Health Benefits of Dandelion

What research says and what to consider before trying it

Dandelion dried root, tea, capsules, and tictures

Verywell / Anastasia Tretiak

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Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is a plant often regarded as a weed but one that may offer health benefits by acting as a diuretic ("water pill") or potentially boosting the immune system to help fight infections. It is also said to have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties.

Naturopaths and other alternative practitioners often contend that dandelion can help treat a wide range of medical conditions—including arthritis, liver disease, diabetes, obesity, and even cancer—although there is little scientific evidence to support the claims.

Dandelion comes in many different forms. Its greens can be eaten raw or cooked. It is also available in supplement form as tablets, capsules, tinctures, or liquid extracts.

This article looks at the potential health benefits of dandelion as well as the possible risks and interactions. It also offers tips on how to safely use and select dandelion supplements.

Health Benefits of Dandelion

Dandelions are edible, and some people consider the greens to be a delicacy with their slightly bitter, grassy flavor.

Others believe that dandelions (the root especially) can either treat, prevent, or support the treatment of a wide range of unrelated medical conditions. The plant has been used for centuries in traditional Chinese medicine and other traditional or folk medicines.

Among the conditions dandelions are thought to treat or prevent are:

To date, there is little evidence that dandelions can treat or prevent any disease. The evidence is generally limited to test tube studies and animal research.

With that said, scientists are exploring whether this readily available plant has properties and/or compounds that may one day be beneficial to people with certain diseases.

Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is the type of diabetes associated with lifestyle factors such as obesity, a high-fat diet, and a lack of exercise. The disease is characterized by abnormally high blood glucose (sugar) levels that can damage multiple organs due to high levels of chronic inflammation.

Dandelions contain substances that are thought to counter these effects, including chicoric acid, chlorogenic acid, sesquiterpene lactones, and most especially taraxasterol,

Studies in mice have shown that taraxasterol can reduce inflammation and improve the function of the liver (the organ responsible for producing and releasing glucose whenever the body needs energy). By doing so, blood sugar levels can be significantly decreased.

Despite the positive findings, the same effect has yet to be seen in humans.

The same applies to the benefits of dandelions in treating obesity, one of the main contributing factors to diabetes. Although studies have suggested a dose of 150 to 300 milligrams per kilogram of body weight (mg/kg) may reduce obesity in rats, the same has not been seen in humans.

Heart Disease

Dandelions can act as a diuretic, meaning that is can cause you to urinate (pee). This may be beneficial in treating hypertension (high blood pressure) and, in turn, reducing the risk of coronary artery disease (CAD).

By replicating the action of diuretic drugs like Coumadin (warfarin), some experts hypothesize that compounds in dandelion can actively fight or prevent heart conditions like atherosclerosis ("hardening of the arteries'), heart valve disease, and heart failure (in which the heart is less able to pump blood throughout the body).

Dandelions are also rich in antioxidants like beta carotene which have been shown in animal studies to reduce hypertension in mice and rabbits.

With that said, there are no high-quality studies in humans to support these claims.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is the autoimmune form of arthritis in which the immune system attacks its own joints. Over time, the autoimmune inflammation can gradually destroy the protective cartilage and lead to joint deformity and chronic pain.

Taraxasterol is the compound in dandelions that is thought to reduce inflammation and potentially protect against the long-term damage caused by RA.

Studies in mice with chemically-induced RA have shown that injection of taraxasterol reduced levels of an inflammatory marker known as prostaglandin E2 (PGE2) by more than 50% compared to those that were left untreated.

It is unclear, however, how potent the effect is on RA over the long term or if the same effects might be seen in humans.


Some researchers suggest that compounds in dandelions may protect against cancer. A number of test tube studies have shown that exposing different cancer cells to an alcohol-based dandelion extract has a cytotoxic (cell-killing) effect similar to chemotherapy—but without chemotherapy side effects.

Another test tube study published in the journal Oncotarget reported that a water-based extract of dandelion root was able to slow the proliferation (multiplication and spread) of colon cancer cells.

Despite these findings, there has yet to be any evidence that dandelion in any form can prevent or treat cancer of any type.

Possible Side Effects

Dandelion is generally considered safe and well-tolerated if consumed in moderation. The overconsumption of dandelion or dandelion supplements can cause gastrointestinal side effects like:

Due to the potential for gastrointestinal side effects, dandelion supplements should be used with caution in people with irritable bowel disease (IBS), gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), and other chronic gastrointestinal disorders.

