Taraxacum Officinale (Family: Asteraceae)
This is well known to have many long and deep gashed Leaves lying on the ground, round about the head of the roots; the ends of each gash or Jag, on both sides looking downwards towards the roots, the middle rib being white which being broken yields abundance of bitter milk, but the root much more: from among the leaves which always abide green, arise many slender, weak, naked foot-stalks, every one of them bearing at the top one large yellow flower, consisting of many rows of yellow leaves, broad at the points and nicked in with a deep spot of yellow in the middle, which growing ripe, the green husk wherein the flower stood turns it self down to the stalk, and the head of down becomes as round as a ball, with long seed underneath, bearing a part of the down on the head of every one, which together is blown away with the wind, or may be at once blown away with one’s mouth. The root growth downwards exceeding deep, which being broken off within the ground, will yet shoot forth again; and will hardly be destroyed where it hath once taken deep root in the ground.
It grows frequent in all meadows and pasture- grounds.
It flowers in one place or other almost all the year long.
Government and virtues.
It is under the dominion of Jupiter. It is an opening and cleansing quality, and therefore very effectual for the obstructions of the liver, gall, and spleen, and the diseases that arise from them, as the jaundice, and hypocondriac; it opens passages of the urine both in young and old; powerfully cleanses iposthumes, and inward ulcers in the urinary passages, and by its drying, and temperate quality doth afterwards heal them; for which purpose the decoction of the roots or leaves in white wine, or the leaves chopped as pot-herbs with a few Alisanders and boiled in their broth, are very effectual. And whoever is drawing towards a consumption or an evil disposition of the whole body, called Cachexia, by the use hereof for some time together, shall find a wonderful help. It helps also to procure rest and sleep to bodies distempered by the heat of ague fits, or other wise: The distilled water is effectual to drink in pestilential fevers, and to wash the sores.
You see here what virtues this common herb hath, and that is the reason the French and Dutch so often eat them in the Spring; and now if you look a little farther, you may see plainly without a pair of not so selfish as ours are, but more communicative of the virtues of plants to people.