Taraxaci Radix, B.P. Dandelion Root.

Botanical name: 

Dandelion root (Taraxacum, U.S.P.) is obtained from the common dandelion, Taraxacum officinale, Wiggers (N.O. Compositae). It is collected in the autumn, and used both fresh and dried. The fresh root is yellowish-white in colour, and often 30 centimetres, or more, in length, and 12 millimetres, or more, in diameter. It is fleshy, breaks with a short fracture, and exhibits a white interior, a very bitter, milky juice exuding from concentric circles of laticiferous vessels. The dried root is dark brown, much shrivelled, and exhibits in transverse section a small, yellow wood, surrounded by a large, whitish cortex in which dark concentric lines of laticiferous vessels are easily seen. Towards the upper part, the root passes into an erect rhizome, which often branches, each branch being crowned with the short remains of leaves, near the insertion of which brownish hairs may be seen. It has a bitter taste, but no odour. The dried root is alone official in the U.S.P. On incineration, it yields from 3 to 5 per cent. of ash.

Constituents.—The root contains a small quantity of the crystalline acid substance taraxacin; it also contains the crystalline principle taraxacerin, and variable quantities of sugar and inulin. In the dried root, the latter is present in the parenchymatous cells of the cortex, in the form of amorphous or sub-crystalline masses, which are insoluble in cold water. In the fresh root, the inulin is dissolved in the cell-sap and remains in solution when the juice is expressed from the crushed root. The autumnal root is generally considered to be more bitter than the spring root, and as, when dried, it contains insoluble inulin (about 25 per cent.), is to be preferred on this account also to the spring root, which contains soluble sugar (about 18 per cent. of levulin and 17 per cent. of uncrystallisable sugar). Taraxacin is unstable and easily oxidised, yielding oxalic acid, hence the juice of the fresh root rapidly loses its bitter taste.

Action and Uses.—Dandelion root is used as a bitter in atonic dyspepsia, and as a mild laxative in habitual constipation; it has no action on the liver (Heh. That means, of course, that the bile duct is completely divorced from the liver, as dandelion is a dandy bitter - and bitters, of course, increases bile production. -Henriette). The dried root is used in the preparation of Extractum Taraxaci Liquidum, but the most active preparations are those made from the fresh root, Extractum Taraxaci and Succus Taraxaci.


Decoctum Taraxaci, B.P. 1885.—DECOCTION OF TARAXACUM. Syn.—Decoction of Dandelion Root.
Taraxacum root, dried, sliced, and bruised, 5; distilled water, sufficient to produce 100. Add the taraxacum root to 100 of the water, boil for ten minutes, strain, and make up to the required volume, if necessary, by passing distilled water through the strainer. Decoction of taraxacum is used as a vehicle for bitter tonics. Dose.—60 to 120 mils (2 to 4 fluid ounces).
Elixir Taraxaci Compositum, B.P.C.—COMPOUND ELIXIR OF TARAXACUM.
Liquid extract of taraxacum, 4.16; liquid extract of Virginian prune, 2.08; liquid extract of liquorice, 6.25; tincture of sweet orange peel, 6.25; tincture of cinnamon, 3.12; compound tincture of cardamoms, 3.12; aromatic elixir, to 100. A bitter stomachic and carminative. Dose.—2 to 8 mils (½ to 2 fluid drachms).
Extractum Taraxaci, B.P.—EXTRACT OF TARAXACUM. Syn.—Extract of Dandelion.
Express the juice from the crushed fresh root, allow it to settle, and heat the clear liquid to 100°, maintaining the temperature for ten minutes; then strain and evaporate to a soft extract. Extract of taraxacum is used as a constituent of confections, with confection of senna and confection of pepper. If very stiff the extract may be thinned with a little hot water to facilitate admixture. The solid extract is sometimes ordered in mixtures, when it must be dissolved in a mortar with a little hot water. As a pill excipient extract of taraxacum has good binding properties; but it is liable to ferment and become acid, and pills prepared therewith sometimes deteriorate on this account. Dose.—3 to 10 decigrams (5 to 15 grains).
Extractum Taraxaci, U.S.P.—EXTRACT OF TARAXACUM, U.S.P.
Taraxacum root, dried, in No. 30 powder, 100; alcohol (16 per cent.), a sufficient quantity. The drug is exhausted with the alcohol, and the product evaporated to a pilular consistence. Average dose.—1 gramme (15 grains).
Extractum Taraxaci, Liquidum, B.P.—LIQUID EXTRACT OF TARAXACUM. Syn.—Liquid Extract of Dandelion.
Taraxacum root, dried, in No. 20 powder, 100; alcohol (60 per cent.), 200; distilled water, sufficient to produce 100. Add the drug to the alcohol, allow to macerate for forty-eight hours, then express 50 of liquid. Macerate the residue with 200 of the water for forty-eight hours, express, and strain the liquid, and concentrate by evaporation to about 50. Finally, mix the two liquids, add, if necessary, sufficient distilled water to make up to the required volume, and filter. Liquid extract of taraxacum is used in mixtures as a bitter stomachic and "liver" stimulant, often with diluted nitro-hydrochloric acid and tincture of nux vomica; in reality it has no action on the liver. The extract prepared from the dried root is considered less active therapeutically than the solid extract of the fresh root. Dose.—2 to 8 mils (½ to 2 fluid drachms).
Fluidextractum Taraxaci, U.S.P.—FLUIDEXTRACT OF TARAXACUM.
Taraxacum root, in No. 30 powder, 100; solution of sodium hydroxide (5 per cent.), 5; alcohol (49 per cent.), sufficient to produce 100. Average dose.—8 mils (2 fluid drachms).
Mistura Taraxaci Acida, B.P.C.—ACID TARAXACUM MIXTURE.
Each fluid ounce contains 1 fluid drachm of juice of taraxacum, 10 minims of diluted nitro-hydrochloric acid, 10 minims of spirit of chloroform, with a sufficient quantity of infusion of calumba. Dose.—15 to 30 mils (½ to 1 fluid ounce).
Succus Taraxaci, B.P.—JUICE OF TARAXACUM.
Taraxacum juice is prepared by subjecting the bruised, fresh root to pressure, adding to the expressed juice one-third its volume of alcohol, allowing the mixture to stand for seven days, and filtering. This juice is considered by many practitioners to be more active than the liquid extract prepared from the dried root. Note.—Liquor Taraxaci is prepared by adding the alcohol to the bruised, fresh root before expression; it closely resembles Succus Taraxaci. Dose.—4 to 8 mils (1 to 2 fluid drachms).

The British Pharmaceutical Codex, 1911, was published by direction of the Council of the Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain.