on the liver. The tests of dogs with gallbladder fistula showed that the main active, choleretic ingredient of dandelion is the resin since the volatile oil is weak and unstable and alkaloids and glycosides produce no effect on bile secretion.
When intramuscular injection or intragastric administration of decoction had been continued for 7 consecutive days, it helped rats with carbon-tetrachloride induced liver injury significantly lower the levels of serum glutamic pyruvic transaminase and reduce fatty degeneration in hepatic cells. In a rat primary hepatocyte culture model, its decoction can significantly reduce the carbon-tetrachloride induced pathological changes in liver cells, increase succinate dehydrogenase and glycogen content, and reduce acid phosphatase activity. In addition, through electron microscopy the observers noticed that carbon-tetrachloride induced mitochondrial swelling and other pathological changes had been relieved. They explained that this effect might be related to dandelion’s membrane-protective effects.
In fact, dandelion is such a versatile medicinal herb. First, it has an amazing cleansing effect on the liver and promoting effects on bile. No wonder it has long been used as a liver tonic by Chinese and Native Americans when they find that their livers become congested or sluggish. Second, its root can be used as a mild laxative to provide constipation relief. Third, it makes sense in the treatment of liver-dysfunction induced headaches and skin problems. Fourth, it is great for removing liver toxins due to some certain drugs, thanks to the excellent diuretic and liver-detoxifying properties. Fifth, it boosts the production of probiotic bacteria that contribute to a healthy gastrointestinal tract.
Recent reports by the clinical laboratories acknowledged that dandelion could reduce hepatic steatosis, especially in the treatment of fatty liver disease after hepatitis. And it is more applicable in the treatment of fatty liver accompanied with hyperlipidemia, simple obesity, cholecystitis and cholelithiasis. And the recommended daily dosage is from 15 to 30 grams of dried root or 30 to 60 grams of fresh root. However, it is important to consult an herbalist if a person is going to use dandelion root tea for some ailments although it is usually considered safe to consume.