Worried about the side effects of breast cancer recovery drugs, a 44 year old survivor named Vicky Sewart refused to follow medical orders and instead radically altered her diet. One of her secrets? A common spice found in souks across the Middle East – turmeric. Can this ancient savory spice really benefit breast health?
Tumeric is a bright yellow and savory spice traditionally used to make curries. According to Dr. Andrew Weill, an American pioneer in merging holistic and allopathic medicine, “People whose diets are rich in turmeric have lower rates of breast cancer as well as prostate, lung and colon cancers.” In his 2005 article, Dr. Weill also references research that suggests the active component in turmeric, curcumin, may help prevent the spread of breast cancer by stopping the metastasis of the cells in other parts of the body.
He is an advocate for using whole herbs rather than the isolated, active ingredient. “My preference is for whole turmeric rather than isolated curcumin, because I believe in the synergy of all active elements in botanical medicines.”
Naturalsociety.com points to more recent confirmation of turmeric’s health benefits including its ability to slow down the growth of breast cancer cells.
Studies out of the University of California, San Diego, published in the British Journal, NATURE, have previously discovered a molecule known as RANKL. This molecule is found in aggressive breast cancer cells, which predict more life threatening disease. Aggressive cancer cells predict that the breast cancer will spread throughout the body, putting the body in a state of metatasis. Breast cancer patients often pass after cancer has metastasized to other body parts, ruining the functioning of vital organs such as the liver, lungs or brain.
Curcumin has been found to possess properties that reduce the expression of these deadly molecules within cancer cells, and can potentially slow the spread of breast cancer.
According to their report, several studies indicated that curcumin reduces tumors by 81%, which makes this favorite ingredient in ethnic cuisine a powerful natural anti-cancer tool. In addition to its use in curries, turmeric can be drinken as a tea, writes Dr. Weill. Side effects are minimal and include stomach upset, a small price to pay given the positive evidence for turmeric’s breast health effects.
Image of turmeric powder via Shutterstock
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