This Weed Everybody Hates Could
December 8th, 2013 by Holly Cornish
Here’s an ironic twist on a plant you probably know all too well. It’s been called everything from the “biggest headache for lawns” to the “weed from hell.” Yet it’s also a powerful medicinal herb, a delicious food, and a likely cure for cancer.
Some common names for it include “swine snout,” “blowball,” “lion’s tooth,” and “priest’s crown.” But you probably know this big, deep-rooted plant by its most common name: dandelion. Just take a look at all the things it can do for you. . .
More than just a lawn nuisance
From a gardening perspective, dandelions are a sign that a lawn needs attention. They’re usually the first plant to show up each spring, and they’re known for sucking up water and nutrients intended for your grass.
This abundance of nutrients in dandelions hasn’t gone unnoticed by food enthusiasts. Potassium-rich dandelion greens make a nice base for salads. Dandelion is also used as a spice and thickener in soups, a flavoring in wine, and a tincture in tea. Dandelion root can even be roasted and used as a coffee substitute.
Along with being called a weed, dandelion plants are herbs. Both the root and above-ground parts are used to make medicines. Dandelion herbal mixtures are also used to cure upset stomachs, gas, gallstones, joint pain, loss of appetite, muscular aches, eczema, and bruises. Some people even use it to treat infections, particularly viral infections.
But lately, a lot of attention has been focused on dandelion and its apparent ability to kill cancer cells.
Maybe it does to cancer cells
what it does to your grass
I’d say this is pretty big news on the cancer front. Because not only have scientists uncovered reason to believe dandelion works effectively to thwart cancer … they’re actively, enthusiastically embracing it—and funding research, no less.
There’s reason to be excited. Dandelion looks to be a promising treatment for leukemia, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and even some drug-resistant forms of cancer.
The herb works by suppressing the growth of these types of cancer and thus halting the invasive behavior. Meanwhile, dandelion appears to have no effect on healthy cells.
The connection was first made in Ontario at Windsor Regional Hospital. Oncologist Caroline Hamm was treating John DiCarlo, an elderly man, for a highly aggressive form of leukemia known as myelomonocytic leukemia. Chemotherapy didn’t work and the patient was sent home with instructions to get his affairs in order.
Lucky for him, the cancer center where he was treated suggested he might try drinking dandelion tea.
Not only did the man return to the clinic four months later in remission, he’s now been cancer-free for three years. Better still, Mr. DiCarlo happened to mention the dandelion tea idea to another patient in the waiting room at the cancer center. That patient also began self-administering dandelion tea and also showed improved test results.
Dr. Hamm passed the impressive results of both patients on to University of Windsor biochemist Siyaram Pandey, who soon secured funding to research the effect of dandelions on cancer. Pandey’s team collected commercially available leukemia blood cells and then formulated a root extract made out of dandelion roots they pulled from the ground.
Using a culture dish, the team applied the extract to the leukemia cells and were astounded by the results. Not only did the leukemia cells go through apoptosis within 24 hours (natural cell death), but none of the healthy cells were killed. They’ve since published these results in the Journal of Ethnopharmacy.
Cancer cells: Meet modern phytomedicine
The exact mechanism behind these astounding results is yet to be uncovered, but scientists believe dandelion extract essentially “reminds” cancer cells to commit suicide. Because really, cell suicide, or apoptosis, constantly takes place in our bodies—it’s how the body cleanses itself of aged, damaged or diseased cells.
At least, that’s how it’s supposed to work, but cancer cells somehow become resistant to this type of cell death. That is, until dandelion extract enters the picture.
Pandey’s results aren’t the only promising findings behind dandelions and cancer. In 2008, the International Journal of Oncology published a clinical study on dandelion tea’s ability to prompt a decrease in breast cancer cells. Similar results took place on prostate cancer cells.
Another report in 2011, published by the same journal, showed that dietary supplements containing dandelion had a positive effect on prostate cancer cells and appeared to suppress their growth. Also in 2011, dandelion root extract was clinically proven to prompt apoptosis in melanomas shown to be resistant to chemotherapy. And other studies have shown dandelion extract is effective against both pancreatic cancer cells and colon cancer cells.
Pandey and his team were recently given another $157,000 in grant money, on top of the $60K they initially received. The grant is intended for further research into the cancer-fighting potential of dandelion root extract and cancer.
