What is it?
These entries are from the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center website, which is free and available to all at www.MSKCC.org/AboutHerbs, and available in book form. Last updated : July 2013.
Dandelion contains polysaccharides similar to those found in certain species of mushrooms which are thought to have antitumor properties. Laboratory studies have shown that dandelion can kill certain bacteria and other microbes. It was also found effective against colon cancer, leukemia and melanoma cells. Dandelion has high potassium content which may lead to diuretic (“promoting urination”) effects. Few well-designed clinical studies have investigated the use of dandelion in humans.
Does it work?
Laboratory studies have shown dandelion to have anticancer properties, but not clinical studies have shown this effect in humans.
Well-designed studies have not been conducted with dandelion.
Is it safe?
- This product is regulated by the FDA as a dietary supplement. Unlike approved drugs, supplements are not required to be manufactured under specific standardized conditions. The product may not contain the labeled amount or may be contaminated. In addition, it may not have been tested for safety or effectiveness.
Do Not Take If
- You are taking lithium (dandelion may increase sodium depletion).
- You are taking diuretic drugs (theoretically, dandelion may increase diuretic effects).
- You are taking hypoglycemic drugs (theoretically, dandelion may lower blood sugar levels).
- You have obstruction of the bile duct or gall bladder.
- Stomach inflammation
- Mild diarrhea
- Allergic reactions including red, itchy bumps (rare)
- Hemorrhagic cystitis (inflammation of the urinary bladder) was reported in a 33-year-old woman following use of a slimming product containing a herbal mixture with dandelion as one of the components. The symptoms resolved after discontinuing intake of the product.
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