Turmeric is one of nature’s most well-known “healing” spices. This humble root, with it’s distinctive sunny color, has a centuries-old history of medicinal use, in addition to its widespread culinary use in everything from curries to condiments.
We’ve already looked at turmeric’s unique compounds which contribute its beneficial properties. These properties have demonstrated numerous applications for alleviating a variety of physical and even mental ailments. In the last 25 years, over 3000 studies and publications have come out demonstrating the benefits of turmeric. Clearly, modern medicine is beginning to fully appreciate its significance.
One of the most exciting aspects of turmeric currently being further explored are its anti-cancer properties.
“Cancer is not a disease, it’s your own body working against you; certain cells have turned against you. Periodic cleansing of the body is good to prevent this from happening. Consumption of turmeric on an empty stomach is a very effective cleanser. This may not be effective after you get cancer, but otherwise, swallowing a marble-sized turmeric ball and neem ball, first thing in the morning acts as a great cleanser and takes away the cancerous cells in your body.” – Sadhguru
Below, read more about some of the current research displaying cancer’s remarkable cancer fighting abilities:
Turmeric, the Cancer Fighter
Laboratory studies have also shown that curcumin interferes with the molecular pathways involved in cancer development, growth, and spread. Studies have shown that it can reduce angiogenesis (growth of new blood vessels in tumors), metastasis (spread of cancer), as well as contributing to the death of cancerous cells. Researchers have reported that curcumin inhibited the formation of cancer-causing enzymes in rodents. Multiple studies have shown that curcumin can reduce the growth of cancerous cells in the laboratory and inhibit the growth of tumors in test animals.
Head and neck cancers – According to a pilot study using human saliva conducted by UCLA researchers, curcumin suppresses a cell signal pathway which drives the growth of head and neck cancers.
During the study, 21 participants suffering from head and neck cancers were given two chewable curcumin tablets containing 1,000 milligrams of the substance each. The inhibition of the cell signaling pathway correlated with reduced expression of a number of pro-inflammatory cytokines, or signaling molecules, in the saliva that promote cancer growth, said Dr. Marilene Wang, a professor of head and neck surgery, UCLA Jonsson Cancer Center researcher and senior author of the study.
“This study shows that curcumin can work in the mouths of patients with head and neck malignancies and reduce activities that promote cancer growth,” Wang said. “And it not only affected the cancer by inhibiting a critical cell signaling pathway, it also affected the saliva itself by reducing pro-inflammatory cytokines within the saliva.”
Prostate cancer – Prostate cancer is one of the most common cancers, with more than 250,000 diagnoses in the US every year. Current prostate cancer treatment methods are limited to radiation, surgery and chemical agents. In the hopes of finding a more natural treatment option, researchers subjected prostate cancer cells to hormone deprivation in the presence and absence of curcumin with ‘physiologically attainable’ doses.
The researchers found that curcumin blocked two genetic receptors necessary for prostate cancer advancement. These receptors have been shown is past studies to predict cancer incidence and rate of growth of existing tumors. They noted that the spice extract was “a potent inhibitor of both cell cycle and survival in prostate cancer cells.”
The lead study author, Dr. Karen Knudsen and her team observed that other cancer cell lines multiply by a similar receptor mechanism which may also be inhibited by curcumin. She commented that curcumin “also has implications beyond prostate cancer… in other malignancies, like breast cancer. In tumors where these play an important function, curcumin may prove to be a promising therapeutic agent.”
Breast Cancer – Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer-related death among females in the world. According to a study conducted in 2008 and published in Cancer Prevention Research, curcumin inhibits the growth and spread of breast cancer cells by directly impacting the function of alpha6beta4 integrin, responsible for cancer progression.
In human breast cancer patients, curcumin doses as high as 3,600 mg a day have been shown to induce the following favorable anti-cancer effects:
- Paraptosis. A process similar to apoptosis (programmed cell death), curcumin initiates paraptosis only in breast cancer cells, resulting in their rapid destruction.
- Targeted destruction of cancer-cell mitochondria (leaving mitochondria in healthy cells unaffected).
- Disruption of the cancer cell cycle. Curcumin can “suspend” cancerous cells in a non-reproductive state within their life cycle, thereby halting their replication.
- Cancer cell downregulation. Curcumin blocks a group of molecules vital to the process of metastasis. In animal models, it has been shown to reduce metastatic spread to the lungs via this pathway.
