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Dandelion

Dandelion

Uses

Botanical names:
Taraxacum officinale

Parts Used & Where Grown

Closely related to chicory, dandelion is a common plant worldwide and the bane of those looking for the perfect lawn. The plant grows to a height of about 12 inches, producing spatula-like leaves and yellow flowers that bloom year-round. Upon maturation, the flower turns into the characteristic puffball containing seeds that are dispersed in the wind. Dandelion is grown commercially in the United States and Europe. The leaves and root are used in herbal supplements.

What Are Star Ratings?

Our proprietary “Star-Rating” system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

3 Stars Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.

2 Stars Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.

1 Star For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

This supplement has been used in connection with the following health conditions:

Used for Why
1 Star
Constipation
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The unprocessed roots of fo-ti possess a mild laxative effect. The bitter compounds in dandelion leaves and root are also mild laxatives.

1 Star
Edema
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Herbs that stimulate the kidneys were traditionally used to reduce edema. Herbal diuretics do not work the same way that drugs do, thus it is unclear whether such herbs would be effective for this purpose. Goldenrod (Solidago cnadensis) is considered one of the strongest herbal diuretics.1 Animal studies show, at very high amounts (2 grams per 2.2 pounds of body weight), that dandelion leaves possess diuretic effects that may be comparable to the prescription diuretic furosemide (Lasix®).2 Human clinical trials have not been completed to confirm these results. Corn silk (Zea mays) has also long been used as a diuretic, though a human study did not find that it increased urine output.3 Thus, diuretic herbs are not yet well supported for use in reducing edema.

1 Star
Indigestion, Heartburn, and Low Stomach Acidity
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Bitter herbs are thought to stimulate digestive function by increasing saliva production and promoting both stomach acid and digestive enzyme production.4 As a result, they are particularly used when there is low stomach acid but not in heartburn (where too much stomach acid could initially exacerbate the situation). These herbs literally taste bitter. Some examples of bitter herbs include greater celandine , wormwood , gentian, dandelion , blessed thistle , yarrow , devil’s claw , bitter orange, bitter melon , juniper , andrographis , prickly ash , and centaury .5. Bitters are generally taken either by mixing 1–3 ml tincture into water and sipping slowly 10–30 minutes before eating, or by making tea, which is also sipped slowly before eating.

1 Star
Pregnancy and Postpartum Support
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Many tonic herbs, which are believed to strengthen or invigorate organ systems or the entire body, can be taken safely every day during pregnancy. Examples include dandelion leaf and root, red raspberry leaf, and nettle . Dandelion leaf and root are rich sources of vitamins and minerals, including beta-carotene , calcium , potassium , and iron . Dandelion leaf is mildly diuretic (promotes urine flow); it also stimulates bile flow and helps with the common digestive complaints of pregnancy. Dandelion root is traditionally used to strengthen and invigorate the liver.6

Traditional Use (May Not Be Supported by Scientific Studies)

Dandelion is commonly used as a food. The leaves are used in salads and teas, while the roots are sometimes used as a coffee substitute. Dandelion leaves and roots have been used for hundreds of years to treat liver, gallbladder, kidney, and joint problems. In some traditions, dandelion is considered a blood purifier and is used for conditions as varied as eczema and cancer. As is the case today, dandelion leaves have also been used historically to treat water retention .

How It Works

Botanical names:
Taraxacum officinale

How It Works

The primary constituents responsible for dandelion’s action on the digestive system and liver are the bitter principles. Previously referred to as taraxacin, these constituents are sesquiterpene lactones of the eudesmanolide and germacranolide type, and are unique to dandelion.7 Dandelion is also a rich source of vitamins and minerals. The leaves have a high content of vitamin A as well as moderate amounts of vitamin D , vitamin C , various B vitamins , iron , silicon , magnesium , zinc , and manganese .8

An animal study found that at high amounts (2 grams per 2.2 pounds [1 kg] of body weight), the leaves possess diuretic effects comparable to the prescription diuretic furosemide (Lasix®).9 However, to date, these results have not been demonstrated in human clinical trials. Since edema , or water retention, may be a sign of a more serious disease, people should seek the guidance of a physician before using dandelion leaves for either of these conditions.

