Quelite : Dandelion

Featured Image by Saad Chaudhry

Taraxacum officinale

Also called : Diente de león , amargón (bitter), plumerillo, panadero, moraja (Sinaloa), cerraja (Jalisco), globillo, chipule, achicoria, lechuguilla, nocuana-gueeta (Zapotec), botón de oro (gold button)

Dandelion leaf
The word dandelion comes from the French dent-de-lion, a translation of medieval Latin dens leonis ‘lion’s tooth’ which refers to its jagged shape.

Dandelions are an ubiquitous weed that can be found in all environments from the countryside to the inner city. They are considered native to Eurasia but have migrated to all countries on the Earth (except perhaps the North and South poles).


Dandelion leaf – Anti-rheumatic, bitter digestive tonic, choleretic (1), diuretic (2), mild laxative, prebiotic

  1. substances that increase the volume of secretion of bile
  2. any substance that promotes the increased production of urine. Dandelion is a potassium sparing diuretic.

Dandelion leaf is prescribed in cases of cystitis (1), appetite loss, dyspepsia, flatulence bloating and other urinary complaints where an increase in urine output may be useful, such as in cases of kidney stones

  1. in combination with bear berry (Arctostapylus uva-ursi). For urinary tract/kidney conditions it combines well with couch grass (Agropyron repens), buchu (Agathosma betulina), corn silk, marshmallow leaf (Althaea officinalis)
Dandelion root

Dandelion Root

Anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antidiabetic, antifungal, antioxidant (1), aperient (2), bitter tonic, cholagogue (3), choleretic, (mild) diuretic, hepatic (4), hepatoprotective, (mild) laxative, prebiotic

  1. a substance that removes potentially damaging oxidizing agents in a living organism
  2. an agent used to relieve constipation.
  3. an agent which promotes the discharge of bile from the system
  4. remedies which in a wide range of ways aid the work of the liver.

Dandelion root is traditionally used as a gentle digestive bitter to improve digestion, increase bile flow, relieve nausea and vomiting and improve appetite. Preliminary animal studies (although not all of them) suggest that dandelion may help normalise blood sugar levels and lower total cholesterol and triglycerides while raising HDL cholesterol (in mice). The mechanism of action of dandelions hypoglycaemic and hypolipidemic effects are not wholly understood. The inulin content of the root may have the ability to modulate blood glucose.



Sesquiterpenes (bitter substances): taraxacin, germacranolides., triterpenes and sterols: beta sitosterol glycosides, taraxasterol, arnidol, faradiol., flavonoids: apigenin glucoside, luteolin glucoside, mucilage, potassium salts., inulin (2% increasing to 40% in autumn), chicoric acid, ainsloside, monocaffeoyltartaric acid


beta-sitosterol, alpha-amyein, stigmasterol, quercetine glycosides, monocaffeoyltartaric acid, sesquiterpene lactones, chicoric acid, flavonoids, coumarins, vitamins B, Vitamin C.


caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, chrysoeriol, luteoline 7-O-glucoside, chicoric acid, monocaffeoyltartaric acid


Its use is contraindicated in bile duct obstruction and empyema (1) in the gallbladder, The latex of the fresh plants may cause contact dermatitis. Dandelion leaf is considered safe during pregnancy and lactation. Avoid using the leaf with those suffering from renal failure, diabetes and/or heart failure due to possible risk of hyperkalemia (2). Avoid using if also taking diuretic medication. If fever, dysuria (3), spasms or blood in urine occur during the use of dandelion leaf seek medical assistance .

  1. accumulation of pus
  2. a potassium level in your blood that’s higher than normal. Sometimes people with hyperkalemia report nonspecific symptoms such as muscle weakness, tiredness, tingling sensations, or nausea. A slow heartbeat and weak pulse are more serious symptoms, since these may signal an effect on the electrical activity of the heart.
  3. painful urination


  • Fresh or Dried leaves 4-10 g daily
  • leaf tincture (1:1 30% alc), 4-10ml three times/day (1:2 25% alc) 5-10ml three times/day
  • root tincture (1:1 30% alc), 2-8ml three times/day (1:5 45% alc) 5-10ml three times/day
  • Fresh leaf juice, 5-10ml daily
  • Fresh roots 2-8 g daily
  • Dried root 2-8g by infusion or decoction three times a day
  • Dried powder extract 250-1000 mg four times a day

Dandelion leaves are an edible, if somewhat bitter salad leaf. the roasted root has been touted as a substitute for coffee. It makes a bitter brown liquid but that is when the similarities end. It tastes nothing like coffee. The young spring root is also edible. The root becomes more bitter (and more medicinal) in the autumn months.

