Dandelion, Taraxacum is a large genus of flowering plants in the family Asteraceae, which consists of species commonly known as Dandelions. The English name, Dandelion, is a corruption of the French “dent de lion” meaning "lion's tooth", referring to the coarsely toothed leaves. The plant is also known as blowball, cankerwort, doon-head-clock, witch's gowan, milk witch, yellow-gowan, Irish daisy, swine's snout and wild endive. The English folk name "piss-a-bed" refers to the strong diuretic effect of the plant's roots.
Historically, dandelion was prized for a variety of medicinal properties, and it contains a number of pharmacologically active compounds. Dandelion is used as a herbal remedy in Europe, North America, and China. It has been used in herbal medicine to treat infections, bile and liver problems, and as a diuretic. Dandelion has been used as a medicinal plant for thousands of years to treat inflammation, swollen lymph nodes, cysts and abscesses, as well detoxifying the kidney and liver.
The entire plant is edible and nutritious, including the leaves, stems, flowers, and roots. Dandelion leaves and buds have been a part of traditional Kashmiri cuisine, Albanian cuisine, Slovenian, Sephardic, Chinese, and Korean cuisines. In Crete, the leaves of a variety called 'Mari' 'Mariaki' are eaten by locals, either raw or boiled, in salads. The flower petals, along with other ingredients, usually including citrus, are used to make dandelion wine. The ground, roasted roots can be used as a caffeine-free dandelion coffee. Dandelion was also traditionally used to make the traditional British soft drink dandelion and burdock, and is one of the ingredients of root beer. Also, dandelions were once delicacies eaten by the Victorian gentry, mostly in salads and sandwiches. The flowers of dandelions are typically eaten before they start to become seed heads.