Turmeric has been a part of various traditional remedies for its natural healing properties. It is anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and pain reliever but not many people know that turmeric has hidden benefits for breast cancer patients. Turmeric supplements are prescribed to arthritis and osteoporosis patients but health experts believe these supplements can also improve breast cancer treatment as well.
Turmeric is a vibrant yellow spice that is extracted from an Indian plant’s root. This plant shares a family with ginger, another medicinal plant and grows in various Asian countries with a tropical climate. It has been a part of various regional food recipes and also used as a coloring agent in multiple industries i.e. skincare.
Curcumin is the chief ingredient inside turmeric which is responsible for all of its medicinal effects and gives a distinct yellow color to it. It can relieve chronic inflammation which makes it best for patients with pain and reduced mobility. A previous study on turmeric revealed that using turmeric extract thrice a day carries the same medicinal effect as that of 1200mg ibuprofen.
Along with this anti-inflammatory benefit, it has a high amount of antioxidants, minerals, and nutrients which improve mood, protect neurons, boosts immunity, and promote healing.
Some of the pre-clinical trials prove that curcumin can actively stop the spread of breast cancer cells. But these studies are only laboratory-based and not tested in human trials. Curcumin is quickly broken down and absorbed by the body which makes it hard to understand its mechanism in human trials. Only some of the high quality and extensive human trials and help understating turmeric benefits for breast cancer patients.
When turmeric is added to a food or drink recipe, it acts as a flavor enhancer, not a medicinal help. However, breast cancer patients are advised to add turmeric to their diet or use turmeric supplements to improve chemotherapy effects.
There is not much information on turmeric supplements especially their safety level when used along with other medicines. But if a doctor recommends using it, there is no harm to try it.
Other, healthy individuals can use turmeric and other herbal supplements without concern. For people with underlying medical conditions such as breast cancer patients, using turmeric or any other supplements is a concern because of a lack of evidence. Supplements are not regulated like medicines and there is no way to be sure of what a person is feeding to his body. based on the contents, it is possible to even for the natural ingredients to interact with any other medicine in use. It may bring undesirable effects in a person, making his condition worse.
When used with chemotherapy, these risks increase even more. Just because something is natural doesn’t ensure it to be 100% side effect free. Herbal ingredients are strong and powerful in nature and they are capable of changing the effects of medicines if used together.
There is scientific evidence to show that turmeric can change the effects of two widely used breast cancer medicines that are doxorubicin and cyclophosphamide. But there is no information on its clinical significance. Overall there is no accurate information on whether a cancer patient should use turmeric supplements on his own. But if a clinician is guiding about it, there are no risks involved.