Dandelion is a widespread plant that can grow even under adverse conditions, is used as animal feed and is even used in herbal medicine. Again and again, however, there are indications that the plant is not harmless. But are dandelions poisonous or edible? Important information on use for humans and animals can be found here.

Dandelion: poisonous or not?

Dandelion contains two potentially dangerous substances that can cause irritation and discomfort. One is taraxacum and the other is oxalic acid. Taraxacum is also the name of the genus of plants. In the case of the substance, it is an irritant that can cause various symptoms. However, the substance is also used in homeopathy and herbal medicine – but in very low concentrations.

Exactly the same applies to the toxicity of the dandelion: the quantity makes the poison. Because the plant is both slightly poisonous and edible for humans and most animals. However, large amounts should not be consumed, as this can lead to various complaints.

skin contact

Dandelion belongs to the daisy family and contains a milky plant sap. This occurs when leaves or flower stalks are injured. In herbal medicine it is recommended to use the plant juice containing taraxacum and oxalic acid against warts. For this purpose, the juice is simply given directly to the warts.
If the plant sap gets on other areas of the skin, you have to reckon with brownish discolorations. However, other effects are also possible. These include:

  • itching
  • redness
  • skin rash
  • heat generation
  • slight swelling

As a rule, these consequences of skin contact disappear on their own within a short time. In children and sensitive people, the symptoms can last longer or even require a doctor’s visit in very severe cases.
Extra tip: To avoid direct contact with the plant milk, simple latex gloves are sufficient. However, anyone who reacts to skin contact with irritation and other complaints should refrain from eating the dandelion.


Although dandelion is slightly toxic, it is edible and has various effects due to its bitter substances and other phytochemicals. The young, tender leaves of the plant are mainly suitable for consumption. They have a fresh, slightly bitter taste and are vaguely reminiscent of rocket or rocket. They go wonderfully with lettuce and vegetable salad. The same applies to the yellow flowers, which are also edible and can be used as a colorful decoration on the plate.

But these are by far not all the possibilities of consumption. Taraxacum officinalis is also suitable in the following forms:

  • the blossoms can be spread on bread if they are combined and prepared with lemon juice and preserving sugar
  • Leaves fried in oil, for example in or with fried potatoes
  • cooked like spinach as a leafy vegetable
  • Leaves and flowers fresh or dried as a tea
  • crushed as pesto
  • baked on the pizza
  • gently steamed for warm salads or as leafy vegetables

Since the leaves have many valuable ingredients to offer, they make a positive contribution to the supply. Vitamins, minerals and protein as well as fiber are contained in the leaves. Nevertheless, they should not be eaten every day and not in large quantities. Otherwise negative effects could occur.

Other use

In addition to being used as a fresh food, dandelion can also be used specifically in herbal medicine. The plant or the substances it contains are said to have the following effects:

  • laxative
  • diuretic
  • detoxifying
  • digestive
  • neutralizing digestive disorders such as constipation, gas and bloating
  • softening with calluses and corns
  • healing for acne, eczema and chronic skin diseases
  • lowering in high blood pressure
  • lowering in high blood sugar
  • against pain in rheumatism and arthrosis
  • healing for warts

The sap of the plant is used to treat skin ailments and is applied externally. When used internally, dandelion can be eaten fresh or dried as dandelion tea. To make a tea from the plant, either one teaspoon of dried and crushed leaves or two teaspoons of dried and crushed dandelion root are each poured over 250 milliliters of boiling water. After a brewing time of ten minutes, strain the tea. Adults can drink two to three cups a day, for example in preparation for a fast or to relieve constipation.

dogs, birds and rodents

Dandelions are a nutritious meal for dogs, birds, rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters, as well as cows and horses. For them, the plant is not poisonous, but easily edible. An exception are dogs that cannot digest the dandelion. However, when you chew on it, minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals are released, including the digestive bitter substances.
Unless the Taraxacum officinalis plants are sprayed or soiled, it is safe to let dogs chew on them or use them as food for other animals. If you don’t have your own garden, you can also grow the dandelion yourself on the balcony or windowsill so that you always have fresh and young leaves at hand.


An exception in the animal world are cats, for which the dandelion is poisonous and not edible. Unfortunately, it can hardly be avoided that the animals have access to the widespread plants when they are outdoors. Owners must then rely on the cats being put off by the slightly bitter taste and not ingesting large amounts.

Tip: If you offer cat grass to the animals at home, you can avoid the risk of them taking in a lot of greenery outside.

Possible symptoms of poisoning


If too much dandelion or taraxacum has been ingested, the following symptoms can occur:

  • diarrhea
  • cardiac arrhythmias
  • liver pain
  • stomach pain
  • nausea
  • malaise and dizziness

Dandelion Poisoning – Antidote

If too much dandelion has been eaten and mild symptoms occur, drinking plenty of water can counteract this. It is also possible to take medicinal charcoal. A dosage of one gram of charcoal per kilogram of body weight is recommended. If the symptoms do not subside within a few hours, if children, the elderly or people who are already weak are affected, you should consult a doctor.

It is important to give them all the information about the intake and the consumed plant so that they can take appropriate countermeasures.

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