by Leesha Chamberlain
August 19, 2014
Turmeric is one of those spices that you have likely heard of but may not be overly familiar with, unless of course you are a devout fan of Indian and Asian cuisine. Either way, turmeric is a spice primarily grown in India and the tropical regions of Asia – hence its use in these exotic fares.
The spice is one that has not only been used in cooking for centuries but also has a long history of medicinal use. With origins in herbal remedies from China, India, and Indonesia, the spice is now becoming more widely used across the world. It is not necessarily the spice itself that is so effective medicinally, though, but rather its active compounds, like curcumin, that make it a sought after medical treatment.
While most researchers aren’t announcing turmeric as the “cure-all” for cancer, many are reporting the compound as one with “potent anti-cancer activity” including the potential to slow or even prevent the growth of cancer cells altogether.
According to a study shared by Cancer Research UK, data shows that curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, can stop the growth of precancerous cells in a variety of different organs.
Turmeric Treatment for Cancer
Understanding the function of the spice lends a little more light to the subject of treating cancer.
According to the American Cancer Society, turmeric is considered a potential treatment for a few different reasons. Ultimately, the spice contains the active component curcumin, an ingredient with powerful healing potential.
The American Cancer Society notes that curcumin is a potent antioxidant, so it protects your body’s cells from damage associated with activated molecules known as free radicals.
Studies have even shown that the compound is effective for interrupting the molecular progression of development, growth, and spread of cancerous cells.
In addition to serving as an antioxidant, the supplement is also an active anti-inflammatory agent. As such, the remedy can also alleviate issues with inflammation in the system that may be contributing to cancer development and progression.
Not only is turmeric effective for treating cancer itself, but it can also help relieve symptoms associated both with cancer and other treatments for the illness. Historically, turmeric has been used to treat intestinal issues as well as immune deficiencies.
The spice is also effective for relieving nausea, vomiting, and pain associated with cancer and treatment. The supplement boosts your immune system so that you are less likely to develop other illnesses in conjunction with cancer.
As turmeric is a fairly new discovery for cancer treatment, more research needs to be done before it becomes a widely accepted treatment option. Nonetheless, several researchers have found promising data to support this claim.
The American Cancer Society mentions a study that found that curcumin can kill cancer cells in isolation in laboratory dishes. The same study also showed that any surviving cancerous cells grew much slower than before treatment.
The Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center also states that curcumin improved general health of patients studied in regards to treating colorectal cancer.
According to research presented by Cancer Research UK, curcumin does have anticancer effects on cancer cells.
Additionally, an American study conducted in 2007 demonstrated that curcumin used in conjuction with chemotherapy killed more cancer cells than chemotherapy alone. Research suggests that this treatment has the greatest effect on breast, bowel, stomach, and skin cancers.
Should I Know Anything Else About Turmeric?
Obviously, turmeric as a cancer treatment is a relatively new development and much more research needs to be done. As with any holistic treatment, it is best to work with your doctor to select an appropriate treatment plan that combines conventional medical practices with research-based natural remedies to attain the most health benefits.
It is also important to note that curcumin is the most potent ingredient in turmeric for treating cancer cells, so many individuals seek a purer form of this compound to use for treatment. In any case, you can use the spice or its derivatives to make tea, use as a topical paste, or take as a capsule with many of the same health benefits.
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