Family • Asteraceae - Taraxacum officinale Weber - IRISH DAISY - Yao pu gong ying

Scientific names

Leontodon officinale (F. H. Wigg.) With.
Leontodon taraxacum Linn.
Taraxacum officinale Weber ex F. H. Wigg.
Taraxacum officinale f. officinale
Taraxacum dens-leonis Desf.
Yao yong pu gong ying (Chin.)

Common names

Dandelion (Engl.)
Irish daisy (Engl.)
Lion’s tooth (Engl.)
Blowball (Engl.)
Milk gowan (Engl.)
Priest’s crown (Engl.)
White endive (Engl.)
Puff ball (Engl.)
Swine snout (Engl.)
Yao pu gong ying (Chin.)

Other vernacular names

DUTCH: Gewone paardebloem, molsla, Paardebloem.
ESTONIAN: Harilik voilill.
FINNISH: Voikukka
FRENCH: Dent de lion, Laiteron, Pissenlit , Pissenlit commun, Pissenlit officinal, Pissenlit vulgaire.
GERMAN: Ackerzichorie, Bimbaum, Butterblume, Pusteblume, Ringelblume, Seicherwurzel.
GREEK: Agrioradiko
HAWAIIAN: Lauhele, Laulele.
HUNGARIAN: Pitypang, Pongyola pitypang.
ITALIAN: Dente di leone, Piscialette, Piscialetto, Radichiella, Tarasco, Tarassaco.
JAPANESE: Seiyou tanpopo.
POLISH: Mniszek pospolity.
PORTUGUESE: Dente-de-leao, Taraxaco.
RUSSIAN: Oduvanchik, Oduvanchik lekarstvennyi
SANSKRIT: Dughdapheni
SPANISH: Achicoria amarga, Amargon, Diente de leon, Taraxaco.
SWEDISH: Fjallmaskrosor, Maskros, Ograsmaskrosor.

Gen info 
The word Dandelion derives from the old French dent-de-lion, meaning “lion’s tooth.” referring to the toothed edges of its leaves. It has been in use medicinally since the 10th century.


Dandelion is a milky perennial herb. Roots are vertical. Leaves are all radical, smooth, or woolly on the crown and scape. Leaves are stalkless, oblanceolate, spatulate or oblong, 7 to 20 centimeters long, toothed and pinnatifid in the margins; lobes are pointed and more or less toothed. Heads are solitary and grow on stalks 10 to 20 centimeters long with numerous golden yellow flowers. Involucre is bell-shaped, 1.5 to 2 centimeters long. The inner involucral bracts are erect, and often thickened or clawed at the tip; the outer ones are ovate, or linear, appressed, and more or less recurved. Achenes are narrowly obovoid, ribbed, and about 3 millimeters long, with the beak one-half as long as the body.

– Found wild in the Benguet Subprovince, Luzon, as a naturalized species on lawns, at an altitude of about 1,400 m.
– Introduced, being a temperate zone weed.
– Native of Europe.


• Plant contains inosit, asparagine, a reducing sugar, a bitter principle, saponin, tyrosinase, palmitic acid, oleic acid, linoleic acid, resinic acids, cholin.
• The flowers contain inulin and a bitter alkaloid, taraxacin.
• The milky juice contains taraxin, inosit, and taraxacerin.
• The root contains an abundance of sesquiterpene lactones (taraxacin and taraxacerin). Other compounds include beta-amyrin, taraxasterol, and free sterols.
• Contains an antioxidant, luteolin.
• Chemical analysis yielded flavonoids (rutin, hiperoside, quercetin), hydroxycinnamic acid derivatives ( caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid), catechic tannins, sterols, triterpenes, carotenoids, coumarins and mucilages.
• Leaves yielded glycosides, alkaloids, phenolic compounds, tannins, flavonoids and proteins. Results also showed high concentrations of trace elements K, Ca, Na, Fe and low concentrations of Zn, Cd, and Cu.

• Aperient, depurative, diuretic, laxative,stomachic, tonic.
• Root is milky and bitter.

Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) DANDELION / Yashpal (Paul) Chhabra

(2) Dandelion / Taraxacum officinale

(3) Dandelion / Benefits and Side Effects

(4) Anti-inflammatory activity of Taraxacum officinale / Jeon Hye-Jin et al / Journal of ethnopharmacology / 2008, vol. 115, no1, pp. 82-88

(5) The diuretic effect in human subjects of an extract of Taraxacum officinale folium over a single day / Clare BA, Conroy RS, Spelman K. / J Altern Complement Med. 2009 Aug;15(8):929-34

(6) The Effect of Taraxacum officinale Hydroalcoholic Extract on Blood Cells in Mice / Mehrdad Modaresi and Narges Resalatpour / Advances in Hematology, 2012 / doi:10.1155/2012/653412

(7) The Effects of Taraxacum officinale L. and Berberis vulgaris L. Root Extracts on Carbon Tetrachloride Induced Liver Toxicity in Rats / Fallah Huseini H (Ph.D.) et al / Journal of Medicinal Plants, Vol 9, Suppl 6, Winter 2010


(9) Sorting Taraxacum names / Maintained by: Michel H. Porcher, / MULTILINGUAL MULTISCRIPT PLANT NAME DATABASE / A Work in Progress. School of Agriculture and Food Systems. Faculty of Land & Food Resources. The University of Melbourne. Australia / Copyright © 1997 – 2000 The University of Melbourne.

