Text Size

Site Search powered by Ajax

Dandelion

Dandelion

Botanical Description & Habitat

Taraxacum officianalis

Family
Compositae

Common Names

Lion's tooth
White endive
Wild endive

Habitat
Abundant all over the world; found in meadows and pastures.

Description
Dandelion has a thick, light brown perennial root which produces a rosette of basal leaves. A leafless flower stem grows from the center of the basal leaves; it is smooth, hollow, and terminates with a single large, golden flower, which opens during the day and closes at night and in the rain. The root, leaves, and stem contain a milky fluid. The flower is succeeded by a hairy puffball containing seeds, which ripen and are dispersed by the wind.

Medicinal Parts
Dried cut aerial parts and leaves; collected in May
Dried roots; collected in the autumn.

Historical Properties & Uses

Dandelion is one of the strongest cholagogues and choleretics known. Its ability to promote the flow of bile is unequaled among the common herbs. It is used specifically to promote the health of the liver and related organs and glands. Research indicates it aids recovery from many kinds of liver disease, including hepatitis and liver insufficiency. Several European proprietary liver remedies contain dandelion root. Related disorders of digestion, such as dyspepsia, have also benefited from ingestion of the herb.

Dandelion's proven diuretic action is attributable, at least in part, to the presence of potash. In addition to its content of bitters, dandelion is high in inulin, a form of carbohydrate easily assimilated by diabetics; hence, it is a potential source of nutritional support for diabetics. Recently, anti-tumor principles have been isolated from dandelion, providing partial support for a centuries-old Chinese use of the herb. It may also have hypoglycemic action.

This herb has approval status by the German Commission E for loss of appetite (see appetite disorders), dyspepsia and flatulence.

The root has separate approval status as: choleretic, diuretic and appetite stimulant.

References:

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Method of Action

Dandelion is both a cholagogue and a choleretic
Dandelion is one of the three strongest acting cholagogues known (others being wormwood and Helichrysum arenarium). It raises secretion of bile by over 50%. In experiments with rats, dandelion affects the secretion of bile much like an injection of the animals' own bile would. Since rats do not have gall bladders, the herb must work directly on the liver.

It is postulated the active choleretic principle may be heterocyclic nitrogen-containing constituents. But experts in the area of dandelion research agree that the many properties of this herb are the result of interactions among its constituents rather than the being a case of one chemical--one effect.

Clinically, dandelion has been observed to benefit people with colitis, liver congestion, gallstones and several forms of liver insufficiency. In particular, chronic hepatitis and dyspepsia with insufficient bile secretion are susceptible to the effects of this herb.

A German drug, "Hepatichol," contains dandelion, gentian, maria thistle, nettle, belladonna, and peppermint. Clinical studies with this medicine on 19 cases of gallstones, acute and chronic bile duct and gallbladder inflammation, dyskinesia of the bile duct, and jaundice caused by complete obstruction by gallstones, showed more or less complete recovery within several days. The length of recovery depended on the severity of the symptoms. Further tests with this drug on both healthy and sick subjects using valid controls and sophisticated probes found the medicinesignificantly enhanced both the concentration and secretion of bilirubin in the duodenum just minutes after administration.

Dandelion is a good diuretic
The diuretic property of dandelion has also been observed in several studies. This property may be attributable in part to the presence of potash. In one study a fluid extract of the plant decreased body weight in a month by 30%.

The properties of Inulin
Because of its high inulin content, dandelion belongs to the class of agents used as a blood purifier by many people. It is hard to find justification for this usage from the scientific literature.

Inulin is easily assimilated by diabetics (it contains no calories and does not stress the pancreas), and can therefore be used to regulate sugar metabolism. In the plant, inulin is converted enzymatically to fructose. According to many experts, the liver has a special affinity for fructose; fructose is more rapidly burned and catabolized than glucose. The heart can only utilize glucose after it is converted into glycogen by the liver. That process requires insulin production which can stress the pancreas and produces unwanted swings in blood sugar levels. It is extremely important in cases of conditions like coronary heart disease that the liver be able to provide energy very rapidly. In this regard, fructose, and therefore inulin, appear to be especially valuable in heart therapy.

Dandelion has a high nutritional value
Dandelion contains choline and large quantity of vitamins. At least one study found the herb can cure scurvy. The herb contains more protein, fat, carbohydrates, iron and ash than many other leafy foods, but is not considered a good source of vitamin C in spite of the antiscorbutic action observed.

Dandelion has antitumor properties
Dandelion has been used for hundreds of years in China to treat cancer, especially breast cancer. Recently, antitumor properties in dandelion were discovered.

A hot water extract showed an antitumor effect in the allogeneic tumor system of ddY-Ehrlich, and syngeneic one, C-3-H/He-MM46. The extract showed cytolytic activation of macrophages in antibody-dependent macrophage mediated cytolysis and enhancement of antitumor delayed hypersensitivity reaction in the two tumor systems.

Dandelion may be hypoglycemic
Dandelion also possesses some hypoglycemic activity, perhaps because of the presence of inulin.

