Along with its typical purposes in Western herbalism, the Chinese use dandelion as a cold, anti-toxic herb to drain downward and disperse energy (Qi) stagnation and clumping. They’ve traditionally employed it to treat breast abscesses, boils and other toxic swellings as well as burning urination (cystitis), diarrhea, hepatitis and jaundice (its energy goes to the Liver, Stomach and Heart and from the latter, to the Small Intestines and then Urinary Bladder). It may be used alone for these purposes, but is often combined in the formulas below.

An added benefit of dandelion is that although it is bitter, it also has a sweet flavor, which means that those with deficient Blood and Yin may safely use it if combined with a cooling moistening herb such as marshmallow root, which is also anti-inflammatory.

The Chinese use the entire herb of dandelion, root and leaves together. They consider that the fresh leaves have a stronger action than the dried and like the root, are used for swollen toxic sores, ears and eyes.

 

Symptoms of Heat Toxins and Damp Heat

Although dandelion is mainly used as an herb to treat heat toxins, it also clears damp heat.

Heat Toxins: Hot, swollen and painful toxic sores and swellings, inflammations and infections (-itis conditions such as mastitis, encephalitis, and appendicitis), high fevers, infectious diseases, red, hot swollen sore throat, mumps, pulmonary and breast abscesses

Damp Heat: Thick greasy secretions, excretions and phlegm, jaundice, hepatitis, hot diarrhea or dysentery, cystitis, yellow vaginal discharge, eczema, boils

 

Formulas Using Dandelion to Treat Heat

Although the Chinese typically use teas, for the following Western alternative formulas given, you may use tinctures or teas.

 

Antiphlogistic Formula (Chuan Xin Lian)

This formula has long been used in China as a strong anti-viral, anti-bacterial, antiphlogistic and anti-inflammatory to treat heat toxins in all parts of the body. It is especially effective in viral conditions and infectious diseases. As it has a very cold energy, stop taking it if diarrhea develops.

Equal parts:

isatis root  (Isatis indigotica bei lan gen; Isatis tinctoria)

dandelion herb (Taraxacum spp.pu gong ying)

andrographis root (Andrographis paniculata chuan xin lian)

 

Anti-Toxin Formula

Toxins create many diseases in the body including infections, inflammations, tumors, abscesses, nodules, external sores, and boils, especially if firm, hard, red, and deep-rooted.

Equal parts:

dandelion root

burdock root

red clover blossom

Oregon grape root (or barberry root)

pau-d’aco bark

self-heal herb

                                                                                                   

Breast Abscess Formula

As dandelion has a particular affinity for the breasts, it is often used in formulas to treat early stages of breast abscess with redness, swelling and pain.

1) Chinese:

1 part dandelion herb (pu gong ying)

1 part self-heal spike (Prunella vulgaris xia ku cao) – NOTE: the Chinese use the stalk after the leaves have died back

1 part trichosanthes fruit (Trichosanthes kirilowii – gua lou)

1 part honeysuckle vine (Lonicerae japonica – ren dong teng)

1 part violet herb (Viola yedoensis – zi hua di ding)

½ part unripe tangerine peel (Citrus reticulatae viride qing pi)

2) Western Alternative:

1 part dandelion, whole herb

1 part self-heal herb (Prunella vulgaris xia ku cao)

1 part kelp (Fucus versiculosis)

1 part honeysuckle vine (Lonicerae japonica) – in a pinch, use10 drops baptisia herb (Baptisia tinctoria)

1 part sweet violet (Viola odorata)

½ part unripe tangerine peel (Citrus reticulatae viride qing pi) (unripe green orange peel may be substituted in larger quantities)

 

Five-Ingredient Decoction to Eliminate Toxins (Wu Wei Xiao Du Yin):

This traditional Chinese formula is used to treat all kinds of boils and carbuncles with inflammation and pus. It is especially used for deep-rooted boils that are very firm, hard and painful.

3 parts honeysuckle flowers (Lonicerae japonica – jin yin hua)

2 parts dandelion herb

2 parts violet herb (Viola yedoensis – zi hua di ding)

1 part wild chrysanthemum flowers (Chrysanthemum indicum – ye ju jua)

½ part semiaquilegia root tuber (Semiaquilegia adoxaides – tian kui zi) – if needed, substitute with forsythia fruit (Forsythiae suspense – lian qiao)

Western alternative:

3 parts honeysuckle vine (Lonicerae japonica)

2 parts dandelion herb

2 parts violet herb (Viola odorata)

1 part feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium)

10 drops baptisia herb (Baptisia tinctoria)

 

Lung Abscess Formula

This combination treats toxic sores and swellings in the lungs, especially with purulent yellow-green sputum.

1) Chinese:

1 part dandelion herb

1 part houttuynia herb (Houttuynia cordata yu xing cao)

½ part winter melon seeds (Benincasa hispida dong gua zi)

2) Western Alternative:

1 part dandelion herb

1 part houttuynia herb (Picasso plant – Houttuynia cordata) or 10 drops baptisia herb (Baptisia tinctoria)

½ part melon seeds

 

Subcutaneous Phlegm Nodules Formula

This formula treats hot, swollen phlegm nodules under the skin.

1) Chinese:

1 part dandelion herb

1 part self-heal spike (Prunella vulgaris xia ku cao)

May be added: 1 part fritillaria bulb (Fritillaria thunbergiizhe be mu)

2) Western Alternative:

1 part dandelion

1 part self-heal herb (Prunella vulgaris xia ku cao)

May be added: 1 part figwort root (Scrophularia ningpoensis)

 

Sore, Painful Throat Formula

This formula is for sore throats that are red, hot and swollen.

1 part dandelion herb

1 part figwort root (Scrophularia ningpoensis xuan shen)

1 part isatis root  (Isatis indigotica bei lan gen; Isatis tinctoria)

 

Eye Formula

Here are three possible formulas for treating redness and swelling of the eyes:

1) Dandelion herb alone

2) Chinese:

1 part dandelion herb

1 part chrysanthemum flowers (Chrysanthemum morifolium – ju hua)

1 part self-heal spike (Prunella vulgaris xia ku cao)

¼ part scute root (Scutellaria baicalensis huang qin)

3) Western Alternative:

1 part dandelion herb

1 part feverfew flowers (Tanacetum parthenium)

1 part self-heal herb (Prunella vulgaris)

¼ part goldenseal root

4) Dandelion and triphala tea used together as an eyewash

 

Cystitis Formula

The following combination treats painful, burning urination due to heat.

1) Chinese:

1 part dandelion herb

1 part lysimachia herb (Lysimachiae christinae jin qian cao)

1 part imperata rhizome (Imperatae cylindrical bai mao gen)

2) Western Alternative:

1 part dandelion herb or leaf

1 part nettles (Urtica urens)

1 part uva ursi (Arctostaphylos uva ursi)

 

Jaundice and Hepatitis Formula

For jaundice and/or hepatitis, try one of the following:

1) Dandelion herb alone

2) Chinese:

1 part dandelion

1 part artemisia herb (Artemisiae scoparia yin chen)

1 part self-heal spike (Prunellia vulgaris xia ku cao)

3) Western Alternative:

1 part dandelion herb

1 part Oregon grape root (Mahonia repens) or barberry root (Berberis vulgaris)

1 part self-heal herb (Prunellia vulgaris)

 

Gall Bladder Conditions

This is a bitter and drying formula for inflammations, damp heat, or stones in the gall bladder. If there’s also Blood Deficiency present with dizziness, blurry vision, paleness and possible anemia, add ½ part dang gui and ¼ part molasses.

Equal parts: dandelion root and turmeric root 

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