Examine.com editors have finished going over Taraxacum officinale, more commonly known as dandelion. The same yellow plant that pops up in your yard every spring is used around the world in various traditional medicines and as a diuretic. In fact, it’s used so frequently for its urine-inducing property that its French name, pissenlit, actually means ‘wet the bed’.
Traditional medicines that include dandelion usually intend it as a treatment for gastrointestinal ailments or inflammation. Some preliminary rodent evidence does suggest dandelion may be able to increase the rate at which food exits the stomach and enters the small intestine, but much more research is needed to confirm if this effect can be replicated through supplementation.
Though it is frequently used as a diuretic, dandelion lacks research on its effects. It is effective when taken by humans, but the potency of the effect and mechanism through which it occurs requires further investigation. It is possible that the diuretic effect is caused by a high potassium to sodium ratio. Dandelion is very high in potassium, with about 2.45% of its roots, dry weight, being potassium, while sodium makes up only 0.33% of the plant.
Dandelion can be added to salad to increase dietary potassium intake. Just don’t start using the clippings from your lawn. Dandelions growing in urban and suburban environments are frequently exposed to pesticides.
Dandelion is not recommended for supplementation at this time, since it has limited evidence for its effects.