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Dandelion


What is it?

Dandelion is an herb. People use the above ground parts and root to make medicine.

Dandelion is used for many conditions, but so far, there isn’t enough scientific evidence to determine whether or not it is effective for any of them.

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.

How effective is it?

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate.

The effectiveness ratings for DANDELION are as follows:

Insufficient evidence to rate effectiveness for...

  • Inflammation of the tonsils (Tonsillitis). An early study found that people who had their tonsils removed recovered faster if they ate soup containing dandelion compared to those who ate soup without dandelion.
  • Preventing urinary tract infections (UTIs). A specific combination of dandelion root and leaf extracts of another herb called uva ursi taken by mouth seems to help reduce the number of UTIs in women. In this combination, uva ursi is used because it seems to kill bacteria, and dandelion is used to increase urine flow. However, this combination should not be used long-term because it is not known if uva ursi is safe for extended use.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Upset stomach.
  • Intestinal gas (flatulence).
  • Constipation.
  • Arthritis-like pain.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of dandelion for these uses.

How does it work?

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Dandelion contains chemicals that may increase urine production and decrease swelling (inflammation).

Are there safety concerns?

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Dandelion is LIKELY SAFE for most people when used in the amounts commonly found in food. It is POSSIBLY SAFE when used in medicinal amounts (larger amounts than those found in food).

Special precautions & warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of dandelion during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Ragweed allergy: Dandelion can cause allergic reactions when taken by mouth or applied to the skin of sensitive people. People who are allergic to ragweed and related plants (daisies, chrysanthemums, marigolds) are likely to be allergic to dandelion. If you have allergies, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking dandelion.

Are there interactions with medications?

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Moderate

Be cautious with this combination.

Antibiotics (Quinolone antibiotics)
Dandelion might decrease how much antibiotic the body absorbs. Taking dandelion along with antibiotics might decrease the effectiveness of some antibiotics.

Some antibiotics that might interact with dandelion include ciprofloxacin (Cipro), enoxacin (Penetrex), norfloxacin (Chibroxin, Noroxin), sparfloxacin (Zagam), trovafloxacin (Trovan), gatifloxacin (Tequin), levofloxacin (Levaquin), lomefloxacin (Maxaquin), moxifloxacin (Avelox), norfloxacin (Noroxin), ofloxacin (Floxin), and grepafloxacin (Raxar).

Lithium
Dandelion might have an effect like a water pill or "diuretic." Taking dandelion might decrease how well the body gets rid of lithium. This could increase how much lithium is in the body and result in serious side effects. Talk with your healthcare provider before using this product if you are taking lithium. Your lithium dose might need to be changed.

Medications changed by the liver (Cytochrome P450 1A2 (CYP1A2) substrates)
Some medications are changed and broken down by the liver. Dandelion might decrease how quickly the liver breaks down some medications. Taking dandelion along with some medications that are broken down by the liver can increase the effects and side effects of some medications. Before taking dandelion, talk to your healthcare provider if you take any medications that are changed by the liver.

Some medications that are changed by the liver include amitriptyline (Elavil), haloperidol (Haldol), ondansetron (Zofran), propranolol (Inderal), theophylline (Theo-Dur, others), verapamil (Calan, Isoptin, others), and others.

Medications changed by the liver (Glucuronidated drugs)
The body breaks down some medications to get rid of them. The liver helps break down these medications. Dandelion might increase how quickly some medications are broken down by the liver. This could decrease how well some of these medications work.

Some of these medications changed by the liver include acetaminophen (Tylenol), atorvastatin (Lipitor), diazepam (Valium), digoxin, entacapone (Comtan), estrogen (Estrace, Premarin, others), entacapone (Comtan), irinotecan (Camptosar), lamotrigine (Lamictal), lorazepam (Ativan), lovastatin (Mevacor), meprobamate, morphine, oxazepam (Serax), and others.

Medications that slow blood clotting (Anticoagulant / Antiplatelet drugs)
Dandelion might slow blood clotting. Taking dandelion along with medications that also slow clotting might increase the chances of bruising and bleeding.

Some medications that slow blood clotting include aspirin, clopidogrel (Plavix), diclofenac (Voltaren, Cataflam, others), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others), naproxen (Anaprox, Naprosyn, others), dalteparin (Fragmin), enoxaparin (Lovenox), heparin, warfarin (Coumadin), and others.

Water pills (Potassium-sparing diuretics)
Dandelion contains significant amounts of potassium. Some "water pills" can also increase potassium levels in the body. Taking some "water pills" along with dandelion might cause too much potassium to be in the body.

Some "water pills" that increase potassium in the body include amiloride (Midamor), spironolactone (Aldactone), and triamterene (Dyrenium).

Are there interactions with herbs and supplements?

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Herbs and supplements that might slow blood clotting
Dandelion might slow blood clotting. Using dandelion with other herbs that can slow blood clotting might increase the risk of bleeding in some people.

Some of these other herbs include garlic, angelica, clove, danshen, ginger, ginkgo, red clover, turmeric, vitamin E, willow, and others.

Are there interactions with foods?

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There are no known interactions with foods.

What dose is used?

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The appropriate dose of dandelion depends on several factors such as the user’s age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for dandelion. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

Other names

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Blowball, Cankerwort, Cochet, Common Dandelion, Couronne de Moine, Dandelion Extract, 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.

Methodology

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To learn more about how this article was written, please see the Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database methodology.methodology (http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/methodology.html).

References

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To see all references for the Dandelion page, please go to http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/706.html.

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Last reviewed - 03/04/2014




Page last updated: 01 July 2014