Study Proves Turmeric Anti-Cancer Agent
University researchers have found that turmeric and its phytochemical called curcumin inhibted the growth of colorectal cancer and throat cancer cells. The study showed that the growth of cell lines of adenocarcinoma HCT15, HCT 116, and human larynx carcinoma Hep G-2 were significantly inhibited by turmeric.
Turmeric is the root of the plant, Curcuma longa. It is also called curry – a spice commonly used to provide flavor to Asian dishes and to rice. Turmeric is also a key ingredient in mustard, and is used to provide yellow food coloring to many other foods. Other studies have hinted at turmeric being anti-carcinogenic. This study confirms those findings.
The study, done by researchers from India’s Alagappa University, was published in the Wiley science journal, Microscopy Research and Technique.
The study also tested catechins produced from the leaves of Camellia sinensis. Catechins are polyphenolic compounds available in a number of herbal plants. Camellia sinensis is the plant utilized in green tea and black tea.
The researchers tested the catechin and the curcumin separately on the cancer cell lines and found that both significantly inhibited the growth of those cells. Then the researchers tested both together, and found that both together inhibited the growth of these cancer cells by an even greater degree.
The researchers commented that: “These results suggest that curcumin and catechin in combination can inhibit the proliferation of HCT 15, HCT 116, as well as Hep G-2 cells efficiently through induction of apoptosis.”
Apoptosis is the death of a cell. In other words, the cancer cells were killed by the curcumin and the catechins. The mechanism observed by the researchers was the fragmentation of the cells’ nucleus and the subsequent breakdown of their DNA. The ability to kill off certain cells is called cytotoxicity.
Manikandan R, Beulaja M, Arulvasu C, Sellamuthu S, Dinesh D, Prabhu D, Babu G, Vaseeharan B, Prabhu NM. Synergistic anticancer activity of curcumin and catechin: An in vitro study using human cancer cell lines. Microsc Res Tech. 2011 Jul 21. doi: 10.1002/jemt.21032.