Drug Interactions & Precautions

Possible Interactions
The antituberculous activity of dandelion may potentiate the adverse effects of other antituberculous drugs, especially ethionamide.

Conversely, the anti-inflammatory activity of dandelion can be seriously inhibited by phenobarbital and certain other sedatives and hypnotics, such as chloral hydrate and meprobamate. This is also true of beta-adrenergic blocking agents, such as propranolol.

Comments
Dandelion's action depends on the presence of cholinergic substances, its action will be affected by the decrease in cholinergic-receptor stimulation produced by anticholinergics.

The ability of dandelion to increase insulin production and secretion may be antagonized by heparin.

The antidiabetic ability of dandelion may be decreased by the concomitant use of acetazolamide, oral contraceptives, corticosteroids, dextrothyroxine, epinephrine, ethanol, glucagon and marijuana. The antidiabetic effects of dandelion may also be decreased when used in conjunction with phenothiazines, rifampin, thiazide diuretics and thyroid hormones.

Conversely, the antidiabetic action of dandelion may be enhanced when used with allopurinol, anabolic steroids, chloramphenicol, clofibrate, fenfluramine, guanethidine, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOI's), phenylbutazone, probenecid and phenyramidol.

The antidiabetic action of dandelion may also be enhanced when used in conjunction with salicylates, sulfinpyrazone, sulfonamides and tetracyclines.

Safety Factors & Toxicity

Dandelion is generally regarded as safe by the FDA.

Some people are allergic to dandelion, in the form of hay fever or asthma.

This herb has approval status by the German Commission E.

References:

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Preparation & Administration

Three times a day

Dried root
tea made of 2-8 grams

Fluid extract
1:1 in 30% alcohol, 2-8 ml

Tincture
1:5 in 45% alcohol, 5-10 ml

Juice of fresh root
4-8 ml

This herb has approval status by the German Commission E.

Recommended daily dosages in Germany for the herb are as follows:

4 - 10 g of herb t.i.d.
4 - 10 ml liquid extract 1:1 in 25% alcohol t.i.d.

Recommended daily dosages in Germany for the root are as follows:

1 tablespoon of cut root per cup of water as a tea.
3 - 4 g cut or powdered root per cup of water as a decoction.
10 - 15 drops t.i.d. as a tincture.

References:

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Note: This Herbal Preparation information is a summary of data from books and articles by various authors. It is not intended to replace the advice or attention of health care professionals.

References

Adnitt. Hypoglycemic action of monoamine oxidase inhibitors.Diabetes, 17.

Am Hospital Formulary Service. Am Soc of Hosp Pharm. Wash, D.C.

Arky, R.A., et.al. 1968. Irreversible hypoglycemia, a complication of alcohol and insulin. J of the Am Med Assoc, 206. p. 575.

Arneson, G. 1964. Phenothiazine derivatives and glucose metabolism. Journal of Neuropsychiatry, 5. p. 181.

Baba, K, S. Abe & D. Mizuno. Antitumor activity of hot water extract of dandelion, taraxacum officinale--correlation between antitumor activity and timing of administration. Yakugaku Zasshi, 101(6), 538-543, 1981.

Beaudry, C. & L. Laplante. 1973. Treatment of renal failure from diabetic nephropathy with cadaveric homograft. Canadian Medical Assoc Journal, 108. p. 887.

Bentley Und Trimen. Medicinal Plants. 1880, Band III, P. 159.

Bergman, H. 1965. Hypoglycemic coma during sulfonylurea therapy. Acto Med Scand, 177. p. 287.

Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.

Bonsmann. Naunyn-schmiederbers Arch. Ep. Pathol Pharmac, 199. 376. 1942.

Bressler, R., M.D. Bogdonoff & G.J. Subak-Sharpe. 1981. The Physicians Drug Manual. Doubleday & Co, Inc. Garden City, NY. 1213 pp.

Buessemaker, J. Ueber die choleretische wirkung des loewenzahns. Archiv Der Exp. Pathol. Und Pharmakologie, 181, 512-513, 1936.

Burrows, S., Simpson, J.C.E. The triterpene group, IV: the triterpene alcohols of Taraxacum root. J. Chem Soc. 1938: 2042-2047.

Chabrol, E., R. Charonnat, M. Maximin, R. Waitz & J. Porin. L'action choleretique des composees. C.R. Societe De Biologie. (Paris), 108(12), 1100-1102, 1931.

Chabrol, E., R. Charonnat, et.al. Recherches experimentales sur l'action choleretique du neptal. Comptus Rendus Societe De Biologie. 102(12), 991-992, 1930.

Clark, T.H., A.H. Conney & B.P. Harpole, et.al. 1967. Drug interactions that can affect your patients. Patient Care, 1(11). pp. 33-71.

Coon, W.M. & P.W. Willis. 1966. Some side effects of heparin, heparinoids, and their antagonists. Clin Pharm and Thera, 7. p. 379.

Council on Drugs: Evaluation of a hypocholesterolemic agent. 1969. Destrothyroxine sodium (Choloxin). J of the Am Med Assoc, 208 pp. 1014.

Drug package insert (FDA approved official brochure) and other labeling based on sponsored clinical investigations and New Drug Application data.

