Background: Taraxacum officinale (L.) Weber (Asteraceae) has been extensively employed as a diuretic in traditional folk medicine and in modern phytotherapy in Europe, Asia, and the Americas without prior clinical trial substantiation.
Objectives: In this pilot study, a high-quality fresh leaf hydroethanolic extract of the medicinal plant T. officinale (dandelion) was ingested by volunteers to investigate whether an increased urinary frequency and volume would result.
Design: Volume of urinary output and fluid intake were recorded by subjects. Baseline values for urinary frequency and excretion ratio (urination volume:fluid intake) were established 2 days prior to dandelion dosing (8 mL TID) and monitored throughout a 1-day dosing period and 24 hours postdosing.
Results: For the entire population (n = 17) there was a significant (p < 0.05) increase in the frequency of urination in the 5-hour period after the first dose. There was also a significant (p < 0.001) increase in the excretion ratio in the 5-hour period after the second dose of extract. The third dose failed to change any of the measured parameters.
Conclusions: Based on these first human data, T. officinale ethanolic extract shows promise as a diuretic in humans. Further studies are needed to establish the value of this herb for induction of diuresis in human subjects.