The bitter compounds in the leaves and root help stimulate digestion and are mild laxatives.10 These bitter principles also increase bile production in the gallbladder and bile flow from the liver.11 For this reason dandelion is recommended by some herbalists for people with sluggish liver function due to alcohol abuse or poor diet. The increase in bile flow may help improve fat (including cholesterol) metabolism in the body.

How to Use It

As a general liver/gallbladder tonic and to stimulate digestion, 1/2–1 teaspoon (3–5 grams) of the dried root or 1–2 teaspoons (5–10 ml) of a tincture made from the root can be used three times per day.12 Some experts recommend the alcohol-based tincture because the bitter principles are more soluble in alcohol.13

As a mild diuretic or appetite stimulant, 1–2 teaspoons (4–10 grams) of dried leaves can be added to a 1 cup (250 ml) of boiling water and drunk as a decoction.14 Or, 1–2 teaspoons (5–10 ml) of fresh juice or 1/2–1 teaspoon (2–5 ml) of tincture made from the leaves can be used three times per day. Fresh dandelion leaves can be eaten as part of a salad.

Interactions

Botanical names:
Taraxacum officinale

Interactions with Supplements, Foods, & Other Compounds

At the time of writing, there were no well-known supplement or food interactions with this supplement.

Interactions with Medicines

Certain medicines interact with this supplement.

Types of interactions: Beneficial Adverse Check

Replenish Depleted Nutrients

  • none

Reduce Side Effects

  • none

Support Medicine

  • none

Reduces Effectiveness

  • Ciprofloxacin

    In an animal study, administration of an extract of the whole plant dandelion (actually Taraxacum mongolicum, a close relative of the more common western dandelion, Taraxacum officinale) concomitantly with ciprofloxacin decreased absorption of the drug.15 The authors found this was due to the high mineral content of the dandelion herb. Until further information is available, ciprofloxacin should not be taken within two hours of any dandelion supplement including teas.

    The interaction is supported by preliminary, weak, fragmentary, and/or contradictory scientific evidence.

Potential Negative Interaction

Explanation Required

  • Insulin

    Animal studies have shown that dandelion can lower blood sugar levels. In a case report, a patient who was taking insulin for diabetes developed episodes of hypoglycemia after adding dandelion to her treatment regimen.17 People taking blood sugar-lowering drugs should therefore not take dandelion without the supervision of a doctor.

  • Insulin Asp Prt-Insulin Aspart

    Animal studies have shown that dandelion can lower blood sugar levels. In a case report, a patient who was taking insulin for diabetes developed episodes of hypoglycemia after adding dandelion to her treatment regimen.18 People taking blood sugar-lowering drugs should therefore not take dandelion without the supervision of a doctor.

  • Insulin Aspart

    Animal studies have shown that dandelion can lower blood sugar levels. In a case report, a patient who was taking insulin for diabetes developed episodes of hypoglycemia after adding dandelion to her treatment regimen.19 People taking blood sugar-lowering drugs should therefore not take dandelion without the supervision of a doctor.

  • Insulin Detemir

    Animal studies have shown that dandelion can lower blood sugar levels. In a case report, a patient who was taking insulin for diabetes developed episodes of hypoglycemia after adding dandelion to her treatment regimen.20 People taking blood sugar-lowering drugs should therefore not take dandelion without the supervision of a doctor.

  • Insulin Glargine

    Animal studies have shown that dandelion can lower blood sugar levels. In a case report, a patient who was taking insulin for diabetes developed episodes of hypoglycemia after adding dandelion to her treatment regimen.21 People taking blood sugar-lowering drugs should therefore not take dandelion without the supervision of a doctor.

