This section is from the book "Materia Medica Pharmacy, Pharmacology And Therapeutics", by W. Hale White. Also available from Amazon: Materia Medica Pharmacy, Pharmacology And Therapeutics..
Taraxacum. Taraxacum. - Synonym. - Dandelion. The root of Taraxaum officinale Weber (nat. ord. Compositae), gathered in autumn.
Grassy places and roadsides in Europe; naturalized in the United States.
Slightly conical, about 30 cm. long, and 1 or 2 cm. thick above, crowned with several short, thickish heads, somewhat branched, bark brown, longitudinally wrinkled, when dry breaking with a short fracture, showing a yellowish, porous central axis, surrounded by a thick, white bark, containing numerous milk vessels arranged in concentric circles; inodorous; bitter. Resembling Taraxacum. - Pellitory, which is pungent when chewed.
The chief constituents are - (1) Taraxacin, a crystalline bitter principle, soluble in water and Alcohol. (2) Taraxacerin, C8H16O. (3) Asparagin (found in asparagus, marsh-mallow, liquorice, euonymus) of no therapeutic value. (4) Inulin. (5) Resin (which gives the juice its milky appearance).
Impurity. - The root of the Chicorium Intybus, which is paler, and has the milk vessels in radiating lines.
Dose, 1 to 3 dr.; 4. to 12. gm.
1. Extractum Taraxaci. - Extract of Taraxacum. By expression and straining and evaporation.
Dose, 5 to 30 gr.; .30 to 2.00 gm.
2. Extractum Taraxaci Fluidum. - Fluid Extract of Taraxacum. By maceration and percolation with diluted Alcohol and evaporation. Dose, 1 to 4 fl. dr.; 4. to 15. gm.
Dandelion is a simple bitter, and acts as a stomachic, just like calumba. It is also slightly laxative. It was formerly much more used than at the present day. It has been said to stimulate the flow of bile, but this is incorrect. The vulgar name by which dandelion is known both in England and France suggests that it may be diuretic