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What is Dandelion?

Dandelion is an herb. People use the above ground parts and root to make medicine.
Dandelion is particularly appreciated for its safe diuretic action without any undesirable effects. It cleans the whole body by eliminating the toxins which have accumulated in it. Dandelion also improves digestion by increasing the discharge of bile and helps to stimulate lazy livers. This plant is an excellent “cleaning agent” for the digestive system.
Dandelion is used for loss of appetite, upset stomach, intestinal gas, gallstones, joint pain, muscle aches, eczema, and bruises. Dandelion is also used to increase urine production and as a laxative to increase bowel movements. It is also used as skin toner, blood tonic, and digestive tonic.
Some people use dandelion to treat infection, especially viral infections, and cancer.
In foods, dandelion is used as salad greens, and in soups, wine, and teas. The roasted root is used as a coffee substitute.
Loss of appetite.
Upset stomach.
Intestinal gas (flatulence).
How does it work?
Dandelion contains chemicals that may increase urine production and decrease swelling (inflammation).
Other names
Blowball, Cankerwort, Cochet, Common Dandelion, Couronne de Moine, Dandelion Herb, Délice Printanier, Dent-de-Lion, Diente de Leon, Dudal, Endive Sauvage, Fausse Chicorée, Florin d’Or, Florion d’Or, Herba Taraxaci, Laitue de Chien, Leontodon taraxacum, Lion's Teeth, Lion's Tooth, Pisse au Lit, Pissenlit, Pissenlit Vulgaire, Priest's Crown, Pu Gong Ying, Salade de Taupe, Swine Snout, Taraxaci Herba, Taraxacum, Taraxacum dens-leonis, Taraxacum officinale, Taraxacum vulgare, Tête de Moine, Wild Endive. 
To learn more about how this article was written, please see the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database methodology.
ReferencesReturn to top
Agarwal SC, Crook JR, Pepper CB. Herbal remedies -- how safe are they? A case report of polymorphic ventricular tachycardia/ventricular fibrillation induced by herbal medication used for obesity. Int J Cardiol 2006;106:260-1.
Lovell CR, Rowan M. Dandelion dermatitis. Contact Dermatitis 1991;25:185-8.
Cohen SH, Yunginger JW, Rosenberg N, Fink JN. Acute allergic reaction after composite pollen ingestion. J Allergy Clin Immunol 1979;64:270-4.
Chivato T, Juan F, Montoro A, Laguna R. Anaphylaxis induced by ingestion of a pollen compound. J Investig Allergol Clin Immunol 1996;6:208-9.
Jovanovic M, Mimica-Dukic N, Poljacki M, Boza P. Erythema multiforme due to contact with weeds: a recurrence after patch testing. Contact Dermatitis 2003;48:17-25.
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.
Trojanova I, Rada V, Kokoska L, Vlkova E. The bifidogenic effect of Taraxacum officinale root. Fitoterapia 2004;75:760-3.
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.
Hussain Z, Waheed A, Qureshi RA, et al. The effect of medicinal plants of Islamabad and Murree region of Pakistan on insulin secretion from INS-1 cells. Phytother Res 2004;18:73-7.
Kashiwada Y, Takanaka K, Tsukada H, et al. Sesquiterpene glucosides from anti-leukotriene B4 release fraction of Taraxacum officinale. J Asian Nat Prod Res 2001;3:191-7.
Seo SW, Koo HN, An HJ, et al. Taraxacum officinale protects against cholecystokinin-induced acute pancreatitis in rats. World J Gastroenterol 2005;11:597-9.
Luo ZH. [The use of Chinese traditional medicines to improve impaired immune functions in scald mice]. Zhonghua Zheng Xing Shao Shang Wai Ke Za Zhi 1993;9:56-8, 80.
Baba K, Abe S, Mizuno D. [Antitumor activity of hot water extract of dandelion, Taraxacum officinale-correlation between antitumor activity and timing of administration (author's transl)]. Yakugaku Zasshi 1981;101:538-43.
Hu C, Kitts DD. Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) flower extract suppresses both reactive oxygen species and nitric oxide and prevents lipid oxidation in vitro. Phytomedicine 2005;12:588-97.
Hu C, Kitts DD. Antioxidant, prooxidant, and cytotoxic activities of solvent-fractionated dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) flower extracts in vitro. J Agric Food Chem 2003;51:301-10.
Hu C, Kitts DD. Luteolin and luteolin-7-O-glucoside from dandelion flower suppress iNOS and COX-2 in RAW264.7 cells. Mol Cell Biochem 2004;265:107-13.
Mascolo N, Autore G, Capassa G, et al. Biological screening of Italian medicinal plants for anti-inflammatory activity. Phytother Res 1987:28-9.
Williams CA, Goldstone F, Greenham J. Flavonoids, cinnamic acids and coumarins from the different tissues and medicinal preparations of Taraxacum officinale. Phytochemistry 1996;42:121-7.
Maliakal PP, Wanwimolruk S. Effect of herbal teas on hepatic drug metabolizing enzymes in rats. J Pharm Pharmacol 2001;53:1323-9.
Electronic Code of Federal Regulations. Title 21. Part 182 -- Substances Generally Recognized As Safe. Available at: http://ecfr.gpoaccess.gov/cgi/t/text/text-idx?c=ecfr&sid= 786bafc6f6343634fbf79fcdca7061e1&rgn=div5&view= text&node=21:
Larsson B, Jonasson A, Fianu S. Prophylactic effect of UVA-E in women with recurrent cystitis: a preliminary report. Curr Ther Res 1993;53:441-3.
McGuffin M, Hobbs C, Upton R, Goldberg A, eds. American Herbal Products Association's Botanical Safety Handbook. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, LLC 1997.



