The chemical curcumin (an extract found in the bright yellow curry spice turmeric) has long been thought to have healing powers and is already being tested as a treatment for arthritis and even dementia. However, in recent laboratory tests it has also been shown to destroy gullet cancer cells. They breakthrough came about when it was discovered that the curcumin triggered lethal cell death signals in the cancerous cell calling them to digest themselves.

Tumeric root - image credit Thamizhpparithi Maari
Dr Sharon McKenna - from the Cork Cancer Research Centre - and her team found that curcumin started to kill cancer cells within 24 hours. She said,

‘...Scientists have known for a long time that natural compounds have the potential to treat faulty cells that have become cancerous and we suspected that curcumin might have therapeutic value...’

Cancer experts say the findings in the British Journal of Cancer could help doctors find new treatments. This was confirmed by Dr Lesley Walker - director of cancer information at Cancer Research UK – who had this to say on the matter,

‘...This is interesting research which opens up the possibility that natural chemicals found in turmeric could be developed into new treatments for oesophageal cancer. Rates of oesophageal cancer have gone up by more than a half since the 70s and this is thought to be linked to rising rates of obesity, alcohol intake and reflux disease so finding ways to prevent this disease is important too...’

Each year around 7,800 people are diagnosed with oesophageal cancer in the UK making it the sixth most common cause of cancer death. This accounts for almost 5% of all UK cancer deaths.

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jo©o said...

Hiya Simon,
I had vaguely heard of this. So glad you reminded us. Fabulous if it turns out to be truly effective. I wonder if topical application would do something as well.

Gururaj said...

Simon, turmeric is an indispensable part of the Indian cuisine - it finds its way in almost every curry. This is probably one of the reasons why Indians are not as afflicted with cancer as are persons from other countries. I enjoy reading your articles about growing various plants from seeds.

Michelle said...

Hello Simon. Very interesting article - I will start cooking with tumeric more often - we love curries and will certainly make them more often. Thanks for sharing this important info. Michelle

FlowerLady said...

Very interesting and informative post about this wonderful spice. I will be checking out more recipes that use this. I am all for herbs and spices for our health.

Thanks for posting this and also for visiting my blog.


Nell Jean said...

Your posts are interesting and informative and need to be seen by more of us.

I came here by way of Blotanical, the page where it shows who is tops in picking blogs. I have not noticed your posts, and looking further noticed that 'feedburner' problem that some get. If you know about RSS feeds, you can fix it yourself. You can also use the Help button on blotanical and ask for Stuart's help, which will give you a boost.

http://pillandia.blogspot.com said...

Interesting and original site indeed!
Best wishes from an Estonian living in Italy

The Violet Fern said...

One of my favorite sources for spices, including turmeric, here in the US is Mountain Rose Herbs. Great post!

Di said...

Hello Simon,

Thank you for the message on Blotanical (still attempting to navigate) so I could find your site.

We love curry, and following this information will likely cook with turmeric more often. Thank you.

James Missier said...

Very interesting, these turmeric spice is a daily cooking stuff in my kitchen. Often used in indian cooking and even use it for skin ailments externally making them into a paste and applying on rashes.

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Your blog posting is very good and theme base for which it is liking to every people.Thanks for all information about TURMERIC SPICE - A CURE FOR CANCER, DEMENTIA AND ARTHRITIS?

Deana said...

I had no Idea about Turmeric,What kind of food would you use it in,Dementia runs in my family and if it works to help fight this crule thing I am all for it.And how do you make a paste with it?

Susan Higgins said...

I use turmeric and black pepper combined in foods that I prepare for my mom with Lewy Bodies Dementia; it helps her cognition and insomnia. It's an incredible spice... real food is the best medicine.

Anonymous said...

Really like your growing advice but your science info is off the mark. You have read an article that has no real research. Yes turmeric kills cancer cells in a petri dish, but you would have to eat over 100g a day to have any effect on cancer in humans. Please do not give people false hope. Or good luck eating that much curry!