Turmeric or Haldi or Jiang Huang comes from the root of the Curucuma Longa plant. It has a tough brown skin and orange flesh. Curcumin is the major, active component of turmeric and has been used as an anti-inflammatory in both Indian and Chinese traditional medicine. Curcumin has shown a lot of promise in preventing and treating cancer.

Curcumin and Cancer

Many cancer patients take curcumin for its anti-inflammatory properties, anti-cancer activities, improvement of the quality of life and properties that help enhance conventional therapies.  In many small and uncontrolled studies, the preliminary findings indicate towards the potential of curcumin to treat cancer.

  • Anti-inflammatory properties – According to research, curcumin is capable of interacting with various molecular targets involved in inflammation. Pre-clinical research also suggests that curcumin usage can inhibit carcinogenesis in various cancer types like colorectal, pancreatic, breast, oral, etc.
  • Anti-cancer – In several small studies, curcumin has displayed anticancer properties. In one of the studies, soy isoflavones were combined with curcumin too. Some studies also showed decreased markers in cancer patients.
  • Enhances Conventional Therapies – In patients of myeloid leukemia, it was found that curcumin enhanced the effectiveness of the chemotherapy imatinib treatment.
  • Improves overall well-being and quality of life – In a study, breast cancer patients treated with curcumin displayed less severe radiation dermatitis as compared to those who were given a placebo. In another study, patients receiving curcumin displayed reduced symptoms like nausea, diarrhea, ulceration, etc.

As Indians, we consume turmeric on a regular basis. However, in order to start taking curcumin, it is important to talk to a specialist to determine the dose and combination that work better for your constitution.


Dosage recommendations are available from these sources

Your Health Solution –


Dr. Andrew Weil advises: “Neither curcumin nor turmeric taken orally is well absorbed unless taken with black pepper or piperine, a constituent of black pepper responsible for its pungency. When shopping for supplements, make sure that the one you choose contains black pepper extract or piperine.”11 However, both Dr. Weil and naturopathic oncologist Lise Alschuler caution that use of piperine may interact with a wide range of prescription medications. Dr. Alschuler does not advise long-term use of piperine.12

Karen Collins, MS, RDN, CDN, FAND, January 23, 2018: The vast majority of studies on turmeric/curcumin have been in cell studies and rodent studies, and mostly with amounts that are unlikely to be consumed in humans who simply add turmeric as a culinary spice. Human studies are really limited.

I’ve seen one human study show reductions in TNF-alpha (the inflammatory signaling protein) with only 150 mg of curcumin/day—but I’m not sure how to translate the TNF-alpha change as to whether it was clinically significant. Other studies I’ve seen and as reviewed in the Natural Medicines Database tend to use 1000 to 4000 mg/day of curcumin (and some studies use much more).

‘Written by Nancy Hepp, MS, with review by Laura Pole, RN, MSN, OCNS. Updated on September 18, 2018.’


  • INLIFE Curcumin C3 Complex (95% Curcuminoids) 500 mg Turmeric with BioPerine (Piperine) Extract Supplement 5 mg – 60 Vegetarian Capsules (3-Pack) – Amazon Link
  • NutrineLife Turmeric Curcumin with Bioperine Black Pepper and Potency 95% Curcuminoids – 60 Capsules – Amazon Link
  • Perennial Lifesciences Organic Turmeric Curcumin Extract 95% Piperine 95% Extra Bioavailable 800Mg – 60 Veg Caps – Amazon Link

References & More Information

  1. Credit: Beyond Conventional Care Therapies
  2. Integrative Oncology Cancer Care
  3. Klara Rombauts, Liene Dhooghe, CAM-Cancer Consortium. Curcumin [online document]. May 7, 2014.
  4. Goel A, Aggarwal BB. Curcumin, the golden spice from Indian saffron, is a chemosensitizer and radiosensitizer for tumors and chemoprotector and radioprotector for normal organs. Nutr Cancer 2010;62(7):919-30
  5. Jurenka JS. Anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin, a major constituent of Curcuma longa: a review of preclinical and clinical research. Altern Med Rev 2009 Jun;14(2):141-53. Full PDF File.
  6. Bar-Sela G, Epelbaum R, Schaffer M. Curcumin as an anti-cancer agent: review of the gap between basic and clinical applications. Current Medicinal Chemistry. 2010;17(3):190-7
  7. Carroll RE, Benya RV et al. Phase IIa clinical trial of curcumin for the prevention of colorectal neoplasia. Cancer Prevention Research (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania). 2011 Mar;4(3):354-64
  8. Joshi JV, Paradkar PH et al. Chemopreventive potential and safety profile of a curcuma longa extract in women with cervical low-grade squamous intraepithelial neoplasia. Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention. 2011;12:3305-11
  9. Ghalaut VS, Sangwan L et al. Effect of imatinib therapy with and without turmeric powder on nitric oxide levels in chronic myeloid leukemia. Journal of Oncology Pharmacy Practice. 2012;18:186-90.
  10. Ryan JL, Heckler CE et al. Curcumin for radiation dermatitis: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of thirty breast cancer patients. Radiation Research. 2013;180:34-43.
  11. Belcaro G, Hosoi M et al. A controlled study of a lecithinized delivery system of curcumin (Meriva®) to alleviate the adverse effects of cancer treatment. Phytotherapy Research. 2014 Mar; 28:444-50.
  12. CAM-Cancer. Curcumin. April 2014. Viewed October 19, 2017.
  13. Weil A. Curcumin or Turmeric? November 1, 2016. Viewed January 12, 2018.
  14. Alschuler LN, Gazella KA. The Definitive Guide to Thriving after Cancer. Berkeley, California: Ten Speed Press. 2013. p. 115.
  15. BCCT(Beyond Conventional Cancer Therapies) Website

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