Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)
Synonyms / Common Names / Related Terms
Artemetin, Asteraceae (family), beta-carotene, blowball, caffeic acid, cankerwort, clock flower, common dandelion, Cichoroideae (sub-family), Compositae (family), dandelion herb, dandelion T-1 extract, dent de lion, diente de lion, dudhal, dumble-dor, epoxide, esculetin, fairy clock, fortune teller, hokouei-kon, huang hua di ding (yellow flower earth nail), irish daisy, Lactuceae (tribe), Leontodon taraxacum, lion's teeth, lion's tooth, Lowenzahn (German), Lowenzahnwurzel (German), lutein, luteolin, maelkebotte, milk gowan, min-deul-rre, mok's head, mongoloid dandelion, pee in the bed, pissenlit, piss-in-bed, potassium, pries' crown, priest's crown, puffball, pu gong ying, pu kung ying, quercetin, Radix taraxaci, stigmasterol, swine snout, taraxaci herba, taraxacum, Taraxacum mongolicum, Taraxacum officinale, Taraxacum palustre, Taraxacum vulgare, taraxasteryl acetate, telltime, vitamin A, white endive, wild endive, witch gowan, witches' milk, yellow flower earth nail.
Mechanism of Action
- Constituents: Dandelion has been used for diuretic, choleretic, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative, anti-carcinogenic, analgesic, anti-hyperglycemic, anti-coagulatory and prebiotic effects.1 One study has found that constituents of Taraxacum mongolicum include artemetin, quercetin, luteolin, luteolin-7-O-beta-D-glucopyranoside, caffeic acid, esculetin, stigmasterol, and taraxasteryl acetate.20 The petals of Taraxacum officinale F. Weber ex Wiggers contain lutein epoxide.21 Potassium is present in the leaves at a concentration of 297mg per 100g.22 Dandelion leaves are a source of vitamin A (1,400 units per 100g), as well as lutein and beta-carotene. Dandelion is also a source of fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, thiamine and riboflavin. Dandelion also contains sodium, vitamin C and vitamin D in lesser concentrations.
- Antifungal effects: In a laboratory test using clinical oral Candida isolated from head and neck cancer patients, dandelion did not exhibit significant antifungal activity.2
- Anti-inflammatory effects: Dandelion's therapeutic effects have historically been attributed to the bitter constituents found in roots and leaves.23 Research in laboratory animals suggests that dandelion root may possess anti-inflammatory properties.6 Sesquiterpenes lactones are responsible for diuretic effects and may contribute to dandelion's mild anti-inflammatory activity.6
- Antineoplastic effects: Several laboratory studies report antineoplastic properties of dandelion and other species of Taraxacum.7,8,9,10,11,14
- Antioxidant effects: Several laboratory studies report antioxidant properties of dandelion flower extract.15,16,17,18,19
- Diuretic effects: Sesquiterpenes lactones are responsible for diuretic effects and may contribute to dandelion's mild anti-inflammatory activity.6
- Endocrine effects: In healthy premenopausal women, a combination botanical supplement (Curcuma longa, Cynara scolymus, Rosmarinus officinalis, Schisandra chinensis, Silybum marinum, and Taraxacum officinalis) decreased dehydroepiandrosterone (-13.2%; p=0.02), dehydroepiandrosterone-sulfate (-14.6%; p=0.07), androstenedione (-8.6%; p=0.05), and estrone-sulfate (-12.0%; p=0.08).13 In a mouse study, Dandelion T-1 extract up-regulated estrogen receptors (alpha and beta), progesterone receptor, and follicle-stimulating hormone receptor expression.4
- Gastrointestinal effects: Dandelion is suggested to increase in bile production and flow to the gall bladder (choleretic), and exert a direct effect on the gallbladder causing contraction and release of stored bile (cholagogue).3 Dandelion leaves also contain appetite-stimulating substances, eudesmanolides, previously known as taraxacum. Lactones may increase gastric acid secretion.
- Hepatic effects: Activity of hepatic enzyme CYP1A2 in the liver microsomes of rats receiving dandelion in a green tea extract solution was decreased to 15% of a control group (which received water).12 In the same study, CYP2E activity was decreased to 48% of the control group. Following the ingestion of dandelion in a green tea extract solution, detoxifying enzyme UDP-glucoronosyl transferase activity increased to 244% of the control group enzyme activity.12
- Hypoglycemic effects: Inulin, a constituent in dandelion, may act to buffer blood glucose levels and has experimental hypoglycemic activity in animals.5
- Effects on phase 1 metabolism: Activity of hepatic enzyme CYP1A2 in the liver microsomes of rats receiving dandelion in a green tea extract solution was decreased to 15% of a control group (which received water).12 In the same study, CYP2E activity was decreased to 48% of the control group.
- Effects on phase 2 metabolism: Following the ingestion of dandelion in a green tea extract solution, detoxifying enzyme UDP-glucoronosyl transferase activity increased to 244% of the control group enzyme activity.12
- Schutz, K., Carle, R., and Schieber, A. Taraxacum--a review on its phytochemical and pharmacological profile. J Ethnopharmacol 10-11-2006;107(3):313-323. 16950583
- Zhao, M., Zhou, Z. T., and Zhang, W. D. [Antifugal susceptibility testing and antifugal traditional Chinese medicines screening of oral Candida isolated from head and neck cancer patients treated with radiotherapy or chemotherapy]. Hua Xi Kou Qiang Yi Xue Za Zhi 2006;24(2):131-134. 16704090
- Bohm K. Studies on the choleretic action of some drugs. Azneim-Forsh 1959;9:376-378.