Probably a great tea to add to
your weekly regimen
There aren’t any known reactions between dandelions and other herbs, or dandelions and specific foods. But you should be aware that practitioners warn against taking the substance with antibiotics and lithium. Also, if you’re allergic to ragweed, you might be allergic to dandelion — so take with caution.
Currently, you can get dandelion extract in both tea form and as a dietary supplement from health food stores. Please note that Dr. Pandey’s research used the root.
Our last issue provided a list of 12 things you can do to prevent cancer, developed by a conventional doctor who lost faith in what her profession was telling people about this disease. This is well worth a read, so if you missed it, look below!
Why This Breast Surgeon Changed Her Stance
About What Causes Cancer
How YOU Can Radically Slash
Your Risk of Becoming a Victim
She was trained as a board-certified breast surgeon – performing breast reconstructive surgeries on women who’d had full mastectomies from breast cancer. And she was a spokesperson for the American Cancer Society and fought for insurance coverage for breast reconstructive surgeries.
At one time she firmly believed there was no known cause – and no known cure – for breast cancer.
Then it struck her mother… a person who’d religiously followed all conventional advice… never missing an annual mammogram and regularly examining her own breasts. Her mother’s cancer was caught “early” by American standards, was less than 1 cm, and had not spread to her lymph nodes. Here’s what happened, and how it radically changed this surgeon’s mind about cancer. . .
In theory, this surgeon’s mother shouldn’t have died…but five years later, she did.
And that started a radical shift in Dr. Christine Horner’s thinking. Especially when she noticed that the women coming to her for surgery were ever younger. She began to search for a reason why.
From there, she discovered many things women could do to avoid being stalked and hunted down by this killer. She quit her practice and wrote a comprehensive book detailing her discoveries.
Her book, Waking the Warrior Goddess, tells the story of her transformative “breakthroughs” and her shift to an understanding of natural ways to be well.
In it, she creates a 30-step program (in chapter 29) that you can start by yourself or with other “warrior goddesses” for new control of your life and health. And let me say right now that most of her 30 steps will reduce the risk of ANY kind of cancer for ANYONE, woman or man.
Many of these potent strategies can singlehandedly lower your breast cancer risk. Combine a bunch of them, and you may be able to slash your risk to near zero.
Who this savage killer is…
Breast cancer is a voracious killer willing to stalk any woman out of her teens. But like a lion on the savannah, its preferred targets are “slow easy targets”.The disease prefers older woman with junk food diets, who carry around extra flab, and have suffered a major emotional trauma.
It’s even better if the prospect drinks a lot of alcohol, stays up half the night, works the night shift, and thinks organic fruits and vegetables are a waste of money. Thriving on stress, hating exercise, and burning the candle at both ends all add fuel to the fire. Again – let me stress that the same is true for other types of cancer.
Dr. Horner’s book will teach you how to become as unattractive to this monster as possible.
She wants you to know you are FAR from powerless…
You can radically lower your risk, and improve your chances of survival even if you already have cancer.
Start with one thing…
Dr. Horner urges you to start with just one thing, and then add another every day, week, or month, until you’re implementing all 30 points in her plan.
Grab a friend or a group and make the journey together. The program is easy and stress-free, and with a friend by your side it’s even better. If you have teenage daughters, invite them to join in, too.
As the Chinese proverb says, “Be not afraid of going slowly; be afraid only of standing still.”
She prefers to call her plan 30 “customs”, rather than points or steps, emphasizing that every new thing you add will lower your risk of this dreaded disease.
Here are 12 from her list of 30:
- Eat fresh, organically grown fruits and vegetables every day, including cruciferous veggies such as broccoli and cabbage at least three to four times per week. Women who eat the most cruciferous vegetables have a 40% lower breast cancer risk.
A major part of Nature’s anticancer pharmacy, they contain phytochemicals, fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins.
Check out your local farmer’s market, health food store, or national chains like Whole Foods and Sprouts. Also CSA’s (Community Sponsored Agriculture), which are basically a co-ops that sell locally grown foods. If you enjoy gardening, grow some of your own food organically.
The “organic” part of this equation is especially important, as many pesticides, fertilizers, and herbicides cause cancer. And these days, genetically modified organisms are also a potential wild card for your health.
- Eat organic whole grains and seeds every day. Whole grains are conspicuously absent from the traditional American diet. But that doesn’t mean YOU should skip them. Realize that each plant contains its own blend of unique “medicines”. Be creative and have fun!
