April 23, 2012
Canadian Researchers Studying Anti-Cancer Potential of Dandelion Tea and Extract
These are the types of updates that give those of us in the natural health industry a smile from ear to ear. Canadian researchers in Windsor, Ontario have received funding to study the effectiveness of dandelion root extract and its anti-cancer potential. It marks another opportunity for researchers to move away from the pharmaceutical treatment platform for cancer involving toxic chemotherapy and radiation and focus more on natural remedies, often incorporating the most powerful healing strategies in the long-term without side effects.
The Researchers from University of Windsor have received an additional $157,000 grant for a total of $217,000 to study how effective dandelion root extract is in fighting cancer. Siyaram Pandey, a biochemist at the University has been studying the anti-cancer potential of dandelion root extract for almost two years.
Dandelion root (taraxacum officinale) is known to act on the liver and pancreas by straining and filtering toxins & wastes from the bloodstream and its beneficial effects on liver complaints have been well documented by both Asian practitioners and American physicians.
Traditionally, dandelion has been used a diuretic, to increase the amount of urine the body produces in order to get rid of excess fluid. It has been used for many conditions where a diuretic might help, such as liver problems and high blood pressure.
Fresh or dried dandelion herb is also used as a mild appetite stimulant and to improve upset stomach. The root of the dandelion plant may act as a mild laxative and has been used to improve digestion.
Some preliminary animal studies also suggest that dandelion may help normalize blood sugar levels and lower total cholesterol and triglycerides while raising HDL, "good," cholesterol in diabetic mice.
Pandey's team's first phase of research showed that dandelion root extract forced a very aggressive and drug-resistant type of blood cancer cell, known as chronic monocytic myeloid leukemia, to essentially commit suicide.
Researchers then discovered that repeated treatment with low dose dandelion root extract was effective in killing most of the cancerous cells.
Those initial findings landed the research team a $60,000 grant from Seeds4Hope, which provides money for local cancer research.
Skepticism Led To Belief
Pandey admits he was skeptical when he was first approached by local oncologist, Dr. Caroline Hamm, who was curious about cancer patients who had been drinking dandelion tea and seemed to be getting better.
"To be honest I was very pessimistic," Pandey said in a statement. "She said it could be coincidental but it couldn’t hurt to see if there is anything."
Natural health practitioner Gary Reynolds said the history of dandelions is well established. "It's very common for conventional practitioners to be pessimistic about natural medicine, but after initiating their research, they inevitably all come to same conclusion and realize how effective nature is and thousands of years use prove it," he stated.
Dandelions are so well respected, in fact, that it appears in the U.S. National Formulatory, and in the Pharmacopeias of Hungary, Poland, Switzerland, and the Soviet Union. It is one of the top 6 herbs in the Chinese herbal medicine chest.
It is so well respected, in fact, that it appears in the U.S. National Formulatory, and in the Pharmacopeias of Hungary, Poland, Switzerland, and the Soviet Union. It is one of the top 6 herbs in the Chinese herbal medicine chest.
Pandey conducted a literature review and could only find one journal article suggesting dandelions may have cancer-killing properties. But he and his team of graduate students collected a bunch of the weeds anyway, ground them up with a mixture of water in a food processor and developed a simple formula they could experiment with.
They tested the formula on several lines of commercially available leukemia cells and much to their surprise, found that the formula caused those cells to kill themselves, a process called apoptosis.
"It was startling, but it was not that startling until we saw that it was non-toxic to the normal cells," he said.
According to the USDA's "Composition of Foods" (Haytowitz and Matthews 1984), dandelions rank in the top 4 green vegetables in overall nutritional value. Minnich, in "Gardening for Better Nutrition" ranks them, out of all vegetables, including grains, seeds and greens, as tied for 9th best.
Dandelions are nature's richest green vegetable source of beta-carotene, from which Vitamin A is created, and the third richest source of Vitamin A of all foods, after cod-liver oil and beef liver! They also are particularly rich in fiber, potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and the B vitamins, thiamine and riboflavin, and are a good source of protein.
Dave Mihalovic is a Naturopathic Doctor who specializes in vaccine research, cancer prevention and a natural approach to treatment.