Risk of Allergy

On rare occasions, dandelions have been known to cause an allergic reaction, including a potentially life-threatening allergy known as anaphylaxis. The risk of this is greater in people with allergies to plants like:

  • Asters
  • Chamomile
  • Chrysanthemums
  • Daisies
  • Feverfew
  • Marigolds
  • Ragweed
  • Sunflowers
  • Yarrow

When to Call 911

Call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room if you have signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis, including:

  • A sudden outbreak of rash or hives
  • Shortness of break
  • Wheezing
  • Sudden diarrhea
  • Abnormal heartbeats
  • Swelling of the face, mouth, or throat
  • A feeling of impending doom

Drug Interactions

Dandelions can interact with certain drugs and affect how they are absorbed or cleared by the body. Advise your healthcare provider if you are taking any of the following before starting a dandelion supplement:

Recommended Dosage

There are no guidelines for the appropriate use of dandelion supplements. As a general rule, do not exceed the recommended dosage on the product label. If you experience side effects of any sort, stop taking the supplement and call your healthcare provider.

Due to a lack of research, it is unknown how much dandelion is too much. As a precaution, dandelion supplements should not be used in children or people who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Dandelion dried root
Verywell / Anastasia Tretiak

What to Look For

Fresh dandelion greens can sometimes be found in specialty groceries and be added to salads, soups, and sandwiches. Avoid harvesting dandelions from yards or fields as they may be contaminated with pesticides or pollutants in the soil.

Dandelion supplements come in many forms and can be purchased online or in many drugstores, grocery stores, and nutritional supplements shops. There are also dandelion teas that some people use for medicinal purposes.

In the United States, supplements are not stringently regulated and can vary in their quality. To better ensure purity and safety, opt for brands that have been voluntarily submitted for certification by independent certifying bodies like U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP), ConsumerLab, or NSF International.

Certification does not mean that the supplement works or is without risks. It simply means that the product contains the ingredients listed on the product label in the correct amounts and that no impurities have been found.

Avoid buying "wildcrafted" dried dandelions from traditional herbalists or healers, especially those imported from China and other countries. Because these products are not regulated, there is no way to know if they have been contaminated with heavy metals, pesticides, or other potentially harmful substances.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I take dandelion if I'm on a diuretic?

    If you take prescription diuretics like warfarin, speak with your healthcare provider before using a dandelion supplement. Taking the two together might cause excessive urination and lead to a potentially serious electrolyte imbalance.

  • Is it OK to drink dandelion tea every day?

    Dandelion tea purchased at a grocery is generally regarded as safe. You can also make your own by drying the root and leaves and brewing them in hot water. But avoid harvesting your dandelions from a yard, field, or alongside a road as they may contain pesticides or contaminants from the soil.

10 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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  3. Wirngo FE, Lambert MN, Jeppersen PB. The physiological effects of dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) in type 2 diabetes. Rev Diabet Stud. 2016 Summer-Fall;13(2-3):113–31. doi:10.1900/RDS.2016.13.113

  4. Davaatseren M, Haeng JH, Yang HJ, et al. Taracum official (dandelion) leaf extract alleviates high-fat diet-induced nonalcoholic fatty liver. Food Chem Toxicol. 2013;58:30-36. doi:10.1016/j.fct.2013.04.023

  5. Aabideen ZU, Mumtaz MW, Akhtar MT, et al. Anti-obesity attributes: UHPLC-QTOF-MS/MS-based metabolite profiling and molecular docking insights. Molecules. 2020;25(21):4935. doi:10.3390/molecules25214935

  6. Jiang SH, Ping LF, Sun FY, Wang XL, Sun ZJ. Protective effect of taraxasterol against rheumatoid arthritis by the modulation of inflammatory responses in mice. Exp Ther Med. 2016 Dec;12(6):4035–40. doi:10.3892/etm.2016.3860

  7. Rehman G, Hamayun M, Igbal A, et al. Effect of methanolic extract of dandelion roots on cancer cell lines and AMP-activated protein kinase pathway. Front Pharmacol. 2017;8:875. doi:10.3389/fphar.2017.00875

  8. Ovadie P, Ammar S, Guerrero JA, Arnason JT, Pandey S. Dandelion root extract affects colorectal cancer proliferation and survival through the activation of multiple death signalling pathways. Oncotarget. 2016 Nov 8;7(45):73080–100. doi:10.18632/oncotarget.11485

  9. American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology. Anaphylaxis.

  10. National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. Traditional Chinese medicine: what you need to know.

By Alena Clark, PhD
Alena Clark, PhD, is a registered dietitian and experienced nutrition and health educator

Originally written by Cathy Wong
Cathy Wong

Cathy Wong is a nutritionist and wellness expert. Her work is regularly featured in media such as First For Women, Woman's World, and Natural Health.

Learn about our editorial process