From Nature’s Pharmacy: Turmeric. (excerpted from Beating Cancer with Nutrition, by Patrick Quillin)
Until the late 20th century, the primary medicine available to keep the human species alive was botanical medicine, or herbs. Botanical medicine has been with us since before the dawn of time. Archeologists have found evidence of herbal collections from 60,000 years ago. There was evidence of the health benefits of turmeric.
Of the 391,000 species of plants on earth, some are trees in your neighborhood, some are vegetables and fruit in your grocery store, and some become favorites of the apothecary. 40% of modern drugs (OTC and prescription) are derived from plants or are a synthesized variation of plant extracts.
The beginning of all life on earth is photosynthesis. Plants harness the sun’s energy and combine carbon dioxide in the air with water to yield sugar, glucose. From that humble beginning, add some nitrogen and trace minerals, and the plants become Merlin the Magician in creating a bewildering assortment of phytochemicals.
Turmeric and Bioflavonoids
There are over 6000 known bioflavonoids in plants and another 600 known carotenoids. And this is just the beginning of the phytochemical soup produced by the plants of the earth. Some of these phytochemicals are so deadly that you not only cannot eat it, but cannot even cook your food over it, such as oleander. Yet oleander extracts are now being standardized and used to treat advanced cancer patients, with noteworthy success and minimal toxicity. Remember: the difference between a medicine and a poison is dosage.
Curry is an Indian spice mixture that includes turmeric as one of the flavoring agents. The active component in turmeric appears to be a bright yellow pigment, curcumin (a.k.a. Curcuma longa), which helps to enhance the immune system by protecting immune cells from their own poisons (pro-oxidants) used to kill cancer cells. Although common condiments like mustard are a good source of curcumin, curcumin is poorly absorbed unless 1% black pepper is added. More than coincidentally, the ancient recipe for curry includes turmeric and black pepper, among other herbs. Black pepper, or its concentrate, enhances the absorption of the curcuminoids from turmeric by 20 fold.
Turmeric Toxic to Tumor Cells
Curcumin appears to be a potent inhibitor of cancer. In animal experiments, curcumin was shown to be directly toxic to tumor cells. In a study with smokers, turmeric tablets were able to dramatically reduce the excretion of urinary mutagen levels (indicators of the possibility of cancer). In patients with skin cancers (squamous cell carcinomas) who had failed therapy with chemo, radiation, and surgery, supplements or ointment of turmeric were able to provide significant reduction in the smell, size, itching, pain, and exudate of the lesions.
Turmeric may be one of the more promising anti-cancer ingredients for 21st century oncology. Researchers find:
“Results obtained from animal studies and other laboratory studies indicate that curcumin may have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anticancer properties, in particular.”
A patented nanoparticle stabilized version of curcumin, C3 from Sabinsa, has been studied in advanced colon cancer patients.
Modern humanity struggles with various health challenges. Then we realize that we are ignoring the obvious: the healing power of nature, in this case with turmeric.