Pu Gong Ying
Botanical name: Taraxacum sinicum
Common name: Dandelion
Family: Asteraceae, aster family
Part used in Chinese medicine: aerial parts
Major Chinese medicine actions:
Clears heat, resolves toxicity,
clears Liver and eyes, clears heat and resolves dampness
Photo 2: Taraxacum officinale, 05/2005; author Nova; permission under GFDL
There are about 20,000 species of this herbaceous, hardy weed. Flowers, leaves and roots are edible, but the milky sap in the flower stem is toxic. The dandelions used medicinally are the same as those growing in ordinary gardens and roadsides in the U.S.. There are at least 17 species that are used in Chinese medicine, including Taraxacum sinicum, T. mongolicum, T. brassicaefolium, T. heterolepsis, T. platypecidium, T. erythropodium, and T. calanthodium
Growing and Propagtion
Dandelions are invasive, growing especially well in full sun and with regular watering. They are hardy in a wide range of environments, from USDA zones 3 to 10.
Propagation can be accomplished by seed planted successively from spring through summer. Cultivation is best done in containers since flowers will turn into seed heads that self-sow unless deadheaded.
Harvesting and Preparation
Young plants should be harvested before flower buds appear. The size and form of the leaves are strongly affected by the age of the plant and the environment it is grown in. As the plant gets older, the leaves become narrower and marginal cuts become deeper. For medicinal use, good quality Pu Gong Ying plants have many grayish green leaves and thick roots.