Health Benefits of Dandelion

What Research Says and What to Consider Before Trying It

Dandelion dried root, tea, capsules, and tictures

Verywell / Anastasia Tretiak

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is sometimes used to help the body remove excess water. Dandelion has also been studied for its antibacterial, antifungal, and immune boosting activity, as well as its use for arthritis, liver disease, diabetes, colitis, prostate cancer, and obesity.

More research is needed before any health benefits of dandelion can be confirmed.

A plant related to the daisy family, its roots, leaves, and flowers are consumed in foods and beverages, like teas, as well as taken in supplement form (capsules and liquid extracts).

This article takes a closer look at potential dandelion benefits for various conditions and concerns. It also covers risks and side effects associated with its use.

Dietary supplements are not regulated in the United States, meaning the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not approve them for safety and effectiveness before products are marketed. When possible, choose a supplement that has been tested by a trusted third party, such as USP, ConsumerLabs, or NSF.

However, even if supplements are third-party tested, that doesn't mean they are necessarily safe for all or effective in general. Therefore, it is important to talk to your healthcare provider about any supplements you plan to take and check-in about potential interactions with other supplements or medications.

Supplement Facts

Active ingredient(s): Araxacin, Taraxacerin, Inulin, Levulin

Alternate name(s): Puffball, Lion's tooth, Pu gong ying, Swine snout, Wild endive

Legal status: Identified a an herbal supplement by the FDA (1972)

Suggested dose: Dose varies depending on preparation; no suggested standard dose

Safety considerations: Can interact with certain medications and herbal supplements

Potential Dandelion Benefits and Uses

Supplement use should be individualized and vetted by a healthcare professional, such as a registered dietitian nutritionist, registered herbalist, pharmacist, or healthcare provider. No supplement is intended to treat, cure, or prevent a disease.

Dandelion has been used in traditional medicine in China, Mexico, and North America. Scientists have studied but not necessarily proven dandelion's impact on different areas of health. Please note that the data is limited and is an area that needs further research.

Diuretic

Dandelions can act as a diuretic. Diuretics cause you to produce more urine to help remove excess liquid from your body.

In a pilot study, 15 individuals ate 8 milliliters (mL) of dandelion extract three times a day to see if there was an increase in urine frequency and amount. There was a significant increase in the amount of urine after the first and second dose. Note that this study was not a randomized control trial, included a small sample size, and the researchers encouraged more research.

If you take prescription diuretics or herbal supplements that make you urinate more, you could risk getting an electrolyte imbalance. This means your body does not have the right amount of minerals. Electrolyte imbalance can lead to serious health problems. Talk with your healthcare provider before using dandelion extract for this purpose.

Other Suggested Uses of Dandelion

While dandelion has been studied in lab and animal studies for the below conditions, there is not enough evidence to support its use for any of these conditions.

More research is needed before using dandelion in the below diseases. Be sure to discuss your use of dandelion with your registered dietitian nutritionist, pharmacist, or healthcare provider.

Dandelion use has been studied for:

  • Liver disease, which describes liver conditions that involve damage and impact how well the liver works
  • Colitis, a long-term digestive disease that impacts the colon
  • Immune health, which describes how your body recovers from injury, as well as fights off diseases and infections
  • Influenza, or the flu
  • Antifungal activity, or the ability to kill or reduce infection-causing fungi
  • Arthritis, or joint inflammation
  • Antibacterial activity, or the ability to prevent of slow bacteria growth
  • Diabetes, or conditions that impact how the body controls blood sugar levels
  • Management of blood lipids, or fatty substances within the blood, which may be caused by obesity or other conditions
  • Antioxidant activity, or a substance that blocks damaging oxidation within the body
  • Prostate cancer, or cancer that affects the gland between the penis and bladder
  • Skin protection against ultraviolet rays associated with skin burning

What Are the Side Effects of Dandelion?

Dandelion is generally considered safe and well-tolerated in adults if taken in moderation, but some side effects are noted below.