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Taraxacum officinale

Principal Proposed Uses
  • None

Other Proposed Uses
  • LEAVES:   Fluid Retention, Nutritional Supplement
  • ROOT:   ConstipationDetoxificationLiver Support

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   What Is Dandelion Used for Today?
   Safety Issues
   Interactions You Should Know About


The common dandelion, enemy of suburban lawns, is an unusually nutritious food. Its leaves contain substantial levels of vitamins A, C, D, and B complex as well as iron, magnesium, zinc, potassium, manganese, copper, choline, calcium, boron, and silicon.

Worldwide, the root of the dandelion has been used for the treatment of a variety of liver and gallbladder problems. Other historical uses of the root and leaves include the treatment of breast diseases, water retention, digestive problems, joint pain, fever, and skin diseases.

The most active constituents in dandelion appear to be eudesmanolide and germacranolide, substances unique to this herb. Other ingredients include taraxol, taraxerol, and taraxasterol, along with stigmasterol, beta-sitosterol, caffeic acid, and p-hydroxyphenylacetic acid. 1

What Is Dandelion Used for Today?

Dandelion leaves are widely recommended as a food supplement for pregnant women because of the many nutrients they contain. The scientific basis for any other potential use of dandelion is scanty.

Dandelion leaves have been found to produce a mild diuretic effect, 6 which has led to its proposed use for people who suffer from mild fluid retention , such as may occur in premenstrual syndrome (PMS). However, no double-blind, placebo-controlled studies have been reported on the effectiveness of dandelion for this purpose. (For information on double-blind studies, and why they are so important, see Why Does This Database Rely on Double-blind Studies?)

In the folk medicine of many countries, dandelion root is regarded as a "liver tonic," a substance believed tosupport the liver in an unspecified way. This led to its use for many illnesses traditionally believed to be caused by a "sluggish" or "congested" liver, including constipation, headaches, eye problems, gout, skin problems, fatigue, and boils. Building on this traditional thinking, some modern naturopathic physicians believe that dandelion can help detoxify or clean out the liver and gallbladder. 2 This concept has led to the additional suggestion that dandelion can reduce the side effects of medications processed by the liver, as well as relieve symptoms of diseases in which impaired liver function plays a role. However, while preliminary studies do suggest that dandelion root stimulates the flow of bile, 3,4,5 there is as yet no meaningful scientific evidence that this observed effect leads to any of the benefits described above.

Dandelion root is also used like other bitter herbs to improve appetite and treat minor digestive disorders. When dried and roasted, it is sometimes used as a coffee substitute. Finally, dandelion root is sometimes recommended for mild constipation .


A typical dosage of dandelion root is 2 to 8 g, 3 times daily of dried root; 250 mg, 3 to 4 times daily of a 5:1 extract; or 5 to 10 ml, 3 times daily of a 1:5 tincture in 45% alcohol. The leaves may be eaten in salad or cooked.

Safety Issues

Dandelion root and leaves are believed to be quite safe, with no side effects or likely risks other than rare allergic reactions. 7-10 Dandelion is on the FDA's GRAS (generally recognized as safe) list and approved for use as a food flavoring by the Council of Europe.

