Turmeric mainly grows in India and is renowned to be a miraculous natural remedy for many health conditions. Curcumin is the major ingredient of turmeric. Although debatable whether turmeric can cure cancer or not, many clinical trials reinforce the belief that turmeric can definitely cure cancer. There are many countries where cancer rates are very low due to consumption of curcumin for prolonged periods of time.
Curcumin has the capabilities to inhibit precancerous conditions. Numerous lab studies have demonstrated the potential of curcumin’s anticancer properties in killing cancerous cells and further inhibiting their growth. This has more relevance to cure cancers related to breast, skin and stomach. Infact chemotherapy can be more effective when combined with curcumin rather than relying on chemotherapy alone. Curcumin can prevent cancer cells in the breast from spreading to other parts of the body. It has the potential to destroy mutated cancer cells thus preventing them from spreading throughout the body. It also inhibits the development of extra supply of blood that aids growth of cancer cells.
Based on a clinical study, some bowel cancer patients who had cancer spread to the liver, were made to take curcumin atleast for a week before surgery. The objective was to observe the level of curcumin absorbed by cells in healthy condition and cells affected by cancer. When the surgery was performed, the doctors observed from the liver tissue that the quantity of curcumin absorbed into the liver was not significant to cure cancer.They felt that the focus should be more on preventing tumors in the bowel. When curcumin is consumed in the form of capsules, it is available in blood in minimal amount after the gut absorbs it.
A secondary study performed in 2008, analyzed nearly twenty five patients who took curcumin for treatment and out of the twenty five, about twenty one had measurable tumors. The findings were pretty encouraging. Couple of patients experienced shrinking in size of their tumor. Few other patients experienced a boost in immunity that eradicated cancerous cells. Nevertheless, the level of curcumin in blood was not very satisfactory due to poor absorption by the gut. Hence curcumin in fat soluble form is more effective. Yet there needs to be an increase in clinical trials conducted on humans to ensure the efficacy of anticancer properties of curcumin to treat bowel cancer in humans.
Though the safety of turmeric as a cooking ingredient is well established, the safety of curcumin as a medicine is not completely proven, especially when it has to be taken in large quantity. Side effects such as stomach ache and problems in the skin are common thus requiring you to consult a doctor. Infact some supplements based on turmeric may contain nimesulide which is harmful to the liver, hence caution should be exercised not to have supplements with ingredients that may damage your body. Seeking medical advice before use of turmeric supplements is the best way to stay safe from adverse effects.