Supplements & Herbs

Taraxacum (dandelion) medicinal effects

Scientific research studies show wide-ranging therapeutic potential

Part 2

by copyright © 2018 Healing Cancer Naturally

The present page continues on from Part 1 which (in addition to an introduction showing why the common dandelion plant merits (re)consideration for its medicinal qualities) summarizes scientific research studies into dandelion including

  • general reviews
  • toxicity studies
  • studies into immune-enhancing effects
  • studies into antitumor and cancer-related activity.

The present page provides succinct presentations of a number of selected studies into further medicinal effects found in dandelion, viz.

  • antioxidant, antimicrobial, antibiotic, antimutagenic, hypolipidemic as well as
  • antiinflammatory effects.

Regarding animal experimentation upon which a number of the listed research is based, please refer to the previously stated remarks. Also please note that there are additional studies into nettles involving animals not listed here.

Dandelion (Taraxacum): antioxidant, antimicrobial, antibiotic, antimutagenic & hypolipidemic effects

  • Investigating the potential of under-utilised plants from the Asteraceae family as a source of natural antimicrobial and antioxidant extracts.
    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24837924

    This study, published in Food Chemistry in 2014, investigated the antimicrobial effects of ethanol and water extracts from eight Asteraceae species including dandelion against three Gram-positive and two Gram-negative bacterial strains. Ethanol extracts from five of them, including Taraxacum officinale, showed antimicrobial activity against S. aureus, B. cereus and MRSA[1], with the ethanol-based extracts also showing higher antioxidant activity and phenolic content. In all eight species, many phenolic compounds were identified, including eleven in dandelion.
  • Hypolipidemic and antioxidant effects of dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) root and leaf on cholesterol-fed rabbits.
    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20162002

    This animal study printed in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences in 2010 set out to investigate the potential of dietary dandelion root and leaf to lower serum cholesterol and to fight free radicals in rabbits administered a high-cholesterol diet. Results: both the animals' lipid profiles and antioxidant activity were improved. It was concluded that dandelion root and leaf might be protective against atherosclerosis linked to oxidative stress.
    Free full text of this study is available at www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2820990/
  • Luteolin and luteolin-7-O-glucoside from dandelion flower suppress iNOS and COX-2 in RAW264.7 cells.
    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15543940

    Dandelion flowers inter alia are a rich source of the flavones luteolin and luteolin-7-O-glucoside. This study, published in Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry (2004), evaluated these flavones' antioxidant activity in-vitro in a murine (mouse) macrophage cell line.

    It was found that the dandelion-derived flavones caused a significant suppression of the nitric oxide[2] and prostaglandin E2 production following the "activatation" of the macrophages via lipopolysaccharide[3] administration, without causing cytotoxic effects.
  • Antioxidant, prooxidant, and cytotoxic activities of solvent-fractionated dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) flower extracts in vitro.
    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12502425

    This is a highly technical test tube study (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 2003) which investigated the antioxidant and bioactive effects of dandelion flowers that had been extracted in water and ethyl acetate, respectively. Luteolin and luteolin 7-glucoside present in the extracts contributed to antioxidant effects and cytotoxic activity against heterogeneous human epithelial colorectal adenocarcinoma cell cultures.

    The water and ethyl acetate fractions of dandelion flower extract both showed free radical scavenging activities, and lowered DNA strand breakage triggered by hydroxyl radicals. Both fractions also reduced oxidation of phosphatidylcholine liposome induced by peroxyl radicals, with the ethyl acetate fractions showing greater affinity to do so.
  • Spirulina or dandelion-enriched diet of mothers alleviates lead-induced damages in brain and cerebellum of newborn rats.
    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22504531

    Rat mothers poisoned with lead during gestation give birth to offspring with lead deposits in their brains, damaged cerebellum tissues of significantly reduced weight and protein content and evidence of oxidative stress and changes in antioxidant enzyme activities in their brain tissues.

    This study (Food and Chemical Toxicology, 2012) found that supplementing the diet of expectant lead-acetate-intoxicated rat mothers with spirulina or dandelion prevented all damages to the brain tissues or biochemical brain changes in the newborn rats.