(10) Identification of Dandelion Taraxacum officinale Leaves Components and Study Its Extracts Effect on Different Microorganisms / Abdul Kadir M. N. Jassim, Safanah Ahmed Farhan and Omar Mohammed Noori / Journal of Al-Nahrain University Vol.15 (3), September, 2012, pp.7-14 Science

(11) Investigation of bioactive compounds from Taraxacum officinale and Morus nigra / Kristó Tita Szidónia / Ph. D. Thesis / 2002 / SEMMELWEIS UNIVERSITY DOCTORAL SCHOOL OF PHARMACEUTICAL SCIENCES


(13) Reduction of Adipogenesis and Lipid Accumulation by Taraxacum officinale (Dandelion) Extracts in 3T3L1 Adipocytes: An in vitro Study / Marta González-Castejón, Belén García-Carrasco, Raquel Fernández-Dacosta, Alberto Dávalos andArantxa Rodriguez-Casado* / Phytotherapy Research, Volume 28, Issue 5, pages 745–752, May 2014 / DOI: 10.1002/ptr.5059

(14) In vitro antibacterial study of Taraxacum officinale leaves extracts against different bacterial pathogenic strains / Sohail, Zafar Iqbal, Muhammad Afzal, Aftab Afzal, Inayat Ur Rahman, Salma shad, Bilal Ahmed, Naveed Anjum, Kalsoom Qureshi, Afsana Bibi / Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry 2014; 3 (2):15-17

(15) Comparative Antioxidant Power Determination of Taraxacum officinale by FRAP and DTPH Method /
Amin MM1*, Sawhney SS Manmohan Singh Jassal / Pharmaceut Anal Acta 4:221. doi: 10.4172/2153-2435.1000221

(16) Effect of leaf extracts of Taraxacum officinale on CCl4 induced Hepatotoxicity in rats, in vivo study / Muhammad Gulfraz, Dawood Ahamd, Muhammad Sheeraz Ahmad, Rehmatullah Qureshi,Raja Tahir Mahmood, Nyla Jabeen and Kashif Sarfraz Abbasi / Pak. J. Pharm. Sci., Vol.27, No.4, July 2014, pp.825-829

(17) THE EFFECTS OF TARAXACUM OFFICINALE EXTRACTS (TOE) SUPPLEMENTATION ON PHYSICAL FATIGUE IN MICE / Zhang Jinchun * and Chen Jie / Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. (2011) 8(2):128-133

Parts used
Roots, leaves.

Used by some as salad component.
A rich source of vitamins A, B, C and D as well as minerals.
• Its multiplicity of uses rates it a herbal cure-all, especially for the treating hepato-biliary disease and as a diuretic.
• in Europe, widely used for gastrointestinal ailments. It is taken as broth with leaves of sorrel and egg yolk for chronic liver congestion.
• Used for its gently laxative effect and as bitter tonic in atonic dyspepsia.
• Promotes appetite and digestion.
• Root preparation used for a variety of conditions: fevers, diabetes, eczema, scurvy, bowel inflammation.
• Pounded poultice of leaves applied to wounds and cuts.
• As a drink: 20 gms of root to a cup of boiling water, take 3-5 glasses a day.
• Juice of the stalk used to remove warts.
• Powdered dried roots used with coffee, and a substitute for coffee when roasted and powdered.
• Extract of dandelion used as remedy for fevers and chills.
• Infusion used to treat anemia, jaundice and nervousness.
• Decoction of root herb taken for scrofula, eczema, scurvy and various skin eruptions.
• Used for eczema and acne.
• Native American Indians have used infusions and decoctions of the root and herb for kidney diseases, dyspepsia and heartburn.
• Traditional Arabian medicine has used it for liver and spleen diseases.
• Used in Chinese medicine for hepatitis,bronchitis, pneumonia, as a topical compress for mastitis.

Dandelion wine.