Faber, K. Der Loewenzahn--Taraxacum officinale Weber. Pharmazie. 13(7), 423-435, 1958.

Farnsworth, N.R. & A.B. Segelman. Tile Till, 57, 52, 1971.

Goodman, L.S. & A. Gilman. 1975. Pharm Basis of Thera. Macmillan, NY.

Gupta, K.K. 1969. The anti-diabetic action of guanethidine. Postgraduate Medical Journal, 45. p. 455.

Hansten, P.D. 1979. Drug Interactions, 4th ed. Lea & Febiger, Phila.

Hyde, F.F. British Herbal Pharmacopoeia. British Herbal Medicine Assoc: West Yorks, England, 1983

Kaegi, A., et.al. 1974. Arteriovenous-shunt thrombosis. Prevention by sulfinpyrazone. New England Journal of Medicine. pp. 290, 304.

Kastrup, E.K., ed. 1981. Drug Facts and Comparisons, 1982 edition. Facts and Comparisions Division, J.P. Lippincott Co, Phila(St. Louis).

Kleiner, I.S. & Tauber, H. The antiscorbutic value of dandelion. Science, 82, 552, 1935.

Kroeber, L. Pharmacology of inulin drugs and their therapeutic use. II. Cichorium intybus; taraxacum offinale. Pharmazie, 5, 122-127, 1950.

Kurz, M. 1968. Diamox und manifestierung von diabetes millitus. Wein Medizinische Wochenschrift. pp. 118, 239.

Landon, J., et.al. 1963. The effect of anabolic steroids on blood sugar and plasma insulin levels in man. Metabolism, 12. p. 924.

Leclerc. Phytotherapie, Paris, 1927 (Cited in Bue1)

List, P. & L. Hoerhammer. 1969-1976. Hagers Hanbuch der Pharmazeutischen Praxis, vols. 2-5. Springer-Verlag, Berlin.

Lockhart, J.G. 1970. Effects of `speed' and `pot' on the juvenile diabetic (questions and answers). J of the Am Med Assoc, 214. p. 2065.

Maiwald, L. Pflanzliche cholagoga. Zhurnal Allgemein Medizin, 59, 1304-1308, 1983.

Malims, J.M. 1968. Diuretics in diabetes millitus. Practitnr, 201 p.529.

Martin, E.W. 1978. Drug Interactions Index, 1978/79. J.B. Lippincott Company, Philadelphia.

Meyer, E. Pflanzliche Therapie, Leipzig, 1935.

Middleton, E. & S.R. Finke. 1968. Metabolic response to epinephrine in bronchial asthma. Journal of Allergy, 42. p. 288.

Mowrey, Daniel B., Ph.D. Exper. Psych., Brigham Young University. Director of Nebo Institute of Herbal Sciences. Director of Behavior Change Agent Training Institute. Director of Research, Nova Corp.

Nord, H.J., et.al. 1970. Treatment of congestive heart failure with glucagon. Annals of Internal Medicine, 72. p. 649.

Peaston, M.J.T. & P. Finnegan. 1968. A case of combined poisoning with chlorpropamide, acetylsalicylic acid and paracetamol. British Journal of Clin Practice, 22. p. 30.

Petersdorf, R.G. & R.D. Adams. 1983. Harrison's Principles Of Internal Medicine. 10th ed. McGraw Hill Pub Co., New York. 2212 pp.

Power, F.B., et. al., J Of The Chem Soc (London), 101, 2411, 1912.

Racz-kotilla, E, Racz. G. & Solomon, A. Planta Medica, 26, 212-217, 1974.

Reddy, C.C. & E.J. Massaro. Biochemistry of Selenium: A Brief Overview. Fundamental Applied Toxicology, 3. 1983.

Refetoff, S. 1975. Thyroid hormone therapy. Medical Clinics of North America, 59. p. 1147.

Riesterer, L. & R. Jaques. 1968. Interference by beta-adrenergic blocking agents with the antiinflammatory action of various drugs. Helv Physiol Acta, 26. pp. 287-293.

Scientific Committee, British Herbal Pharmocopaeia, British Herbal Med Assoc, Lane House, Cowling, Na Keighley, West Yorks, Bd Bd220lx, l983

Solomon, H.M. & J.J. Schrogie. 1967. Effect of phenyramidol and bishydroxycoumarin on the metabolism of tolbutamide in human subjects. Metabolism, 16. p. 1029.

Stuart, D.M. 1968. Drug metabolism Part 2. Drug interactions. PharmIndex, 10(10). pp. 4-16.

Tannenbaum, H., et.al. 1974. Phenylbutazone-tolbutamide drug interaction (Letter). New England Journal of Medicine, 290. p. 344.

Turtle, J.R. & J.A. Burgess. 1973. Hypoglycemic action of fenfluramine in diabetes meillitus. Diabetes, 22. p. 858.

Zilly, W., et.al. 1976. Induction of drug metabolism in man after rifampicin treatment measured by increased hexobarbital and tolbutamide clearance. European J of Clin Pharm, 9. p. 439.

Multimedia

Taraxacum officianalis

? Southwest School of Botanical Medicine