  • Insulin Glulisine

    Animal studies have shown that dandelion can lower blood sugar levels. In a case report, a patient who was taking insulin for diabetes developed episodes of hypoglycemia after adding dandelion to her treatment regimen.22 People taking blood sugar-lowering drugs should therefore not take dandelion without the supervision of a doctor.

  • Insulin Inhalation Combo Pack
    Animal studies have shown that dandelion can lower blood sugar levels. In a case report, a patient who was taking insulin for diabetes developed episodes of hypoglycemia after adding dandelion to her treatment regimen.23 People taking blood sugar-lowering drugs should therefore not take dandelion without the supervision of a doctor.
  • Insulin Inhalation Kit

    Animal studies have shown that dandelion can lower blood sugar levels. In a case report, a patient who was taking insulin for diabetes developed episodes of hypoglycemia after adding dandelion to her treatment regimen.24 People taking blood sugar-lowering drugs should therefore not take dandelion without the supervision of a doctor.

  • Insulin Isophane Pork Pure

    Animal studies have shown that dandelion can lower blood sugar levels. In a case report, a patient who was taking insulin for diabetes developed episodes of hypoglycemia after adding dandelion to her treatment regimen.25 People taking blood sugar-lowering drugs should therefore not take dandelion without the supervision of a doctor.

  • Insulin Lispro

    Animal studies have shown that dandelion can lower blood sugar levels. In a case report, a patient who was taking insulin for diabetes developed episodes of hypoglycemia after adding dandelion to her treatment regimen.26 People taking blood sugar-lowering drugs should therefore not take dandelion without the supervision of a doctor.

  • Insulin Lispro Protam & Lispro

    Animal studies have shown that dandelion can lower blood sugar levels. In a case report, a patient who was taking insulin for diabetes developed episodes of hypoglycemia after adding dandelion to her treatment regimen.27 People taking blood sugar-lowering drugs should therefore not take dandelion without the supervision of a doctor.

  • Insulin NPH & Regular Human

    Animal studies have shown that dandelion can lower blood sugar levels. In a case report, a patient who was taking insulin for diabetes developed episodes of hypoglycemia after adding dandelion to her treatment regimen.28 People taking blood sugar-lowering drugs should therefore not take dandelion without the supervision of a doctor.

  • Insulin NPH Human Recomb

    Animal studies have shown that dandelion can lower blood sugar levels. In a case report, a patient who was taking insulin for diabetes developed episodes of hypoglycemia after adding dandelion to her treatment regimen.29 People taking blood sugar-lowering drugs should therefore not take dandelion without the supervision of a doctor.

  • Insulin NPH Human Semi-Syn

    Animal studies have shown that dandelion can lower blood sugar levels. In a case report, a patient who was taking insulin for diabetes developed episodes of hypoglycemia after adding dandelion to her treatment regimen.30 People taking blood sugar-lowering drugs should therefore not take dandelion without the supervision of a doctor.

  • Insulin Regular Hum U-500 Conc

    Animal studies have shown that dandelion can lower blood sugar levels. In a case report, a patient who was taking insulin for diabetes developed episodes of hypoglycemia after adding dandelion to her treatment regimen.31 People taking blood sugar-lowering drugs should therefore not take dandelion without the supervision of a doctor.

  • Insulin Regular Pork

    Animal studies have shown that dandelion can lower blood sugar levels. In a case report, a patient who was taking insulin for diabetes developed episodes of hypoglycemia after adding dandelion to her treatment regimen.32 People taking blood sugar-lowering drugs should therefore not take dandelion without the supervision of a doctor.

The Drug-Nutrient Interactions table may not include every possible interaction. Taking medicines with meals, on an empty stomach, or with alcohol may influence their effects. For details, refer to the manufacturers’ package information as these are not covered in this table. If you take medications, always discuss the potential risks and benefits of adding a supplement with your doctor or pharmacist.