    The study authors suggest that spirulina and dandelion's potent lead-protective effects is due to the reduction of the oxidative stress and related damages induced by lead toxicity.
  • Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) flower extract suppresses both reactive oxygen species and nitric oxide and prevents lipid oxidation in vitro.
    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16121519

    This study (Phytomedicine, 2005) demonstrated that the extract of dandelion flowers (which contains flavonoids and coumaric acid derivatives) exerts notable antioxidant effects in both biological and chemical in-vitro models, with its efficacy in inhibiting reactive oxygen species and nitric oxide ascribed to its phenolic compounds.
  • In vitro and in vivo antimutagenic effects of DIG, a herbal preparation of Berberis vulgaris, Taraxacum officinale and Arctium lappa, against mitomycin C.
    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25666712

    This animal study (done on hamster cells and mice) printed in the Journal of Natural Medicines (2015) tested a liquid combination remedy which included dandelion for its antimutagenic (anticlastogenic) effects against mitomycin C. It found powerful anticlastogenic activity (e.g. suppression of more than 80 % of DNA strand breaks), with the protective effect of the combined tinctures greater than that of each individual tincture.
  • Distribution, synthesis, and absorption of kynurenic acid in plants.
    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/PubMed/21157681

    Kynurenic acid displays pharmacological properties (such as acting as an antiexcitotoxin and anticonvulsant) and is found in high concentrations in medicinal herbs such as dandelion, nettle and greater celandine (printed in Planta Medica, 2011).
  • The effect of five Taraxacum species on in vitro and in vivo antioxidant and antiproliferative activity.
    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26158347

    The Taraxacum (dandelion) plant genus is highly complex, far from fully classified and includes species difficult to distinguish. This study (printed in Food & Function in 2015) compared five common South European dandelion species with respect to their cytotoxicity and in-vitro and intracellular antioxidant effects.

    Differences were found in their ability to reduce intracellular levels of reactive oxygen species (free radical scavenging) and cytotoxic effects against various immortal (HeLa) and human liver carcinoma cell lines.
  • Identification of antioxidants from Taraxacum mongolicum by high-performance liquid chromatography-diode array detection-radical-scavenging detection-electrospray ionization mass spectrometry and nuclear magnetic resonance experiments.
    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18801488

    In China, Taraxacum mongolicum has been traditionally used for inflammatory disorders and viral infections, and in Northern China, its leaves were used as food. This study, published in the Journal of Chromatography. A. in 2008, used a newly developed mass spectrometry system to separate and identify 32 antioxidants (radical scavengers) from the methanolic extract of the plant. The antioxidant capacity of three new compounds was evaluaed and found to be potent.
  • Antioxidant properties of Taraxacum officinale fruit extract are involved in the protective effect against cellular death induced by sodium nitroprusside in brain of rats.
    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22480378

    This in-vitro study (Pharmaceutical Biology, 2012) investigated the protective effects of dandelion fruit extract against sodium nitroprusside-induced damage in the cortex, hippocampus, and striatum of rats.

    Among other findings, the dandelion extract proved to be protective against decreases in cellular viability, increases in lipid peroxidation, and cellular death in cortical, hippocampal and striatal brain slices. Putative mechanisms of action are dandelion's scavenger activity against reactive oxygen species and reactive nitrogen species due to phenolic compounds found in the extract.
  • Antiproliferative, protective and antioxidant effects of artichoke, dandelion, turmeric and rosemary extracts and their formulation.
    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20646355

    This study published in the International Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology (2010) compared four individual herb extracts with a commercial mixture for antiradical and other protective effects against oxidant stress. All of them showed dose-dependent antiproliferative activity against HepG2 cells and reduced the release of prostaglandinE2 triggered by oxidative stimulus

Dandelion (Taraxacum): antiinflammatory effects

  • Anti-inflammatory activity of Taraxacum officinale.
    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17949929

    This study, printed in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology in 2008, used a 70% ethanol extract prepared from dried dandelion from which further fractions - ethyl acetate, n-butanol and aqueous - were prepared to do a number of assays and tests in-vitro plus in-vivo (mice). Dandelion was found to possess anti-angiogenic, anti-inflammatory and anti-nociceptive[4] activities by inhibiting nitric oxide production and COX-2 expression and/or via its antioxidative effect.
  • The aerial part of Taraxacum coreanum extract has an anti-inflammatory effect on peritoneal macrophages in vitro and increases survival in a mouse model of septic shock.
    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23261487

    This study (Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 2013) investigated a dandelion species native to Korea which is commonly used as a food and anti-inflammatory medicine. A chloroform fraction of this plant was found to exhibit potent anti-inflammatory activity both in vitro and in vivo, at least partly ascribable to the inhibition of proinflammatory signaling, and highlighting the therapeutic potential of a chloroform fraction of dandelion as an anti-inflammatory agent within living organisms.
  • Taraxacum officinale inhibits tumor necrosis factor-alpha production from rat astrocytes.
    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10946829

    Published in Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology (2000), this animal study proposes a pathway by which dandelion may inhibit TNF-alpha production and suggests that it exerts an antiinflammatory effect in the central nervous system.
  • Anti-inflammatory effects of water extract of Taraxacum mongolicum hand.-Mazz on lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammation in acute lung injury by suppressing PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling pathway.
    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25861954

    Taraxacum mongolicum is listed in the Pharmacopoeia of the People's Republic of China and widely used in the treatment of a variety of infectious and other diseases including pneumonia. This study (Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 2015) evaluated the potential mechanisms behind the protective anti-inflammatory action of this dandelion species on the lungs of animals damaged by lipopolysaccharide[3].

