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Turmeric in the fight against cancer

Among the many benefits attributed to Turmeric or Curcumin, its cancer-fighting abilities are now being intensely researched. Turmeric's anti-inflammatory effects, anti-oxidant activity and its ability to modulate the immune system are said to be the reason for its beneficial effects on diseases such as arthritis, Alzheimers disease, heart disease and cancer.

In a study in Germany, it was shown that turmeric extract had the most potent antioxidant activity as compared to garlic, artichoke leaf, devils claw root and salmon oil.

Turmeric's tumor suppressive activity was shown in a study at the University of Leicester, London. It inhibited COX2 an isoform which in excessive quantities causes colon cancer, breast cancer and skin cancer. Curcumin was able to suppress and block tumor progression by five mechanisms including antioxidation, inhibition of arachidonic acid metabolism, modulation of cellular signal transduction pathways, inhibition of hormone and growth factor activity and inhibition of oncogene activity.

Turmeric has been shown to be a broad spectrum anti-cancer agent. Scientists at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center have stated that "extensive research over the last 50 years has indicated this polyphenol can both prevent and treat cancer. The anticancer potential of curcumin stems from its ability to suppress proliferation of a wide variety of tumor cells, down-regulate transcription factors NF-kappa B, AP-1 and Egr-1; down-regulate the expression of COX2, LOX, NOS, MMP-9, uPA, TNF, chemokines, cell surface adhesion molecules and cyclin D1; down-regulate growth factor receptors (such as EGFR and HER2); and inhibit the activity of c-Jun N-terminal kinase, protein tyrosine kinases and protein serine/threonine kinases. In several systems, curcumin has been described as a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent. Evidence has also been presented to suggest that curcumin can suppress tumor initiation, promotion and metastasis. Pharmacologically, curcumin has been found to be safe. Human clinical trials indicated no dose-limiting toxicity when administered at doses up to 10 g/day. All of these studies suggest that curcumin has enormous potential in the prevention and therapy of cancer. "

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