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The powerful anti-cancer properties of turmeric

powerful anti-cancer properties

Scientists have found a simple, but very effective way to destroy cancer cells and shield our liver against many deadly diseases. Turmeric, which has been used as a spice in Indian cooking for thousands of years had also been used in Indian and Chinese medicine for more than 4,000 years.

Numerous studies have revealed that turmeric has very powerful anti-cancer properties. Researchers say this yellow spice can protect our liver and stave off cancer and other diseases.

powerful anti-cancer properties

When western medicine discovered the powerful anti-cancer properties of curcumin, an active ingredient in turmeric, a pharmaceutical company in the United States tried to patent turmeric. This move angered health practitioners and suppliers from India because this spice had been in use in the country for thousands of years to treat diseases.

Read more 10 Proven Health Benefits of Turmeric and Curcumin

powerful anti-cancer properties
Grilled fish with turmeric (Image: Creative commons)

Read more Turmeric: The spice with strong healing power

According to scientists curcumin, found in turmeric is a powerful antioxidant which may be beneficial to fighting the following types of cancers:

  • Breast cancer
  • Skin cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Colon cancer
  • Esophageal cancer
  • Mouth cancer
  • Intestines cancer
powerful anti-cancer properties
Turmeric fields in a village in Bangladesh (Image: Creative commons)

How powerful anti-cancer properties of turmeric may fight cancer

  • It can stop the action of the enzyme COX-2. The enzyme is known to increase chronic inflammation in the body which is a precursor to cancer.
  • It has been shown to kill B-cell lymphomas which are blood cancer cells.
  • It has been shown to inhibit radiation-induced chromosome damage
  • Turmeric helps stop cancer from spreading to other organs.
  • Turmeric has been shown to impede vascular epithelial growth factors, meaning it stops the blood supply of tumors.
  • It shrinks tumor cells.
  • It helps prevent normal cell from turning into a cancer cell.
  • It prevents re-growth of cancer stem cells.
  • It is shown to inhibit metastases.

powerful anti-cancer properties

Curcumin’s powerful anti-cancer properties

New research has found that curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric induces cancer cell death and prevents cirrhosis. Laboratory and animal tests suggest that curcumin may prevent cancer, slow the spread of cancer, make chemotherapy more effective and protect healthy cells from damage when administering radiation therapy. [Read more Chocolate may boost cognitive skills within hours

A research which was published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, showed when the scientists administered curcumin as a medicinal dose, it efficaciously activated apoptosis of liver cancer cells. Apoptosis is the process of programmed cell death (PCD) and curcumin triggered the menacing cells to die. Researchers called it “promising phytomedicine in cancer therapy.”

“As curcumin ingestion is safe in humans, it may be reasonable to assess in clinical studies the beneficial effect of curcumin in slowing the development of liver cirrhosis,” the authors of the study wrote in their conclusion.

A study was performed on mice by the scientists at University of Texas. This study which was published in Biochemical Pharmacology in September 2005 showed that curcumin prevented the breast cancer cells from spreading to other parts of the body. [Read more Yoga may improve arthritis symptoms, new study says]

Turmeric rice (Image: Creative commons)

According to Bharat Aggarwal, the lead researcher of the study, “Curcumin acts against transcription factors, which are like a master switch.” He added, “Transcription factors regulate all the genes needed for tumors to form. When we turn them off, we shut down some genes that are involved in the growth and invasion of cancer cells.”

Ovarian cancer is troublesome to treat through conventional methods because of chemotherapy and radiation resistance. A study published in the Journal of Ovarian Research in 2010 found that ovarian cancer can be effectively pre-treated with curcumin in order to enhance the effectiveness of conventional cancer treatment.

Turmeric’s powerful anti-cancer properties destroys Leukemia cells

In London, a research paper, presented at a childhood leukemia conference, showed that children who ate food cooked with turmeric had a lower risk of developing childhood leukemia. The prevalence of leukemia is much lower in Asian countries than in Western countries. Scientists believe that this is due to the regular use of turmeric in Asian diets. Prof. Moolky Nagabhushan from the Loyola University Medical Centre of Chicago, investigated turmeric’s effects through a series of studies over the last 2 decades. [Read more Eating turmeric, red grapes, apple peels could help ‘starve’ prostate cancer cells]

“Some of the known risk factors that contribute to the high incidence of childhood leukemia are the interaction of many lifestyle and environmental factors. These include prenatal or postnatal exposure to radiation, benzene, environmental pollutants and alkylating chemotherapeutic drugs. Our studies show that turmeric—and its coloring principle, curcumin—in the diet mitigate the effects of some of these risk factors,” said Dr. Nagabhushan.

powerful anti-cancer properties

Turmeric fights colon cancer

powerful anti-cancer properties

In 2007, American scientists conducted a laboratory study in which they combined curcumin with chemotherapy to treat colon cancer cells. The result showed that the combined treatment killed more cancer cells than the chemotherapy alone.

Department of Surgery at the Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia conducted a study to test the ability of turmeric to destroy colon cancer cells. The researchers looked at three kinds of colon cancer cells, p53(+/+), p53(-/-) HCT-116, and p53 HT-29.

The study revealed that curcumin killed cancer cells by reducing pro-caspase-3 levels, polymerase-1 cleavage and chromatin condensation.

Curcumin’s time and dosage-dependency method self-destructed the wild-type p53 HCT-116 cells, while it destroyed the mutant p53 HT-29 cells in a precise manner.

The scientists announced that turmeric does have powerful anti-cancer properties for managing bowel cancer. Curcumin is considered a king against bowel cancer because of its ability to impede the growth of neoplastic cells.

Prostate cancer annihilated by the powerful anti-cancer properties of turmeric

Prostate cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death among men in the United States. Around 500,000 new cases are diagnosed each year in America. However, the disease is a rare occurrence in men in India. This low risk is believed to be attributed to the diet rich in brassica family of vegetables and turmeric.


powerful anti-cancer properties

Healthy recipe to prevent prostate cancer


  • Cauliflower 1
  • Turmeric 1 ½  tablespoon
  • Small onion 1
  • Garlic 2 cloves, crushed
  • Chicken broth ½ cup
  • Olive oil 1 teaspoon
  • Sea salt as needed
  • Pepper as needed


Cut cauliflower in quarters and let sit for 5-10 minutes.

Sprinkle the cauliflower pieces with turmeric.

Add 1 tablespoon of chicken broth in a stainless skilled over medium heat. When the broth starts to bubble, add onion and stir frequently. After 5 minutes, add the crushed garlic.

Now, add the cauliflower pieces and cook for 5 minutes.

Turn off heat, remove from stove and top with olive oil, sea salt and pepper to taste.

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Salahuddin Ahmed is a freelance medical writer and blogger, who has been writing about medicine and health for more than a decade. A former New York transplant, he now lives in his native Dhaka. He received a Bachelor's degree from the University of Louisiana and a diploma on eTechnology from NIIT, Dhaka. A voracious eater, Salahuddin only dines at restaurants that offer free refills on rice.