Turmeric, the Potential Cure for Cancer Found in Indian Food

Turmeric, the main ingredient in curry, has had a reputation for being a "holy powder" with healing powers for centuries in India. From its anti-inflammatory effects to its ability to slow bleeding, there's a long list of ailments for which turmeric is a remedy, and a growing pile of evidence shows that cancer is on that list, too. In a study published on Thursday, researchers at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center describe how curcumin, the primary component of turmeric, effectively changes the molecular behavior of human saliva and slows the growth of mouth cancer. Previous studies have shown that cumin is effective in treating various types of cancer, and with the new knowledge, scientists hope to turn curcumin into part of the cure.

The UCLA team first found evidence of curcumin's cancer-fighting effects in 2005 and have been studying the exact effects since then. This latest study sampled the saliva of 21 subjects who suffer from head and neck cancers before and after they chewed on curcumin. Lab results showed that the compound activated cancer-fighting enzymes in the subjects' saliva. The discovery could shed light on other research that shows how turmeric boosts the effects of chemotherapy and helps slow cancer growth in other parts of the body like the colon and ovaries in women. Simply eating turmeric isn't enough, explained lead researcher Dr. Marilene Wang. The compound needs to be concentrated in supplement form to show any real effects, but researchers are hopeful.

Read the full story at The Atlantic Wire.

Presented by

The Atlantic Wire is your authoritative guide to the news and ideas that matter most right now.

Google Street View, Transformed Into a Tiny Planet

A 360-degree tour of our world, made entirely from Google's panoramas

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register.

blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Google Street View, Transformed Into a Tiny Planet

A 360-degree tour of our world, made entirely from Google's panoramas

Video

The 86-Year-Old Farmer Who Won't Quit

A filmmaker returns to his hometown to profile the patriarch of a family farm

Video

Riding Unicycles in a Cave

"If you fall down and break your leg, there's no way out."

Video

Carrot: A Pitch-Perfect Satire of Tech

"It's not just a vegetable. It's what a vegetable should be."

Video

The Benefits of Living Alone on a Mountain

"You really have to love solitary time by yourself."

More in Health

Just In