Nutritional Value (Leaves)


Dandelion Greens with Roasted Garlic & Almonds

Dandelion leaves are the perfect example of a quelite. They are a wild and opportunistic plant that can crop up in vegetable gardens or crops and it is a common urban weed in lawns and parks. If you forage this plant from public spaces make sure that it has not grown in an area that is subject to being sprayed with herbicides (or dog pee)

See also recipes in Post Quelites and Post Quelites : Plantain


  • 1 large bunch dandelion greens, coarsely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 6 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 4 spring onions (sometimes called scallions or green onions), white stem thinly sliced
  • ⅓ cup sliced blanched almonds
  • ¼ teaspoon salt


  1. Toast the slivered almonds in a dry pan until toasted golden and fragrant. Try not to burn them
  2. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drop greens into the boiling water and cook only until water comes back to the boil (about 30 seconds)
  3. Drain in a colander, then plunge into a bowl of ice cold water. This will help retain the bright green colour of the leaves
  4. Drain again, squeezing well to remove any excess water
  5. Heat oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic and spring onions; cook, stirring, until the garlic starts to turn golden brown, again being careful not to burn the garlic.
  6. Add the greens and cook, stirring, until tender and heated through, 1 to 3 minutes. Stir in almonds and season with salt. Serve immediately.

Dandelion (like many other leafy green quelites) can also be used to make a pesto

Dandelion Pesto


  • 2 cups tightly packed dandelion leaves, well-rinsed and dried
  • 1 dozen large basil leaves (optional)
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup lightly toasted pine nuts (you could also use hazelnuts – skins removed, or toasted almonds or walnuts)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (optional)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper (al gusto)


  1. In a mortar and pestle (or food processor or blender) grind together dandelion leaves, basil, garlic, and nuts.
  2. Add olive oil and process until a smooth paste forms.
  3. Add in cheese if you like.
    Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Dandelion Coffee

  • Dig up your dandelion roots (before the plant flowers)
  • Wash well and trim off the smaller hairy roots. You want the thick taproot.
  • Dry and slice the root diagonally into 5mm thick(ish) slices. You can either dry your roots first before roasting them or just roast them in the oven from fresh
  • If cooking from fresh. Heat your oven to 180°C (350°F) and roast for about 40 minutes. Keep an eye on them you want them to be deep brown but not burned.
  • If cooking from dried. Allow your root slices to dry for a few days (or alternatively use a dehydrator for about 1 hour). Heat your oven to just under 100°C (200°F) and roast for 30 minutes
  • To make your coffee either make a decoction by simmering 1 heaped tablespoon in 2 cups (500ml) of water until only 1 cup (250ml) remains or finely grind, and roast root slices for a second time in an oven for 5 minutes on 80°C (180°F). Put 6 tablespoons of dandelion grinds into 500ml of boiling water and leave to steep for 30 minutes. Strain. Warm gently, sweeten as desired and drink.

Dandelion Flower Fritters (adapted from a recipe by Susan Vinskofski)

I couldn’t go by this recipe as I love flower fritters. You can use many kinds of flowers to make fritters. Zucchini/courgette flowers are common as are elderflowers. I like the dandelion flower recipe as it appeals to my sweet tooth (as do elderflower fritters – sprinkled with icing sugar of course).
(also see my Post Flor de Maguey The Agave Flower)


  • 1 1/2 cups dandelion flowers (sepal removed – it’s the green bit at the bottom of the flower where it meets the stalk – these can be bitter)
  • 1/2 cup plain flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (I like the pink Himalayan salt – any is good but)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon melted butter
  • 1 egg
  • lard (or other fat or neutral flavoured oil for frying)


  1. Heat the lard in a heavy frying pan on medium heat.
  2. Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. Stir in the milk, melted butter and egg.
  4. One at a time, coat the flowers with the batter.
  5. Fry in the hot fat until brown, turning once.
  6. Place on a paper towel lined dish to soak up the extra fat.
  7. These are delicious served with honey or maple syrup.

