Dandelions taste great in salad.
But they’ve also been used in medicine for thousands of years.
WHAT YOU’LL GET BELOW
– How dandelion effects the leading cause of death in the U.S.
– Cutting edge research into dandelion uses
– 4 diseases tested by dandelion extract, with incredible results!
This is some powerful research. I was shocked by what I found.
And I’m pretty sure that I’ve only scratched the surface of what’s being done with dandelion.
Let’s dig in!
Dandelion is a remarkable plant.
And it has been tested and used as a remedy for a number of different ailments.
Some say dandelion was used by herbalists as early as 600 A.D. in China.
It’s been found in herbal documents used by Arabs in 1,000 AD, and by the Welch in the 1300′s.
But has dandelion been tested by modern science?
Turns out, yes it has!
With some pretty incredible results.
I Am An Herbal Skeptic
As a disclaimer up front, when it comes to herbal remedies, I have to tell you that I’m generally a skeptic.
So many well-intentioned people will peddle the next “wonder cure” (at $90 a bottle) that turns out to be little more than tap water.
When I hear stories of herbs being used to help fight against things like Influenza, AIDS, cancer, and the like, I usually turn a deaf ear.
How can one plant work on so many things?
There has actually been research on exactly that.
Coronary Artery Disease (blockages in arteries supplying the heart muscle)
Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) leads to heart attack, and death.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S.
Americans spent $19 Billion on statins (cholesterol lowering drugs) in 2011.
I wanted to see if there was any research into dandelion root’s effect on cholesterol and heart disease.
In Hypolipidemic and Antioxidant Effects of Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) Root and Leaf on Cholesterol-Fed Rabbits  researchers wanted to see if dandelion root and leaf would make rabbits fed a high cholesterol diet survive better than those fed high cholesterol diets alone.
From the paper:
Taraxacum officinale, known as dandelion, has been used in folk medicine in the treatment of hepatic disorders, inflammation and several women’s diseases such as breast and uterus cancers.
In Traditional Chinese medicine, it is also acclaimed as a nontoxic herb with exceptional values for its choleretic, diuretic, anti-rheumatic and anti-inflammatory properties.
Several flavonoids including caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid, luteolin, and luteolin 7-glucoside have been isolated from the dandelion [7 ].
However, relatively less has been studied about the preventive effect of dandelion root and leaf on atherosclerosis.
This present study was therefore to evaluate the potentials of orally administered dandelion root and leaf on the development of atherosclerosis by the evaluation of antioxidant enzyme response and lipid profiles in high-cholesterol-fed rabbits.
They wanted to see if dandelions helped lower cholesterol, which by itself would be incredible, but also how dandelion effected atherosclerosis — the gunk that builds up and blocks the arteries supplying blood to the heart.
When those arteries get blocked, blood doesn’t get to the heart muscle, and it dies; you have a heart attack.
Here’s what they found:
Based on the above results, these results suggest that diet-induced hypercholesterolemic atherosclerosis is associated with an increase in the oxidative stress and that dandelion reduced the extent of atherosclerosis by reducing oxidative stress and serum TC, TG, LDL-C and raising serum HDL-C.
Which they then wrote, as:
Dandelion is beneficial in preventing hypercholesterolemic atherosclerosis and reducing risk factors for coronary artery disease.
It’s that last bit that’s SO important.
Influenza (The Flu)
Influenza kills up to 500,000 people worldwide EVERY YEAR!
The most at risk are the young and the old, but anyone can fall victim..
In Anti-influenza virus effect of aqueous extracts from dandelion  published on the National Institutes of Health site, researchers looked at how dandelion root extract effects influenza.
And here’s what they found:
Human influenza is a seasonal disease associated with significant morbidity and mortality.
Anti-flu Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) has played a significant role in fighting the virus pandemic.
In TCM, dandelion is a commonly used ingredient in many therapeutic remedies, either alone or in conjunction with other natural substances.
Evidence suggests that dandelion is associated with a variety of pharmacological activities.
