I was aware of how wonderful dandelion is for our liver, but was not aware of its anti-cancer properties. You can pick what is in your yard, but if you are afraid of what has blown onto your plants from the neighbor's yard you can also purchase organic dandelion in supplement form.
Dandelion is the bane of immaculate lawn enthusiasts, but holds healing secrets that few people realize. Dandelion is a delicious super-food to add to salads and soups. It contains substantial vitamins and a host of plant-based minerals, especially potassium. The herb stimulates the flow of bile from the liver into the gall bladder, making dandelion a key ingredient in liver cleanse formulas. It helps to break down liver fats and is an effective diuretic. The scientific community has been frenetically studying dandelion recently, due to encouraging evidence that dandelion suppresses the growth and invasive behavior in several types of cancer.
Scientists "approve" dandelion extract as an effective oxidative stress inhibitor
Scientists at the University of Annunzio Chieti-Pasaca in Italy compared extracts of tumeric, dandelion, rosemary, and artichoke in a study released in 2010. The researchers acknowledged the positive effect that these herbs have on the liver and gallbladder, and wanted to compare their anti-proliferation (spreading), antioxidant (combating free radical activity), and protective effects. While tumeric had the greatest antioxidant effects, dandelion also had these qualities. The scientists confirmed that these herbs are useful healing aids in modern phytomedicine.
The oxidative stress-reducing effects of dandelion extract was tested on rats with liver damage from carbon tetrachloride (CCl4
), a chemical used in fire extinguishers and refrigerants which is highly toxic to the liver. Water-based dandelion extract, or dandelion tea, was observed to significantly reduce the amount of oxidative stress and inflammation present in the livers of rats.
Medical researchers are enthusiastic about the effects of dandelion on various cancers
Medical science is finally beginning to accept the positive results from natural dietary supplements in healing cancer. Just in the past few years, clinical research has been published stating the benefits of herbal supplements such as dandelion for cancer. Here are a few studies:
The International Journal of Oncology
published a 2008 clinical study showing the positive effects of dandelion leaf tea. Dandelion leaf tea decreased breast cancer cells, but dandelion root tea did not. Researchers went on to test prostate cancer cells and found similar results. The scientists concluded that dandelion extract may be considered a "novel" anti-cancer agent.
The Journal of Ethnopharmacology
published a study in January 2011 which tested the effects of dandelion root tea on leukemia cells. The study showed that dandelion root tea killed leukemia cells through a process called apoptosis. It is believed that dandelion root tea signals a "kill switch" on leukemia cell receptors. Researchers found it "interesting" that dandelion root tea did not transmit the same "kill switch" signal to healthy cells. These scientists also believed that dandelion should be considered a "novel" non-toxic anti-cancer agent.
The International Journal of Oncology
published a 2011 report that a dietary supplement containing dandelion as one ingredient suppresses the growth of prostate cancer cells.
In yet another 2011 study performed with dandelion, dandelion root extract was clinically proven to induce apoptosis in human drug-resistant melanoma cells without poisoning or damaging healthy cells. Once again, tests proved that dandelion root extract should be considered a "novel" and non-toxic therapy for even drug-resistant forms of cancer.Sources for this article include:
Medline.gov. "Antiproliferative, protective and antioxidant effects of artichoke, dandelion, tumeric, and rosemary extracts and their formulation," L. Menghini, et al. International Journal of Immunopathology and Pharmacology
April-June 2010; 23(2): 601-10. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20646355
Wiley Online Library.com. "Amelioration of oxidative stress by dandelion extract through CYP2E1 suppression against acute liver injury induced by carbon tetrachloride in Sprague-Dawley rats," Chung My Park, et al. Phytotherapy Research
, September 2010; 24(9): 1347-1353. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ptr.3121/abstract
Spandidos Publications.com. "Suppression of growth and invasive behavior of human prostate cancer cells by ProstaCaidTM: Mechanism of activity," J. Jang, et al. International Journal of Oncology
. June 2011; 38(6): 1675-82. http://www.spandidos-publications.com/ijo/38/6/1675
Pubmed.gov. "Evaluation of aqueous extracts of Taraxacum officinale [dandelion] on growth and invasion of breast and prostate cancer cells," S.C. Sigstedt, et al. International Journal of Oncology
, May 2008; 32(5): 1085-90. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18425335
Pubmed.gov. "Selective induction of apoptosis through activation of caspase-8 in human leukemia cells (Jurkat) by dandelion root extract," P. Ovadie, et al. The Journal of Ethnopharmacology
. January 2011; 133(1): 86-91. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20849941
Pubmed.gov. "The efficacy of dandelion root extract in inducing apoptosis in drug-resistant human melanoma cells," S.J. Chatterjee, et al. Evidence-based Complementary and Alternative Medicine
, 2011; 2011: 129045. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21234313