La Beaume (05) - Avril 2009

Study Findings
• Liver cancer: South Korean study suggests that Taraxacum officinale decreased cell viability and increased the TNF-alpha and interleukin-1alpha production.
• Lipid metabolism: Dandelion water extract had effects on lipid metabolism: decreased total cholesterol and triglycerides while increasing the HDL-cholesterol in diabetic rats.
• Anti-inflammatory / Anti-angiogenic / Antinociceptive: The study showed Taraxacum officinale contains anti-angiogenic, anti-inflammatory and antinociceptive activities through inhibition of NO production and COX-2 expression and/or oxidative activity.
• Anticancer: Study of aqueous extracts from mature leaves, flowers and roots investigated tumor progression related processes. Results showed anti-carcinogenic activity on breast and prostate cancer cells with inhibition of cell proliferation and invasion, and suggests that the extracts or individual components may be of value as novel cancer agents.
• Antioxidant / Radical Scavenging: Study identified flavonoids and coumaric acid derivatives from the dandelion flower. The dandelion flower extract suppressed both superoxide and hydroxyl radical. Study evaluating water extracts of roots, stems, and flowers of T. officinale by DPPH and FRAP assays showed significant radical scavenging activity.
• Hypoglycemic Effect:  Animal studies have shown hypoglycemic activities attributed in part to the high inulin content of the plant. A Study reports a case of hypoglycemia attributed to ingestion of dandelion.
• Cytotoxicity / Antitumor: Previous studies have indicated Taraxacum officinale exhibits anti-tumor properties. In a study investigating its effect on cytotoxicity and production of cytokines in human hepatoma cell line, results showed cytotoxicity effects through TNF-a and IL-1a secretion in Hep G2 cells.
• Diuretic / Human Data: In a pilot study, fresh leaf hydroethanolic extract was ingested by volunteers to investigate whether increase urinary output and frequency would occur. T. officinale ethanolic extract showed promise as a diuretic.
• Effect on Blood Cells: In a study on female mice, dandelion hydroalcoholic extract was injected intraperitoneally in various test doses. Results showed a dose-dependent increase in hemoglobin and WBC. A crude extract of dandelion leaf decreased the growth of MCF-7AZ breast cancer cells and blocked invasion of LNCap prostate cancer cells.
• Hepatoprotective / Roots: Study evaluated roots extracts of T. officinale and Berberis vulgaris against carbon tetrachloride-induced liver toxicity in rats. Results showed dose-dependent amelioration of CCl4-induced liver damage. There was significant inhibition of hepatic micro vesicular steatosis in both groups.
• Pharmacognostical / Phytobiological: Study yielded the presence of flavonoids, hydroxycinnamic derivatives catechic tannins, sterols, triterpenes, carotenoids, coumarins and mucilages. Flowers and leaves showed a higher amount of polyphenols compared to stems and roots. Assay of aqueous extracts showed concentration dependent effects on cell division – mitoinhibitory or stimulatory.
• Antibacterial: Watery and alcoholic extracts of leaves showed in vitro antibacterial activity attributed to some of its phytoconstituents (glycosides, alkaloids, phenolic compounds, tannins, flavonoids, proteins and tract elements).
• Bioactive Compounds: Study the anti-inflammatory, immunomodulator triterpenes and phytosterols in Taraxacum officinale and Morus nigra to find optimal extraction technology. Liofilized aqueous and methanolic extracts of exhibited significant antioxidant activity in in vitro models. Study identified fenoloid components in T. officinale—apigenin-7-O-?-glucosid, luteolin-7-O-?-glucosid and chlorogenic acid—as possibly responsible for scavenging activity.
• Effect on Fertility and Reproductive Efficiency: Study evaluated the effect of T. officinale on reproductive efficiency and pituitary-thyroid-testes axis of adult male rabbits. Results showed a significant decrease in testicular weight seminiferous tubules diameter and decrease in sperm count. Prolonged drenching of extract caused infertility.
• Reduction of Adipogenesis and Lipogenesis: In vitro study evaluated the ability of T. officinale to inhibit adipocyte differentiation and lipogenesis. Leaf and root extracts identified caffeic and chlorogenic acids as main phenolic constituents. Results suggest a significant role for T. officinale extracts during adipogenesis and lipid metabolism, and suggests a potential candidate for the treatment of obesity.
• Antibacterial / Leaves: Study of methanol and chloroform extracts of Taraxacum officinale showed antibacterial activity against all test bacterial pathogens: P. aeruginosa, E coli, S aureus, Bacillus subtilis, and Micrococcus luteus. Activity was attributed to the presence of secondary metabolites: alkaloids, tannins and flavonoids.
• Hepatoprotective / Leaves / CCl4-Induced Hepatotoxicity: Study of ethanolic extract of leaves—more than the n-hexane extract—showed hepatoprotective effect against CCl4-induced liver tissue toxicity, attributed to the presence of various polar phytochemicals more prevalent in the extract.
• Anti-Physical Fatigue Effect: Study evaluated the effect of T. officinale extracts supplementation on physical fatigue based on forced swimming capacity in mice. Results showed an anti-physical fatigue effect, with enhanced maximum swimming capacity, delayed lowering of blood glucose, and prevention of lactate increase and triglyceride concentrations.

Cultivated for its flowering plant.