Evaluating Information: Dandelion kills cancer

Use What Where or Not at All

Is dandelion root a treatment for cancer?

The internet is full of health claims and it is difficult to determine the fact from fiction. There have been several articles published through online media websites, health blogs and website about this health claim. So we are going to look at this article published on the ‘Natural News’ website:  

The headline of this article states “Dandelion root far more effective in fighting cancer cells than chemotherapy”. The article suggests recent studies have indicated that dandelion root is a treatment for killing cancer cells. 

Related articles 

Several articles and videos have appeared online making similar claims about the use of the dandelion root as an effective treatment for cancer. 

Determining the veracity of the health claim

Using the evaluation criteria, the following analysis has been conducted on this article: 


  • Who authored the content and what is their expertise?
    • Information about the author/ editors of the article cannot be located. In this case, we cannot determine the authority, expertise or qualifications of the author.
  • What type of site is it?
    • The 'About NaturalNews.com' section of the website suggest they are a 'science based natural health advocacy' organisation. Furthermore, they state "The site strongly criticizes drugs-and-surgery medicine, vaccines, corporate corruption, animal testing, the use of humans for medical experiments, the chemical contamination of foods, heavy metals in consumer products, factory farming and government corruption" 
  • Who is the intended audience?
    • The content on this website is aimed at the general public interested in natural health news. The articles on this website would not be suitable sources for evidence based research for tertiary students or scholars.


  • What evidence is presented?
    • The article does link to several sources. However, after following up these sources, it is evident the author has self-cited associated blogs and websites affiliated with this website. Another source ‘Healthy Solutions’ cited within the article has been deleted or removed from the internet.
    • Other sources cited link to press releases from the university and research team conducting the scientific research. 


  • When was the information written or published? 
    • The article was published in 2016 and the content on the webpage is current and is been updated regularly. 
  • Is the information up to date for the topic?
    • Health and medical research constantly changes and new developments and discoveries are being made. ​In the article, the authors mentioned researchers from the University of Windsor were undertaking clinical trials. It would be suggested to look at more recent articles for possible updates on the research trials and other research developments on the topic. 


  • Does the information cover my topic in sufficient depth? 
    • This can be answered by looking at the assessment task to see what is required or looking at the focus of the task and research topic.
  • Does the information meet the marking criteria for my assessment task? 
    • Again this would depend on the assessment task, it is important to look at the marking criteria or rubrics to see the source of information that you are required to locate and include. For example, look for keywords such as research articles or scholarly resources or literature.

The Verdict

It was found that prior to the article on NaturalNews.com being published online, a research team at the University of Windsor in Canada were beginning clinical trials in dandelion root extract (DRE) and the efficacy of its use as a treatment for blood cancers. After locating and evaluating the scientific literature, it is evident that the link between dandelion root extract and cancer is still in the early stages of research with human clinical trials yet to be conducted. So therefore, some of the claims in the NaturalNews.com and similar online news articles and blogs cannot yet be substantiated and would not be appropriate or credible sources of information.. 

A news article has also been published in December 2017 after concerns were raised about some websites and blogs reporting on the research and making unsupported and 'exaggerated' claims about the research into dandelion root extract as an effective treatment for some cancers:

False Internet claims about cancer cure trouble local oncologist

It would be more appropriate to use the VU Library health databases to follow up on any references or claims made in the article. The databases will provide access to current and relevant evidence based research published in peer reviewed journal articles. 

In this scenario, the links below would be more appropriate sources of information on this topic: