So well known dandelion is a plant native to Europe and Asia, and spread over the number of places in the world. Dandelion is a short plant with a yellow flower head and notched leaves. The flower head consists of many tiny flowers. The leaves are simple and basal, entire or lobbed, and usually reach 5-25 cm long. They form a rosette above the central taproot and while growing outward, they push down the surrounding vegetation killing it by cutting off the sunlight. A bright yellow flower head consisting entirely of ray florets is open in the daytime and closes at night. It is attached to the hollow stem rising 5-30 cm above the leaves. Several flowering stems may be produced by a rosette at a time. When matured, the flower becomes a globe of fine filaments that carry away the seed-containing achenes.
Dandelions prefer lawns and sunny, open places where they grow best. Dandelions that grow in rich, moist soil produce broad leaves and large roots and are considered to be the best.
Usually for medicinal and culinary uses the root (fresh and dried) and the young tops are used. Latex, bitter milky juice found in all parts of the plant (the juice of the root being more powerful), is the part of the plant mostly used in medicine. The leaves are not often used, while the entire plant is gathered in early summer for the preparation of the herbal tincture.
The leaves and roots of the dandelion, or the whole plant, are used Teas with fresh or dried dandelion, capsules and extracts are the most common market forms of the plant. Dandelion leaves are available in the markets for the use in salads or as a cooked green, and the flowers are used to make wine.
Taraxacin, acrystalline, bitter substance, an acrid resin, inulin (a sort of sugar), luteolin, caffeic acid, gluten, gum and potash are the major constituents of the dandelion root. Luteolin demonstrates antioxidant properties, caffeic acid has been proved to be carcinogenic, and dandelion juice possesses diuretic and laxative properties. It is also a good remedy for rheumatism.
Dandelion has been for long favored for the effective treating of dyspeptic, liver and gallbladder complaints, infections of the urinary tract, and loss of appetite. Other uses include treatment of disturbances in bile flow, dyspepsia, hemorrhoids, and congestion in the portal system, gout, rheumatic disorders, eczema and other skin disorders. High potassium content of the plant replaces potassium lost in normal urine secretion.
Dandelion has also been effectively used for the symptoms of such conditions as herpes and genital warts.