Common Dandelion Side Effects

If you experience any of these side effects upon taking dandelion, please stop using it and consult with your healthcare provider:

Precautions and Who Should Avoid Taking Dandelion

Avoid taking dandelion if you are allergic to any of the following plants:

  • Ragweed
  • Chrysanthemums
  • Marigold
  • Chamomile
  • Feverfew
  • Yarrow
  • Plants in the Asteraceae family (such as sunflowers and daisies)

People who are allergic to dandelion may experience rash, watery eyes, and other allergy symptoms. Dandelion also contains iodine and latex, so avoid it if you have allergies to either of these items.

Pregnant or lactating women, and children, should not take dandelion remedies due to the lack of research into their long-term safety. Dandelion is thought to be a galactagogue (a substance that may increase milk production); however, no significant research supports its use and should be discussed with your lactation consultant or healthcare provider.

How Much Dandelion Should I Take?

Disclaimer

Always speak with a healthcare provider before taking a supplement to ensure that the supplement and dosage are appropriate for your individual needs.

There are no guidelines for the appropriate use or amount of dandelion. There are no standard doses of dandelion, and there are many different ways (e.g., fresh, powder, tea, extract) to consume it. More research is needed.

Dandelion dried root
Verywell / Anastasia Tretiak

What Happens If I Take Too Much Dandelion?

As a general rule, never take more than the manufacturer's recommended dosage. If you experience side effects of any sort, stop taking dandelion and call your healthcare provider. There is no current upper limit or recommended intake due to a lack of research.

Interactions

Dandelion can interact with certain drugs. It may affect how the drug is absorbed into the bloodstream, broken down by the liver, or cleared from the body in urine. Speak with your healthcare provider if you are taking a dandelion remedy along with any of the following drugs:

Due to potential stimulating effect on the gastrointestinal system, dandelion should be used with caution in people who have irritable bowel disease, stomach inflammation, gallbladder inflammation, and severe liver disease.

It is essential to carefully read the ingredient list and nutrition facts panel of a supplement to know which ingredients and how much of each ingredient is included. Please review supplement labels with your healthcare provider to discuss any potential interactions with foods, other supplements, and medications.

How to Store Dandelion

Wash the dandelion before storing and use. To keep your dandelion harvest fresh, store it in plastic bags in the refrigerator or wrapped in a lightly dampened towel. Store in a cool, dry place.

Supplements should be discarded when recommended on the packaging.

Sources of Dandelion & What to Look For

You can enjoy the dandelion plant's roots, leaves, and flowers.

Nutritionally, a cup of cooked dandelion greens has almost 150 milligrams of calcium and is an excellent source of vitamins A, C, and K.

Just because a remedy is thought to be "natural" does not necessarily mean that it's safe. Some "wild-crafted" dandelion products may have been grown in areas contaminated with heavy metals or other pollutants.

Choose supplements produced in labs and certified by third-party authorities like the U.S. Pharmacopeia (USP), ConsumerLab, or NSF International.

Dandelion easily absorbs pesticides and heavy metals, such as:

  • Lead
  • Nickel
  • Copper
  • Cadmium

It also absorbs other harmful substances from the environment. It is usually not a good idea to eat wild dandelion if the purity of the soil, water, and air is unknown, such as near:

  • Roads
  • Driveways
  • Septic tanks
  • Pools
  • Air conditioning units
  • Barbecue grills

Dandelion Supplements

Dandelion leaf and root are commonly available in tea form. Dandelion may also be found as a powder or available in capsule form as a supplement. When buying a supplement, don't be fooled by claims that it can cure or treat any specific disease. Under the FDA labeling laws, it is illegal to make such claims, which are rarely supported by clinical evidence.

Summary

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is a plant related to the daisy family. You can enjoy the roots, leaves, and flowers of the dandelion, traditionally viewed as a weed. More research is needed to know the health benefits and side effects.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can I take dandelion if I am taking a diuretic?

    If you also take prescription diuretics or herbal supplements that make you urinate more, speak with your healthcare provider before taking dandelion. You could risk getting an electrolyte imbalance, which can lead to serious health concerns.

  • Is it OK to drink dandelion tea every day?

    There are no dosage guidelines. Because the strength can vary depending on the form you consume, always follow the package guidelines.

  • Is dandelion safe for pregnant people or children?

    Pregnant people, lactating people, and children should avoid dandelion remedies due to the lack of research into their long-term safety.

24 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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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