Dandelion

Dandelion
Taraxacum officinale; Asteraceae
dandelion
Effect on Dosha: PK- V+
Rasa: bitter
Virya: cold
Vipak: pungent

Part used: leaf, root
Tissues: plasma, blood, fat
Systems: urinary, circulatory, hepatic, digestive, lymphatic
Properties: diuretic, alterative, hepatic, bitter tonic, chologogue, laxative.
Indications: liver disorders, sluggish gallbladder, water retention, urinary infections, indigestion, tumors, abscesses, boils, high cholesterol.
Precautions: high vata
Root dosage: Add 2 to 3 teaspoons of the root to a cup of water, bring to boil and then simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Strain and drink up to 3 times daily.
Leaf dosage: To make an infusion, steep 2 to 3 rounded teaspoons per cup of boiling hot water for 15 to 20 minutes. Strain and drink up to 3 times daily.
Tincture dosage (root and leaf): Take 30 to 40 drops in 2 ounces of water, 3-4 times daily.

Dandelion leaf is rich in potassium, calcium, iron, magnesium, and vitamin A and C. The whole plant has a bitter taste, cold action, and is balancing to both pitta and kapha dosha. The leaves have an affinity to the urinary system, and help to eliminate excess water, metabolic wastes, and to treat infections of the kidneys and bladder. Both the root and leaves can be used to clear excess heat and toxins from the liver and blood. As a cooling digestive stimulate, it helps to improve digestion, especially of fats, and can help to promote healthy cholesterol.
The root is also a mild purgative, and can be used for pitta and kapha related constipation, due to sluggish gall bladder and bowel function.
The whole plant is edible and the nutritious leaves, flowers and shoots can be steamed or sautéed or a little chopped leaf can be added to salads raw. I like mixing the young fresh leaves with other leafy greens like kale or chard to make them more palatable. Since much of the Western diet is lacking in bitter taste, eating this nutritious leafy green is a cheap and easy way to give our systems the cleansing boost it needs, especially in the spring time when grows in plenty.
A combination of dandelion root and leaf is a good substitute for the traditional Ayurveda herb punarnava, which is well known for its use for treating both urinary and hepatic disorders.