Turmeric is one the most thoroughly researched plants in existence today. Its medicinal properties and components (primarily curcumin) have been the subject of over 5600 peer-reviewed and published biomedical studies.
According to Sayer Ji of GreenMedInfo, their five-year long research project on this spice revealed over 600 potential preventive and therapeutic applications as well as 175 distinct beneficial physiological effects. An entire database of 1,585 ncbi-hyperlinked turmeric abstracts can be found on their web site.
Given the sheer density of research performed on it, it is no wonder that a growing number of studies have concluded that it compares favorably to a variety of conventional medications, including the following:
1. Lipitor/Atorvastatin (Cholesterol Medication)
A 2008 study published in the journal Drugs in R & D found that a standardized preparation of curcuminoids from turmeric compared favorably to the drug atorvastatin (trade name Lipitor) on endothelial dysfunction, the underlying pathology of the blood vessels that drives atherosclerosis, in association with reductions in inflammation and oxidative stress in type 2 diabetic patients.
2. Corticosteroids (Steroid Medications)
A 1999 study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research found that the primary polyphenol in turmeric, the saffron-colored pigment known as curcumin, compared favorably to steroids in the management of chronic anterior uveitis, an inflammatory eye disease.
An earlier 2003 study published in Cancer Letters found that the same drug also compared favorably to dexamethasone in a lung ischaemia-repurfusion injury model.
3. Prozac/Fluoxetine And Imipramine (Antidepressants)
A 2011 study published in the journal Acta Poloniae Pharmaceutica found that curcumin compared favorably to both drugs in reducing depressive behavior in an animal model.
4. Aspirin (Blood Thinner)
A 1986 in vitro and ex vivo study published in the journal Arzneimittelforschung found that curcumin has anti-platelet and prostacyclin modulating effects compared to aspirin, indicating it may have value in patients prone to vascular thrombosis and requiring anti-arthritis therapy.
5. Anti-Inflammatory Drugs
A 2004 study published in the journal Oncogene found that curcumin (as well as resveratrol) was an effective alternative to the drugs aspirin, ibuprofen, sulindac, phenylbutazone, naproxen, indomethacin, diclofenac, dexamethasone, celecoxib, and tamoxifen in exerting anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative activity against tumor cells.
6. Oxaliplatin (Chemotherapy Drug)
7. Metformin (Diabetes Drug)
A 2009 study published in the journal Biochemitry and Biophysical Research Community explored how curcumin might be valuable in treating diabetes, finding that it activates AMPK (which increases glucose uptake) and suppresses gluconeogenic gene expression (which suppresses glucose production in the liver) in hepatoma cells.
Interestingly, they found curcumin, in the form of tetrahydrocurcuminoids (THC), to be 500 to 100,000 times more potent than metformin in activating AMPK and its downstream target acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC).
Benefits Of Turmeric In Cancer Therapy
Turmeric and its components reveal their remarkable therapeutic properties in research on drug-resistant and multi-drug-resistant cancers.
We found no less than 54 studies indicating that curcumin can induce cell death or sensitize drug-resistant cancer cell lines to conventional treatment. We also identified 27 studies on curcumin’s ability to either induce cell death or sensitize multi-drug resistant cancer cell lines to conventional treatment.
Considering how strong a track record turmeric (curcumin) has, having been used as both food and medicine in a wide range of cultures for thousands of years, a strong argument can be made for using curcumin as a drug alternative or adjuvant in cancer treatment.