Dandelions may have more health benefits than you realize

Originally published at: Dandelions may have more health benefits than you realize | Boing Boing

1 Like

Any post recommending dandelion as something to be consumed ought to include a note to say that it is a diuretic and very likely to make you piss more. This may be cautionary for people with some health conditions or on certain medications.

Also a safety advisory that as a member of the same plant family as ragwort and daisies, dandelion may potentially cause allergies, although there are few documented cases of the plant’s toxicity in humans.
There are a number of other precautions to consider (you have to click forward from the link below to the third or fourth page):

Perhaps, if BB is now giving out health advice we might have some link to tell us who exactly ‘Popkin’ is?


Have we not learned yet that, “Many people believe…” is not good health. This is the most shite article I’ve ever seen on this site. WTF BB?


Also should include a warning to not forage these, or any other plant in any area likely to be
A) Contaminated by heavy metals (factories, busy roadsides & around homes likely to have had lead paint)
B) Contaminated by pesticides & herbicides (maintained parks, residential yards without knowing the history)


Disclaimer: I am not a scientist, but I know how to read an introduction and a discussion. I’ve skimmed the linked papers so you don’t have to.

Paper number one is a very small study on the diuretic and saluretic effects of dandelions. I doesn’t have much to say about urinary tract infections, except by extension. Any conclusions it presents should be viewed with a critical eye:

The limitations of this study design include lack of blinding, small numbers of subjects, self-monitoring for fluid input/output, no correction for water content of food consumed, and limited baseline values of urine output.


These results suggest that dandelion leaf may be fast acting and rapidly cleared. However, these results do not rule out that dandelion leaf acts as a bladder irritant due to the increase in the daily frequency but not the daily urination volume. Other investigations utilizing murine models have failed to find increases in daily urination volume. Tita et al.20 observed no diuresis over 2 hours after a single unspecified dose.

(Emphasis mine)

The second paper describes in vitro experiments using fractionated extracts. A cursory scan suggests that the preparations demonstrated experimentally significant results, but the relationship between in vitro experiments and ingestion of dandelions is tenuous at best.

Paper three does not show the effectiveness of dandelion against diabetes; it is a survey paper that lists some compounds found in dandelions that may have anti diabetic effects and it speculates on some possible roles of dandelion compounds in regulation of insulin secretion. It reports on no in vitro or in vivo studies.

Paper four is another in vitro study, this time in canine kidney cells, and may or may not demonstrate the antiviral potential of dandelion extracts. There’s no suggestion that ingestion of dandelions has even a tangential relationship to the results.

Paper five is a survey of diseases and natural materials that may have an impact on their progression.

TL;DR - if you want to eat dandelions, go ahead. They might make you pee more and if you’re a collection of canine kidney cells in a Petrie dish, I’ve got some good news for you about your susceptibility to influenza.


When I make sun tea, I try to throw some dandelion leaves into the brew when I set it out in the sun, if:

The dandelions are not in a place where I think the neighbors chemical will have wafted on to them;
I’m relatively certain the ground they’re growing in hasn’t been contaminated by “stuff”

Thank you- came here to post something similar and you’ve saved me the trouble.

Always nice to see new writers on BB, but Popkin has been posting heavily pseudoscientific medical nonsense that people should not be listening to.

@Popkin Drink dandelion tea if you like it, but keep the medical claims to yourself, please. The papers you are citing have nothing to do with the claims you are making for it and you are clearly not qualified to be giving health advice.


They make a great salad addition, or an excellent addition to erbe di campo (dock, dandelion, chicory, nettle, mallow, etc) wilted with garlic and olive oil…

1 Like

Just more superfood-fad $%^&*#%$&

Look, Dandelions can be eaten and used for tea and if you like them go for it! But don’t claim they are more than just fresh veggies with normal nutritional value.

Oh, and if I want to piss more isn’t that why we have Heineken?

1 Like

During lean times after my grandfather died, my Italian-peasant-roots grandmother would supplement the amount of greens my mother and aunt got by gathering dandelion leaves (in NEW YORK CITY!) and sautee them.

Four out of five lawn buns recommend dandelions.


mmmm . . . dandelions

roasted dandelion root tea - every day
leaves for salad - we collect 'em and eat 'em
flowers can be used as a flavouring in home-made booze - the famed dandelion wine
and the puffy seed things are fun to fart around with on a summer day

1 Like

I’ve always been curious about dandelion wine, never tried it.

How do people make them taste good? The one time I (accidentally) tasted a dandelion, it was bitter as hell.

@popkin does not work. This needs an @beschizza or @frauenfelder - guys please read all the comments here and consider…

I think the trick is to pick them before they flower.

1 Like

I know after their introduction into North America, some Natives use them for a tea, food, and medicine.

ETA - Not saying that it should be used as a medicine today. Lots of stuff was used in the past that had mixed results, or out right were placebos.

It’s fine, but it is a lot of work and the sugar does the heavy lifting on the fermentation.

1 Like

It is a particularly nutritious green, but you have to actually eat it to get the nutrients. (And it is a bitter green, so many people won’t like it.) You’re going to get only a small fraction of its nutrients from water in which it was briefly immersed, so really don’t bother drinking the tea unless you like the taste. If you’re going to eat it, I recommend growing it from seed - that way you’ll get proper leafy vegetables that are many times bigger than the stunted specimens you find growing on lawns (which may also be contaminated).