Curcumin, the key ingredient of curry is not only a tasty spice, but also a great medicinal ingredient. Used for centuries in folk medicine, particularly Ayurveda, curcumin now is showing its benefits in scientific studies. Scientists are now focusing on the anti-cancer quality of curry. Using curry for cancer is not only non-toxic but effective.
Prostate cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer, particularly in the Western world, and is often found when the cancer has already spread to other organs (metastasis). Curcumin shows promises in managing advanced or metastatic forms of prostate cancer. Based on a 2012 study, it appears that the main mechanism of action of curcumin is that it decreases the expression of two proteins called cytokines CXCL1 and CXCL2, and these two proteins are known to promote inflammation and play a role in the development of metastasis associated with prostate cancer.
The incidence of lung metastases associated with advanced breast cancer also can be favorably influenced by curry, according to scientists from Ludwig-Maximillians University Munchen in Germany.
Colon and Rectal Cancer
Curcumin also inhibits the conversion of normal cells into cancerous cells of the colon and rectum and if occurred, it stops the progression of tumor growth. It also appears that curcumin is arresting the cancer cells in a certain cell phase that does not allow it to grow, but rather die. Curcumin also inhibits the growth of DNA defective cancer cells of the colon, according to a 2002 study conducted by researchers from The University of California, San Diego. This is incredible news for colon cancer sufferers, considering that this form of cancer is very difficult to treat and is resistant to many chemo drugs.
Ovarian cancer patients can also benefit from curcumin, another phytochemical called anethole in addition to standard chemotherapy. Another recent study from The University of Sydney, Australia, showed that these two chemicals work synergistically along with standard chemo drugs as anti-cancer agents, and using them together may reduce the risk of cancerous cell resistance to chemotherapeutic agents.
Curcumin along with a protein called anti-Ki-67, could be a viable treatment against the proliferation of bladder cancer cells, indicates a November 2012 study featured in PlosOne. This study found that curcumin has the ability to inhibit cancerous cells of the bladder in transitional cell carcinoma. While curcumin and anti-Ki-67 combined showed an inhibition of cancerous cells of over 85%, where separately they showed lower effects with Ki-67-7 (14%) or curcumin (13%) alone.
Beside it’s anti-cancer qualities, curcumin has been shown to have many other medicinal qualities such as helping to manage bacterial and viral infections, heart disease, stomach ulcers, osteoarthritis, ulcerative colitis and indigestion. In order to achieve therapeutic effects, curcumin should be taken in higher doses than those achieved by using it as a spice. For example, daily doses of up to 3 grams a day of dried, powdered root, or 15-30 drops turmeric tincture (1:2) 4 times a day. Always check with a healthcare professional before taking a supplement to learn more about its optimal dose, safety and possible interactions with conventional drugs or other herbs.