Habitat. Europe (naturalized in N. America); grassy places, roadsides, pastures, fields.
Syn. Tarax., Dandelion, Lion's Tooth, White (Wild) Endive, Swine Snout, Cankerwort, Irish Daisy, Milk Gowan, Priest's Crown, Blow (Puff) Ball; Br. Taraxaci Radix; Fr. Pissenlit, Dent de Lion, Couronne de moine; Ger. Radix Taraxaci cum herba, Lowenzahn, Pfaffenrohrchen.
Ta-rax'a-cum. L. fr. Gr.
to move, disturbing - i. e., its Medicinal properties; name assigned the plant by medieval pharmacists. Of-fi-ci-na'le. L. see etymology of (Rheum) officinale, page 172. Dan'de-li'on. E. fr. L. dens, tooth, + leo, leonis, of the lion - i. e., leaves shape of the lion's tooth (runcinate).
Plant. - Perennial herb, acaulescent; leaves radical, direct from root-crown, 15-22.5 Cm. (6-9') long, 5-7.5 Cm. (2-3') wide, toothed (runcinate), teeth bent backward, 5-6 on a side, sessile, glabrous, bright green; flowers terminal upon hollow scapes, 15-20 Cm. (6-8') high, arising from midst of leaves, golden-yellow, 4 Cm. (1 3/5') broad, close at night; fruit achene, compressed, oblong-ovate, terminating in silky, hairy, spreading pappus, elevated on a pale greenish-white stalk, so that when mature the seed attached to this pappus is enabled to be wafted by the wind, to settle down at some distance and there propagate its kind. Rhizome, cylindrical, somewhat flattened, gradually tapering, usually in broken pieces, 6-15 Cm. (2f-6') long, 5-15 Mm. (1/5-3/5') thick, 38 brownish, longitudinally wrinkled, numerous root- and rootlet-scars, crown simple, branched, with many leaf-bases showing annulate markings, bark 2-6 Mm. (1/12-1/4') thick, composed of concentric layers of laticiferous vessels; odor slight, inodorous; taste bitter. Powder, light brown; microscopically - large parenchyma cells containing masses of inulin, fragments with laticiferous vessels, reticulate tracheae, intermediate fibres non-lignified, with pores. Should be kept, after thoroughly dried, in tightly-closed containers, adding occasionally a few drops of chloroform or carbon tetrachloride to prevent insect attack. Solvents: diluted alcohol; boiling water. Dose, 3ss-2 (2-8
Adulterations. - Chiefly chicory (Cichorium Intybus), which closely resembles taraxacum, but is paler and has milk vessels in radiating lines.
Commercial. - Plant is universal, growing alike in dry and damp places, and was known to the Arabians as a blood-purifier. Rhizome is collected chiefly, spring, autumn, in C. Europe, and loses upon drying 75-85 p. c; it is sweet after cold weather (early spring), owing to un-crystallizable sugar, 17 p. c, and levulin, 18.7 p. c, but these by autumn go into or are replaced by inulin, in consequence of which the
Fig. 409. - Taraxacum officinale.
Fig. 410. - Taraxacum officinale: rhizome revealing at head the remnants of flower stalks and leaf stalks.
Fig. 411. - Taraxacum: transverse section of root.
milk-juice becomes thicker and more bitter, causing some to believe it then most efficient; that collected in June, July, August may be valuable but is unreliable from lack of uniformity. Extract made from early spring collection is reliable, clear from presence of so little inulin (1.74 p. c), and often preferred, while that from October collection is equally reliable, but opaque from excessive amount of inulin (24 p. a), and by many considered best. Dried root often is attacked by maggots, and hence should not be kept beyond a year.
Taraxacin. - Obtained by treating milk-juice with boiling water, evaporating; it is a crystalline bitter principle, non-volatile, acrid, soluble in hot water, alcohol, and ether.
Taraxacerin, C8H16O. - Obtained by treating milk-juice with hot alcohol; it is crystallizable, insoluble in water, soluble in alcohol. Old extracts may contain calcium lactate crystals, the lactic acid being produced from inosite, which is present in the leaves and stalks, but not believed to be in the root.
Preparations. - 1. Extractum Taraxaci. Extract of Taraxa-
Fig. 412. - Cichorium Intyhus.
Fig. 413. - Cichorium: transverse section.
cum. (Syn., Ext. Tarax., Extract of Dandelion; Fr. Extrait de Pissenlit; Ger. Lowenzahnextrakt.)
Manufacture: Macerate, percolate 100 Gm. with 12.5 p. c. alcohol until exhausted, reclaim alcohol, evaporate residue on water-bath, frequently stirring, to pilular consistence. Dose, gr. 5-30 (.3-2 Gm.).
2. Fluidextractum Taraxaci. Fluidextract of Taraxacum. (Syn., Fldext. Tarax., Fluid Extract of Taraxacum, Fluidextract of Dandelion, Extractum Taraxaci Liquidum; Fr. Extrait fluide de Pissenlit; Ger. Lowenzahnfluidextrakt.)
Manufacture: Similar to Fluidextractum Ergotae, page 60; 1st menstruum: alcohol 50 Ml. (Cc), water 40, glycerin 10; 2nd menstruum: diluted alcohol. Dose, 3ss-2 (2-8 Ml. (Cc.)).
Unoff. Preys.: Decoction, 5 p. c, dose, ℥j-2 (30-60 Ml. (Cc.)). Elixir Taraxaci Compositum, 3.5 p. c. (fldext.), + fldext. of wild cherry 2, fldext. of glycyrrhiza 6, +. Succus Taraxaci (Br.), expressed juice (3) and alcohol (1), dose, 3j-2 (4-8 Ml. (Cc.)).
Properties. - Diuretic, tonic, stomachic, aperient, deobstruent.
Uses. - Congestion and inflammation of liver and spleen, dyspepsia, constipation, consumption, skin affections, dropsies, substitute for coffee. Fresh leaves sometimes used as salad.