Did you know…that the dandelion— yes, the much-maligned flowering weed—has now been enthusiastically accepted by the scientific and medical research community as a promising non-toxic therapy for leukemia, breast cancer, prostate cancer and even drug-resistant forms of cancer?
It’s quite ironic that dandelions (Taraxacum Officinale), commonly regarded as an enemy of well-tended lawns and gardens—and routinely uprooted and discarded as soon as they appear—are now prized for their ability to suppress the growth and invasive behavior in several types of cancer.
Two Leukemia Patients Healed by Dandelion Tea?
Oncologist Dr. Caroline Hamm of the Windsor Regional Hospital had an elderly patient who suffered from myelomonocytic leukemia, a highly aggressive and resistant form of leukemia. When no improvement in her condition resulted after rounds of chemotherapy, the patient began self-administering a natural therapy consisting of dandelion tea—and even shared the therapy with another patient in the waiting room.
Dr. Hamm was surprised to see that the test results of both patients improved while taking dandelion tea—and both refused further courses of chemotherapy. She then contacted the University of Windsor biochemist Siyaram Pandey, who initially thought that the two patients’ positive results were purely coincidental. Nonetheless, armed with funding provided by the Knights of Columbus Council 9671, he and his students embarked on preliminary research.
The team collected leukemia blood cells from the disposable tissue of nine patients (with their consent). Thereafter, they dug up dandelion roots, formulated a root extract—and applied the extract to leukemia cells in a culture dish.
Dr. Pandey reported that in the presence of the dandelion root extract, the leukemia cells effectively “committed suicide” within 24 hours. “It killed the cells very selectively; it only killed the cancer cells” said Pandey. “The regular cells were not killed.”
The results were published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacy.
Dandelion Root Extract “Reminds” Cancer Cells to Self-Destruct
At any given moment, cell suicide (called apoptosis) is a process taking place in our body. Whenever cells are no longer needed—or have damaged DNA—they effectively commit suicide.
However, cancer cells evade this process and become resistant to cell death, according to Dr. Pandey. His research attempts to discover how dandelion tea root extract ‘reminds’ the cancer cells to commit suicide, without killing off the healthy cells.
Scientific Acceptance of Dandelion’s Anti-Cancer Properties
Medical researchers are beginning to regard dandelions as important healing aids in modern phytomedicine. In the past few years, results of clinical research have been published in prestigious publications.
- In 2008, the results of a clinical study showing the positive effects of dandelion were published in the International Journal of Oncology. Dandelion tea was shown to decrease breast cancer cells. Researchers tested dandelion tea on prostate cancer cells and found similar results.
- The findings on prostate cancer were corroborated by a report published in 2011 by the International Journal of Oncology, which shows that a dietary supplement containing dandelion as one ingredient suppresses the growth of prostate cancer cells.
- Dandelion root extract was clinically proven in 2011 to specifically induce apoptosis in chemo-resistant melanoma (a type of skin cancer)—without toxicity to healthy cells.
Native American Medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) have both documented that dandelion extracts are effective treatments for leukemia and breast cancer.
These extracts have also been shown to be active against pancreatic cancer cells and colon cancer cells (in vitro, not in humans). There are presently applications for clinical approval to begin trials in humans.
Dandelion root extracts are available as dietary supplements at health food stores and online health retailers.