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Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

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Also listed as: Taraxacum officinale
Related terms
Background
Evidencetable
Tradition
Dosing
Safety
Attribution

Related Terms
  • Artemetin, Asteraceae (family), beta-carotene, blowball, caffeic acid, cankerwort, Cichoroideae (subfamily), clock flower, common dandelion, Compositae (family), dandelion herb, dandelion T-1 extract, dent de lion (French), diente de leon, dudhal, dumble-dor, epoxide, esculetin, fairy clock, fortune teller, hokouei-kon, huang hua di ding (yellow flower earth nail), Irish daisy, Lactuceae (tribe), Leontodon taraxacum, lion's teeth, lion's tooth, Lowenzahn (German), Lowenzahnwurzel (German), lutein, luteolin, luteolin-7-O-beta-D-glucopyranoside, mælkebøtte, milk gowan, min-deul-rre, mok's head, mongoloid dandelion, pee in the bed, pissenlit (French), piss-in-bed, potassium, pries' crown, priest's crown, puffball, pu gong ying, pu kung ying, quercetin, radix Taraxaci, stigmasterol, swine snout, Taraxaci herba, taraxacum, Taraxacum mongolicum, Taraxacum officinale, Taraxacum palustre, Taraxacum vulgare, taraxasteryl acetate, telltime, vitamin A, white endive, wild endive, witch gowan, witches' milk, yellow flower earth nail.

Background
  • Dandelion is closely related to chicory. It is found growing in meadows, pastures and waste grounds of moderate temperature.
  • Dandelion root and leaf are used widely in Europe for stomach and intestine conditions. Dandelion is authorized by the German Commission E to treat bile duct abnormalities, appetite loss, indigestion, and stimulation of urination.
  • Dandelion leaves are a source of vitamin A. Dandelion is used as a salad ingredient, and the roasted root and its extracts are sometimes used as a coffee substitute.

Evidence Table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. GRADE *


Non-human research suggests that dandelion root may possess anti-inflammatory properties. There is a lack of well-designed human studies in this area. Additional research is needed.
C


Several laboratory studies report antioxidant properties of dandelion flower extract. However, this research is preliminary and data in humans is lacking. Further research is warranted in this area.

C


Limited animal research exists on the effects of dandelion on tumor growth, but the data is inconclusive. Additional high-quality human studies are needed in this area.

C


There is a report that a combination herbal preparation containing dandelion improved chronic pain associated with colitis. The effects of dandelion alone are unknown. Additional research is needed before a conclusion can be made.

C


There is limited research on the effects of dandelion on blood sugar levels. One study reported decreases in glucose levels in non-human studies. Additional study is needed in this area.

C


Dandelion leaves have traditionally been used to increase urine production and excretion. There is a lack of reliable human research in this area. Dandelion extract has been reported to increase fluid excretion and urination frequency. Further research in humans is needed.

C


One study reported improved liver function in people with hepatitis B after taking a combination product with dandelion root. The effects of dandelion alone are unknown. Additional research is needed on this topic.

C


Early research suggests dandelion with penicillin is more effective than sodium penicillin alone for sore throat. Given the limited evidence, conclusions on the effects of dandelion alone are unclear. Additional studies are warranted.

C
* Key to grades

A: Strong scientific evidence for this use
B: Good scientific evidence for this use
C: Unclear scientific evidence for this use
D: Fair scientific evidence for this use (it may not work)
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likley does not work)


Tradition / Theory

The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.

