I've been hearing a lot of good things about dandelion root in my Ayurveda lectures lately, so I'm excited to blurb about it! This is going to be a quick one due to laziness, ha!
The root and the leaf of the dandelion can be used as bitters/alteratives, but their actions differ slightly. Dandelion leaf is a stronger diuretic and has a strong action on the kidneys and the lymph. It is also excellent for reducing swelling and while it acts as a diuretic, it actually replaces potassium in the body! What? Dandelion root, on the other hand, has a strong action on the liver, gallbladder and the blood. It is also especially wonderful for cooling pitta dosha, protecting the liver against long term stress. As it purifies the blood, it is great for treating acne and toxic blood conditions! Both are great for detoxifying the body!
If you have high vata, dandelion might make aggravate it even more, so if you are exhibiting signs of vata vitiation (nervousness, anxiety, loss of appetite) then don't take it! (Burdock might be better in that case!)
So, got a UTI? Take dandelion leaf! Feeling all hot and bothered? Take dandelion root! Got poison oak? Take dandelion root! Need a little detox? Take dandelion root or leaf!
Traditional Medicines has a dandelion root tea that I take from time to time, but if you want to make the tea on your own here's how to do it.
Take 1 tsp of dandelion per cup of water and steep for 5 minutes! Strain & drink! Easy!
You can also make this is a room temperature tea and steep overnight to sip on through the day. This is great to do in the summer, especially if pitta dosha is feeling aggravated. I take 1/2 oz of dandelion root with a 1/2 oz of red clover and let steep overnight in 4 cups of water. Cooling, delicious and refreshing!
Thanks for HerbBlurbing, folks!
(Most of my information comes from my textbooks, teachers, personal experience and the book "The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine," by Dr. David Frawley and Dr. Vasant Lad. None of this is to be taken as medical advice, but as a way to learn a little more about herbs and Ayurveda.)