When 16-month-old Ranran’s parents took her to the doctor because she kept scratching and hitting her ear, they suspected it may have been an ear infection or something of the like. No one, not even her doctors, expected what it actually was: a dandelion growing in her ear.
“The parents of the girl, who live in the Tongzhou District in Beijing, went to see an ear, nose, and throat specialist at the Capital Institute of Pediatrics,” wrote ShanghaiDaily.com. “The parents said something like a seed fell into the left ear of their daughter about four months ago, but they didn’t pay too much attention to it until recently, when the girl started scratching the ear.”
A dandelion is a type of plant that grows in Europe, Asia, and North America. There are hundreds of dandelion species and they can grow up to one foot tall in the right climate. Some people do use dandelions for medicinal purposes, as an appetite stimulant and diuretic. The plant is also full of minerals, such as iron, potassium, and zinc. There is no concrete evidence that medicinal or nutritional uses are safe or proven. In the United States, most people consider the perennial plant a weed because it tends to sprout up in otherwise pristine gardens without warning. The dandelion is best identified in its early stages by its seeds, which appear white and cotton-like, and can be dispersed by just blowing on them.
According to the Huffington Post, one of those seeds made its way into little Ranran’s ear, causing extreme irritation for the one-year-old — especially when it began to grow. Ranran lived with the dandelion growing in her ear for about four months before her parents took her to the hospital. It had grown to about two centimeters long by the time it was surgically removed, according to the Daily Mail.
"The dandelion had totally grown into Ranran's ear and filled her ear canal wall," Dr. Gu Qinglong said, according to the Beijing Evening News. "Even the slightest bit of pressure put her at risk for internal bleeding so it had to come out."
It took about ten people to assist in the removal of the dandelion from the ear, but the entire procedure was done in about 10 minutes. Ranran is reportedly recovering from the surgery and doing well.