However, based on dandelion root's effect on bile secretion, Germany's Commission E has recommended that it not be used at all by individuals with obstruction of the bile ducts or other serious diseases of the gallbladder, and that it be used only under physician supervision by those with gallstones . 11

Some references state that dandelion root can cause hyperacidity and thereby increase ulcer pain, but this concern has been disputed. 12

Because the leaves contain so much potassium , they probably resupply any potassium lost due to dandelion's mild diuretic effect, although this has not been proven.

People with known allergies to related plants, such as chamomile and yarrow , should use dandelion with caution.

There are no known drug interactions with dandelion. However, based on what we know about dandelion root's effects, there might be some risk when combining it with pharmaceutical diuretics or drugs that reduce blood sugar levels. In addition, individuals taking the medication lithium should use herbal diuretics such as dandelion leaf only under the supervision of a physician, as being dehydrated can be dangerous when using this medication. 13

Safety in young children, pregnant or nursing women, or those with severe liver or kidney disease has not been established.



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Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is a common meadow herb of the Asteraceae or sunflower family. There are about 100 species of dandelion, and all are beneficial. This sun-loving beauty is a native of Greece, naturalized in temperate regions throughout the world, and familiar to nearly everyone. The perennial dandelion grows freely wherever it can find a bit of earth and a place in the sun. Dandelion's nutritive and medicinal qualities have been known for centuries.

Dandelion's common name is derived from the French dent de lion, a reference to the irregular and jagged margins of the lance-shaped leaves. There are numerous folk names for this widely-used herb. They include pissabed, Irish daisy, blow ball, lion's tooth, bitterwort, wild endive, priest's crown, doonheadclock, yellow gowan, puffball, clock flower, swine snort, fortune-teller, and cankerwort. The generic name is thought to be derived from the Greek words taraxos, meaning disorder, and akos, meaning remedy. Another possible derivation is from the Persian tark hashgun, meaning wild endive, one of dandelion's common names. The specific designationofficinale indicates that this herb was officially listed as a medicinal. Dandelion held a place in the United States National Formulary from 1888 until 1965, and the dried root of dandelion is listed in the United States Pharmacopoeia (USP).

Dandelion may be distinguished from other similar-looking herbs by the hollow, leafless flower stems that contain a bitter milky-white liquid also found in the root and leaves. The dark green dandelion leaves, with their irregular, deeply jagged margins, have a distinctive hairless mid-rib. The leaves are arranged in a rosette pattern, and may grow to 1.5 ft (45.7 cm) in length. They have a

lovely magenta tint that extends up along the inner rib of the stalkless leaf. When the plant is used as a dye, it yields this purple hue. Dandelion blossoms are singular and round, with compact golden-yellow petals. They bloom from early spring until well into autumn atop hollow stalks that may reach from 4–8 in (10.2ndash;20.3 cm) tall. The golden blossoms yield a pale yellow dye for wool. After flowering, dandelion develops a round cluster of achenes, or seed cases. As many as 200 of these narrow seed cases, each with a single seed, form the characteristic puffball. Each achene is topped with a white, feathery tuft to carry it on the breeze. Dandelion's tap root may grow fat, and reach as deep as 1.5 ft (45.7 cm) in loose soil. The root has numerous hairy rootlets. Dandelion is a hardy herb and will regrow from root parts left in the ground during harvest.

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General use

Dandelion has a long history of folk use. Early colonists brought the herb to North America. The native people soon recognized the value of the herb and sought it out for its medical and nutritious benefits. The entire plant is important as a general tonic, particularly as a liver tonic. It may be taken as an infusion of the leaf, a juice extraction, a root decoction, or a tincture. Fresh leaves may be added to salads or cooked as a potherb. The juice extracted from the stem and leaf is the most potent part of the plant for medicinal purposes. It has been used to eradicate warts and soothe calluses, bee stings, or sores. Infusions of dandelion blossoms have been used as a beautifying facial, refreshing the skin.

Dandelion is a nutritive herb rich in potassium, calicum, and lecithin, with iron,magnesiumniacin, phosphorus, proteins, silicon, boron, and zinc. Dandelion provides several B vitamins along with vitamins C and E as well as vitamin P. Chemical constituents in the leaf include bitter glycosides, carotenoids, terpenoids, choline, potassium salts, iron, and other minerals. The root also has bitter glycosides, tannins, triterpenes, sterols, volatile oil, choline, asparagin, and inulin.

