Siyaram Pandey, a biochemist at the University of Windsor, has been studying the anti-cancer potential of dandelion root extract for over two years.
His 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 towards local cancer research. Pandey then applied for continued funding from the Lotte and John Hecht Memorial Foundation, and received the additional $157,000 to continue their study.
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.” Hamm was convinced that the weed does contain an active ingredient, but suggests that patients going through traditional treatments should consult with their doctor before taking this.
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 and 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 commit suicide in 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.
In the past few years, results of clinical research have been published in several prestigious publications regarding the benefits of dandelion for those with cancer.
In 2008, the results of a clinical study showing the positive effects of dandelion on breast cancer cells were published in the International Journal of Oncology . The findings on prostate cancer were corroborated by a report published in 2011 by the International Journal of Oncology, which showed that a dietary supplement containing dandelion suppressed 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.
Various ways to use Dandelion
The leaves and roots have long been used to treat the liver, gall bladder, kidney, digestive disorders, hepatitis, as a treatment for skin and joint disorders, and is considered to be a blood purifier. Products which contain dandelion can be found in capsules, tinctures, and teas made from the leaves, roots and flowers. Fresh dandelion leaves can also be consumed in salads, juiced, blended into smoothies, or lightly sauteed into a side dish. The blossoms can be made into a tea, or lightly battered and fried. Roots can be dug up, dried, pulverized and used to make teas as in the recipe below. Of course, it is imperative to always make sure that they have not been treated with herbicides or other chemicals if you are harvesting them yourself.
How to make a dandelion root tincture:
Pull out the dandelion trying to keep the roots intact. Gather enough to make a cup or 2 of finely chopped roots, how much you are making will depend upon the size of the jar that you will be using.
Remove the stems and then clean the roots thoroughly.
Grate or slice them very thin.
Put them into your mason jar and cover to the top with 80- 100 proof vodka.
Set in a cool dark place such as kitchen pantry
Shake the jar several times per week
In 8 weeks you will have a strong tincture.
For both the leaf tincture and the root tincture the dosage is 100 drops added to water and taken 3 times per day.
For dandelion leaf tea the dosage is 1-2 teaspoons steeped in hot water taken 3 times a day.
For dandelion root tea ½ -2 teaspoons steeped in hot water taken 3 times a day.
If you use the capsules made from the leaf or the root the dosage is 500 mg, taken 3 times a day.
For both the leaf tincture and the root tincture: 100 drops, taken 3 times a day, which is added to water.
these are approximate dosage suggestions, see the precautions listed below.
John DiCarlo heals his terminal Leukemia by drinking dandelion tea
John DiCarlo, 72, was admitted to the hospital three years ago with leukemia. Even after aggressive treatment, he was sent home to put his affairs in order with his wife and four children. At the time, the cancer clinic suggested he try drinking dandelion tea. Four months later, he returned to the clinic in complete remission, and has been cancer free for over three years. He said his doctor credits the dandelion tea that he had been drinking. Link to the article.
While there are no negative side effects from taking the dandelion herb, some people may have allergic reactions to it. Those may include a rash or mouth sores. If you are allergic to yarrow, iodine, ragweed, marigold, chrysanthemums, chamomile, or daisies, you should avoid taking dandelion. Dandelion might cause stomach acid or heartburn in some people, try cutting back your dosage and see if that helps alleviate the symptoms. If you have gallbladder problems or gallstones, you should consult a doctor before taking dandelion. Dandelion is a diuretic and may cause your body to dehydrate, so keep your fluids up by drinking throughout the day. Consult a doctor if you are taking medications.