Dandelion “Weeds” Kill Cancer Cells, Leave Healthy Cells Intact

Dandelion root induces cancer cell “suicide,” while leaving healthy cells alone, study finds

(This story has been updated since it was first published in 2016.)

Those yellow dots that “litter” your otherwise “perfectly green” lawn are more than just pesky weeds. Dandelion has been considered a valuable food and medicine in both Eastern and Western culture for thousands of years and is now being researched for its cancer-fighting abilities.

The use of the dandelion plant in both Greek and Chinese medicine predates written records.  Traditional healers use it to cleanse the liver, flush toxins from the kidneys and purify the blood.

It’s blood purifying compounds led researchers at University of Windsor in Canada to hypothesize that dandelion could help patients with end-stage blood cancer.

They inserted dandelion root extract into Petri dishes with blood drawn from leukemia patients and lab rats.

To their delight, the dandelion root induced apoptosis or “cell suicide” in cancer cells, while leaving healthy cells alone.

Dandelion root’s ability to selectively kill only cancer cells — as opposed to radiation and chemotherapy which kill healthy cells and flood the body with toxins — ccould make it an invaluable tool in the future of cancer treatment, at least in countries whose medical institutions are actually invested in cures, not keeping people sick.

As a result of the experiment, researchers were given the green light (in 2015) to test out dandelion root on thirty Canadian cancer patients. It’s the first ever in Canada that a natural extract has been approved for a human clinical trial. Unfortunately, the United States has yet to follow suit.

In “the land of the free” herbalists aren’t allowed to treat cancer patients for cancer, they are merely allowed to offer herbs as supportive therapy, to help undo the damage of conventional treatments.

UPDATE: Apparently, the University of Windsor researchers were never able to get the funding for the human clinical trials (Big Pharma certainly isn’t going to fund them).

However, a 2017 study, carried out by several Asian universities,  tested dandelion root extract on several cancer cell lines isolated from human cancer patients, including breast cancer, liver cancer, colon cancer and skin cancer cell lines. The results were “potent,” especially against liver cancer.

The dandelion root extract “inhibited the cancer cell proliferation by activating AMPK,” the study’s author’s wrote.  “The compounds from natural sources, such as dandelion can serve as a reservoir of potent bioactive compounds that might inhibit different forms of cancer without any side effects. Furthermore, the rigorous fractionation and isolation of the active principles present in the various extracts of dandelion would play a crucial role in explaining the anti-proliferative effect of dandelion on liver, breast and colon cancer cells.”

Herbalist, teacher and author Demetria Clark says if a patient has chosen chemotherapy, dandelion will support the liver and kidneys, boost the immune system and help detoxify the body. It also helps with nausea and mouth soars, she says.

Dr. Siyaram Pandey – lead researcher and biochemistry professor at Windsor –  was encouraged when he saw the results of patients who chose dandelion tea over chemotherapy. “These folks actually lived,” he says in the Ted Talk below:

Not only do dandelions heal the body, they also nourish the body (go figure). They’re loaded with vitamins like A, C, K, B6, B3,B9 and B12 and minerals like iron (crucial for generating red blood cells), calcium, magnesium, potassium (regulates heart rate and blood pressure), phosphorus, manganese, copper and zinc.


So, the next time you decide to hack away at all those yellow weeds, eat them instead of throwing them away. They’re great in a salad, in smoothies or as a tea.





60 responses to “Dandelion “Weeds” Kill Cancer Cells, Leave Healthy Cells Intact”

  1. Carol B.McMillion Avatar
    Carol B.McMillion

    Am seding this article to a Professional Trainer. She eats healthy and cooks healthy as well.

    1. Byrd Avatar

      92% of all grocery store so called healthy food is processed in china and in USA all veggies are sprayed with round up called GMO
      All frozen fish and seafood and chicken-china

      1. Jules Avatar

        Not so educate yourself if you dont if you dont believe in this why are you on this site

      2. Lauriel Avatar

        “Healthy” doesn’t really mean anything. The food indusry often uses it falsely. Organic and non-GMO are terms to look for, because organic veggies are NOT sprayed with Round Up. All frozen fish and seafood is NOT from China. Much of it tells on the package where it came from.
        Do your homework, stop spreading false info,

  2. Rosaleen Avatar

    Excellent article. Nature is our best doctor.

