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Common Name: Dandelion – Kukraundha, Kanphool, Common dandelion, Dandelion
Habitat : Taraxacum heterolepis is native to E. Asia – Northeastern China. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil. A very common weed of grassland and cultivated ground.
Taraxacum heterolepis is a perennial plant. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile.
We have very little information on this species and do not know if it will be hardy in Britain, though judging by its native range it should succeed outdoors in many parts of the country. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Prefers a well-drained humus-rich soil in full sun or light shade. Many species in this genus produce their seed apomictically. This is an asexual method of seed production where each seed is genetically identical to the parent plant. Occasionally seed is produced sexually, the resulting seedlings are somewhat different to the parent plants and if these plants are sufficiently distinct from the parents and then produce apomictic seedlings these seedlings are, in theory at least, a new species.
Seed – sow spring in a cold frame and either surface-sow or only just cover the seed. Make sure the compost does not dry out. Germination should take place within 2 weeks. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are large enough to handle, choosing relatively deep pots to accommodate the tap root. Plant them out in early summer. Division in early spring as the plant comes into growth.
Edible Parts: Flowers; Leaves; Root.
Leaves – raw or cooked. The roasted root is a coffee substitute. The following uses are also probably applicable to this species, though we have no records for them Root – cooked. Flowers – raw or cooked. The unopened flower buds can be used in fritters. The whole plant is dried and used as a tea. A pleasant tea is made from the flowers. The leaves and the roots can also be used to make tea.
The stem has been used in the treatment of cancer. A decoction of the whole plant is used in treating abscesses, appendicitis, boils, liver problems, stomach disorders etc. It has been used for over 1,000 years by the Chinese in treating breast cancer and other disorders of the breasts including poor milk flow.
The plant is a commonly used herbal remedy. It is especially effective and valuable as a diuretic because it contains high levels of potassium salts and therefore can replace the potassium that is lost from the body when diuretics are used. All parts of the plant, but especially the root, are slightly aperient, cholagogue, depurative, strongly diuretic, hepatic, laxative, stomachic and tonic. The root is also experimentally cholagogue, hypoglycaemic and a weak antibiotic against yeast infections. The dried root has a weaker action. The roots can be used fresh or dried and should be harvested in the autumn when 2 years old. The leaves are harvested in the spring when the plant is in flower and can be dried for later use. A tea can be made from the leaves or, more commonly, from the roots. The plant is used internally in the treatment of gall bladder and urinary disorders, gallstones, jaundice, cirrhosis, dyspepsia with constipation, oedema associated with high blood pressure and heart weakness, chronic joint and skin complaints, gout, eczema and acne. The plant has an antibacterial action, inhibiting the growth of Staphylococcus aureus, Pneumococci, Meningococci, Bacillus dysenteriae, B. typhi, C. diphtheriae, Proteus etc. The latex contained in the plant sap can be used to remove corns, warts and verrucae. The latex has a specific action on inflammations of the gall bladder and is also believed to remove stones in the liver. A tea made from the leaves is laxative. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Taraxacum officinale for dyspepsia, urnary tract infections, liver and gallbladder complaints, appetite loss for critics of commission E).
Other Uses: The flowers are an ingredient of ‘QR’ herbal compost activator. This is a dried and powdered mixture of several herbs that can be added to a compost heap in order to speed up bacterial activity and thus shorten the time needed to make the compost. A liquid plant feed can be made from the root and leaves. A low quality latex, which can be used for making rubber, can be obtained from the roots of this plant. A magenta-brown dye is obtained from the root. The plant releases ethylene gas, this stunts the growth of nearby plants and causes premature ripening of fruits. A distilled water made from the ligules (thin appendages at the base of the leaf blades) is used cosmetically to clear the skin and is particularly effective in fading freckles.
Known Hazards: This plant has been mentioned in various books on poisonous plants but any possible toxins will be of very low concentration and toxicity. There are reports that some people have suffered dermatitis as a result of touching the plant, this is probably caused by the latex in the leaves and stems.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.