Taraxacum officinale
  • Clinical data 90%
  • Efficacy 85%
  • Security 67%
  • Toxicity 38%

Taraxacum officinale

Taraxacum offcinale Radix cum Herba Taraxaci

Defi nition Radix cum Herba Taraxaci consists of the entire plant of Taraxacum offi cinale Weber ex Wiggers (Asteraceae) (1–3).1
Synonyms For Taraxacum offi cinale: Leontodon offi cinale With., L. taraxacum L. Taraxacum offi cinale (With.) Wigg., T. dens leonis Desf., T. vulgare Schrank, (6).
Selected vernacular names Ackerzichorie, amargon, blowball, Butterblume, cankerwort, capo di frate, chicoria amarga, cicoria sarvatica, cicouureya de la bonne, cicoureya deis prats, dandelion, dent-de-lion, dente di leone, dhudal, diente de leon, dhorsat al ajouz, dudhi, engraissa-porc, fl orion d’or, gol ghased, Gemeiner Löwenzahn, gobesag, Irish daisy, hindabaa beri, hokgei, kanphul, kanphuli, kasni sahraii, Kettenblume, khass berri, Kuhblume, lagagna, laiteron, lechuguilla, lion’s tooth, Löwenzahn, maaritpauncin, marrara, milk gowan, min-deul-rre, monk’s head, mourayr, mourre de por, mourre de pouerc, oduwantschiki, paardebloem, patalagagna, peirin, Pfaffendistel, Pfaffenröhrlein, Pferdeblume, pilli-pilli, piochoublit, piss-a-bed, pissa-chin, pissanliech, pissenlit, poirin, po-kong-young, porcin, pu gong ying, puffball, pugongying, Pusteblume, ringeblume, salatta merra, sanalotodo, saris berri, seiyo-tanpopo, sofi one, srissi, tarakh-chaqoune, tarkhshaquin, tarassaco, taraxaco, telma retaga, Wiesenlattich, witch gowan, yellow gowan (4–10).

GEOGRAPHICAL DISTRIBUTION

Taraxacum offi cinale is indigenous to the northern hemisphere. T. mongolicum, T. sinicum and related species are found in the Korean peninsula and China.

DESCRIPTION

A perennial herb consisting of an underground, long, straight, tapering, fleshy brown root, which is continued upward as a simple or branched rhizome. From the rhizome arises a rosette of bright-green runcinate leaves and later, from the centre of the rosette, a hollow scape, 6–30 cm high bearing on its summit a broad orange-yellow head of ligulate fl owers. Fruits are fusiform, greenish-brown achenes, terminating in a slender stalk crowned by a silky, spreading pappus, and borne on a globular fruiting head.

Plant material of interest: dried whole plants

General appearance A crumpled and rolled mass. Roots conical, frequently curved, tapering, often broken into irregular pieces, externally brown. Root stock with brown or yellowish-white hairs. Leaves basal, frequently crumpled and broken; when whole, oblanceolate, greenish-brown or dark green with a pronounced midrib; apex acute or obtuse; margins lobate or pinnatifi d. Pedicels one or more, each with a capitulum; involucre several rows, the inner row relatively long; corolla yellowish-brown or pale yellowishwhite (1, 4, 5).

Organoleptic properties

Odour, slight; taste, slightly bitter (1, 11). Microscopic characteristics Epidermal cells on both leaf surfaces have sinuous anticlinal walls, cuticle striations distinct or sparsely visible. Both leaf surfaces bear non-glandular hairs with three to nine cells, 17–34 μm in diameter. Stomata, occurring more frequently on the lower surface, anomocytic or anisocytic, with three to six subsidiary cells. Mesophyll contains fi ne crystals of calcium oxalate. Transverse section of root shows cork with several layers of brown cells. Phloem broad, groups of laticiferous tubes arranged in several interrupted rings. Xylem relatively small, with indistinct rays, vessels large, scattered. Parenchymatous cells contain inulin (1).

