Researchers are stunned at the tremendous anticancer potential of turmeric
02/21/2019 // Ellaine Castillo // Views

Turmeric has proven itself to be an outstanding candidate for the treatment of cancer. In a study by researchers from Guangdong Medical University and the University of Macau in China, this superfood showed potent anticancer properties against chemo-resistant cancer cells.

Chemotherapy is one of the most commonly used conventional treatments for cancer. This drug-based approach aims to prevent cancer cells from dividing and growing by killing them. Unfortunately, chemotherapy has very low efficacy and many cancer cells are able to survive it. To make things worse, the cancer cells that survive can develop resistance to the treatment used, which makes it even more difficult to get rid of them. Moreover, chemotherapy doesn't just target cancerous cells but healthy cells as well. This leads to side effects like nausea, vomiting, hair loss, fatigue, low white blood cell count, bleeding, anemia, loss of appetite, and mental health problems.

There are different ways to overcome chemoresistance. These include targeting the adenosine triphosphate (ATP)-binding cassette (ABC) transporters, inducing cell apoptosis, inhibiting DNA repair, regulating metabolic reprogramming, or using combination therapy. But even with this information, chemoresistance remains a big challenge to chemotherapy.

There are many natural substances that are being considered as possible solutions to this problem. One of these is turmeric. Previous studies have shown that this superfood can improve the sensitivity of doxorubicin-resistant MCF-7 breast cancer cells. However, there are no prior reports on the anticancer effects of furanodiene or essential oil from turmeric on chemo-resistant cancer cells by means of ABC transporters regulation.


In this study, published in the journal Chinese Medicine, the researchers observed the expression and function of ABC transporters in doxorubicin-resistant MCF-7 breast cancer cells. They subjected these cells to treatment either by turmeric essential oil or furanodiene. Afterward, they evaluated the effects on the ABC transporters and the viability of the doxorubicin-resistant breast cancer cells. The results showed that turmeric essential oil and furanodiene significantly reduced the viability of the cancer cells. However, the observation also revealed that these two were not specific inhibitors of ABC transporters.

Overall, the results of this study suggest that turmeric has potent anticancer properties that work even against chemoresistant cancer cells. With further studies, this superfood could be used as a natural remedy against cancer. (Related: Turmeric able to 'smart kill' cancer cells... chemotherapy and radiation now medically obsolete.)

Other health benefits of turmeric

Over the years, turmeric has gained much attention for its many health benefits. Some examples of these include the following:

  • Supporting healthy joints -- Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. This compound is known for its potent anti-inflammatory properties that are great for relieving inflamed and swollen joints. To optimize this effect of turmeric, try eating it before symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis appear.
  • Promoting heart health -- Chronic inflammation is a major contributor to the development of heart disease. Fortunately, turmeric can effectively reduce inflammation. Moreover, this superfood can improve the lining of blood vessels so that they can properly regulate blood pressure and clotting.
  • Improving stress levels -- Turmeric is an adaptogen, which means that it can help manage stress levels. It does this by regulating the secretion of stress hormones in the body.
  • Reducing blood sugar levels -- This spice has long been used in Ayurvedic and traditional Chinese medicine as a remedy for diabetes. This traditional use is now backed with evidence from multiple studies which show that curcumin can help stabilize blood sugar. Additionally, this compound can reduce the risk of diabetes and its complications.

Sources include:

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