Side Effects

Botanical names:
Taraxacum officinale

Side Effects

Dandelion leaf and root should not be used by people with gallstones without the supervision of a healthcare practitioner.33 People with an obstruction of the bile ducts should not take dandelion.

Animal studies have shown that dandelion can lower blood sugar levels. In a case report, a patient who was taking insulin for diabetes developed episodes of hypoglycemia after adding dandelion to her treatment regimen.34 People taking blood sugar-lowering drugs should therefore not take dandelion without the supervision of a doctor.

In cases of stomach ulcer or gastritis , dandelion should be used cautiously, as it may cause overproduction of stomach acid. Those experiencing fluid or water retention should consult a doctor before taking dandelion leaves. The milky latex in the stem and leaves of fresh dandelion may cause an allergic rash in some people.

Dandelion root contains approximately 40% inulin,35 a fiber widely distributed in fruits, vegetables and plants. Inulin is classified as a food ingredient (not as an additive) and is considered to be safe to eat.36 In fact, inulin is a significant part of the daily diet of most of the world’s population.37 However, there is a report of a 39-year old man having a life-threatening allergic reaction after consuming high amounts of inulin from multiple sources.38 Allergy to inulin in this individual was confirmed by laboratory tests. Such sensitivities are exceedingly rare. Moreover, this man did not take dandelion. Nevertheless, people with a confirmed sensitivity to inulin should avoid dandelion.

References

1. Tyler V. Herbs of Choice: The Therapeutic Use of Phytomedicinals. New York: Pharmaceutical Products Press, 1994, 74 [review].

2. Racz-Kotilla E, Racz G, Solomon A. The action of Taraxacum officinale extracts on the body weight and diuresis of laboratory animals. Planta Med 1974;26:212–7.

3. Doan DD, Nguyen NH, Doan HK, et al. Studies on the individual and combined diuretic effects of four Vietnamese traditional herbal remedies (Zea mays, Imperata cylindrica, Plantago major and Orthosiphon stamineus). J Ethnopharmacol 1994;36:225–31.

4. Schulz V, Hänsel R, Tyler VE. Rational Phytotherapy: A Physician’s Guide to Herbal Medicine. 3rd ed, Berlin: Springer, 1998, 168–73.

5. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al. (eds). The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Austin: American Botanical Council and Boston: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 425–6.

6. Gladstar R. Herbal Healing for Women. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993, 176.

7. Wichtl M. Herbal Drugs and Phytopharmaceuticals. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 1994, 486–9.

8. Bradley PR (ed). British Herbal Compendium, Vol 1. Bournemouth, Dorset, UK: British Herbal Medicine Association, 1992, 73–5.

9. Racz-Kotilla E, Racz G, Solomon A. The action of Taraxacum officinale extracts on body weight and diuresis of laboratory animals. Planta Med 1974:26:212–7.

10. Kuusi T, Pyylaso H, Autio K. The bitterness properties of dandelion. II. Chemical investigations. Lebensm-Wiss Technol 1985;18:347–9.

11. Böhm K. Choleretic action of some medicinal plants. Arzneimittelforschung 1959;9:376–8.

12. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al. (eds). The Complete Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Boston, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 119–20.

13. Foster S. Herbs for Your Health. Loveland, CO: Interweave Press, 1996, 26–7.

14. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al. (eds). The Complete Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Boston, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 118–9.

15. Zhu M, Wong PY, Li RC. Effects of Taraxacum mongolicum on the bioavailability and disposition of ciprofloxacin in rats. J Pharm Sci 1999;88:632–4.

16. Brinker F. Herb Contraindications and Drug Interactions. Sandy, OR: Eclectic Institute, 1997, 102–3.

17. Goksu E, Eken C, Karadeniz O, Kucukyilmaz O. First report of hypoglycemia secondary to dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) ingestion. Am J Emerg Med 2010;28:111.e1–2.

