Dandelion Root: Benefits and Side Effects

Dandelion Root: Benefits and Side Effects

Dandelion Root: Benefits and Side Effects

Dandelion plant and root.

What is Dandelion Root?

Dandelion is a common weed that grows widely throughout the northern hemisphere in pastures, meadows and lawns, mostly in temperate climates. The name “dandelion” means “lion’s tooth”—a reference to the jagged, tooth-like edges of the plant’s leaves.

Although dandelion is considered a weed, its roots and tops are often used for medicinal purposes. The medicinal use of dandelion root can be traced back to tenth century Arabia, where it was used to treat inflammations.

It’s also consumed as a food. Different parts of the plant can be eaten as a vegetable (leaves); used to make a coffee-substitute (roots) or fermented into wine (blossoms).



Active Compounds

Dandelion leaves, roots and flowers contain a number of biologically-active compounds: terpenes, sterols, polysaccharides, fatty acids and flavonoids. Dandelions are also rich sources of nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals and other antioxidant phytochemicals.

Herbal Diuretic

Dandelion is widely used as an herbal diuretic. This application has not been widely researched, although one recent study determined that ingestion of a leaf extract by human subjects produced significant increases in urination frequency for 5 hours after a single dose. One advantage dandelion may have over conventional diuretics is that it’s a source of potassium, so can conceivably help replace diruesis-induced losses.

Therapeutic Effects

Traditionally, dandelion is also used to improve appetite, digestion and liver/kidney function. It also has mild laxative effects.

In-vitro and animal studies have revealed potential therapeutic uses for dandelion. For example, some evidence suggests dandelion may have anti-diabetic activity due to the ability of extracts to inhibit alpha-glucosidase activity (similar to certain anti-diabetic drugs).

Likewise, “dandelion water extract” altered liver antioxidant activities, reduced blood glucose levels and improved lipid profiles in diabetic rats. Dandelion may also increase the flow of bile.

In addition, extracts have potential anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and immune-enhancing effects. These are very preliminary results, however: much more work needs to be done before dandelion can be recommended as a treatment for human diseases.



Availability

Dandelion root is available as a freeze-dried herb, in capsules, in liquid extracts/tinctures or teas. Dandelion leaves can also be consumed in supplement form, or else eaten raw (typically as a salad green).

What about dandelion side effects?

Though dandelion is generally safe and gentle, some people may have an allergic reaction to the milky latex in the stem and leaves.

Drug Interactions

Dandelion root should not be taken with pharmaceutical diuretics or drugs that have a diuretic action. People who are taking medications for diabetes should use dandelion with caution, as it may intensify the blood sugar lowering effects of those drugs.

Where to Buy?

If you’re interested in experimenting with dandelion, no need to spend a lot.

Our recommended online source for this supplement is iHerb.com -they’re one of our recommended online retailers that we use regularly ourselves. You can find affordable, quality dandelion root products there – click to learn more!

Author: elissa

Elissa is a former research associate with the University of California at Davis, and the author/co-author of over a dozen articles published in scientific journals. Currently a freelance writer and researcher, Elissa brings her multidisciplinary education and training to her writing on nutrition and supplements.

10 Comments

  1. I experiment on my self I took dandelion root tea tree times a day about 3 month . I had fibroid one large and several small but when they did the surgery easer to remove and it was one large and only 2 small of them . That what my experience with the dandelion root tea .

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  2. I had a bad cold and my nose would not stop running day or night.
    I went through two rolls of toilet paper in just under three days wiping away the snot.

    I went out, dug up some dandelion root, washed it off and ate it.

    One hour later my nose and stopped running and I was able to sleep through the night.

    It was a bit over drying as I had to use Chapstick and drink a bit of water because of the diuretic effect but aside from that it was great!

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  3. I drank tea made from dandelion root for one week. Had a liver test done and was told that my liver was in excellent condition.

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  4. Do any of you know about fresh dandelion root healing skin cancer.?

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  5. will this help with liver cancer

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