You might have heard about curcumin and its medicinal uses. In fact, curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric and is said to be responsible for the therapeutic properties of the spice. Turmeric has natural phenols, called curcuminoids and curcumin is one among them. Turmeric is widely used in India and some other southeast Asian countries. It is also an important ingredient used in the traditional medicine of India and China. But, it has been observed that this spice is sparsely used in the Western countries, where, many are unaware of its existence. But, with recent researches suggesting its possible health benefits, turmeric as well as curcumin is fast getting popular. One of the most important benefits of this compound is its possible anti carcinogenic effect. Let us take a look at the various aspects of using curcumin for cancer.
The health benefits of turmeric have long been identified by humans, who have been using it for treating various ailments. Recent studies confirmed that the active ingredient in turmeric, called curcumin, has strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It is also said to have anti fungal and anti bacterial properties. So, curcumin can be useful in treating as well as preventing a wide range of ailments. It is said to lower cholesterol and high blood sugar levels, thereby preventing medical conditions like heart diseases. It is also found to be beneficial in treating certain gastrointestinal disorders. Being an excellent anti-inflammatory agent, curcumin is considered as a safe alternative to commercial painkillers. Curcumin benefits include its use in managing inflammatory diseases like asthma, colitis, arthritis, etc. It has been suggested that curcumin may be effective in treating cancer, especially, those affecting the breast, prostate, lungs, and gastrointestinal tract. Continue reading this article to know more about the use of curcumin for cancer treatment.
How Curcumin Helps to Fight Cancer?
As per researchers, the combination of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin can be highly effective in preventing as well as treating cancer. Till date, various studies have pointed towards the action of curcumin in curbing cancer growth. The antioxidant property is beneficial in fighting free radicals, thereby preventing oxidative DNA damage, which can lead to cancer. It is said that curcumin acts from the very onset of cancer. Curcumin is capable of identifying cancerous cells and signaling them to self destroy. Such cell death is called apoptosis, before which, curcumin is said to stop the multiplication of cancer cells. So, curcumin induces cell death in cancer cells without affecting the normal ones. According to one study, curcumin can curb the development of breast cancer, by inhibiting the action of estrogen mimicking chemicals. It can also stop the inflammation caused by the enzyme COX-2, as such inflammation could be the precursor to cancer. Curcumin also suppresses vascular epithelial growth factors that are responsible for blood supply to the tumor. According to some researchers, the effectiveness of curcumin for cancer treatment can be enhanced, if it is used in combination with other anti cancer agents like green tea, resveratrol, etc.
Now you have a fair understanding about the possible course of action of curcumin in preventing and treating cancer. However, this anti carcinogenic activity of curcumin is not applicable for all types of cancer. Another point to note is that there is still no conclusive proof for this curcumin health benefit. Studies are still underway, however, curcumin supplements are being used both as a health supplement as well as herbal remedy. If you are interested in using curcumin supplements, contact your doctor and follow his instructions. Supplements are often recommended, because it is said that curcumin from diet is not properly absorbed by the body.