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Dandelions in the Middle East

dandelions-grass-salve

Dandelion is a powerful herbal medicine. You don’t hear much about its use in the Arabian Peninsula these days, but it was once highly regarded by the great Muslim physicians of the Middle Ages.

Its Latin name “Taraxacum” derives from medieval Persian writings on pharmacy, and was known to the Arabs as “tarashaquq.”

The Persian physician Al-Razi (Rhazes) wrote in Arabic in about 900 AD that “the tarashaquq is like chicory.” Ibn Sina (Avicenna) wrote an entire chapter on Taraxacum. Gerard of Cremona, translating Arabic works to Latin around 1170, spelled it “tarasacon.”

In a recent article, Natural News discussed the various traditional medicinal uses of dandelion, which many regard as an invasive weed:

The roots, leaves and flowers of the dandelion plant are a potent and healthy herbal medicine, although folks might think those yellow dots popping up in their landscape are just nuisance weeds. Not so, as reported by Reset.me, who emphasizes that the botanical name for dandelion – Taraxacum officinal – aptly describes its medicinal potential. Taraxacum translates into an “inflammation curative.” Officinal means that the lowly dandelion is revered as a bona fide, official medicinal plant. The use of the dandelion plant as a healing agent “predates written records,” but it is understood that the Greeks and the Chinese used dandelion compounds to aid in digestion, and as a liver tonic and diuretic.

New research has revealed that dandelion is a potential cancer-fighter:

Traditional herbalists, both in the East and the West, have utilized the properties of the dandelion for liver support and as a blood purifier. It is this blood purifying action that intrigued Canadian researchers at the University of Windsor to pursue whether dandelion roots could be effective for individuals suffering from end stage blood cancer. The team experimented by applying dandelion root extract into petri dishes on “blood drawn from a leukemia patient and lab rats.” They discovered that the “dandelion root extract was effective in inducing apoptosis, or cell suicide, in tumor cells, while leaving healthy cells alone.”

This remarkable outcome garnered approval to test their dandelion root protocol on thirty Canadian cancer patients. It is the first time in Canada that a natural extract has been approved for utilization in a clinical trial. The lead researcher is Dr. Siyaram Pandey, a biochemistry professor at Windsor, who discovered the power of dandelions from an oncologist whose own patients had had enough chemotherapy and chose to drink dandelion tea instead – and lived!

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