How do dandelions (Taraxacum officinale) cause allergic contact dermatitis?

Updated: Jun 10, 2021
  • Author: Glen H Crawford, MD; Chief Editor: Dirk M Elston, MD  more...
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The dandelion is a weed that probably derives its name from the French term, dent de lion, which describes the immature seeds or notched leaves that resemble a lion's teeth. This troublesome weed flourishes worldwide. The taproot has been used as a coffee substitute, like chicory. The plant also has a strong diuretic effect, which accounts for its alternate name, piss-a-bed.

Airborne allergic contact dermatitis, aided by the plant's parachute-shaped seeds, most commonly occurs after people mow their lawns during long stretches of hot, dry weather. The allergen is taraxinic acid (1-0-b-glucopyranoside), a SQL. Results of patch testing with SQL mix are usually negative.

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