Turmeric (Curcuma longa) has long been associated with broad spectrum natural cures and the herb has more popularly been known for its antiseptic and cosmetic properties. Curcumin, its active compound, which is responsible for providing the yellow colour to turmeric, has been widely used since ages in Ayurvedic or traditional Indian medicine for its anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic properties. It is a natural compound produced by the turmeric plant and curcumin is essentially the most potent cancer-killing component of turmeric.

Anti-Cancer Effect of Curcumin

Curcumin, the active compound derived from turmeric offers maxima action and support for keeping the dreaded ailment of cancer at bay. The compound is believed to interfere in all stages of cancer development, proliferation and invasion of the cancer cells and also during the processes of metastasis. Though, the anti-carcinogenic upshot of curcumin might be due to its ability to induce apoptosis by numerous pathways. The component is also believed to hinder tumour initiation and promotion, as well as various stages of cell multiplication, invasion and angiogenesis.

How Curcumin Inhibits Cancer!

Many researches have shown that curcumin does have anti-cancer effect. It has the potential to kill cancer cells and prevent them from growing further. Although, curcumin is being investigated scientifically to act as an anti-cancer agent for all types of cancers, it is regarded to be especially useful to treat breast cancer, and cancers of prostate, colon, skin, and stomach. It is also deliberated that the reason why curcumin works effectively in this regard is that the compound gets absorbed into the cancer cells and thus inhibits various molecules responsible for cancer development and progression.

Why Curcumin makes Better Choice?

Curcumin has specialized anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. It needs to be understood that while cancer is a hyper-proliferative disorder and there is unusually high rate of proliferation of the cells, many a times the chemotherapeutic drugs and treatments which are used sparingly to combat the cancer cells, generally leave toxic after effects on the patient. And yet as the USFDA has approved Curcumin as “Generally recognized as Safe (GRAS)”, using the natural herb compound along-with would provide a synergetic effect. Curcumin can hence be used effectually along with the standard chemotherapy drugs to combat the cancer cells and also minimize the toxic side-effects on the cancer patients. This facilitates combating of the cancer cells and as well hinders tumour formation and diffusion further in various tissues of the body. It is also believed to promote healthy functioning of the body cells and curcumin exhibits a big promise as a therapeutic agent due to these properties. And thus even when Curcumin is used along with the chemotherapy, this would help treat cancer patients better.

How does this help?

Most of the medicinal properties and health benefits exist in curcumin which also include prevention of cancer. Curcumin has been found to possess anti-cancer activities via its effect on a variety of biological pathways involved in mutagenesis, oncogene expression, cell cycle regulation, apoptosis, tumour genesis and metastasis. Curcumin has an activity in many molecular targets within cells of the body. Although, it has not been proven as yet whether it increases the interaction of molecules between the cells or decreases the same, it can be stipulated is that curcumin has certain anti-cancer effect. While this compound is believed to be able to eradicate the cancer cells and prevents more cancer cells from growing, at the same time it does not affect the healthy cells. Curcumin also helps in anti-angiogenesis. This means that it prevents in increasing the blood supply, which is necessary for growing cancer cells.

Studies Published

  1. Possible action mechanism for Curcumin in pre-cancerous lesions based on serum and salivary markers of oxidative stress. This study was published in the Journal of Oral Science, Vol. 52, No. 2, 251-256, 2010. 100 patients with oral leukoplakia, sub mucous fibrosis and lichen planus were given daily dosage of 1000mg Curcumin. The study revealed that Curcumin mediates its anti-pre-cancer activities by increasing levels of vitamins C and E, and preventing lipid peroxidation and DNA damage (DNA Protecting).

2. Antifibrotic Effect of Curcumin in TGF-β1-Induced Myofibroblasts from Human Oral Mucosa Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, Vol 13, 2012. It is specified that Curcumin inhibits proliferation of fibroblasts and myofibroblast. It also disturbs the cell cycle, induces apoptosis and decrease the generation of collagen type I and III in myofibroblast (Anti-Fibrotic). Curcumin also induces apoptosis in myofibroblasts by down-regulating the Bcl-2/ Bax ratio.

Watch Video: 8 Best Ayurveda Benefits of Turmeric for Health & Beauty

About the Author:

Dr Sonica Krishan is Author and Speaker in the areas of Healthy and Joyous Living through Ayurveda, Meditation, Yoga and other Contemplative practices. She is a leading Ayurveda Professional in India. She is also Health Writer, Columnist, Editor, Ayurveda Consultant and Holistic Healing Coach. Dr Sonica is open for National as well as International Collaborations with interested people / institutions in fields of Ayurveda, Meditation and Yoga.

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