This section is from the book "Materia Medica And Therapeutics: An Introduction to the National Treatment of Disease", by John Mitchell Bruce. Also available from Amazon: The pharmacology and therapeutics of the materia medica.
The fresh and dried roots of Taraxacum Dens Leonis. Gathered between September and February, from meadows and pastures in Britain.
Characters and tests.-Tap-shaped roots, smooth and dark-brown externally, white within, easily broken, and giving out an inodorous bitter milky juice, which becomes pale-brown by exposure.
Substances resembling Taraxacum: Aconite, Armoracia, Pellitory. Dandelion is not wrinkled or pale-coloured externally ; the juice not watery; any adherent leaves runcinate and quite smooth ; is not pungent when chewed.
Composition.-Taraxacum root and the fresh juice contain an indifferent principle taraxacin, amorphous or in small white masses; abundance of potassium and calcium salts; sugar; and resinoid bodies which give the milky appearance to the juice. The relative richness of the taraxacin, salts, and sugar varies with the season and situation.
Decoctum Taraxaci. 1 of dried root in 20. Dose, 2 to 4 fl.oz.
2. Extractum Taraxaci,-A fresh extract. 100 of fresh root in 8, by expression, separation of albumen, and evaporation. Dose, 5 to 15 gr.
Succus Taraxaci. Fresh juice, 3; Spirit, 1. Dose, 2 to 4 fl.dr.
Taraxacum combines the properties of its two principal constituents, the bitter taraxacin and the alkaline salts, i.e. it is at once a simple bitter and a mild laxative. It is therefore indicated, and was formerly extensively given in atonic dyspepsia attended by habitual constipation; and its preparations may be added to stomachic mixtures and laxative pills. Until recently taraxacum was believed to be a cholagogue; but this effect, if it exist at all, appears to be indirect only.