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Dandelion

 

Natural Standard Monograph, Copyright © 2014 (www.naturalstandard.com). Commercial distribution prohibited. This monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. You should consult with a qualified health care professional before making decisions about therapies and/or health conditions.

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

 

Uses based on scientific evidence 

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 professional.

Grade* 

Anti-inflammatory 

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 

Antioxidant 

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 

Cancer 

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 

Colitis (colon inflammation) 

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 

Diabetes 

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 

Diuretic (increased urine flow) 

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 

Hepatitis B 

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 

Sore throat 

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 against this use (it may not work);
F: Strong scientific evidence against this use (it likely does not work).

For full grading rationale, click here.

Uses based on tradition or theory 

The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. 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 health care professional

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.


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 professional before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare professional 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.

Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. 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 professional before starting a new therapy.

Interactions with Drugs

  • Dandelion may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using medications that may also lower blood sugar. People taking drugs for diabetes by mouth or insulin should be monitored closely by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist. Medication adjustments may be necessary.
  • Dandelion may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with drugs that increase the risk of bleeding. Some examples include aspirin, anticoagulants ("blood thinners") such as warfarin (Coumadin®) or heparin, anti-platelet drugs such as clopidogrel (Plavix®), and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Motrin®, Advil®) or naproxen (Naprosyn®, Aleve®).
  • Dandelion may interfere with the way the body processes certain drugs using the liver's "cytochrome P450" enzyme system. As a result, the levels of these drugs may be increased in the blood, and may cause increased effects or potentially serious adverse reactions. People using any medications should check the package insert, and speak with a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, about possible interactions.
  • Many tinctures contain high levels of alcohol, and may cause nausea or vomiting when taken with metronidazole (Flagyl®) or disulfiram (Antabuse®).
  • Because dandelion contains estrogen like chemicals, the effects of other agents believed to have estrogen-like properties may be altered.
  • Dandelion may cause low blood pressure. Caution is advised in people taking drugs that lower blood pressure.
  • Dandelion may also interact with agents for gout, cancer; agents for pain relief; agents for the skin, stomach, and intestines; agents that increase sun sensitivity; agents that increase urination; anesthetics; antacids; antibiotics; anti-inflammatories; antivirals; appetite stimulants; bile acid sequestrants; cardiac glycosides such as digoxin; cholesterol-lowering agents; ciprofloxacin (Cipro®); corticosteroids; disulfiram (Antabuse®); doxylamine; hormonal agents; laxatives; lithium; metronidazole (Flagyl®); niacin/nicotinic acid; potassium; quinolones.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Dandelion may alter blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using herbs or supplements that may also alter blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may require monitoring, and doses may need adjustment.
  • Dandelion may increase the risk of bleeding when taken with herbs and supplements that are believed to increase the risk of bleeding. Multiple cases of bleeding have been reported with the use of Ginkgo biloba, and fewer cases with garlic and saw palmetto. Numerous other agents may theoretically increase the risk of bleeding, although this has not been proven in most cases.
  • Dandelion may interfere with the way the body processes certain herbs or supplements using the liver's "cytochrome P450" enzyme system. As a result, the levels of other herbs or supplements may become too high in the blood. It may also alter the effects that other herbs or supplements possibly have on the P450 system.
  • Because dandelion contains estrogen like chemicals, the effects of other agents believed to have estrogen-like properties may be altered.
  • Dandelion may cause low blood pressure. Caution is advised in people taking herbs or supplements that lower blood pressure.
  • Dandelion may also interact with anesthetics; antacids; antibacterials; antiestrogens; anti-inflammatories; antioxidants; antivirals; appetite stimulants; beta-carotene; cardiac glycosides; cholesterol-lowering herbs and supplements; dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA); foxglove; herbs and supplements for gout or cancer; herbs and supplements for pain relief; herbs and supplements for the stomach or intestines; herbs and supplements that increase sensitivity to sunlight; herbs and supplements that increase urination; hormone herbs and supplements; hormone replacement therapy (HRT); laxatives; lutein; niacin; nondigestible oligosaccharides; phytoestrogens; potassium; urine alkalinizing herbs and supplements; vitamin A.

Authors

Selected References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

  1. Catania, M. A., Oteri, A., Caiello, P., Russo, A., Salvo, F., Giustini, E. S., Caputi, A. P., and Polimeni, G. Hemorrhagic cystitis induced by an herbal mixture. South Med J 2010;103(1):90-92.
  2. Clare, B. A., Conroy, R. S., and Spelman, K. The diuretic effect in human subjects of an extract of Taraxacum officinale folium over a single day. J Altern.Complement Med 2009;15(8):929-934.
  3. Fernandez-Gonzalez, D., Gonzalez-Parrado, Z., Vega-Maray, A. M., Valencia-Barrera, R. M., Camazon-Izquierdo, B., De, Nuntiis P., and Mandrioli, P. Platanus pollen allergen, Pla a 1: quantification in the atmosphere and influence on a sensitizing population. Clin Exp Allergy 2010;40(11):1701-1708.
  4. Goksu, E., Eken, C., Karadeniz, O., and Kucukyilmaz, O. First report of hypoglycemia secondary to dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) ingestion. Am J Emerg.Med 2010;28(1):111-112.
  5. Gonzalez-Castejon, M., Visioli, F., and Rodriguez-Casado, A. Diverse biological activities of dandelion. Nutr Rev 2012 ;70(9):534-547.
  6. Greenlee, H., Atkinson, C., Stanczyk, F. Z., and Lampe, J. W. A pilot and feasibility study on the effects of naturopathic botanical and dietary interventions on sex steroid hormone metabolism in premenopausal women. Cancer Epidemiol.Biomarkers Prev. 2007;16(8):1601-1609.
  7. Huang, Y., Wu, T., Zeng, L., and Li, S. Chinese medicinal herbs for sore throat. Cochrane Database Syst.Rev 2012;3:CD004877.
  8. Liang, K. L., Su, M. C., Shiao, J. Y., Wu, S. H., Li, Y. H., and Jiang, R. S. Role of pollen allergy in Taiwanese patients with allergic rhinitis. J Formos.Med Assoc. 2010;109(12):879-885.
  9. Martin-Munoz, M. F., Bartolome, B., Caminoa, M., Bobolea, I., Ara, M. C., and Quirce, S. Bee pollen: a dangerous food for allergic children. Identification of responsible allergens. Allergol Immunopathol.(Madr.) 2010;38(5):263-265.
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  12. Syhaieva, I. A. [Efficiency of specific immunotherapy in treatment of patients with seasonal allergic rhinitis]. Lik.Sprava. 2006;(1-2):51-53.
  13. Tan YM, Wang LH Chen SK. Compound Pugongying decoction for acute suppurative tonsillitis. Journal Of An Hui Zhong YI College 2010;29(4):9-12.
  14. Vitalone, A., Menniti-Ippolito, F., Raschetti, R., Renda, F., Tartaglia, L., and Mazzanti, G. Surveillance of suspected adverse reactions to herbal products used as laxatives. Eur J Clin Pharmacol 2012;68(3):231-238.
  15. Yang, Y., Zhao, Y., Wang, C. S., Wang, X. D., and Zhang, L. [Prevalence of sensitization to aeroallergens in 10 030 patients with allergic rhinitis]. Zhonghua Er.Bi Yan.Hou Tou.Jing.Wai Ke Za Zhi 2011;46(11):914-920.
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