Traditional names: blowball, lion’s-tooth, cankerwort, milk-witch, yellow-gowan, Irish daisy, monks-head, priest’s-crown, puff-ball, faceclock, pee-a-bed, wet-a-bed, swine’s snout, white endive and wild endive.
It belongs to the family of Asteraceae. This perennial plant appears in very varied forms and is native to Middle-, Eastern- and Southern Europe. It appears on fields and unimproved lands, meadows and wet pastures, on ramparts and in gardens. Its root has the form of a spike and grows 10-25 cm deep, is 1-3 cm thick, outside grey, inside white. The rosette of leaves and the stems grow out from the rhizome. The 15-25 cm long lanceolate leaves are serrated. The flower stem is 5-40 cm high, tubular and slightly hairy. The flowers are light yellow, mellific and bloom from March to June. It has silver tufted fruits (blowballs). The whole plant contains a sticky and milky latex.
The root of dandelion can be collected for medical reasons in autumn and spring, while the leaves and upper parts from spring to September. The cleared roots must be halved and dried in a covered and airy space. The most beautiful and healthy leaves must be cut just above the rhizome and dried in a thin layer at a clean, airy and shady place.
The plant contains taraxasterol-type triterpene, as well as a bitter substance called lactucopicrin, which decomposes into tranquilizer lactucin compounds. It also contains potassium salts, carotenoids, inulin and saponin. The leaves are rich in L-ascorbic acid, Vitamin A and B.
The bitter substances stimulates digestion, so the dandelion is a good appetite enhancer and digestion improver medicinal plant with anti-inflammatory effects. It has been proved through experiments that the active substances of dandelion have good influence on the organism in case of cholepathia and cystalgia. In traditional medicine dandelion tea is used first of all as a diuretic and depurant, since it gears up liver and kidney functions. Dandelion poultice is good for rheumatic pains and join gout. The young leaves picked before flowering can be used for salads. In veterinary medicine dandelion is used for increasing milk-production.