Powdered plant material

Greenish yellow. Large root parenchymatous cells, brown reticulate vessels and tracheids and non-lignifi ed fi bres. Leaf fragments with sinuous, anticlinal-walled epidermal cells and a few anomocytic stomata. Numerous narrow annular thickened vessels and fragments of brown laticiferous tissues (1).

General identity tests

The characteristic constituents are sesquiterpenes, including the bitter eudesmanolides tetrahydroridentin B and taraxacolide β-d-glucopyranoside; and the germacranolides, taraxinic acid β-d-glucopyranoside and 11,13-dihydrotaraxic acid β-d-glucopyranoside. Also present are the phydroxyphenylacetic acid derivative, taraxacoside; the triterpenes, taraxasterol, ψ-taraxasterol and taraxerol; and inulin (2–40%) (4, 10, 11). Representative structures are presented below.

 

Macroscopic and microscopic examinations (1, 4, 5).

Purity tests

Microbiological Tests for specifi c microorganisms and microbial contamination limits are as described in the WHO guidelines on quality control methods for medicinal plants (13).

Foreign organic matter Not more than 2% (3).

Total ash Not more than 17% (3).

Water-soluble extractive Not less than 30% (3). Loss on drying Not more than 11% (3).

Pesticide residues The recommended maximum limit of aldrin and dieldrin is not more than 0.05 mg/kg (14). For other pesticides, see the European pharmacopoeia (14) and the WHO guidelines on quality control methods for medicinal plants (13) and pesticide residues (15).

Heavy metals For maximum limits and analysis of heavy metals, consult the WHO guidelines on quality control methods for medicinal plants (13). Radioactive residues Where applicable, consult the WHO guidelines on quality control methods for medicinal plants (13) for the analysis of radioactive isotopes.

Other purity tests Chemical, acid-insoluble ash, sulfated ash and alcohol-soluble extractive tests to be established in accordance with national requirements.
Chemical assays To be established in accordance with national requirements.

Major chemical constituents

The characteristic constituents are sesquiterpenes, including the bitter eudesmanolides tetrahydroridentin B and taraxacolide β-d-glucopyranoside; and the germacranolides, taraxinic acid β-d-glucopyranoside and 11,13-dihydrotaraxic acid β-d-glucopyranoside. Also present are the phydroxyphenylacetic acid derivative, taraxacoside; the triterpenes, taraxasterol, ψ-taraxasterol and taraxerol; and inulin (2–40%) (4, 10, 11). Representative structures are presented below.

Taraxacum offcinale molecula

 

MEDICINAL USES

Medicinal uses Uses supported by clinical data No information available. Uses described in pharmacopoeias and well established documents To stimulate diuresis (2, 5), increase bile fl ow and stimulate appetite, and for treatment of dyspepsia (2). Uses described in traditional medicine As a galactagogue, laxative and tonic. Treatment of boils and sores, diabetes, fever, infl ammation of the eye, insomnia, sore throat, lung abscess, jaundice, rheumatism and urinary tract infections (10).

