Curcumin – the active ingredient in turmeric – is making headlines again. And with good reason. Find out why we should all be eating this cheap, everyday ingredient regularly.

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We’ve known for a long time that curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, has a positive effect on health issues such as abnormal liver function, diabetes, blood clots, arthritis, muscular pains, heart disease, high cholesterol, low white blood cell count after radiation treatment, healing of wounds, Alzheimer’s disease and general wellbeing.

Current and ongoing research shows that curcumin also has a positive effect on many types of cancer, information that is backed by the fact that there are low rates of certain cancers in countries where people eat about 100 to 200 mg of curcumin regularly over long periods of time.

Reports published by US physician and natural health proponent Dr Allan Magaziner and Cancer Research UK named some of the studies into the effects of turmeric and curcumin on certain cancers. Here’s the info in a nutshell:

  • Curcumin in turmeric slows or limits the activity of the HPV virus, which causes oral and cervical cancers.
  • It can help kill lung cancer cells.
  • According to Cancer Research UK, early research suggests that giving curcumin to patients with pre-cancerous changes in different organs seemed to show that the extract could stop the pre-cancerous changes developing into cancer.
  • It suppresses breast cancer cell growth.
  • It may help prevent bone loss brought on by breast cancer cell bone metastasis.
  • It may make chemotherapy more effective in cases of colon and bowel cancer.
  • It may be a valuable nutritional supplement in patients with pancreatic cancer.
  • It may inhibit liver cancer growth.
  • It may inhibit leukaemia.
  • It may help treat melanoma.
  • It may assist patients with prostate cancer.
  • It causes cancer cell death in large-cell bone tumors.
  • It may be effective in fighting brain cancer, renal cell carcinoma and pancreatic cancer.
  • One of the most effective defence weapons our bodies have against illness and infection is inflammation, which is designed to ward off enemies such as bacteria, injured cells and chemical irritants. Without it, we probably wouldn’t survive beyond infancy. But there’s a dark side to inflammation – if it’s persistent it can lead to all sorts of health problems, including cancer. Curcumin is a powerful anti-inflammatory that inhibits excessive inflammation and can also fend off the development of metastases.
[pullquote style=”right”]It is apparent that curcumin is a featured player in the war on cancer.
Dr Magaziner[/pullquote]

How much curcumin should you take?

A daily intake of up to 8g of curcumin is regarded as safe.
Turmeric is one of the oldest and most widely used spices in Asian cuisine and Ayurvedic medicine. So use it every day. Sprinkle it on your food, grate fresh turmeric root or sprinkle organic turmeric powder into your smoothies and add it to teas.

Side effects of curcumin

Curcumin appears to have few or no side effects, although the effects of large amounts taken to treat or prevent cancer are yet to be tested. Turmeric may cause stomach pain if taken in large doses. Always consult your medical practitioner before taking natural remedies.


Acknowledgements & Photo credits

Article compiled for Flora Force by Judy Beyer.


  1. Magaziner, Alan. 2015. New research on anticancer properties of curcumin from turmeric. USA. Magaziner Center for Wellness.
  2. Cancer Research UK. Can turmeric prevent or treat cancer?
  3. Cancer Research UK. 2013. Feeling the heat: the link between inflammation and cancer.

Photo credits

  1. Photo by Simon A. Eugster (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons