Curcumin / Tumeric

Curcumin / Tumeric

"Imagine a natural substance so smart it can tell the difference between a cancer cell and a normal cell; so powerful it can stop chemicals in their tracks; and so strong it can enable DNA to walk away from lethal doses of radiation virtually unscathed. Curcumin has powers against cancer so beneficial that drug companies are rushing to make drug versions. Curcumin is all this and more. Curcuma longa is a ginger-like plant that grows in tropical regions. The roots contain a bright yellow substance (turmeric) that contains curcumin and other curcuminoids. Turmeric has been used in Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for centuries. But it's only within the past few years that the extraordinary actions of curcumin against cancer have been scientifically documented. Among its many benefits, curcumin has at least a dozen separate ways of interfering with cancer."

See" http://www.lef.org/magazine/mag2002/jul2002_report_curcumin_01.html Here is another case where the drug companies are trying to synthetically modify a natural substance which is perfectly capable of curing cancer.


Prevent Cancer with Turmeric

If you eat Indian curries, you know this spice. But did you know it may actually cut your cancer risk?
The Bottom Line

Research strongly supports turmeric's antioxidant benefits. It could help prevent and treat cancer, but more human studies are needed.

THE POWDERED RHIZOME OF THE turmeric plant is used to flavor and color Indian curries. Practitioners of Ayurveda, India's holistic medical system, prescribe turmeric for its antibacterial, antibiotic, anti-inflammatory, and digestive benefits. Only recently has the herb been studied for the prevention of diseases like cancer and heart disease.

How It works

Researchers believe the compound that gives turmeric its yellow color, known as curcumin, inhibits tumor-promoting enzymes and interferes with the growth of cancerous tumors. Because it's an antioxidant, curcumin neutralizes the free radicals that raise cancer and heart disease risk.

Evidence

Most turmeric research has been done on animals and in test tubes. Scientists have just launched human studies. Most studies use curcumin extracted from turmeric.

In a study published last year in Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention, scientists gave three groups of mice different amounts of curcumin extract for 15 weeks. Mice fed the most curcumin showed a 40 percent reduction in benign tumors caused by the same gene responsible for most types of colon cancer in humans. Mice fed the lowest amount of curcumin showed no reduction in tumor size.

Another study, published in 2001 in The Prostate, followed three groups of mice that were injected with human prostate cancer cells and developed malignant tumors. One group received curcumin extract when they were injected with the cancer cells, and another group received the extract two weeks later. A third group received no curcumin. After six weeks, the tumors in both curcumin groups were at least 70 percent smaller than the tumors in the placebo group.
A 2002 study in Arteriosclerosis, Thrombosis, and Vascular Biology examined curcumin's effects on atherosclerosis, hardening of the arteries, which can lead to heart disease. Researchers fed rabbits a highcholesterol, high-fat diet to induce atherosclerosis and then gave them either curcumin extract or a placebo. After 30 days, researchers found that the rabbits fed curcumin had about half as many fatty deposits in their arteries as the placebo group.

How to Take It

You'll find turmeric in capsule, tablet, and powder form. Some companies sell it as turmeric and others call it curcumin. Look for a supplement that contains about 500 mg curcumin per dose. Take one dose two or three times daily with food to prevent cancer and heart disease, says Thambi Dorai, Ph.D., an associate professor at the Comprehensive Cancer Center at Our Lady of Mercy Medical Center in New York City. Do not exceed 1,800 mg daily, Dorai cautions.
Purchase turmeric supplements in natural food stores or from websites that sell supplements, including www.iherb.com and www.herbsmd.com. Culinary turmeric doesn't contain enough curcumin to protect against cancer, Dorai says.

Caveats

When taken in recommended doses, turmeric appears safe. Don't take it if you are pregnant or have gastrointestinal ulcers, obstructed bile ducts, or gallstones.

Health Claims

Proponents say turmeric (Curcuma longa) may prevent colorectal, prostate, stomach, and other cancers, and could help destroy early-stage tumors. It may also protect against heart disease.
PHOTO (COLOR): The yellow pigment in this powder fights disease.
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By Meghann Peterson, Research editor at Natural Health.

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