Pharmacology

Experimental pharmacology Anti-infl ammatory and analgesic activity External applications of 2.0 mg/ear of a methanol extract of the dried leaves to mice reduced ear infl ammation induced by 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate (16). Intragastric administration of 1.0 g/kg body weight (bw) of a 95% ethanol extract of the whole plant to mice inhibited benzoquinone-induced writhing (17). Intraperitoneal administration of 100.0 mg/kg bw of a 95% ethanol extract of the whole plant to mice inhibited carrageenan-induced footpad oedema by 42%, and reduced pain as measured by the hot-plate test and benzoquinone-induced writhing (17). Intragastric administration of 100.0 mg/kg bw of an 80% ethanol extract of the dried roots to rats inhibited carrageenan-induced footpad oedema by 25%, compared with 45% inhibition resulting from administration of 5.0 mg/kg bw of indometacin (18). Antimicrobial activity A 95% ethanol extract of the dried aerial parts, 1.0 mg/ml, did not inhibit the growth of Bacillus globifer, B. mycoides, B. subtilis, Escherichia coli, Fusarium solani, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Penicillium notatum, Proteus morganii, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Salmonella gallinarum, Serratia marcescens, Staphylococcus aureus, Mycobacterium smegmatis or Candida albicans in vitro (19, 20). No antibacterial effects were observed using a 50% ethanol extract of the whole plant, 50 μl/plate, against Escherichia coli, Salmonella enteritidis, Salmonella typhosa, Shigella dysenteriae or Shigella fl exneri (21). Antiulcer activity Intragastric administration of 2.0 g/kg bw of an aqueous extract of the whole plant to rats protected the animals against ethanol-induced gastric ulceration. A methanol extract, however, was not active (22). Choleretic activity Intragastric administration of an aqueous or 95% ethanol extract of the whole plant (dose not specifi ed) to rats increased bile secretion by 40% (23). Diuretic activity Intragastric administration of 8.0–50.0 ml/kg bw of a 95% ethanol extract of the whole plant to rats induced diuresis and reduced body weight (24). Intragastric administration of 0.1 ml/kg bw of a 30% ethanol extract of the whole plant to mice induced diuresis (25). However, intragastric administration of 50.0 mg/kg bw of a chloroform, methanol or petroleum ether extract of the roots to mice did not consistently increase urine output (26). Hypoglycaemic activity Intragastric administration of a 50% ethanol extract of the whole plant to rats, 250.0 mg/kg bw, or rabbits, 1.0 g/kg bw, reduced blood glucose concentrations (27). However, intragastric administration of 2.0 g/kg bw of the powdered whole plant to rabbits did not reduce blood sugar concentrations in alloxan-induced hyperglycaemia (28). Intragastric administration of 25.0 mg/kg bw of an aqueous extract of the dried root to mice reduced glucose-induced hyperglycaemia (29, 30). However, a decoction or 80% ethanol extract of the dried roots had no effect (30). Immunological effects Intragastric administration of 3.3 g/kg bw of an aqueous extract of the whole plant to mice daily for 20 days signifi cantly (P < 0.01) decreased cyclophosphamide-induced immune damage (31). Treatment of scalded mice with suppressed immune functions with an aqueous extract of the whole plant (dose and route not specifi ed) stimulated the immune response (32). Nitric oxide synthesis inhibition induced by cadmium in mouse peritoneal macrophages stimulated with recombinant interferon-γ and lipopolysaccharide was counteracted by treatment of the cells with an aqueous extract of the whole plant, 100 μg/ml. The results were mainly dependent on the induction of tumour necrosis factor-α (TNF-α) secretion stimulated by the aqueous extract (33). Treatment of primary cultures of rat astrocytes with an aqueous extract of the whole plant, 100.0 μg/ ml, inhibited TNF-α production induced by lipopolysaccharide and substance P. The treatment also decreased the production of interleukin-1 in astrocytes stimulated with lipopolysaccharide and substance P. The study indicated that Radix cum Herba Taraxaci may inhibit TNF-α production by inhibiting interleukin-1 production, thereby producing anti-infl ammatory effects (34). Treatment of mouse peritoneal macrophages with an aqueous extract of the whole plant, 100 μg/ml, after treatment of the cells with recombinant interferon-γ, resulted in increased nitric oxide synthesis owing to an increase in the concentration of inducible nitric oxide synthase. The results were dependent on the induction of TNF-α secretion by Radix cum Herba Taraxaci (35).

TOXICOLOGY

The intraperitoneal median lethal dose (LD50) of a 95% ethanol extract of the whole plant in rats was 28.8 mg/kg bw (24). In rats, the maximum tolerated dose of a 50% ethanol extract of the whole plant administered by the intraperitoneal route was 500.0 mg/kg bw (27). No visible signs of toxicity were observed in rabbits after intragastric administration of the powdered whole plant at doses of 3–6 g/kg bw per day for up to 7 days (36).