    Five groups of ten female mice each either served as the control group or received lipopolysaccharide only, lipopolysaccharide plus dexamethasone, or lipopolysaccharide plus dandelion water extract at 5 or 10 g per kg, respectively.

    Dandelion water extract treatment was found to inhibit the inflammation induced by lipopolysaccharide, further confirmed by histological examination showing a substantial inhibition of lipopolysaccharide-induced neutrophils in the lung tissues.
  • Protective effect of taraxasterol on acute lung injury induced by lipopolysaccharide in mice.
    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24548765

    Taraxasterol is a chemical compound credited with powerful anti-inflammatory properties and uniquely found in dandelion (Taraxacum officinale). This study (International Immunopharmacology 2014) investigated whether this compound could improve the inflammatory response in acute lung injury artificially induced in mice and aimed to elucidate the mechanism behind it.
  • TOP 1 and 2, polysaccharides from Taraxacum officinale, inhibit NF?B-mediated inflammation and accelerate Nrf2-induced antioxidative potential through the modulation of PI3K-Akt signaling pathway in RAW 264.7 cells.
    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24447978

    This study printed in Food and Chemical Toxicology in 2014 was conducted on an immortalised cell line derived from a murine leukaemia. It showed that two polysaccharides found in dandelion potently inhibited certain inflammatory processes and enhanced antioxidative potential (activity against oxidative stress), thus making them promising anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative agents.
  • Protective effect of taraxasterol against LPS-induced endotoxic shock by modulating inflammatory responses in mice.
    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24286370

    Taraxasterol from Chinese dandelion was used in this study (Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology, 2014) to investigate its protective effect on a mouse model of endotoxic shock. The authors hope to have furnished a novel strategy for treating endotoxic shock and the associated inflammation.
  • Effects of taraxasterol on inflammatory responses in lipopolysaccharide-induced RAW 264.7 macrophages.
    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22366673

    (Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 2012)
  • Anti-inflammatory effect of Taraxacum officinale leaves on lipopolysaccharide-induced inflammatory responses in RAW 264.7 cells.
    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20673058

    (Journal of Medicinal Food 2010)
  • Taraxacum officinale Weber extracts inhibit LPS-induced oxidative stress and nitric oxide production via the NF-?B modulation in RAW 264.7 cells.
    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21075189

    (Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 2011)
  • Luteolin and chicoric acid synergistically inhibited inflammatory responses via inactivation of PI3K-Akt pathway and impairment of NF-?B translocation in LPS stimulated RAW 264.7 cells.
    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21513709

    European Journal of Pharmacology 2011
    This study aimed to show in-vitro that luteolin and chicoric acid (both found in large amounts in dandelion) act in synergy to reduce inflammatory processes.
  • Taraxacum officinale protects against lipopolysaccharide-induced acute lung injury in mice.
    www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20510343

    This study (Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 2010) showed the protective activity of dandelion (fed at 2.5, 5 and 10 mg/kg) on artificially created lung injury in mice, providing more evidence for the value of dandelion as a remedy against inflammatory diseases.

Continue to Dandelion medicinal effects Part 1 and Part 3.

Footnotes

1 MRSA (Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) is a strain of Staphylococcus (S.) aureus bacteria (the most common cause of "staph" infections) which has become resistant to a number of commonly used antibiotics. In some cases it can become life-threatening. Because of the difficulty in treating serious MRSA infections, MRSA is also referred to as a "super bug". S. aureus frequently makes its home on the skin or in the nose of a person. About 20–30% of the population are "staph carriers".

Interestingly, in-vitro studies have shown components in honey that kill MRSA (for more on the medicinal properties of honey, see Treating Cancerous Tumors with Pure Raw Honey Packs).

2 Nitric (or nitrogen) oxide is a free radical and major cellular signaling molecule which participates in numerous physiological as well as in pathological processes. To protect certain organs such as the liver from damage due to restricted blood supply, nitric oxide production should be kept at low levels.

3 Lipopolysaccharides (LPS), aka lipoglycans and endotoxin, are large molecules found in the outer membrane of Gram-negative bacteria, which elicit strong immune responses in animal organisms.

4 nociceptive: causing pain or caused by pain

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