Report on Dandelion Herb: Warnings, Side Effects and Usage
Natural health supplements sometimes have unexpected side effects or interactions with medication that can lead to adverse reactions that are sometimes life threatening. The following is a list of cautions that you should be aware of before using dandelion (Taraxacum officinale). These are referred to as drug/herb interactions.
Warning 1 – Contraindications: People with an inflamed or infected gallbladder, or blocked bile ducts, should avoid using dandelion. People who are allergic to ragweed, chrysanthemums, marigolds, chamomile or daisies should avoid all parts of the dandelion.
Warning 2 – Antidiabetics: May increase the effects of oral antidiabetics.
Warning 3 – Antihypertensives: May increase the effects of antihypertensive medications.
Warning 4 – Diuretics: The use of dandelion with diuretics may increase diuresis, which can lead to fluid loss and electrolyte imbalances.
Warning 5 – Insulin: Dandelion may increase the hypoglycemic effects of insulin.
Warning 6 – Lithium: Toxicity may occur if dandelion is use with lithium.
Used as a natural health remedy: dandelions are used internally for the following benefits and conditions:
- Aid for weight loss
- Cleanse skin and eliminate acne
- Cleanse your digestive system
- Diet aid (See other herbs for weight loss)
- Dissolve kidney stones (greens only, not the root)
- Diuretic to purify blood (greens only, not the root)
- Fight some forms of cancer
- General tonic
- Help control diabetes mellitus
- Improve bowel function
- Improve gallbladder function
- Improve gastrointestinal health
- Liver diseases
- Lower cholesterol by as much as half
- Lower high blood pressure
- Reduce acid indigestion
- Reduce flatulence
- Reduce gas buildup
- Relieve constipation
- Relieve diarrhea
According to the USDA Bulletin #8, “Composition of Foods” (Haytowitz and Matthews 1984), dandelions rank in the top four green vegetables in overall nutritional value. Out of all vegetables, Minnich, in “Gardening for Better Nutrition” ranks them as tied for 9th place for best food and that includes grains, seeds and greens. According to their data, dandelions are nature’s richest green vegetable source of beta-carotene, from which Vitamin A is created, and the third richest source of Vitamin A of all foods, after cod-liver oil and beef liver! They are also a rich source of fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and the B vitamins, thiamin (B1) and riboflavin (B2). Dandelions are also a good source of vegetable protein.
Side Effects of Dandelions
There are no known side effects of using dandelions in moderation and it is generally considered to be safe. However, consuming large amounts have caused a few rare reports of upset stomach and diarrhea, and some people are allergic to the plant.
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