Clinical pharmacology No information available.

Adverse reactions Allergic reactions including anaphylaxis and pseudoallergic contact dermatitis have been reported (37–40). Cross-reactivity has been reported in individuals with an allergy to the pollen of other members of the Asteraceae (41).
Contraindications Radix cum Herba Taraxaci is contraindicated in obstruction of the biliary or intestinal tract, and acute gallbladder infl ammation. In case of gallbladder disease, Radix cum Herba Taraxacum should only be used under the supervision of a health-care professional (2).
Warnings May cause stomach hyperacidity, as with all drugs containing amaroids (2).s

A decrease in the maximum plasma concentration of ciprofl oxacin was observed in rats treated with concomitant oral administration of 2.0 g/kg bw of an aqueous extract of the whole plant and 20.0 mg/kg bw of ciprofl oxacin (42). Carcinogenesis, mutagenesis, impairment of fertility No effects on fertility were observed in female rabbits or rats after intragastric administration of 1.6 ml/kg bw of a 40% ethanol extract of the whole plant during pregnancy (43). Pregnancy: teratogenic effects No teratogenic or embryotoxic effects were observed in the offspring of rabbits or rats after intragastric administration of 1.6 ml/kg bw of a 40% ethanol extract of the whole plant during pregnancy (43).

Other precautions No information available on general precautions or on precautions concerning drug and laboratory test interactions; non-teratogenic effects in pregnancy; nursing mothers; or paediatric use.
Dosage forms Dried whole plant, native dry extract, fl uidextract and tincture (1, 2). Store in a tightly sealed container away from heat and light.
Posology (Unless otherwise indicated) Average daily dose: 3–4 g of cut or powdered whole plant three times; decoction, boil 3–4 g of whole plant in 150 ml of water; infusion, steep 1 tablespoonful of whole plant in 150 ml of water; 0.75–1.0 g of native dry extract 4:1 (w/w); 3–4 ml fl uidextract 1:1 (g/ml) (2); 5–10 ml of tincture (1:5 in 45% alcohol) three times (1).

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Radix

directly through the University of Illinois at Chicago or through the Scientifi c and Technical Network (STN) of Chemical Abstracts Services). 11. Bisset NG. Herbal drugs and phytopharmaceuticals. Boca Raton, FL, CRC Press, 1994. 12. Youngken HW. Textbook of pharmacognosy, 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA, Blakiston, 1950. 13. Quality control methods for medicinal plant materials. Geneva, World Health Organization, 1998. 14. European pharmacopoeia, 3rd ed. Strasbourg, Council of Europe, 1996. 15. Guidelines for predicting dietary intake of pesticide residues, 2nd rev. ed. Geneva, World Health Organization, 1997 (WHO/FSF/FOS/97.7; available from Food Safety, World Health Organization, 1211 Geneva 27, Switzerland). 16. Yasukawa K et al. Inhibitory effect of edible plant extracts on 12-O-tetradecanoylphorbol-13-acetate-induced ear oedema in mice. Phytotherapy Research, 1993, 7:185–189. 17. Tita B et al. Taraxacum offi cinale W.: Pharmacological effect of an ethanol extract. Pharmacology Research, 1993, 27(Suppl. 1):23–24. 18. Mascolo N et al. Biological screening of Italian medicinal plants for antiinfl ammatory activity. Phytotherapy Research, 1987, 1:28–31. 19. Mitscher LA et al. Antimicrobial agents from higher plants. I. Introduction, rationale, and methodology. Lloydia, 1972, 35:157–166. 20. Recio MC, Ríos JL, Villar A. Antimicrobial activity of selected plants employed in the Spanish Mediterranean area. Part II. Phytotherapy Research, 1989, 3:77–80. 21. Caceres A, Cano O, Samayoa B et al. Plants used in Guatemala for the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders. 1. Screening of 84 plants against enterobacteria. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 1990, 30:55–73. 22. Muto Y et al. [Studies on antiulcer agents. I. The effects of various methanol and aqueous extracts of crude drugs on antiulcer activity.] Yakugaku Zasshi, 1994, 114:980–994 [in Japanese]. 23. Böhm K. Untersuchungen über choleretische Wirkungen einiger Arzneipfl anzen. [Studies on the choleretic action of some medicinal plants.] Arzneimittelforschung, 1959, 9:376–378. 24. Racz-Kotilla E, Racz G, Solomon A. The action of Taraxacum offi cinale extracts on the body weight and diuresis of laboratory animals. Planta Medica, 1974, 26:212–217. 25. Leslie GB. A pharmacometric evaluation of nine Bio-Strath herbal remedies. Medita, 1978, 8:3–19. 26. Hook I, McGee A, Henman M. Evaluation of dandelion for diuretic activity and variation in potassium content. International Journal of Pharmacognosy, 1993, 31:29–34. 27. Dhar ML et al. Screening of Indian plants for biological activity: part 1. Indian Journal of Experimental Biology, 1968, 6:232–247.