- Zhi, X., Honda, K., Ozaki, K., Misugi, T., Sumi, T., and Ishiko, O. Dandelion T-1 extract up-regulates reproductive hormone receptor expression in mice. Int J Mol Med 2007;20(3):287-292. 17671731
- Rutherford, P. P. and Deacon, A. C. The mode of action of dandelion root -fructofuranosidases on inulin. Biochem J 1972;129(2):511-512. 4643338
- Mascolo N, Autore G, Capasso F, and et al. Biological screening of Italian medicinal plants for anti-inflammatory activity. Phytotherapy Res 1987;1(1):28-31.
- Baba, K., Abe, S., and Mizuno, D. [Antitumor activity of hot water extract of dandelion, Taraxacum officinale-correlation between antitumor activity and timing of administration (author's transl)]. Yakugaku Zasshi 1981;101(6):538-543. 7310635
- Hata, K., Ishikawa, K., Hori, K., and Konishi, T. Differentiation-inducing activity of lupeol, a lupane-type triterpene from Chinese dandelion root (Hokouei-kon), on a mouse melanoma cell line. Biol Pharm Bull 2000;23(8):962-967. 10963304
- Choi, J. H., Shin, K. M., Kim, N. Y., Hong, J. P., Lee, Y. S., Kim, H. J., Park, H. J., and Lee, K. T. Taraxinic acid, a hydrolysate of sesquiterpene lactone glycoside from the Taraxacum coreanum NAKAI, induces the differentiation of human acute promyelocytic leukemia HL-60 cells. Biol Pharm Bull 2002;25(11):1446-1450. 12419957
- Koo, H. N., Hong, S. H., Song, B. K., Kim, C. H., Yoo, Y. H., and Kim, H. M. Taraxacum officinale induces cytotoxicity through TNF-alpha and IL-1alpha secretion in Hep G2 cells. Life Sci 1-16-2004;74(9):1149-1157. 14687655
- Takasaki, M., Konoshima, T., Tokuda, H., Masuda, K., Arai, Y., Shiojima, K., and Ageta, H. Anti-carcinogenic activity of Taraxacum plant. II. Biol Pharm Bull 1999;22(6):606-610. 10408235
- Maliakal, P. P. and Wanwimolruk, S. Effect of herbal teas on hepatic drug metabolizing enzymes in rats. J Pharm Pharmacol 2001;53(10):1323-1329. 11697539
- Greenlee, H., Atkinson, C., Stanczyk, F. Z., and Lampe, J. W. A pilot and feasibility study on the effects of naturopathic botanical and dietary interventions on sex steroid hormone metabolism in premenopausal women. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 2007;16(8):1601-1609. 17684134
- Takasaki, M., Konoshima, T., Tokuda, H., Masuda, K., Arai, Y., Shiojima, K., and Ageta, H. Anti-carcinogenic activity of Taraxacum plant. I. Biol Pharm Bull 1999;22(6):602-605. 10408234
- Hu, C. and Kitts, D. D. Antioxidant, prooxidant, and cytotoxic activities of solvent-fractionated dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) flower extracts in vitro. J Agric Food Chem 1-1-2003;51(1):301-310. 12502425
- Hagymasi, K., Blazovics, A., Feher, J., Lugasi, A., Kristo, S. T., and Kery, A. The in vitro effect of dandelions antioxidants on microsomal lipid peroxidation. Phytother Res 2000;14(1):43-44. 10641047
- Kim, H. M., Oh, C. H., and Chung, C. K. Activation of inducible nitric oxide synthase by Taraxacum officinale in mouse peritoneal macrophages. Gen Pharmacol 1999;32(6):683-688. 10401993
- Kim, H. M., Lee, E. H., Shin, T. Y., Lee, K. N., and Lee, J. S. Taraxacum officinale restores inhibition of nitric oxide production by cadmium in mouse peritoneal macrophages. Immunopharmacol Immunotoxicol 1998;20(2):283-297. 9653673
- Hudec, J., Burdova, M., Kobida, L., Komora, L., Macho, V., Kogan, G., Turianica, I., Kochanova, R., Lozek, O., Haban, M., and Chlebo, P. Antioxidant capacity changes and phenolic profile of Echinacea purpurea, nettle (Urtica dioica L.), and dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) after application of polyamine and phenolic biosynthesis regulators. J Agric Food Chem 7-11-2007;55(14):5689-5696. 17579437
- Yao, W., Lin, W. Y., Zhou, C. X., and Zhao, Y. [Studies on constitutes from Taraxacum mongolicum]. Zhongguo Zhong Yao Za Zhi 2007;32(10):926-929. 17655148
- Melendez-Martinez, A. J., Britton, G., Vicario, I. M., and Heredia, F. J. HPLC analysis of geometrical isomers of lutein epoxide isolated from dandelion (Taraxacum officinale F. Weber ex Wiggers). Phytochemistry 2006;67(8):771-777. 16563446
- Hook I, McGee A, Henman M, and et al. Evaluation of dandelion for diuretic activity and variation in potassium content. Int J Pharmacog 1993;31(1):29-34.
- Kuusi T, Pyylaso H, and Autio K. The bitterness properties of dandelion. II. Chemical investigations. Lebensm-Wiss Technol 1985;18:347-349.