  3. Harry prentiss Avatar
    Harry prentiss

    How do you prepare them and what parts of the dandelion do you eat

    1. Dorothy Wilson Avatar
      Dorothy Wilson

      Same question. How do you prepare this plant. Instructions please.

      1. Carla Cox Avatar
        Carla Cox

        You can eat them raw in a salad or steep for tea.

      2. Helena Hyamson Avatar
        Helena Hyamson

        Wash the roots well then chop into small pieces, place on a baking tray then into a low heat oven for about 2 hours,to dry out,then place in a bowl(not plastic),pour on boiling water, let steep for at least 15 minutes then pour some into a cup or mug, and as you would for tea or coffee, have plain or add milk and sugar to your taste then drink.You can eat the leaves and the flowers,or add the flowers to the tea.

      3. Phylis Avatar

        Watch the TEDx talk video. Tea made with the roots!

    2. Lori Avatar

      I grew up eating dandelion salad and my kids love it. Pick them in the spring when the leaves are tender. Soak leaves before washing 10-15 min. Hard boil as many eggs as you like, we use 5 with 4 cups of loose greens. Remove the yolks, chop whites. Add the yolks to an oil, vinegar dressing until creamy and balanced to your taste. Add a bit of salt and pepper. They taste bitter like an endive. Don’t pick them from the yard if you have dogs. Some organic stores sell them.

      1. Donna Avatar

        We ate dandelion in wilted salad like you describe, only with crisp bacon added. Mom put it over boiled potatoes. LOVED it. The commercially-raised dandelion available today is tasteless in comparison to the wild version that’s everywhere.

    3. Patty Avatar

      My Italian family sautes the greens, as you would spinach, adds thinly sliced pepperoni, and eggs to make an omelette…delish!!

      1. Keith Pearson Avatar
        Keith Pearson

        For a good salad crop of dandelion leaves, grown in your own garden, use an inverted deep plantpot as a forcer. You will harvest bigger paler less bitter leaves. Move the pot to a new plant after harvesting one crop.

        1. Suz1st Avatar

          Please describe: ‘inverted deep plantpot” I don’t understand but want to try.

        2. Tadree Avatar

          I too don’t understand what you mean.

          1. DJ Avatar

            Inverted is just upside-down. Put a bit pot upside down over the plant so the leaves don’t get as much sun, making them less bitter.

    4. Kat Avatar

      All parts edible & nutritious. Wash & dry blossoms then batter & fry them (great in salads as well). A quick boil of the greens then sauteed in bacon drippings is a delicious dish (w/side of cornbread). I dry the roots after scrubbing them with a nail brush, dry a few weeks in kitchen window then store in old jar. I grind these dried roots in an old coffee grinder & add 1/2 tsp to coffee & tea. Very subtle pleasant flavor to enhance your Java. Be cautious if on blood thinners though as I do know the roots can thin blood as well. So 1/2 tsp serving per day should be safe, maybe two if fighting cancer.

    5. Cass Avatar

      All parts of the dandelion are edible but are much better tastin when the are young. Stem, leaves, both flowers and the root bulb are edible.

  4. Ginger zasimowich Avatar
    Ginger zasimowich

    HOW do you cook them???

    1. Gloria Enright Avatar
      Gloria Enright

      You can cooked the greens like any wilted green recipe, including roots, in soups, but fresh with a homemade light vinaigrette or even something creamy would be good!

  5. Robin Avatar

    I was wondering the same thing. How do you prepare them? What part do you eat or cook?

  6. Mel Avatar

    The leaves can be cooked like any other greens, or eaten in a salad, as well as the yellow flowers. Not sure about the root.

    1. David Hull Avatar
      David Hull

      The root can be cleaned, dried and used to make tea in colder months.

  7. Larry Avatar

    How do you extract the oil/ juice from the root? Can you just cook the greens and get the same effect?

  8. Janice Avatar

    I like to make a fumantate.
    Wash thebfirst and let water off and use the sugers to coveres all dandelions.(50/50)
    Mix around several times.
    Let it sit for good years.
    Then i use for making a side dishes.

    1. Crystal Avatar

      I love this, thanks.

  9. Sandra Avatar

    I believe the article says “tea”, which is typically mafe from dried roots.

  10. Beth Avatar

    Who responds to the questions posted here? I’d like to know the same as above questions. And what is the taste like (bitter, sour, etc.)?

    1. robin Avatar

      the new zealand maori call the leaves puha and they cook it just like spinach.