Dandelion wine (Version 1)
• 4.5 litres of water
• 1.5kg sugar
• Zest and juice of 4 lemons
• 500g raisins, chopped or squashed by putting in a carrier bag and pounding, or 200ml can of white grape juice concentrate
• 1 sachet of white wine yeast
• Yeast nutrient

  1. Boil the water and pour over the petals. Cover and leave for a couple of days, stirring occasionally.
  2. Pour everything into a large saucepan and add the lemon zest, bring to the boil then stir in the sugar until dissolved. Continue to boil for five minutes.
  3. Take off the heat and add the lemon juice and the crushed raisins or grape juice concentrate.
  4. Clean the fermenting bucket thoroughly using a campden tablet, pour in the mix and cover until cool.
  5. Add the yeast and yeast nutrient and cover.
  6. Ferment for three or four days then transfer into a demijohn using a sterilised sieve and funnel.
  7. Fit a bubble trap and allow to ferment for a couple of months, rack-off into a fresh demijohn and leave until clear then bottle.

Dandelion Wine (Version 2)
• 1 quart yellow dandelion blossoms (enough to loosely fill a gallon container), well rinsed. Use the yellow petals only, leaving the petals attached to the green base of the flower will result in a bitter, unpalatable wine.
• 1 gallon (4 litres) boiling water
• 1 x 0.18 ounce (5 grams) package wine yeast
• 8 cups white sugar
• 1 orange, sliced
• 1 lemon sliced

  1. Place dandelion blossoms in the boiling water, and allow to stand for 4 minutes. Remove and discard the blossoms, and let the water cool to 90 degrees F (32 degrees C).
  2. Stir in the yeast, sugar, orange slices, and lemon slice; pour into a plastic fermenter, and attach a fermentation lock.
  3. Let the wine ferment in a cool area until the bubbles stop, 10 to 14 days.
  4. Siphon the wine off of the lees, and strain through cheesecloth before bottling in quart-sized (1 litre), sterilized canning jars (with lids and rings) or sterilised bottles.
  5. Age the wine at least a week for best flavour.


  • Akhtar MS, Khan QM, Khaliq T. Effects of Portulaca oleracae (Kulfa) and
    Taraxacum officinale (Dhudhal) in normoglycaemic and alloxan-treated
    hyperglycaemic rabbits. J Pak Med Assoc 1985;35(7):207-210.
  • Alarcon-Aguilara F, Roman-Ramos R, Perez-Gutierrez S, Aguilar-Contreras A, Contreras-Weber C, Flores-Saenz J. Study of the anti-hyperglycemic effect of plants used as antidiabetics. J Ethnopharmacol. 1998;61(2):101–110
  • Clare B.A, Conroy R.S, Spelman K, The Diuretic Effect in Human Subjects of an Extract of Taraxacum officinale Folium over a Single Day, The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, Volume 15, Number 8, 2009, pp.929-934
  • Hagymasi K, et al, The in vitro effect of dandelions antioxidants on microsomal lipid peroxidation, Phytotherapy Research, February 2000, Vol. 14 Issue: Number 1 p43-44, 2p
  • Hook I, McGee A, Henman M, Evaluation of Dandelion for Diuretic Activity and Variation in Potassium Content, Pharmaceutical Biology (Formally International Journal of Pharmacognosy, 1993, Vol. 31 Issue: Number 1 p29-34
  • Escudero NL, de Arellano ML, Fernandez S, Albarracin G, Mucciarelli S. Taraxacum officinale as a food source. Plant Foods Hum Nutr. 2003;58(3):1–10
  • Petlevski R, Hadz M, Slijepicevic M, Juretic D, Effect of ‘antidiabetis’ herbal preparation on serum glucose and fructosamine in NOD mice, Journal of Ethnopharmacology 75 (2001) 181–184
  • Schütz K, Carle R, Schieber A. Taraxacum – a review on its phytochemical and pharmacological profile. J Ethnopharmacol. 2006;107(3):313–323
  • Trojanova I, Rada V, Kokosa L, Vlkova E, The bifidogenic effect of Taraxacum officinale root, Fitoterapia, 2004 Dec; 75(7-8): 760-3 (8 ref )
  • Wirngo, F. E., Lambert, M. N., & Jeppesen, P. B. (2016). The Physiological Effects of Dandelion (Taraxacum Officinale) in Type 2 Diabetes. The review of diabetic studies : RDS, 13(2-3), 113–131. doi:10.1900/RDS.2016.13.113


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