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Dandelion

Dandelion flower
© Steven Foster

Common Names: dandelion, lion’s tooth, blowball

Latin Names: Taraxacum officinale

Background

  • Dandelion greens are edible and are a rich source of vitamin A. Dandelion has been used in traditional medical systems, including Native American, traditional Chinese, and traditional Arabic medicine.
  • Dandelion has a long history of use for problems of the liver, gallbladder, and bile ducts. Today, dandelion as a dietary supplement is used as a blood “tonic,” as a diuretic, for minor digestive problems, and for other purposes.
  • The leaves and roots of the dandelion, or the whole plant, are used fresh or dried in capsules or extracts. As a food, dandelion is used as a salad green and in soups, wine, and teas.

How Much Do We Know?

  • We know very little about dandelion’s health effects. There’s little scientific evidence on this herb.

What Have We Learned?

  • There’s no compelling scientific evidence supporting the use of dandelion for any health condition.

What Do We Know About Safety?

  • The use of dandelion as a food is generally considered safe. However, some people are allergic to dandelion; allergic reactions are especially likely in people who are allergic to related plants such as ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, and daisies. The safety of using dandelion supplements for health-related purposes is uncertain.

Keep in Mind

  • Tell all your health care providers about any complementary or integrative health approaches you use. Give them a full picture of what you do to manage your health. This will help ensure coordinated and safe care.

For More Information

NCCIH Clearinghouse

The NCCIH Clearinghouse provides information on NCCIH and complementary and integrative health approaches, including publications and searches of Federal databases of scientific and medical literature. The Clearinghouse does not provide medical advice, treatment recommendations, or referrals to practitioners.

Toll-free in the U.S.: 1-888-644-6226

tty (for deaf and hard-of-hearing callers):

1-866-464-3615

Website: https://nccih.nih.gov/

Email: info@nccih.nih.gov (link sends e-mail)

PubMed®

A service of the National Library of Medicine, PubMed® contains publication information and (in most cases) brief summaries of articles from scientific and medical journals. For guidance from NCCIH on using PubMed, see How To Find Information About Complementary Health Approaches on PubMed.

Website: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/

Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), National Institutes of Health (NIH)

ODS seeks to strengthen knowledge and understanding of dietary supplements by evaluating scientific information, supporting research, sharing research results, and educating the public. Its resources include publications (such as Dietary Supplements: What You Need to Know), fact sheets on a variety of specific supplement ingredients and products (such as vitamin D and multivitamin/mineral supplements), and the PubMed Dietary Supplement Subset.

Website: https://ods.od.nih.gov/

Email: ods@nih.gov (link sends e-mail)

Key References

  • Dandelion. In: Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckmann J, eds. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Newton, MA: Integrative Medicine Communications; 2000:78-83.
  • Dandelion. Natural Medicines Web site. Accessed at naturalmedicines.therapeuticresearch.com on April 3, 2015. [Database subscription].

This publication is not copyrighted and is in the public domain. Duplication is encouraged.

NCCIH has provided this material for your information. It is not intended to substitute for the medical expertise and advice of your health care provider(s). We encourage you to discuss any decisions about treatment or care with your health care provider. The mention of any product, service, or therapy is not an endorsement by NCCIH.

Last Updated: September 2016