      1. Pat Avatar

        No! Puja is a different plant altogether

        1. Pat Avatar

          Sorry I meant Puha

      2. Kate Avatar

        No Puha is another plant altogether. Sonchus kirkii is most likely the original Puha but there are other Sonchus species eaten and called Puha. Dandelion is a related plant in the Asteraceae family and in the same Lactucinae subtribe as Puha but it is a different Genus altogether.

    2. martin knife chief Avatar
      martin knife chief

      bitter. I recommend using honey in your tea…local if you can. the greens can be used in your salad…the roots dried and chopped up, steep for tea. I cured and got rid of kidney stones with dandelions! I have stage 4 cancer now….so I am using it the best I can.

  11. Glenda Kay Harris Avatar

    I really would like to know how to prepare it to help the kidneys. Have CKD. Need answers, please.

    1. Donna Rumbaugh Avatar
      Donna Rumbaugh

      My grandson has PKD. If you get an answer, I would like to know too!

      1. Sharon Avatar

        Leaves are good in salads and I have a family member who breads and fries the blooms. Tea is made from the roots.

  12. Sandy Avatar

    I infuse the flowers in oil and mix w/ bees wax for an awesome salve for sore muscles.

  13. Kimberly Avatar

    We dip flower in batter and fry em . Boil n eat greens like spinach

    1. Donna Avatar

      Save the water it was boiled in for soups and stews. It can be frozen if need be.

  14. shaz Avatar

    Plants do not contain b12 . If this info is incorrect I can’t trust any of it .

    1. Sara Burrows Avatar

      If they are in organic soil and not washed too thoroughly they do.

    2. Aarin Avatar

      Plants do have B12. Search Ashitaba, a plant known to have B12 in it.

  15. Eric Avatar

    I eat leaves raw in a salad. Dry out root and crush them to make a tea.

  16. Eric Avatar

    Younger leaves in spring are less bitter

    1. Diana Avatar

      Thanks for the link! This clears up quite a few previous posted questions.

  17. Rebecca Avatar

    You talk about all the great properties but don’t spend any time on how to harvest or use.the least you could do is direct them to information site for harvesting, preparing,…

    1. Emily Avatar

      Mediherb sells an amazing dandelion root tonic. They have 2 types one is the leaves and one is the roots.

  18. Margaret Avatar

    Helps with “mouth soars” – Seriously? Couldn’t finish the article after that. Skeptical of the scientific quality of an article when the author can’t even use words correctly.

  19. James Avatar

    Can you grow dandelions yourself?

  20. Chris Avatar

    I don’t see any sources
    This type of information can be dangerous to people with illness who don’t do research and decide they only need to eat dandelions to get rid of cancer

    1. Donna Avatar

      This type of information can easily be verified. And it’s a safe plant that’s been used for decades. If people don’t choose to learn more about managing their health in a sensible, effective way, then it’s not the fault of the information. Their decision to “only eat dandelions to get rid of cancer” is their own, and not the writer’s.

  21. Fred Foster Avatar

    Can anyone buy dandelions in stores , if so is it called by another name. Would it be sold at the Rx. or where.

  22. Kat Avatar

    Wash/rinse blossoms Pat dry then batter & fry (delicious on salads), give greens a quick short boil to remove any bitter tannin taste then saute gently in bacon drippings, I gather the roots scrub them with nail brush, dry two weeks in kitchen window sill then store in old jar. I grind dried roots in old coffee grinder & add 1/2 teaspoon to coffee or tea. Has very pleasant subtle flavor. Caution when taking blood thinners as I know the roots at least can thin the blood. Would think 1/2 tsp daily should be safe & sufficient. Everything in moderation right.

  23. Mhtch Avatar

    This article is purposefully seeded with little bits of misinformation. You know people are desperate when they or a loved one gets cancer, and so you take something with no real studies behind it (although a lot of potential and promise, nothing else yet), and you sell it like you are gifting sagely advice.

    I have no doubt that Dandelion has a lot of potential medicinal uses. But you’re preying on people. Maybe because you yourself are this ignorant. Or maybe you know exactly what you are doing.

  24. jc Avatar

    Mhtch all parts of a dandelion are etible have done so for years so do not fret over ti being mis information it is not

  25. MemoryHack Review Avatar

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  26. theresa cocolin Avatar

    It ahould read “mouth aores” not mouth soars.

  27. Karen Gallant Avatar
    Karen Gallant

    Every dandelion that I have seen is filled with tiny slender black bugs…how do you remove them all before using the flower?