- Avoid health-destroying fats. Eat only those that promote your health – raw nuts, coconut oil, olive oil, avocado, macadamia nut oil, omega-3 fatty acids. And avoid anything with trans-fatty acids. Conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) and gamma linolenic acid (BLA) are two other healthy fats that help you sidestep cancer. They’re rare in foods, so must be taken in supplement form.
- Eat two to three tablespoons of flaxseeds every day. Research shows that flaxseeds are one of the most powerful medicinal foods you can eat. Make sure they’re organically grown. Grind them in a coffee grinder and sprinkle on vegetables and salads, add to smoothies, include as a grain in muffins, or take in supplement form.
- Eat exotic Asian food like maitake mushrooms often. They’ve been part of Japanese medicine for thousands of years, and contain an army of therapeutic weapons against breast cancer.
Maitake mushrooms stop tumor growth, make tumors shrink, and prevent them from spreading. They stimulate your immune system. When women with Stage 2 to 4 breast cancer were given maitake mushrooms, 68.8% of their tumors shrank. Eat them as a gourmet food, or take as a supplement.
- Drink green tea every day. Eight to 10 cups a day can lower your risk of breast cancer. And may extend your life if you already have cancer. Sip throughout the day, and it may not be so hard to drink that much. It can also be taken in supplement form if you dislike the taste or get too wired from the caffeine. (Green tea has much less caffeine than do black tea or coffee, but eight to ten cups is still a lot by my standards. Personally, I think the supplements are the most practical way to get the amount Dr. Horner recommends.)
- Consume turmeric every day. It’s extraordinary for fighting breast (and other) cancers. In fact, it’s considered the #1 anticancer spice. It inhibits cancer several ways… especially blocking the cancer-promoting action of the inflammatory COX-2 enzyme. It can be used as a spice, or taken as a supplement. Turmeric and green tea enhance each other’s anticancer effects. If you decide to take it as a supplement, look for curcumin, the concentrated extract of turmeric’s active ingredient.
- Avoid sugar. It’s a potent poison. Use stevia instead. Cancer loves sugar; it’s the preferred food of tumors. And it causes your insulin levels to spike, leading you straight to breast cancer, diabetes, and obesity. High insulin levels can increase your breast cancer risk by up to 283%.
- Lower your body fat. Obesity is linked to 20 to 30 percent of all postmenopausal breast cancers. Fat cells produce estrogen, especially after menopause.
Environmental toxins are linked to obesity… they disrupt your normal weight-control signaling. (Another reason to eat organic foods. And I might add that monosodium glutamate – MSG – likewise leads to obesity. This additive – under many different names – is found in most processed foods.)
- Strictly limit your alcohol intake. F. Scott Fitzgerald once wisely said, “First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.”
Even one alcoholic drink per day can be risky if you’re low in folate. So if you take a glass a day, also take a folic acid supplement to reduce your risk. Never regularly indulge in two or more alcoholic drinks per day.
Alcohol boosts your levels of estrogen and prolactin, and both stimulate cell division in your breasts that can turn into cancer.
- Throw out your toxic cleaning materials and cooking pans. Manufacturers are not required to list harmful chemicals, even though most products contain them. There’s an effective non-toxic alternative to replace every toxic cleaner.
Also watch out for other home toxins – in furnishings, construction materials, dry cleaning, personal care products, lawn and garden products, and more…
If you live in a new home, it’s likely the building materials will give off high levels of gases – “outgassing” — so it’s a good idea to buy a good air filter. Outgassing levels are much lower in older homes. Certain houseplants can absorb toxins, so put a few in each room. And keep the temperature cooler to lower outgassing.
- “Early to bed, early to rise…” An Irish proverb states, “A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.”
Go to bed by 10:00 pm, and be up by 6:00 am. You’ll be following Nature’s rhythms, letting your body claim its highest surge of melatonin, which is hugely protective against breast cancer.
For the other 18 action steps, consult Christine’s book, Waking the Warrior Goddess.
Final thoughts about this book…
Do I completely agree with everything Dr. Horner says? No. I think she’s wrong about a few things, including her soy recommendations.
And while most Americans could afford to decrease their protein, I don’t necessarily think ALL meat is bad. Some organic chicken, and even moderate amounts of grass fed beef, are thought to be healthy and are certainly hormone-free.
But you can be sure that eating conventional factory-farmed animals that were fed fattening (and GMO) corn and injected with a slew of drugs will be bad for your health.
Most doctors have absolutely no idea how to create extraordinary health. Do these things, and you’ll be way ahead of them. These steps could save your life.
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