Diuretic effects of dandelion.
Article Type: Report
Subject: Dandelions (Usage)
Dandelions (Health aspects)
Diuretics (Research)
Kidney diseases (Care and treatment)
Kidney diseases (Prevention)
Author: Finney-Brown, Tessa
Pub Date: 12/22/2009
Publication: Name: Australian Journal of Medical Herbalism Publisher: National Herbalists Association of Australia Audience: Academic Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2009 National Herbalists Association of Australia ISSN: 1033-8330
Issue: Date: Winter, 2009 Source Volume: 21 Source Issue: 4
Topic: Event Code: 310 Science & research
Product: Product Code: 2834570 Renal Diuretic Preparations NAICS Code: 325412 Pharmaceutical Preparation Manufacturing SIC Code: 2834 Pharmaceutical preparations
Geographic: Geographic Scope: Australia Geographic Code: 8AUST Australia
Accession Number: 215249524
Full Text: Clare B, Conroy R, Spelman K. 2009. The diuretic effect in human subjects of an extract of Taraxacum officinale folium over a single day. JACM 15:8;929-34.

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) has a long history of traditional use as a diuretic in many areas around the world. In fact the word for the plant in French is pissenlit giving some indication of how our ancestors used the plant. However thus far it has not been subject to scientific clinical studies of its efficacy in this regard.

The authors of this paper devised a pilot study to investigate whether ingestion of a high quality ethanolic extract of dandelion fresh leaf (one gram to one millilitre) resulted in an increased urinary frequency and volume. Twenty eight female subjects were studied over a period of four days during which they were to refrain from consumption of alcohol and maintain consistency with daily medications and caffeinated beverages. They were instructed to monitor fluid intake for four consecutive days and record urine output for three consecutive days (one before beginning to take the extract, one whilst taking the extract, and a third the day afterwards). On the day of the study subjects self administered an 8 mL dose of the fluid extract at 8 am, 1 pm and 6 pm.

Of the 28 people enrolled, 11 participants were unable to complete the study due to difficulty collecting and measuring fluid intake or output. The mean daily frequency of urine output rose from 8.0 on the control day to 9.0 on the trial and fell back to 8.1 the day after. This was deemed a significant increase in the frequency by pairwise comparison and the significant increase was more pronounced between 8:00 am and 1 pm on the trial day (i.e. after the first dose). There was no significant difference in the volume of fluids consumed or excreted during and before or after the trial overall, however between 1 pm and 6 pm on the trial day there was a significant increase in the average excretion ration comparative to the control day prior. There was a lack of effect observed in the last dose of the day, but this may be due to circadian shifts in kidney function.

The study shows some interesting results but is limited by its size and design. Only 17 participants completed the trial and results were not analysed on an intention to treat basis. There was a lack of blinding and participants were allowed to self monitor fluid input and output, increasing the likelihood of mistakes. There was no correction of the results for the water content of foods consumed. As this was a pilot study a further double blind placebo controlled trial with greater numbers of participants and more objective monitoring may be called for. Whilst this may give greater scientific evidence, the present trial reflects the manner in which clients would use dandelion in practice and may be more clinically relevant.

The significant increase in urinary frequency and excretion ration with the use of dandelion extract provides support for its traditional use as a diuretic agent.

Tessa Finney-Brown MNHAA

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