Dandelion Herb Description - Drug Interactions, Dosage and Some of its Useful Properties
Common Trade Names
Available as capsules, extracts, root, and teas.
Active components are obtained from the leaves and roots of Taraxacum officinale or laevigatum, common low-growing weeds that are native to Europe and Asia and naturalized worldwide.
Dandelions contain many compounds, including caffeic, parahydroxyphenylacetic, chlorogenic, linoleic, linolenic, oleic, and palmitic acids; minerals such as potassium, iron, silicon, magnesium, sodium, zinc, manganese, copper, and phosphorus; resins, taraxasterol, taraxacin, taraxacum, taraxerin, taraxerol, and terpenoids; and vitamins A, B, C, and D. Other compounds include carotenoids (taraxanthin), choline, inulin, pectin, phytosterols, sugars, and triterpenes.
Taraxacum, a dandelion compound, increases gastric and salivary juice secretions, stimulates the release of bile from the gallbladder and liver, and acts as a mild laxative. Also, a leaf extract was found to exert a stronger diuretic effect in rats and mice than did a root extract . An anti-inflammatory effect has also been shown for dandelion root extract in an animal model .
Dandelion is considered a liver and kidney tonic because of its choleretic effects and ability to directly stimulate contraction of the gallbladder, thus releasing stored bile.
Extracts of dandelion markedly inhibited the growth of cancer cells, perhaps by its resemblance to tumor polysaccharides such as lentinan. Also in the United States, antibodies to active polypeptides in tumorinduced mouse ascites fluid were produced from dandelion.
Dandelion is claimed to possess antirheumatic, bile-stimulating, diuretic, and laxative properties. Herbalists recommend its use for hepatic and gallbladder disorders, cholecystitis, digestive complaints, and constipation and when diuresis may be indicated (premenstrual syndrome, weight loss, heart failure, and hypertension). Results obtained from human and animal studies showed improvement in jaundice, hepatic congestion, gallstones, hepatitis, and bile duct inflammation.
Dandelion's milky sap has been used externally for removing corns, calluses, and warts. The plant is one of nine herbal ingredients of a British proprietqry preparation that has been used to treat viral hepatitis.
In a small group of patients, dandelion root was used successfully to treat chronic, nonspecific colitis, bringing relief from abdominal pain, constipation, and diarrhea.
Contraindications And Precautions
Avoid using dandelion in pregnant or breast-feeding patients; effects are unknown.
Points of Interest
Sometimes dandelion root is roasted and used as a coffee substitute. The flowers are used to make wine and schnapps. The plant is also commonly used as a food, mainly in soups and salads.
Dandelion contains more vitamin A than carrots.
Dandelion is a well-known herbal remedy and a natural food item. Scientific data are lacking to justify its reported therapeutic uses. The plant has been used in foods for several years without adverse effects. It can not be recommended in amounts larger than what is normally present in foods or drinks.
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