Dr Vikas Sharma & Shilpa RainaTaraxacum officinale, also called as the common dandelion, is a blooming herbaceous perennial plant of the Asteraceae family. It is also known as Dudal, Radam, Bathur and Haand in the Indian Himalayan area. Its range includes Asia, Europe and North America as well as the temperate zone of the Northern Hemisphere. It has been observed in India on alpine meadows and slopes across the Himalayas. It is widespread and narrowly scattered at altitudes ranging from 1000 to 4000 m. The common dandelion is well-known for its yellow flower heads, which mature into spherical balls of numerous silver-tufted fruits that spread in the wind. In both British and American English, these balls are commonly referred to as ‘clocks’. The term ‘blowball’ is also in use. The common dandelion thrives throughout temperate regions of the world on lawns as well as on roadsides, disturbed banks, canal coastlines and other wet soils. The common dandelion is commonly regarded as a weed, particularly on lawns and along roadsides; however its leaves, petals and roots are occasionally utilized in herbal medicine or as food. Taraxacum officinale develops from taproots and produces one to ten 5-40 cm tall stems. The stems can be purple in color, erect or slack and produce flower heads as tall as or taller than the leaves. The foliage can grow vertically or horizontally and the leaves can have un-winged or narrowly winged petioles. The stems might be glabrous or coated sparingly with small hairs.Traditional Use & Constituents: The use of Dandelion as a medication is first documented in the writings of Arabian doctors in the tenth and eleventh centuries, who refer to it as a type of wild Endive under the name Taraxacum. Boiling dandelion was used by Native Americans to cure renal illness, edema, skin issues, indigestion and stomach trouble. Dandelion is well-known in France for its diuretic properties. Dandelion is utilized across the Himalayan area of India. To cure bone fractures, a paste of cooked leaves with a tiny amount of salt and turmeric (haldi) is commonly used in Kashmir Himalaya. In Kashmir, it is also eaten as a vegetable. The roots are used to treat renal and liver problems in Himachal Pradesh. The entire plant is ground into a paste and administered orally to snakebites and the paste is also used externally to wounds. Dandelion leaves and roots were once used to cure liver issues. Taraxacum young leaves are commonly used in salads and as a vegetable. The dried leaves are also used in a variety of digestive beverages and herbal brews. Leaves are a rich source of a variety of vitamins and minerals including bitter glycosides, terpenoids, beta carotene, non-provitamin A, carotenoids, xanthophylls, chlorophyll, flavonoids, vitamin C, vitamin D, many of the B-complex vitamins, choline, iron, silicon, magnesium, sodium, potassium, zinc manganese, copper and phosphorous. Taraxacin and taraxacerin, bitter glycosides, tannins, triterpenes, sterols, volatile oil, choline, asparagines and inulin are all found in the roots. Taraxacin is one of the key components responsible for the bitter taste. Dandelion coffee is mostly made from roasted roots. Dandelion coffee is said to be superior to regular tea and can assist to heal the neurological and digestive systems.Pharmacology: The digestive action of dandelion has been well recognized since ancient times, that is why it is commonly used to stimulate digestion. Sesquiterpene lactones provide a bitter taste to the plant during this process, which is most noticeable in the leaf, but also in the root. These chemicals are also thought to stimulate bile production. The sesquiterpene lactones in dandelion root led to its anti-inflammatory activities. The root and leaf of the dandelion exhibit hypoglycemic characteristics. It is also said to inhibit amylase by 20-45 percent. This may be due to the possible positive action on diabetes mellitus Type 2. It is well known that several enzymes take part during the carbohydrate digestion process, which primarily includes ?-glucosidase. The inhibition of ?-glucosidase can be effective treatment for diabetes mellitus. This might be attributed to a potentially beneficial effect on type 2 diabetes. It is generally known that numerous enzymes, particularly ?-glucosidase, are involved in the carbohydrate digesting process. Diabetes mellitus can be effectively treated by inhibiting ?-glucosidase. It may also aid patients suffering from hypertension as a diuretic. Dandelion root has a long history of usage for strengthening liver function and treating numerous dermatologic and systemic illnesses, owing to the herb’s capacity to cleans the liver. There hasn’t been much study done on these topics and because of the cholagogue and choleretic actions of dandelion root, it has long been advised for patients who have slow liver function as a result of alcohol consumption or poor nutrition. Dandelion leaf and root have frequently been shown in anti-cancer research to inhibit the growth of breast cancer. Taraxacum officinale is known as the ‘King of Weeds’ due to its numerous benefits. Each portion of the plant serves a different function. Furthermore, we should try to identify the active chemicals responsible for each attribute and determine if they function alone or in conjunction with other chemicals found in the plant. Finally, we would like to state that the plant is good to our diet.(The authors are from SKUAST-J).
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