Dandelion is an herb that is native to Europe. It is also found throughout mild climates of the northern hemisphere.
People use dandelion for conditions such as swelling (inflammation) of the tonsils (tonsillitis), infections of the kidney, bladder, or urethra (urinary tract infections or UTIs), and many others, but there is no good scientific evidence to support these uses.
Uses & Effectiveness
Insufficient Evidence for
- Swelling (inflammation) of the tonsils (tonsillitis). Early research shows that people who have had their tonsils removed recover faster if they eat soup containing dandelion compared to those who eat soup without dandelion.
- Infections of the kidney, bladder, or urethra (urinary tract infections or UTIs). A specific combination of dandelion root and leaf extracts of another herb called uva ursi taken by mouth seems to help reduce the number of UTIs in women. In this combination, uva ursi is used because it seems to kill bacteria, and dandelion is used to increase urine flow. However, this combination should not be used long-term because it is not known if uva ursi is safe for extended use.
- Arthritis-like pain.
- Heart failure.
- Loss of appetite.
- Upset stomach.
- Intestinal gas (flatulence).
- Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of dandelion for these uses.
Side Effects & Safety
When taken by mouth: Dandelion is likely for most people when taken by mouth in the amounts commonly found in food. It is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth in medicinal amounts (larger amounts than those found in food). Taking dandelion by mouth might cause allergic reactions, stomach discomfort, diarrhea, or heartburn in some people.
Special Precautions & Warnings:
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: There isn't enough reliable information to know if dandelion is safe to use when pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Eczema: People with eczema seem to have a higher chance of having an allergic reaction to dandelion. If you have eczema, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking dandelion.
Bleeding disorders: Dandelion might slow blood clotting. In theory, taking dandelion might increase the risk for bruising and bleeding in people with bleeding disorders.
Ragweed allergy: People who are allergic to ragweed and related plants (daisies, chrysanthemums, marigolds) might be more likely to be allergic to dandelion. But conflicting data exists. If you have allergies, be sure to check with your healthcare provider before taking dandelion.
Kidney failure: Dandelion might reduce how much oxalate is released through urine. In theory, this might increase the risk for complications in people with kidney problems.