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Herbal profile

English meaning

Dandelion, also known as cow flower, dog flower, sheep flower, milkweed, etc.

Latin name

Taraxacum officinale from the Composite family (Asteraceae); goes back to the Arabic “Tarakshaqum” – meaning bitter herb

Traditional uses

The leaves of the dandelion are traditionally used for their diuretic effect in kidney diseases, and young leaves can be prepared as a salad. Cut flower stalks soothe burns and insect bites. Roots are used for gallbladder and liver diseases (increase bile secretion, stimulates appetite). Also used for constipation, rheumatism, and blood purification as well as topically for eczema.

Scientifically proven effect(s)

Active ingredients identified to date are essential oils, inulin, choline, vitamins A, B, C, minerals (zinc, manganese, potassium), bitter substances, flavonoids, triterpenes, phenols, sterols, sesquiterpenes, carotenes, tannins, mucilage. Proven anti-inflammatory, diuretic/draining, hepatoprotective, appetite stimulating, antidiabetic (type 2), antimicrobial.
Congestion and oedema due to renal and cardiac insufficiency, allergies to composite plants, liver fluke infestation.


Congestion and oedema due to renal and cardiac insufficiency, allergies to composite plants, liver fluke infestation

when is it collected

The plant is mainly eaten by horses in spring. Main flowering at the end of April/beginning of May, but flowers until autumn, harvest leaves from spring to autumn harvest roots for medicinal purposes in summer

which parts of the plant are used

Leaves, flowers, roots Active part: leaves, root

How is it prepared

The leaves can be fed fresh or dried. The dried leaves and chopped roots can be prepared as tea.


Occurs on all soils, extremely adaptable, pioneer plant can form taproots up to 2m long indicator plant for nitrogen-rich (over-fertilised) soils. If it grows flat, this indicates a nutrient-poor soil. If, on the other hand, it grows bushy, the soil is rich in nitrogen. Important plant for bees (1kg of honey≙ over 100,000 dandelion flowers)

Sanoanimal Herbal advice:

As soon as spring arrives, the fields radiate a sea of yellow flowers. We have the dandelion to thank for this mood-booster after the dark winter months. It is widespread in many regions of the world; everyone knows the yellow flower heads and loves blowing the seed heads in the wind once the flower matures. Dandelions can be found on practically any soil – whether lowlands or highland mountain regions, meadow fields or sparse forest land, also in gardens, where most people refer to them weeds.

Dandelion is a well-known medicinal plant, with records of its healing properties dating back to the 15th century. Due to its many positive properties, the plant and all its components are still used today – from the flower to the root. When our horses find dandelions in the pasture, they can be observed on occasion to dig up the root to eat. They instinctively seek out dandelions, especially in spring, because of the essential oils, mucilage, vitamins, minerals, bitter substances, and flavonoids they contain. The vitamin A content in dandelion is even higher than in carrots. Due to its diuretic effect, dandelion is mainly used therapeutically as part of purification and detoxification properties. However, studies on horses have not yet been carried out.

The success rate can be recognised from traditional medicine and from studies carried out on humans and other animal species. Dandelion strengthens the immune system, boosts the metabolism, and supports the liver. This is where dandelion shows its versatility: it has a diuretic, cleansing, liver shielding effect and encourages an appetite. In humans it has also shown a supportive effect with type 2 diabetes (insulin resistance) as well as antimicrobial effect against bacteria, viruses, and fungi.

In spring, horses like to eat dandelion because its bitter substances support the large intestine in the feed transition from hay to fresh grass shoots. Dandelion can be given therapeutically to horses with laminitis to stimulate the metabolism, laminitis usually affects the kidneys amongst other organs. It is recommended to involve a trained therapist, to ensure all angels for a safe treatment plan have been covered. The anti-inflammatory effect of dandelion, together with its metabolism-stimulating effect, can also have a positive effect on older horses, especially those with osteoarthritis. Horses with a tendency to have filled legs, geldings with swollen sheath, horses with eczema and other skin conditions also benefit from the stimulation effect on kidney and liver. Traditionally, the white juice from the stems of the dandelion can be used topically to treat warts, although swallow wort seems a better option in this case.

In summary, dandelion is a particularly valuable herbal plant, which horses not only naturally like to eat out on pasture, its broad therapeutic spectrum also lends itself to add it as a dried herb to the horses diet, it supports the seasonal coat change metabolism.


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