Origin, Distribution and Composition
Dandelion is a hardy perennial herb and a tasty salad vegetable. The
flower stems of this plant grows up to a height of 30 cm. The
sharply-toothed leaves form flat rosettes on the ground. The fleshy hollow
stem carries a single bright yellow flower.
The common name dandelion comes from the French dent de lion, meaning
lion's tooth and refers to the dentate leaf edges. However, some believe
that the name is derived from the resemblance of the yellow flower petals
to an heraldic lion's golden teeth. The name of the genus come from the
Greek taraxos meaning disorders and akos meaning remedy, indicating the
curative qualities of the herb.
A very common plant, dandelion grows wild almost everywhere. Dandelion is
native to Europe. In India it is found throughout the Himalayas, from 300
to 5400 meters and in the Mishmi Hills.
Nutritionally, the dandelion has remarkable value. It contains almost as
much iron as spinach, four times the vitamin A content of lettuce and is a
very rich source of magnesium, potassium, vitamin C, calcium and sodium.
An analysis of dandelion shows it to consist of protein, fat and
carbohydrates. Its mineral and vitamin contents are calcium, phosphorus,
iron, magnesium, sodium, potassium, thiamine, riboflavin, vitamins C and
A. Its calorific value is 45.
Dandelion contains a bitter crystalline principle, taraxacin and a
crystalline substance, taraxacerin. It also contains the phytosterols,
taraxasterol and humotaraxasterol.