encyclopedia

Dandelion Leaf

Scientific Names:    

Taraxacum officinale WEBER [Fam. Asteraceae]    
     

Forms:    

Dandelion leaf tea; dandelion leaf extracts    
     

Traditional Usage:    

– Anti-inflammatory
– Antioxidant
– Appetite Stimulant
– Bile Stimulant
– Biliary Deficiency
– Bloating
– Bone and Joint Conditions
– Breastfeeding Problems
– Breathing Disorders
– Bronchitis
– Cellular Regeneration
– Cleansing
– Detoxifying
– Digestive Disorders
– Diuretic
– Dyspepsia
– Eczema
– Flatulence
– Gastrointestinal Disorders
– Hormone Imbalances
– Lactation Tonic
– Laxative (mild)
– Mineral Deficiency
– Nutritive
– Pneumonia
– Pregnancy Tonic
– Respiratory Infections
– Skin Problems
– Swelling
– Tonic
– Upper Respiratory Infections
– Urinary Tract Gravel
– Vitamin Deficiency     
     
    
Overview:    

Dandelion, Taraxacum officinale WEBER [Fam. Asteraceae], has been used traditionally as a medicine for many centuries in several different countries of the world including in Arabia, India, China, Europe and North America. Blumenthal and others note in the book, Herbal Medicine, that the genus name Taraxacum is derived from the Greek words for disorder (taraxos) and remedy (akos). Dandelion leaves are an excellent source of vitamins A and C and other vitamins and minerals. As such, dandelion is often recommended as a nutrient rich food for women during pregnancy and lactation. First Nation's groups used dandelion herb and root to treat urinary system disorders and gravel, skin problems and dropsy. Studies show beneficial effects of dandelion on reducing urinary tract gravel, attributed to disinfectant action and possibly the presence of saponins. Dandelion has also been used traditionally to treat respiratory disorders. Dr. James Duke notes in his book, The Green Pharmacy, that numerous clinical trials have demonstrated the efficacy of dandelion leaves and root for treating pneumonia, bronchitis and upper respiratory infections. Dr. Duke recommends drinking the juice that remains after the greens have been cooked. The German Pharmacopoeia lists dandelion leaf and root for treating gastrointestinal complaints stemming from bile deficiency, as well as to stimulate appetite and diuresis. Dandelion was also used in folk medicine to ease painful joint and bone conditions. The tea reduces water retention and is considered a traditional blood purifier. The diuretic effect is also useful for reducing swelling. Dried dandelion leaf tea also acts as a mild laxative. German authorities recognize that 'bitters' stimulate bile flow, increase bile solubility and cleanse the liver of fatty deposits. From ancient times on, bitter herbal drugs played a very important role in the therapy of patients with dyspeptic symptoms, liver congestion, hormonal imbalances and skin disorders.    
     
    
Active Ingredients:    

Dandelion leaf contains: Bitter compounds of the sesquiterpene lactone type including eudesmanolides, 14-O-beta-D-glucosyl-11,13-dihydro-taraxinic acid (1) and 14-O-beta-D-glucosyl-taraxinic acid (2); triterpenes including beta-amyrin, taraxol, and taraxerol; carotenoids including lutein; fatty acids such as myristic acid; flavonoids including apigenin, luteolin and chrysoeriol; three flavonoid glycosides including luteolin 7-glucoside and two luteolin 7-diglucosides; inulin; saponins; minerals including up to 4.5% potassium; phenolic acids including caffeic, chlorogenic, hydroxycinnamic, chicoric, and monocaffeyltartaric acids; the coumarins, cichoriin and aesculin; sitosterol, stigmasterol and taraxasterol; sugars; and up to 14,000 IU/100g vitamin A. Raw dandelion greens contain (proximates based on 100g): 86g water; 2.7g protein; 0.7g fat; 9.2g carbohydrate, by difference; 3.5g fibre; 1.8g ash. Minerals include: 187mg calcium; 3mg iron; 36mg magnesium; 66mg phosphorus; 397mg potassium; 76mg sodium; 0.41mg zinc; 0.2mg copper; 0.3mg manganese; 0.5mcg selenium. Vitamins: 35mg Vitamin C; 0.2mg thiamin; 0.3mg riboflavin; 0.8mg niacin; 0.2 mg Vitamin B-6; 27mcg folate; 14,000 IU vitamin A; 1400mcg vitamin A, RE; 2.5mg vitamin E (ate); and no cholesterol. USDA Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 14 (July 2001).    
     
    
Suggested Amount:    

Dandelion leaf is generally taken as an herbal tea three times per day. Use one to two teaspoonfuls of finely chopped or coarsely powdered dandelion leaf per cup of tea (1 teaspoon of powdered dandelion leaf weighs approximately 1 gram) for daily dosage of between 4-10g. Other preparations may be taken correspondingly, such as fluidextract and tincture. Dandelion fresh pressed leaf juice can also be taken with the recommended dosage of between 5-10ml daily. For treating pneumonia, bronchitis and upper respiratory tract infections, it is recommended that the tea be boiled for a short time and finally passed through a strainer and that the leaves be eaten as well. The boiling process serves to increase the bioavailability of some of the active ingredients. As a food, dandelion leaf can also be added to soups.    
     
    
Drug Interactions:    

None known    
     
    
Contraindications:    

Dandelion leaf is contraindicated in cases of bile duct blockage, gall bladder empyrema, ileus or bowel obstruction of any kind. In cases of gall stones, seek the advice of a qualified physician. Dandelion leaf latex may cause contact dermatitis in susceptible persons, though rarely observed.    
     
    
Side Effects:    

None known    
     
   
References:   

Baba K, Abe S, Mizuno D. 1981. [Antitumor activity of hot water extract of dandelion, Taraxacum officinale-correlation between antitumor activity and timing of administration (author's transl)]. Yakugaku Zasshi. 1981 Jun; 101(6): 538-43. Japanese.
 
Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckmann J 2000. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Copyright American Botanical Council. Publ. by Integrative Medicine Communications, 1029 Chestnut Street, Newton, MA 02464. Pp. 78-80.
 
Grases F, Melero G, Costa-Bauza A, Prieto R, March JG. 1994. Urolithiasis and phytotherapy. Int Urol Nephrol. 1994; 26(5): 507-11.
 
Kashiwada Y, Takanaka K, Tsukada H, Miwa Y, Taga T, Tanaka S, Ikeshiro Y. 2001. Sesquiterpene glucosides from anti-leukotriene B4 release fraction of Taraxacum officinale. J Asian Nat Prod Res. 2001; 3(3): 191-7.
 
Wichtl M (ed). 1994. Taraxaci Radix and Herba – Dandelion Root and Herb (English translation by Norman Grainger Bisset). In Herbal Drugs and Phyto-pharmaceuticals. CRC Press, Stuttgart, pp. 486-489.