The US Food and Drug Administration considers dandelion herbal supplements as a “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) food product. It is unlikely to harm a breastfeeding infant when used during lactation and rarely causes digestive upset. However, its dosing is not yet fully established, so it is best to consult the doctor for the appropriate dose for pediatric use.
Dandelions have a bad reputation as an invasive weed. But, it also holds nutritional and medicinal values that bring arrays of health benefits.
It may be beneficial to toddlers in promoting healthy gut flora and increasing their appetite. Dandelions are also a great source of Vitamin K and other essential nutrients necessary for blood and bone development.
Table of Contents
What are dandelions?
Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) is a perennial flowering plant that is abundant in tropical climates. It’s a member of the Asteraceae or ragweed family.
Dandelion is also known as Blowball, Lion’s Tooth, or Fairy Clock for its feathery seed heads.
Initially, dandelions bear yellow to orange disk-shaped flowers that fill the meadow during spring and fall. The flowers turn into wispy seed heads or tufts that kids blow to make wishes.
In the garden, dandelions are considered a notorious creeper. But, the plant – especially its leaves – is edible. It can be used to flavor salads and teas.
Its roots are also used as a coffee substitute, while its flowers are useful in flavoring wines.
Dandelion is also widely used in homeopathic medicine. It is most valuable against jaundice, hepatitis, and liver diseases.
It’s also an effective diuretic that increases urine production and eliminates excessive sugar.
Uses of dandelion for toddlers
Generally, herbal food supplements like dandelion are used for treating adult health maladies. But in moderate amounts and doctor-recommended dosage, it is also an effective natural herbal remedy for toddlers.
You can use dandelion for toddlers for:
1. Indigestion and acid reflux
Dandelion leaves are rich in fiber that supports gastrointestinal movement for better digestion. It passes the food in the digestive tract at the right pace to prevent the overproduction of stomach acid.
Adults often take dandelion juice for indigestion, but toddlers may not like its bitter flavor. However, you can prepare its leaves as a salad or steep it in tea for picky eaters.
2. Constipation and diarrhea
Dandelions help prevent constipation in little children with excellent digestive health.
The fiber in dandelions bulks up the stool to regulate bowel movement. It soothes tummy aches and solves bowel problems that are pretty common in toddlers.
3. Urinary tract infection
According to the National Health Institute, urinary tract infection is one of the most common bacterial infections in childhood.
Infants, toddlers, and adolescents are prone to getting UTIs that may sometimes happen twice or thrice a year.
Drinking an infusion of dandelion leaves twice a day is an effective treatment for toddler UTIs. But if your child is taking a prescription antibiotic, refrain from using dandelion as it may interact with drugs like ciprofloxacin.
4. Boosting immunity
Dandelion is high in Vitamin C, antioxidants, and other nutrients that support immune functions.
It builds the immune system and balances the body’s functions.
Giving your toddler dandelion tea increases the body’s defense system to prevent sickness or shorten its duration.
5. Supporting strong bones
The high amount of calcium in dandelions makes it an effective herb in promoting bone strength and improving its density.
It also contains a host of other minerals like Vitamins A, B, C, D, and K, magnesium, potassium, and zinc.
These are all important elements in bone formation that are also helpful in preventing Rickets or softening and weakening of the bones.
Children who do not get enough amount of iron from food and supplements may risk getting anemia.
Iron deficiency anemia is common, but it is also very easy to treat through proper nutrition. Adding dandelions to their daily diet is a great help in treating anemia.
Dandelion is rich in iron, folate, vitamin B12, and protein needed for boosting the blood’s hemoglobin.
7. Bug bites and skin inflammation
In traditional medicine, dandelion is used as an antidote for snake bites. Its juice neutralizes venom and prevents inflammation with its anti-inflammatory compounds.
These compounds are also beneficial in treating insect bites in toddlers. Simply crush its leaves and apply it as a poultice on the affected area.
Dandelion is also useful against many skin-related diseases and small inflammations.
However, be careful about applying dandelion as a poultice. Its stem contains latex that can cause skin irritations.
Avoid the stem and use only the leaves to be safe.
How to use dandelions
Fresh green dandelions make the best addition to salad, soups, sandwiches, and other side dishes.
While it is edible and can be consumed raw, dandelion is bitter, and children may dislike its taste.
It can be boiled, sautéed, or stir-fried to reduce the bitter tang.
In medicinal preparation, dandelion leaves, flowers, and roots are the most commonly used parts. They are prepared as a decoction, infusion, or tea to extract the therapeutic properties.
Dandelions are also available in capsules and tincture, but they are not suitable for use in toddlers without a doctor’s prescription.
Dandelion tea recipe
As a natural herbal remedy for tummy problems, you can prepare dandelions using this simple recipe
- Gather and thoroughly wash dandelion roots, leaves, and flowers and put them in a cup.
- Pour boiling water over them and steep for about 30 minutes.
- Strain the infusion and give it to a child no more than twice a day.
Warnings and cautions when consuming dandelion
Dandelion is safe when taken in food amounts and in moderation. Do not overconsume dandelion, as it contains oxalates that are harmful to the body in large amounts.
📌 Although its risk for allergy is low, oral intake and topical application may cause a reaction in people allergic to ragweed plants. If you or your child is allergic to daisies, marigolds, and chrysanthemums, he is likely allergic to dandelion as well.
Do not give dandelions as medicine to children taking antibiotics or diuretics. It can interact with the drugs and cause side effects.
Are dandelions toxic to baby skin?
Dandelions contain a milky sap that may cause contact dermatitis in children sensitive to the compound. But generally, dandelions are safe and edible.
You can read more about dandelions and their dangers in this post.
Can dandelions cause hay fever?
Pollen allergies that cause hay fever are often linked to ragweed allergies.
If a person is sensitive to ragweed pollens, then the fluffy puffball pollens of the dandelions are also likely to trigger hay fever.
Dandelion is one of the most common garden weeds that can pop up on your lawn during spring. The plant can be annoying, but you can always put it to good use for its culinary and medicinal benefits.
Picking the plant before its flowering stage may curb its growth as it prevents the pollen from spreading. Or, you can allow them to proliferate for a handy home remedy whenever you need them.
If you are planning to use dandelion as a herbal supplement for a child’s sickness, please consult the pediatrician first. Dandelion is safe in food amounts but should not be overconsumed to prevent harmful side effects.