- Arrested stem cell development. Curcumin inhibits growth and renewal of so-called cancer stem cells, aberrant cells now believed to be at the root of many cancers, including breast cancer.
Curcumin has also been shown to effectively combat cervical cancer, a leading cause of cancer death in women in developing nations and a common cancer in this country. It is caused largely by infection with the human papilloma virus, or HPV. Curcumin’s anti-inflammatory effects break the link that triggers HPV-induced cancer development.
Gastrointestinal Cancers – Colorectal cancer is the third most common malignancy in adults and the second leading cause of cancer deaths. Despite aggressive surgical care and chemotherapy, nearly 50% of people with colorectal cancers develop recurrent tumors.This may be due in part to the survival of dangerous colon cancer stem cells that resist conventional chemotherapy and act as “seeds” for subsequent cancers. These “seeds” follow a predictable sequence from non-malignant polyps to full-blown cancerous growths, usually requiring a decade to develop.
Much as with malignancies of the breast, cervix, and prostate, curcumin slows the progression from colon polyp to cancer by fighting the inflammation triggered by NF-kB and pro-inflammatory cytokines. This stops the growth of cancer cells before they can become tumors.
Curcumin also creates a gastrointestinal environment more favorable to optimal colon health by reducing levels of so-called secondary bile acids, natural secretions that contribute to colon cancer risk. That has a direct effect, inhibiting proliferation of cancer cells and further reducing their production.
Curcumin also synergizes with standard chemotherapy drugs, helping to boost their efficacy and potentially reduce the dose of toxic chemotherapy products, minimizing needless harm and suffering for cancer patients. Curcumin increases colon cancer cell response to radiation.
A novel feature of curcumin is its ability to bind to and activate vitamin D receptors in colon cells. Vitamin D is known to exert potent anti-cancer properties.
Curcumin is equally powerful at preventing cancers in the stomach. It inhibits growth and proliferation of human gastric cancer cells in the laboratory and is particularly effective in stopping cancers that have become resistant to multiple drug treatment. Curcumin can prevent gastric cancer cells from progressing through their growth cycle, blocking further tumor growth. (Source)
Brain Cancer – Researchers experimenting with curcumin in the treatment of a fatal brain cancer known as glioblastoma (GBMs) published their groundbreaking findings in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry in July 2011. Adding scientific basis to previous findings surrounding the positive effects of curcumin, they showed that the compound dramatically decreased brain tumors in 9 out of the 11 studies examined by 81 percent. Furthermore, there was no evidence of toxicity, whereas chemotherapy and other cancer treatments often result in extreme side effects that are sometimes worse than the actual disease.
Pancreatic Cancer – Researchers who posted their findings in Molecular Pharmacology classified curcumin as a pancreatic cancer cell inhibitor back in 2009, concluding that the spice extract showed potential as a chemopreventive or therapeutic agent for pancreatic cancer.
Turmeric Usage for Health
Turmeric’s use as a spice and a household remedy has been recognized as safe for centuries. To date, no studies in either animals or humans have discovered any toxic effects associated with the use of turmeric, and it is clear that turmeric is not toxic even at very high doses.
For overall health, mix one tablespoon of Isha Ruchi turmeric powder with lukewarm water and form a small ball. Take one ball along with one Isha Ruchi neem powder ball of the same size with lukewarm water on an empty stomach in the morning.
Disclaimer – These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
“Neem and Turmeric were prescribed to me as a once a day first thing in the morning routine when cancer was suspected. This was prescribed by Sadhguru. I believe it was two years later that Sadhguru conducted a program for cancer patients, and their personal and medical caregivers. This same prescription was shared then.
My recovery post-surgery was quite remarkable. Aside from the pain medicine provided in the recovery room following surgery, I did not have the need for further medication and my incision healed at least twice as quickly as normal as per my surgeon. I felt totally healed and so energetic that my family had to remind me to take it easy. The traditional radiation and chemotherapies were discussed as was the Tamoxifen protocol, however I opted to not accept these recommendations pending my early diagnosis, clean margins from the lumpectomy, established yoga practice and inclusion of neem & turmeric (documented anti-cancer properties) into my vegetarian diet.
The medical team supported my decisions, being aware that my yoga practices and dietary regimen supported my immune system and natural healing of the body and having witnessed my remarkable postsurgical recovery. I attribute my continued cancer-free state directly to my Isha practice and the dietary recommendations provided as part of the program designed by Sadhguru.” – Margie Hudnell, Dayton Ohio
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