A recent study shows promising results that turmeric may help prevent or treat cancer. Posted by Cancer Research UK, the findings show that turmeric’s main active ingredient, curcumin, could have anticancer properties.
A root from the ginger family, turmeric grows in many Asian countries and it has been used for many years in some herbal remedies. Also known as Indian saffron, jiang huang, haridra, and haldi, the turmeric spice is often used in Asian dishes and is the major ingredient of curry powder, and as a bright yellow food coloring agent.
In this particular study, a phase I clinical trial looked at giving curcumin to 25 patients with pre-cancerous changes in different organs. Research has also shown that there are low rates of certain types of cancer in countries where people eat curcumin at levels of about 100 to 200 mg a day over long periods of time.
A number of laboratory studies on cancer cells have shown that curcumin 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 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.