The antiviral activity of dandelion extracts indicates that a component or components of these extracts possess anti-influenza virus properties.
Mechanisms of reduction of viral growth in MDCK or A549 cells by dandelion involve inhibition on virus replication.
Anti-Influenza virus properties. Cool!
Add to this that dandelions are safe:
The plant extract did not exhibit any apparent negative effects on cell viability, metabolism or proliferation at the effective dose.
This result is consistent with the added advantage of lacking any reported complications of the plant’s utility in traditional medicine over several centuries.
When I look at the safety, abundance, and effectiveness of dandelions, it makes me wonder why I’m not eating more of the stuff!
What about cancer research?
Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia (a rare, aggressive, difficult to treat cancer)
CMML is bad stuff.
It’s difficult to diagnose. Difficult to treat.
And the chemotherapy available when the research below was written (2012) isn’t very effective, has massive side effects, and patients develop resistance to this treatment very early on.
CMML tends to strike as we get older, but anyone can get it.
The average life expectancy after diagnosis is 12-24 months.
In the paper Efficient Induction of Extrinsic Cell Death by Dandelion Root Extract in Human Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia (CMML) Cells  researchers wanted to look at more natural substances to try to attack this disease.
They tested dandelion root, with amazing results:
In conclusion, Dandelion Root Extract has shown selective efficacy in inducing two forms of programmed cell death in highly aggressive and resistant CMML cell lines.
The rapid activation of caspase-8 not only activated the extrinsic pathway of apoptosis, but also triggered pro-death autophagy selectively in these cells, suggesting that this extract has components that enhance its selective efficacy in targeting CMML cells.
These results indicate that within the vast array of available natural products and compounds, there are non-toxic alternatives to conventional chemotherapy that are safe and effective.
I had to look up “apoptosis” and “autophagy,” and they basically mean that the bad (cancer) cells died — in a natural way.
They died like cells are supposed to die when they’re no longer useful to the body.
Which is HUGE, because cancer cells don’t do that. They stick around.
It’s one of the things that makes them so hard to fight.
The results from this study indicate that natural products, in particular Dandelion Root Extract, have great potential, as non-toxic and effective alternatives to conventional modes of chemotherapy available today.
AIDS and HIV research?
AIDS and HIV
Many new drugs are discovered by analyzing plants and herbs.
It’s estimated that up to half of all new medicines get their start from something interesting found in nature.
Researchers wanted to see if dandelion, with its long standing medical history, had any impact on AIDS and HIV.
In Inhibitory effect of aqueous dandelion extract on HIV-1 replication and reverse transcriptase activity  researchers analyzed the effects dandelion had on the virus, and its ability to reproduce itself.
From the article:
The general problems in current therapy include the constant emergence of drug-resistant HIV strains, adverse side effects and the unavailability of treatments in developing countries.
Natural products from herbs with the abilities to inhibit HIV-1 life cycle at different stages, have served as excellent sources of new anti-HIV-1 drugs.
In this study, we aimed to investigate the anti-HIV-1 activity of aqueous dandelion extract.
The results were positive:
Compared to control values obtained from cells infected without treatment, the level of HIV-1 replication and reverse transcriptase activity were decreased in a dose-dependent manner.
The data suggest that dandelion extract has a potent inhibitory activity against HIV-1 replication and reverse transcriptase activity.
The identification of HIV-1 antiviral compounds from Taraxacum officinale should be pursued.
These findings provide additional support for the potential therapeutic efficacy of Taraxacum officinale. Extracts from this plant may be regarded as another starting point for the development of an antiretroviral therapy with fewer side effects.
Inhibits the virus. No side effects. And they still want to develop a new drug??
Is there any doubt, we all need to be eating more dandelion?
DISCLAIMER: I’m not a physician. Or any other form of qualified health care professional. This article is intended for entertainment purposes only and is not a substitute for professional, medical advice and/or care. This research may be compelling, but always consult your doctor first.