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. Summer-Fall 2016;13(2-3):113-131.
doi: 10.1900/RDS.2016.13.113. Epub 2016 Aug 10.

The Physiological Effects of Dandelion (Taraxacum Officinale) in Type 2 Diabetes

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The Physiological Effects of Dandelion (Taraxacum Officinale) in Type 2 Diabetes

Fonyuy E Wirngo et al. Rev Diabet Stud. .
Free PMC article


The tremendous rise in the economic burden of type 2 diabetes (T2D) has prompted a search for alternative and less expensive medicines. Dandelion offers a compelling profile of bioactive components with potential anti-diabetic properties. The Taraxacum genus from the Asteraceae family is found in the temperate zone of the Northern hemisphere. It is available in several areas around the world. In many countries, it is used as food and in some countries as therapeutics for the control and treatment of T2D. The anti-diabetic properties of dandelion are attributed to bioactive chemical components; these include chicoric acid, taraxasterol (TS), chlorogenic acid, and sesquiterpene lactones. Studies have outlined the useful pharmacological profile of dandelion for the treatment of an array of diseases, although little attention has been paid to the effects of its bioactive components on T2D to date. This review recapitulates previous work on dandelion and its potential for the treatment and prevention of T2D, highlighting its anti-diabetic properties, the structures of its chemical components, and their potential mechanisms of action in T2D. Although initial research appears promising, data on the cellular impact of dandelion are limited, necessitating further work on clonal β-cell lines (INS-1E), α-cell lines, and human skeletal cell lines for better identification of the active components that could be of use in the control and treatment of T2D. In fact, extensive in-vitro, in-vivo, and clinical research is required to investigate further the pharmacological, physiological, and biochemical mechanisms underlying the effects of dandelion-derived compounds on T2D.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors reported no conflict of interests.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Image of dandelion and some components present at the level of flowers, stems, and leaves.
Figure 2
Figure 2. Potential biological mechanisms of dandelion-derived compounds to modulate cAMP and insulin secretion
The diagram specifies potential mechanisms of bioactive components from dandelion (CGA, CRA, TS, and SEL) on insulin secretion and cAMP pathway. T2D can arise from several defects, including low response in β-cells (at the level of GLUT2, SUR1, G-protein-coupled receptors, and gene expression), enzymatic action in digestion, glycolysis, and Krebs cycle. Bioactive compounds may act directly or indirectly in a series of processes, thereby modulating and regulating some T2D defects and responses. The steps of insulin secretion are shown by numbers 1-7, with steps 1 and 2 showing how ATP is produced, steps 2-5 indicating the mechanism of KATP closure and opening of the calcium ion channels, and 5-7 showing the influx of calcium ions into the β-cell triggering insulin granules to release insulin via exocytosis. A to G shows the potential mode of action of CGA, CRA, TS, and SEL at various levels of β-cell activity following the inhibition of α-glucosidase during digestion in the small intestines. A and B represent the upregulation in the release of GLP-1 secreted by intestinal L-cells, and the subsequent inhibition of glucose absorption induced by dandelion components CGA, CRA and TS. C and D indicate the stimulation of G-protein-coupled receptors and activation of adenyl cyclase, which further activates steps E and F, where cAMP activates PKA, PKC, and IDX-1, resulting in gene modulation of insulin and GLUT2, as well as an increase in calcium flow, which eventually facilitates the release of insulin. X represents the modulation of the insulin receptor by dandelion-derived compounds, which induces insulin secretion via regulation of IDX 1 factor, GLUT2, glucokinase, and endoplasmic reticulum Ca ions.

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