6. Cancer treatment
Colorectal cancer is where curcumin seems to hold the most promise. Human studies done with colorectal cancer patients show a range of curcumin dosing (between 36 milligrams 3.6 grams daily of curcumin) producing positive results, with measurable decreases in some cancer markers.
Although they show promise, studies on curcumin’s potential for improving outcomes in pancreatic and breast cancer are not conclusive enough.
The marker indicating increased risk for prostate cancer, the PSA (prostate specific antigen) test, has been shown to lower in studies comparing the effect of placebo to curcumin plus isoflavones. But as with pancreatic and breast cancer, more studies need to be done to prove effectiveness and to define dosing.
The American Cancer Society considers supplementing with turmeric or curcumin to be a form of alternative medicine, and does not promote or condemn its use.
Because of its ability to block some inflammatory arthritis-related agents (cytokines and enzymes), The Arthritis Foundation seems to endorse the use of turmeric in the treatment of arthritis.
A 2017 study reviewed and summarized the findings of all clinical trials completed that addressed curcumin or turmeric and its connection to depression. These researchers conclude that curcumin “appears to be safe, well-tolerated, and efficacious among depressed patients”. These researchers found significant changes in both depressive symptoms AND anxiety symptoms when reviewing the studies on curcumin and mood.
Those who believe that the rate of aging is related to ongoing low-grade inflammation believe that curcumin shows hope for slowing aging. Curcumin’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects may slow the development of age-related diseases like heart disease and some cancers. There are no studies done that show definitive promise for what many think of when they hear “anti-aging”, which is gray hair and wrinkles.
Turmeric historically was very frequently used as a topical antiseptic and antibacterial treatment. You’ll find turmeric creams, pastes, and scrubs for sale claiming to cure acne. We have yet to see any scientific evidence (with human clinical studies) showing improvements in acne after using turmeric, so if you are considering zapping your zits with turmeric, shop carefully.
In January 2017, The American Chemical Society released a statement saying that due to turmeric’s unstable state under physiological conditions and the fact that it’s not readily absorbed by the body, it is too soon to “support its status as a potential cure-all.” The statement went on to say that there may be some serious potential with turmeric/curcumin, but more human studies are needed before definitive conclusions and recommendations can be made.
More conditions treated by turmeric as an herbal medicine:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Red eye
- Skin cancer
- Urinary tract infections
- Liver ailments
- Menstrual symptoms
- Colic in babies
- Abdominal pain
- Gallbladder ailments
- Low appetite
- Inherited colon cancer
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Low appetite