Curcumin is a naturally occurring chemical compound that is found in the spice turmeric. The two words are sometimes used interchangeably, but the technical difference between the two is that turmeric is the yellowish powder used to flavor foods, while curcumin is a chemical contained within turmeric. In Indian and Asian cultures, turmeric and curcumin have a long history of use as a traditional herbal medicine. Western medicine is beginning to study the potential of turmeric in treating diseases such as arthritis, cancer, and diabetes.
Studies have shown curcumin helps prevent several forms of cancer including breast, lung, stomach, liver and colon. It stops development of cancer by interfering with the cellular signaling aspects of this chronic disease.
Interestingly, my research unveiled curcumin has “smart kill” properties that actually work to inhibit the growth of tumors and the spread of cancer in fundamental ways at the cellular level. It has the laboratory-proven capability to inhibit a particular cancer-promoting enzyme (COX-2), impede blood supply to cancer cells, induce tumor-suppressing genes, stop metastasis, kill lymphoma cells and prevent the regrowth of cancer stem cells.
The ability to target cancer stem cells is one of the curcumin’s most powerful anti-cancer properties. In fact, according to GreenMedInfo.com, a recent study describes the wide range of molecular mechanisms presently identified by which curcumin attacks cancer stem cells (CSCs), which are the minority subpopulation of self-renewing cells, within a tumor colony. These stem cells alone are capable of producing all the other cells within a tumor, making them the most lethal, tumorigenic of all cells within most, if not all, cancers. Because CSCs are resistant to chemotherapy, radiation, and may even be provoked toward increased invasiveness through surgery, they are widely believed to be responsible for tumor recurrence and the failure of conventional cancer treatments. These are compelling findings, indeed.