18. Goksu E, Eken C, Karadeniz O, Kucukyilmaz O. First report of hypoglycemia secondary to dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) ingestion. Am J Emerg Med 2010;28:111.e1–2.

19. Goksu E, Eken C, Karadeniz O, Kucukyilmaz O. First report of hypoglycemia secondary to dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) ingestion. Am J Emerg Med 2010;28:111.e1–2.

20. Goksu E, Eken C, Karadeniz O, Kucukyilmaz O. First report of hypoglycemia secondary to dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) ingestion. Am J Emerg Med 2010;28:111.e1–2.

21. Goksu E, Eken C, Karadeniz O, Kucukyilmaz O. First report of hypoglycemia secondary to dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) ingestion. Am J Emerg Med 2010;28:111.e1–2.

22. Goksu E, Eken C, Karadeniz O, Kucukyilmaz O. First report of hypoglycemia secondary to dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) ingestion. Am J Emerg Med 2010;28:111.e1–2.

23. Goksu E, Eken C, Karadeniz O, Kucukyilmaz O. First report of hypoglycemia secondary to dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) ingestion. Am J Emerg Med 2010;28:111.e1–2.

24. Goksu E, Eken C, Karadeniz O, Kucukyilmaz O. First report of hypoglycemia secondary to dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) ingestion. Am J Emerg Med 2010;28:111.e1–2.

25. Goksu E, Eken C, Karadeniz O, Kucukyilmaz O. First report of hypoglycemia secondary to dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) ingestion. Am J Emerg Med 2010;28:111.e1–2.

26. Goksu E, Eken C, Karadeniz O, Kucukyilmaz O. First report of hypoglycemia secondary to dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) ingestion. Am J Emerg Med 2010;28:111.e1–2.

27. Goksu E, Eken C, Karadeniz O, Kucukyilmaz O. First report of hypoglycemia secondary to dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) ingestion. Am J Emerg Med 2010;28:111.e1–2.

28. Goksu E, Eken C, Karadeniz O, Kucukyilmaz O. First report of hypoglycemia secondary to dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) ingestion. Am J Emerg Med 2010;28:111.e1–2.

29. Goksu E, Eken C, Karadeniz O, Kucukyilmaz O. First report of hypoglycemia secondary to dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) ingestion. Am J Emerg Med 2010;28:111.e1–2.

30. Goksu E, Eken C, Karadeniz O, Kucukyilmaz O. First report of hypoglycemia secondary to dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) ingestion. Am J Emerg Med 2010;28:111.e1–2.

31. Goksu E, Eken C, Karadeniz O, Kucukyilmaz O. First report of hypoglycemia secondary to dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) ingestion. Am J Emerg Med 2010;28:111.e1–2.

32. Goksu E, Eken C, Karadeniz O, Kucukyilmaz O. First report of hypoglycemia secondary to dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) ingestion. Am J Emerg Med 2010;28:111.e1–2.

33. Blumenthal M, Busse WR, Goldberg A, et al. (eds). The Complete Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. Boston, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications, 1998, 118–20.

34. Goksu E, Eken C, Karadeniz O, Kucukyilmaz O. First report of hypoglycemia secondary to dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) ingestion. Am J Emerg Med 2010;28:111.e1–2.

35. Duke JA. Handbook of Phytochemical Constituents of GRAS Herbs and Other Economic Plants. Boca Raton, FL; CRC Press, 1992.

36. Carabin IG, Flamm WG. Evaluation of safety of inulin and oligofructose as dietary fiber. Regul Toxicol Pharmacol 1999;30:268–82 [review].

37. Coussement PA. Inulin and oligofructose: safe intakes and legal status. J Nutr 1999;129:1412S–7S [review].

38. Gay-Crosier F, Schreiber G, Hauser C. Anaphylaxis from inulin in vegetables and processed food. N Engl J Med 2000;342:1372 [letter].

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