Turmeric, with the active component curcumin, is both a food and a dietary supplement that may promote a better immune response and blood sugar levels, and may also help you manage some side effects of cancer.

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This section does not replicate the other information on this topic but provides additional details or context most relevant to professionals.

More on safety

Inhibited sperm motility has been reported in cell studies with use.

Modes of action: chemical and biological anticancer activity

A review of the chemistry, analog, metal complex, and formulations of curcuminoids and their biological activities: Amalraj A, Pius A, Gopi S, Gopi S. Biological activities of curcuminoids, other biomolecules from turmeric and their derivatives—a review. Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine. 2016 Jun 15;7(2):205-233.

Several modes of anticancer action are discussed in this review: Ravindran J, Prasad S, Aggarwal BB. Curcumin and cancer cells: How many ways can curry kill tumor cells selectively? AAPS Journal. 2009 Sep;11(3):495-510.

A summary of suppressed tumor development, metastasis, and apoptosis in preclinical studies when curcumin is used as adjunct therapy: Norouzi S, Majeed M, Pirro M, Generali D, Sahebkar A. Curcumin as an adjunct therapy and microRNA modulator in breast cancer. Current Pharmaceutical Design. 2018;24(2):171-177.

A summary of the effects of curcumin on colon cancer stem cells: Abdul Khalek FJ, Gallicano GI, Mishra L. Colon cancer stem cells. Gastrointestinal Cancer Research. 2010 Nov;(Suppl 1):S16-23.

Further evidence 

Treating cancer: preclinical evidence

Optimizing your body terrain: preclinical evidence 

Bleeding and coagulation imbalance: Anticoagulant effect in animals in preclinical trials3Kim DC, Ku SK, Bae JS. Anticoagulant activities of curcumin and its derivative. BMB Rep. 2012 Apr;45(4):221-6.

Your microbiome: A more diverse colon microbiota, increasing the relative abundance of Lactobacillales and decreasing Coriobacterales order in mice with colon tumors in preclinical trials4McFadden RM, Larmonier CB et al. The role of curcumin in modulating colonic microbiota during colitis and colon cancer prevention. Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. 2015 Nov;21(11):2483-94.

Resources for professionals

TRC Natural Medicines

A subscription is required; in-depth information, ratings of effectiveness, and safety and evaluation of specific turmeric and curcumin products.

Turmeric

Knowledge in Integrative Oncology Website

A subscription is required; access is free of charge for members of the Society for Integrative Oncology.

Access the website

Herbal Medicine book

Benzie IFF, Wachtel-Galor S, editors. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd ed. Boca Raton (FL): CRC Press/Taylor & Francis; 2011.

Chapter 13: Turmeric, the Golden Spice

Keep reading about turmeric and curcumin

Authors

Nancy Hepp, MS

Lead Researcher and Program Manager
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Ms. Hepp is a researcher and communicator who has been writing and editing educational content on varied health topics for more than 20 years. She serves as lead researcher, program manager, and writer for CancerChoices. Her graduate work in research and cognitive psychology, her master’s degree in instructional design, and her certificate in web design have all guided her in writing and presenting information for a wide variety of audiences and uses. Nancy’s service as faculty development coordinator in the Department of Family Medicine at Wright State University also provided experience in medical research, plus insights into medical education and medical care from the professional’s perspective.

Nancy Hepp, MS Lead Researcher and Program Manager

Dr. Ryan is a research associate for CancerChoices. She is a licensed and board certified naturopathic physician and acupuncturist in Oregon. Dr. Ryan is the founder of Gentle Natural Wellness, a clinic specializing in bridging classical Chinese medicine with naturopathic medicine to provide individualized, compassionate care for people in the community. A Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine and Master of Science in Oriental Medicine with honors from the National University of Natural Medicine, research in medical anthropology at the University of Hawai’i and George Mason University, language and culture programs at Obirin University (Tokyo) and Sogang University (Seoul), and studies of Chinese herbal medicine and qigong in China have provided a diverse background that has helped form a foundation for her community health and healing path.

Emily Ryan, ND, MSOM, LAc Research Associate

Reviewer

Laura Pole, RN, MSN, OCNS

Senior Clinical Consultant
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Laura Pole is senior clinical consultant for CancerChoices. Laura is an oncology clinical nurse specialist who has been providing integrative oncology clinical care, navigation, consultation, and education services for over 40 years. She is the co-creator and co-coordinator of the Integrative Oncology Navigation Training at Smith Center for Healing and the Arts in Washington, DC. Laura also manages the “Media Watch Cancer News That You Can Use” listserv for Smith Center/Commonweal. In her role as a palliative care educator and consultant, Laura has served as statewide Respecting Choices Faculty for the Virginia POST (Physician Orders for Scope of Treatment) Collaborative as well as provided statewide professional education on palliative and end-of-life care for the Virginia Association for Hospices and Palliative Care.

For CancerChoices, Laura curates content and research, networks with clinical and organizational partners, brings awareness and education of integrative oncology at professional and patient conferences and programs, and translates research into information relevant to the patient experience as well as clinical practice.

Laura sees her work with CancerChoices as a perfect alignment of all her passions, knowledge and skills in integrative oncology care. She is honored to serve you.

Laura Pole, RN, MSN, OCNS Senior Clinical Consultant

Last update: May 17, 2022

CancerChoices provides information about integrative in cancer care, a patient-centered approach combining the best of conventional care, self care and evidence-informed complementary care in an integrated plan cancer care. We review complementaryin cancer care, complementary care involves the use of therapies intended to enhance or add to standard conventional treatments; examples include supplements, mind-body approaches such as yoga or psychosocial therapy, and acupuncture therapies and self-care lifestyle actions and behaviors that may impact cancer outcomes; examples include eating health-promoting foods, limiting alcohol, increasing physical activity, and managing stress practices to help patients and professionals explore and integrate the best combination of conventionalthe cancer care offered by conventionally trained physicians and most hospitals; examples are chemotherapy, surgery, and radiotherapy and complementary therapies and practices for each person.

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