  • Abscess, acne, age spots, AIDS, alcohol withdrawal, allergies, anemia, anorexia, antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, appetite stimulant, arthritis, benign prostate hypertrophy (increased prostate size), bile flow stimulation, bladder irritation, blood purifier, boils, breast augmentation, breast infection, breast milk stimulation, bronchitis, bruises, canker sores, cardiovascular disorders, chronic fatigue syndrome, circulation, clogged arteries, coffee substitute, dandruff, diarrhea, eye problems, fertility, fever reduction, food uses, gallbladder disease, gallstones, gas, gastric acid secretion stimulation, gastrointestinal inflammation, gout (high uric acid levels), headache, heartburn, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, hormonal abnormalities, immune stimulation, increased sweating, jaundice (yellowing of the skin), kidney disease, kidney stones, laxative, leukemia, liver cleansing, liver disease, menopause, menstrual period stimulation, muscle aches, nutrition, obesity/weight loss, osteoarthritis, pain relief, pneumonia, postpartum care (care after childbirth), pregnancy, premenstrual syndrome, psoriasis (skin disorder), rheumatoid arthritis, skin conditions, skin toner, smoking cessation, spleen problems, stiff joints, stimulant, stomachache, urinary tract inflammation, warts, water retention.

Dosing

Adults (18 years and older)

  • Doses of 2-8 grams of dandelion dried root infusion or tea have been taken by mouth. As a leaf fluid extract, doses of 4-8 milliliters of an extract in alcohol have been taken by mouth. As a root alcoholic extract, doses of 1-2 teaspoons of a tincture in alcohol have been taken by mouth.
  • To increase urination (diuretic), 8 milliliters of dandelion leaf extract (Oregon's Wild Harvest, Sandy, OR) has been taken by mouth three times in one day in five-hour intervals.
  • To treat sore throat, compound dandelion soup was taken by mouth with 640,000 units of benzylpenicillin sodium once daily for three days.

Children (younger than 18 years)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for dandelion in children.

Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

  • Dandelion should be avoided by people with a known allergy to dandelion, honey, chamomile, chrysanthemums, yarrow, feverfew, or any members of the Asteraceae (Compositae) plant families (ragweed, sunflower, daisies).
  • The most common allergy to dandelion is dermatitis after direct skin contact, which may include itching, rash, and red or swollen or areas of eczema on the skin. Skin reactions have also been reported in dogs.
  • Itchy/inflamed eyes, stuffy/runny nose, and asthma have been reported after handling products such as bird feed containing dandelion and other herbs.
  • Dandelion pollen may cause an allergic reaction, such as runny/stuffy nose and itchy/inflamed eyes.
  • Anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction) has been described after ingesting a pollen compound containing dandelion.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • Dandelion is likely safe when taken by mouth in amounts naturally found in foods and in suggested doses by otherwise healthy adults for medicinal purposes.
  • Dandelion may increase the risk of bleeding. Caution is advised in people with bleeding disorders or taking drugs that may increase the risk of bleeding. Dosing adjustments may be necessary.
  • Dandelion may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised in people with diabetes or hypoglycemia, and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may need to be monitored by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, and medication adjustments may be necessary.
  • Use cautiously in children and in pregnant and lactating women. Use cautiously in people with bile duct or intestinal obstruction, digestive disorders, gallbladder inflammation or gallstones, irritable bowel syndrome, kidney failure, pus in the lungs, or stomach inflammation.
  • Use cautiously in people taking agents for the skin, agents that increase skin sensitivity to sun, antacids, anticoagulants, antiplatelets, or niacin.
  • Dandelion may also cause abnormal heart muscle contraction, anaphylaxis (severe allergic reaction), asthma, diarrhea, eczema, fast heartbeat, flushing, gastrointestinal symptoms (including stomach discomfort and heartburn), hemorrhagic cystitis (painful urination and blood in urine), increase in urination frequency or volume, increased gastric acid secretion, increased sun sensitivity, increased urination, intestinal blockage, itching, itchy/inflamed eyes, liver, gall bladder, or bile duct adverse events, lowered blood potassium, parasitic infection due to contaminated dandelion, rash, runny/stuffy nose, skin allergy, or upset stomach.
  • Avoid dandelion in people with a known allergy to dandelion, honey, chamomile, chrysanthemums, yarrow, feverfew, or any members of the Asteraceae (Compositae) plant families (ragweed, sunflower, daisies).

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • There is a lack of scientific evidence on the use of dandelion during pregnancy or lactation.

Attribution
  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

Copyright © 2011 Natural Standard (www.naturalstandard.com)


The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.

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