Taraxacum officinale, also known as dandelion, is a vegetable that most people call a weed. Dandelion is sometimes used as a salad green, and has limited traditional use in East Asian countries. It is used around the world for its diuretic effect.
Though dandelion is ingested primarily as a diuretic, there is a lack of good human evidence for this effect.
Animal studies and in vitro evidence suggest dandelion may have a variety of other beneficial health effects, but much more research is needed to trace these effects back to individual compounds found in dandelions. Since many of the compounds found in dandelions can be found in other herbs, it is possible that other supplements may be more effective than dandelion.
Limited rodent evidence suggests dandelion may be able to ease digestion by increasing the rate at which food leaves the stomach and enters the small intestine. Dandelion may also exert a protective effect on the pancreas. Preliminary evidence suggests dandelion may have minor antiallergenic properties, but further research is needed to confirm this effect.
Dandelion can be used in salad. About 100 g of dandelion provides about 10-15% of your daily potassium requirements, at little to no caloric intake. Supplementation of dandelion cannot be recommended at this time due to a lack of human evidence for its effects. Consuming wild dandelions is not recommended, especially those grown in urban and suburban settings, as they will have been exposed to pesticide.