New research, led by biochemistry professor Dr. Siyaram Pandey, moves into a human trial phase comes after lab tests and animal tests found that dandelion root extract was effective in inducing cell suicide (apoptosis) in tumor cells, while leaving healthy cells alone. The first trial will focus on end-stage blood cancers and will take about one year for the final results to be published. Pandey outlines the initial results of the lab research and animal studies in a TEDx talk he gave at the University of Windsor.
“We dug out the dandelion root and just ground it in a home blender with water, made the extract, filtered it, tried to put it in the same Petri dishes where we grow the leukemia cells, and frankly speaking I was not expecting any activity because it was so diluted,” he says. Yet cancer cells started dying, and more importantly, the healthy cells were fine.”
The common Dandelion has a long history of use as a cancer treatment. It’s botanical name, Taraxacum officinale, hints at its medicinal use — Taraxacum comes from the Greek and means “inflammation curative” and officinale is a common designation for medicinal plants. Its use predates written records.
It’s mentioned in ancient Chinese and Greek texts as a liver tonic, digestive stimulant, and diuretic. Traditionally in Western and Eastern herbalism it has been used as a blood purifier, liver support, and tonic. Dandelion contains numerous compounds that have been shown to be anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and antioxidant.
The entire plant is edible and as a food, it’s very high in vitamin A, potassium, magnesium, and a number of other key vitamins and minerals.