This section of the book is from "The Complete Herbalist" by Dr. O. Phelps Brown. Also available from Amazon: The Complete Herbalist: The People Their Own Physicians By The Use Of Nature's Remedies.
MEDICINAL PART. The root.
Description. -- Dandelion is a perennial, top-shaped herb, having a very milky root. The leaves are all radical, shining green in color, sessile, and pinnate. The scape or flower stem is longer than the leaves, five or six inches in height, and bearing a single yellow flower. The fruit is an achenium.
History. -- This plant is a native of Greece, but is now found growing abundantly in Europe and the United States, in fields, gardens, and along road-sides, flowering from April to November. The root only is the officinal part, and should be collected when the plant is in flower. Alcohol or boiling water extracts its properties. The young plant is frequently used as a salad or green, and possesses some slight narcotic properties.
Properties and Uses. -- The dried root possesses but little medicinal virtue; but when fresh, is a stomachic and tonic, with slightly diuretic and aperient actions. It has long been supposed to exert an influence upon the biliary organs, removing torpor and engorgement of the liver as well as of the spleen; it is also reputed beneficial in dropsies owing to want of action of the abdominal organs, in uterine obstructions, chronic diseases of the skin, etc. Its virtues, however, are much over-rated.