Curried dishes anywhere in the world would not be palatable without the use of the spice- turmeric. But turmeric is not only popular for culinary purposes but also for medicinal and therapeutic values. Turmeric has been used in Indian and Chinese medicine for thousands of years. It is popular for its anti-inflammatory properties. It is useful in treating the chest pain, toothache, flatulence, infection of urinary tract, jaundice, colic, bruises, menstrual disorders, etc. This is mainly attributed to the impact of curcumin, curcumin benefits in cancer, a compound found in turmeric.
Modern development is the discovery that curcumin can help in preventing and treating cancer.
Here is a list of curcumin benefits in cancer:
- It destroys cancer cells:
Cancer is a disturbance in signaling pathways of cells which cause cells to be immortal and proliferate excessively and thus leads to spread of cancer. The anti-cancer action of curcumin is by inhibiting signaling pathways of cells at multiple levels.
- It is a chemo-preventive agent:
Chemoprevention consists of administering agents that stop potential pre-malignant cells from turning into cancer. It curbs cancer in early stages and causes its termination. Curcumin not only kills cancer cells but also helps in its prevention. Scientists have identified Nuclear- factor Kappa B which is inhibited by curcumin to prevent cancer. Turmeric supplements have been found to lower risk of cervical, colon and breast cancer.
Metastasis refers to spread of cancer to other parts of the body. The cancer cells detach from a place of origin and travel to other places in the body via lymph and blood. They attack the immune system and develop into cancer in various body parts. This process causes most morbidity in cancer. Curcumin has been seen to prevent metastasis by checking the growth of cancer cells and not allowing them to attack other tissue.
- Stops progress of pre-cancerous lesions:
Curcumin works as a cancer-preventing substance. Oral doses of curcumin help control the progress of and reversal of developing precancerous lesions. This is particularly in the case of oral cancer. Intake of turmeric oil is also found to prevent the progress of cervical cancer.
- It has anti- carcinogenic qualities:
Carcinogens are driving forces of cancer. They could be elements of your diet or environment including radiation. Curcumin helps in counteracting the toxic impact of carcinogens, which help to prevent cancers.
- It has ant-tumor properties:
The tumor is a mass of cells which may be cancerous or benign (harmless). Curcumin has an antitumor property which can work along with other cancer treatments like chemotherapy and radiation. An enzyme called Telomerase makes tumor cells immune to cell death. Curcumin inhibits the work of this enzyme. It can thus treat a brain tumor. The antitumor impact of curcumin helps in the treatment of breast cancer, pituitary tumor, lung cancer, brain tumor, prostate cancer, etc.
- Stops angiogenesis in tumors:
Angiogenesis is usually a healthy process of cell growth like blood vessels. But, in the case of tumors, it aids in the growth of tumors. Curcumin inhibits this process in tumors. It cuts down the supply of blood to tumors.
- It is selective in targets:
As opposed to conventional anti-cancer substances which are toxic to both cancerous and normal cells, curcumin targets cancerous cells and saves normal cells from toxicity. Thus, turmeric can be used as a complement to current cancer treatments like radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
These are some benefits of curcumin compound found in turmeric to prevent and treat cancer.