28. Akhtar MS, Khan QM, Khaliq T. Effects of Portulaca oleracae (kulfa) and Taraxacum offi cinale (dhudhal) in normoglycaemic and alloxan-treated hyperglycaemic rabbits. Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association, 1985, 35:207–210. 29. Neef H, DeClercq P, Laekeman G. Hypoglycemic activity of selected European plants. Pharmacy World and Science, 1993, 15:H11. 30. Neef H, DeClercq P, Laekeman G. Hypoglycemic activity of selected European plants. Phytotherapy Research, 1995, 9:45–48. 31. Hong Y et al. [The effect of Taraxacum mongolicum on immune function in mouse.] Journal of Guiyang Medical College, 1997, 22:137–139 [in Chinese]. 32. Luo ZH. [The use of Chinese traditional medicines to improve impaired immune functions in scald mice.] Chung Hua Cheng Hsing Shao Shang Wai Ko Tsa Chih, 1993, 9:56–58 [in Chinese]. 33. Kim HM et al. Taraxacum offi cinale restores inhibition of nitric oxide production by cadmium in mouse peritoneal macrophages. Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology, 1998, 20:283–297. 34. Kim HM et al. Taraxacum offi cinale inhibits tumor necrosis factor-alpha production from rat astrocytes. Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology, 2000, 22:519–530. 35. Kim HM, Oh CH, Chung CK. Activation of inducible nitric oxide synthase by Taraxacum offi cinale in mouse peritoneal macrophages. General Pharmacology, 1999, 32:683–688. 36. Akhtar MS. Hypoglycemic activities of some indigenous medicinal plants traditionally used as antidiabetic drugs. Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association, 1992, 42:271–277. 37. Lovell CR, Rowan M. Dandelion dermatitis. Contact Dermatitis, 1991, 25:185–188. 38. Chivato T et al. Anaphylaxis induced by ingestion of a pollen compound. Journal of Investigational Allergology and Clinical Immunology, 1996, 6:208–209. 39. Dawe RS et al. Daisy, dandelion and thistle contact allergy in the photosensitivity dermatitis and actinic reticuloid syndrome. Contact Dermatitis, 1996, 32:109–110. 40. Mark KA et al. Allergic contact and photoallergic contact dermatitis to plant and pesticide allergens. Archives of Dermatology, 1999, 135:67–70. 41. Fernandez C et al. Analysis of cross-reactivity between sunfl ower pollen and other pollens of the Compositae family. Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, 1993, 92:660–667. 42. Zhu M, Wong PY, Li RC. Effects of Taraxacum mongolicum on the bioavailability and disposition of ciprofl oxacin in rats. Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences, 1999, 88:632–634. 43. Leslie GB, Salmon G. Repeated dose toxicity studies and reproductive studies on nine Bio-Strath herbal remedies. Schweizerische Zeitschrift für Medizin und Medizinische Technik, 1979, 1:1–3.

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