Can Turmeric Prevent or Treat Cancer? Find Out What the Studies Say!

Turmeric has been used for 4.000 years to treat a variety of conditions. Studies show that turmeric may help fight infections and some cancers, reduce inflammation, and treat digestive problems. It is also used in cooking, in mustard and to color butter and cheese. Turmeric has been used in both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine as an anti-inflammatory, to treat digestive and liver problems, skin diseases, and wounds.

There has been a great deal of research on turmeric’s anti-cancer properties, but results are still very preliminary. Evidence from test tube and animal studies suggests that curcumin may help prevent or treat several types of cancers, including prostate, breast, skin, and colon cancer. Tumeric’s preventive effects may relate to its antioxidant properties, which protect cells from damage. More research is needed. Cancer should be treated with conventional medications. Don’t use alternative therapies alone to treat cancer. If you choose to use complementary therapies along with your cancer treatment, make sure you tell all your doctors.

A number of laboratory studies on cancer cells have shown that curcumin does have anticancer effects. It seems to be able to kill cancer cells and prevent more from growing. It has the best effects on breast cancer, bowel cancer, stomach cancer andskin cancer cells.

Turmeric and parts to be used

Turmeric, a relative of ginger, is a perennial plant that grows 5 to 6 feet high in the tropical regions of Southern Asia, with trumpet-shaped, dull yellow flowers. Its roots are bulbs that also produce rhizomes, which then produce stems and roots for new plants. Turmeric is fragrant and has a bitter, somewhat sharp taste. Although it grows in many tropical locations, the majority of turmeric is grown in India, where it is used as a main ingredient in curry.

The roots, or rhizomes and bulbs, are used in medicine and food. They are generally boiled and then dried, turning into the familiar yellow powder. Curcumin, the active ingredient, has antioxidant properties. Other substances in this herb have antioxidant properties as well.

Turmeric and parts to be used

Turmeric, a relative of ginger, is a perennial plant that grows 5 to 6 feet high in the tropical regions of Southern Asia, with trumpet-shaped, dull yellow flowers. Its roots are bulbs that also produce rhizomes, which then produce stems and roots for new plants. Turmeric is fragrant and has a bitter, somewhat sharp taste. Although it grows in many tropical locations, the majority of turmeric is grown in India, where it is used as a main ingredient in curry.

The roots, or rhizomes and bulbs, are used in medicine and food. They are generally boiled and then dried, turning into the familiar yellow powder. Curcumin, the active ingredient, has antioxidant properties. Other substances in this herb have antioxidant properties as well.

Can turmeric prevent cancer?

Turmeric is also known as Indian saffron, jiang huang, haridra and haldi. It is a spice grown in many Asian countries. It belongs to the ginger family and is a major ingredient of curry powder.

The main active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin or diferuloyl methane, which laboratory studies have shown does have anticancer effects on cancer cells.

A phase I clinical trial looked at giving curcumin to 25 patients with precancerous changes in different organs. This study seemed to show that curcumin could stop the precancerous changes becoming cancer.

Research has also shown that there are low rates of certain types of cancer in countries where people eat curcumin at levels of about 100mg to 200mg a day over long periods of time.

But currently there is no conclusive research evidence to show that turmeric or curcumin can prevent or treat cancer.

What the studies say?

A number of laboratory studies on cancer cells have shown that curcumin does have anticancer effects. It seems to be able to kill cancer cells and prevent more from growing. It has the best effects on breast cancer, bowel cancer, stomach cancer and skin cancer cells.

A 2013 international laboratory study looked at the effects of a combined treatment with curcumin and chemotherapy on bowel cancer cells. The researchers concluded that the combined treatment might be better than chemotherapy alone.

A 2007 American study that combined curcumin with chemotherapy to treat bowel cancer cells in a laboratory showed that the combined treatment killed more cancer cells than the chemotherapy alone.

An  American phase 2 study reported in 2008. 25 patients had curcumin treatment and 21 had tumours that could be measured. In 2 patients their tumours shrank or remained stable. In some patients their levels of particular immune system chemicals that destroy cancer cells went up. But the researchers found that blood levels of curcumin were very low because it is not well absorbed from the gut. Scientists have since developed injectable, fat soluble forms of curcumin which may improve the results.

Laboratory studies have also shown that curcumin interferes with cancer development, growth, and spread. Researchers have reported that curcumin blocked the formation of cancer-causing enzymes in rodents.

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