Dandelion is an herb that is native to Europe. It is also found throughout mild climates of the northern hemisphere.
People take dandelion by mouth for tonsillitis, heart failure, loss of appetite, upset stomach, intestinal gas, gallstones, improving bile flow, joint pain including arthritis pain, muscle aches, eczema, and bruises. Dandelion is also taken by mouth to increase urine production and as a laxative to increase bowel movements. It is also used as skin toner, circulation tonic, blood tonic, and digestive tonic.
Some people take dandelion by mouth to treat infection, especially viral infections and urinary tract infections (UTIs), as well as 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 it works
Dandelion contains chemicals that may increase urine production and decrease swelling (inflammation).
Not ProvenInflammation of the tonsils (Tonsillitis)
Early research shows that people who have had their tonsils removed recover faster if they eat soup containing dandelion compared to those who eat soup without dandelion.
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.
Dandelion is LIKELY SAFE for most people when taken by mouth in the amounts commonly found in food
It is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth in medicinal amounts (larger amounts than those found in food). Taking dandelion by mouth might cause allergic reactions, stomach discomfort, diarrhea, or heartburn in some people.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking dandelion if you arepregnantorbreast feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.Are there any interactions with medications?
Bleeding disorders: Dandelion might slow blood clotting. In theory, taking dandelion might increase the risk for bruising and bleeding in people with bleeding disorders.
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.
Kidney failure: Dandelion might reduce how much oxalate is released through urine. In theory, this might increase the risk for complications in people with kidney problems.
Dandelion might decrease how much antibiotic the body absorbs. Taking dandelion along with certain antibiotics might decrease the effectiveness of these 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).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.Water pills (Potassium-sparing diuretics)
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.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.There is some concern that dandelion might decrease blood sugar. Diabetes medications are used to lower blood sugar. Theoretically, dandelion might increase the effects of diabetes medications and might increase the risk of blood sugar becoming too low. Monitor your blood sugar closely. The dose of your diabetes medication might need to be changed.Some medications used for diabetes include glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta, Glynase PresTab, Micronase), insulin, pioglitazone (Actos), rosiglitazone (Avandia), and others.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.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).