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Anti-Carcinogenic Properties of Turmeric

Updated on January 20, 2016


Turmeric is produced from the herb, Curcuma longa, which belongs to the ginger family. It is very commonly used in India and many parts of Asia. The yellow pigment extracted from this plant is known as Curcumin (diferuloylmethane). This pigment has been well studied for its anti-cancerous properties. It is also chemoprotective in nature. Its medicinal value has been recognized in case of a large number of diseases like arthritis, gastrointestinal infections stomach infections, etc.

Nutritional Value Of Turmeric

This spice is rich in minerals like Magnesium, phosphorus and calcium and certain vital vitamins like niacin, vitamin E and K, thiamin and folic acid. This spice shows wonderful health benefits. A consumption of 8,000 mg of turmeric per day is considered to be safe [1].


Turmeric Fights Against Different Cancers

Curcumin shows rich antioxidant properties and increases the levels of vitamin C and E within saliva. When tested on patients suffering from oral submucous fibrosis and oral leukoplakia, Curcumin, displayed anti-pre-cancer activities. The underlying mechanism was found to be the promotion of the increase in the levels of antioxidants and prevention of lipid peroxidation, which later protects the DNA from getting damaged [2]. Pancreatic cancer proves to be fatal, claiming life in most of the cases. Anti-cancer drugs like erlotinib and gemcitabine have shown positive effects only within <10% cases. When Curcumin was tested on patients suffering from pancreatic cancers, it showed significant biological activity. It was absorbed minimally by these patients but was well tolerated [3]. It stimulates the process of apoptosis within human glioblastoma cells by activating caspase 9 and 3. It has also been found to be effective in case of colon cancers and brain tumors.

Some Other Health Benefits Of Turmeric

A complex between Curcumin and phosphatidylcholine improvises the functioning of the joints and reduces the pain. This complex known as Meriva, has shown excellent results in patients suffering from osteoarthritis [4]. Curcumin controls the inflammation within the renal region and hence, can be effective in case of kidney disorders. Its antiseptic properties promote its use externally on cuts and burns. It helps in the digestion of fats.

How to include turmeric in our regular diet?

It can be consumed in the raw form or may be sprinkled on the curries and other items during the process of cooking. It can be taken along with hot tea for a soothing effect on the throat. Turmeric powder should be stored in air-tight containers. The health benefits are best preserved till six months and hence should be consumed before that. It does not lose its properties by cooking and hence, can be used in a large number of dishes.

Turmeric is a well researched spice which should form a part of our daily diet to keep a check on a number of deadly diseases.


1. Lao CD, Ruffin MT 4th, et al. Dose escalation of a curcuminoid formulation. BMC Complement Altern Med, 2006 Mar 17, 6, 10. PMID: 16545122.

2. Rai B, Kaur J, et al. Possible action mechanism for curcumin in pre-cancerous lesions based on serum and salivary markers of oxidative stress. J Oral Sci, 2010 Jun, 52(2), 251-6. PMID: 20587949.

3. Dhillon N, Aggarwal BB, et al. Phase II trial of curcumin in patients with advanced pancreatic cancer. Clin Cancer Res, 2008 Jul 15, 14(14), 4491-9. PMID:18628464.

4. Belcaro G, Cesarone MR, Efficacy and safety of Meriva®, a curcumin-phosphatidylcholine complex, during extended administration in osteoarthritis patients. Altern Med Rev, 2010 Dec, 15(4), 337-44. PMID: 21194249.


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    • profile image

      Matthew 2 years ago

      Hello! I stumbled upon this site and dedecid to make this for dinner as I had a mountain of kale to use! I cheated and used chickpeas instead of kidney beans, added basil and coriander and extra garlic. Oh and I also added a capsicum chopped into chunky pieces (red bell pepper for you Americans) in place of the turned out awesome! Looks beautiful and tastes even better I have packed a heap of it away in the freezer for future lunches and will definitely be making this again. Thanks!

    • purnasrinivas profile image

      purnasrinivas 4 years ago from Bangalore

      Really turmeric is a wonderful spice. In the good olden days, Indians used it as a cure fore many problems. But these days people hardly have time and patience to wait and watch the wonderful effects of turmeric. Instead of taking medicines, I feel that we need to try these home remedies at least for come common problems like cold, stomach infections, etc.

      Thank you DDE for appreciating my hub.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Anti-Carcinogenic Properties of Turmeric such a wonder spice for Indian foods

    • GClark profile image

      GClark 5 years ago from United States

      Helpful and interesting Hub. GClark