When a cousin of mine found out I have a type of cancer, he sent me a note that said "It's all about Turmeric." I did some research on turmeric supplements, and found myself skeptical about that as a delivery system. Now, reading Anticancer, by David Servan-schreiber, I find my skepticism confirmed -- what is best is to COOK with Turmeric, especially combined with ginger or pepper. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory agent, due to the component curcumin, but not when isolated. Servan-Schreiber writes:
"Turmeric magnificently illustrates the benefit of the great culinary traditions, in comparison to the consumption of isolated substances. When researcher in Taiwan tried treating cancerous tumors with turmeric delivered in capsules, they discovered that it was very poorly absorbed by the digestive system. In fact, when it is not mixed with pepper or ginger -- as it always has been in curry -- turmeric does not pass the intestinal barrier. Pepper increases the body's absorption of Turmeric by 2,000 percent. Indian wisdom has thus been far ahead of modern science in the discovery of natural affinities between foods.
"When I was researching information on my own cancer, I was astonished to find out that even brain tumors such as glioblastomas were more sensitive to chemotherapy when curcumin was prescribed at the same time.
"According to the Aggarwal team in Houston, turmeric's extraordinary effect seems to be due in large part to its capacity to interfere directly with the black knight of cancer we identified in chapter 4, NF-Kappa B, which protects cancer cells against the body's defense mechanisms. The entire pharmaceutical industry is looking for new, nontoxic molecules capable of fighting this mechanism of cancer promotion. It is now known that curcumin is a powerful NF-kappa B antagonist, while over two thousand years of daily use in indian cooking has proved that it is totally innocuous. Turmeric can also be eaten with soy products that replace animal proteins and provide the genistein mentioned above, which detoxifies and helps check angiogenesis. Add a cup of gree tea and imagine the powerful cocktail that, with no side effects, keeps in check three of the principal mechanisms of cancer growth."
Servan-schreiber, D., Anticancer: A New Way of Life. Viking (2009).
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