Many herbalists regard the dandelion as an effective treatment for liver disease, useful even in such extreme cases as cirrhosis. It cleanses the bloodstream and increases bile production, and is a good remedy for gall bladder problems as well. The herb is also a boon to such other internal organs as the pancreas, kidneys, stomach, and spleen. The dried leaf, taken as a tea, is used as a mild laxative to relieve constipation. Dandelion leaf is also a good natural source of potassium, and will replenish any potassium that may be lost due to the herb's diuretic action on the kidneys. This characteristic makes dandelion a safe diuretic in cases of water retention due to heart problems. The herb is useful in cases of anemia andhepatitis, and may lower elevated blood pressure. Dandelion may also provide relief for rheumatism and arthritis. Dandelion therapy, consisting of therapeutic doses of dandelion preparations taken over time, may help reduce stiffness and increase mobility in situations of chronic degenerative joint disease. The root, dried and minced, can used as a coffee substitute, sometimes combined with roasted acorns and rye.


All parts of the dandelion have culinary and medicinal value. It is best to harvest fresh young dandelion leaves in the spring. The small, young leaves are less bitter, and may be eaten uncooked in salads. Larger leaves can be lightly steamed to reduce bitterness. Leaves gathered in the fall are naturally less bitter. Dandelion blossoms, traditionally used in wine making, may be gathered throughout the flowering season. The deep, fleshy taproot should be gathered in the fall. It takes careful digging and loosening to extract the root intact, although any root parts left in the soil will eventually produce another plant. The root should be washed. Thicker roots should be sliced down their length to facilitate drying. The pieces should be spread out on a paper-lined tray in a light, airy room out of direct sunlight and stored in tightly sealed dark glass containers. Dried dandelion root may be somewhat less potent than the fresh root.

Leaf infusion: Place 2 oz of fresh dandelion leaf, less if dried, in a warmed glass container. Bring 2.5 cups of fresh nonchlorinated water to the boiling point and add it to the herbs. Cover the mixture and steep for 15–20 minutes, then strain. Drink the infusion warm or cold throughout the day, up to three cups per day. The prepared tea can be kept for about two days in the refrigerator.

Tincture: Combine 4 oz of finely-cut fresh dandelion root and leaf (or 2 oz of dry powdered herb) with 1 pt of brandy, gin, or vodka in a glass container. The alcohol should be enough to cover the plant parts and have a 50/50 ratio of alcohol to water. Cover and store the mixture away from light for about two weeks, shaking several times each day. Strain and store in a tightly capped dark glass bottle. A standard dose is 10–15 drops of the tincture in water, up to three times a day.


Dandelion acts as a cholagogue, which means that it increases the flow of bile. It should not be used by persons with closure of the biliary ducts and other biliary ailments.

Side effects

Dandelion is a safe and nutritious herb widely used throughout the world. No health hazards have been reported when dandelion is used in designated therapeutic doses. According to the PDR For Herbal Medicine, however, some "superacid gastric complaints" could be triggered by using the herb. Dandelion stems contain a liquid latex substance that may be irritating to the skin of senstitive persons.


No interactions have been reported between dandelion and standard medications.




Herb of the Week: Dandelion

Filed Under: Herbs,Teas at 9:30 am | By: Mauricio Matusiak, Senior Editor













Dandelion is an herbal plant with long, pointed shaped leaves commonly used for salads and teas. The origin of its name came from French, dent-de-lion, meaning “Lion’s tooth” because of its coarsely-toothed leaves, looking very much like an old lance.

Dandelion is a rich source of vitamins and minerals and supplements are available in tablets and liquid form. The leaves have high levels of iron and calcium, superior levels than spinach for example. Substantial levels of vitamin A and vitamin C can also be found on Dandelion leaves.

The herb has been traditionally used to stimulate overall digestion, but it can be recommended for a few different reasons. Dandelion also strengthens the gallbladder and liver, and it can also be used as a mild laxative as well. In addition, people with liver problems due to overuse of alcohol and poor diet can use Dandelion to increase the bile flow, reducing inflammation and getting rid of gallstones.

Some people use dandelion for cooking and even making wine! You may sauté dandelion flowers with onions and garlic. Its bright yellow color may add some interesting look to your dishes.

Dandelion grows in the wild practically everywhere in the world. It is easily found in gardens and health food stores.


- See more at: http://blog.luckyvitamin.com/teas/herb-of-the-week-dandelion/#sthash.QTOnBW9j.dpuf



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