Turmeric (Curcuma longa) belongs to the ginger family and Ginger in itself has so many healing properties that we shall leave that for another blog.  Traditionally, Turmeric was referred to as Indian Saffron, is the major ingredient of curry powder and is used extensively as a colouring agent in many preparations.

Today I would like to bring to your attention to the amazing benefit of the ability of the active ingredient  of Turmeric, Curcumin by inhibiting epidermal growth factor, or as commonly known in medical circles, EGF.  Why is this important you may ask?

About two thirds of all cancers produce an abundance of EGF receptor sites.  In layman’s terms this means that the cells are stimulated to proliferate or grow as the growth factor connects to receptors on the cells’ surface.  This is a bonus for the tumour and a definite disadvantage to the patient.

By reducing the number of these EGF receptors, Curcumin decreases the cells’ ability to multiply. But wait! There’s more!!

Curcumin also inhibits the formation of new blood cells that feed the growing tumour. In medical speak this refers to angiongenisis, by fibroblast growth factor, which is a protein that promotes the formation of the new blood vessels.  The growth is a bonus for the tumour, but the inhibition is certainly a plus for the patient.

In addition, Curcumin inhibits tumour growth-promoting enzymes, blocks NF-kb, a protein that many cancer cells produce to block the signal commanding them to stop multiplying.  Another huge plus for the patient!

Another huge plus is the ability of Curcumin to encourage the body’s own production of cancer fighting compounds.  One of these is called glutathione, a sulfur-containing compound and is the master detoxifier and main antioxidant in the body.

So, remember that herbs and spices have a much larger role to play than just being tasty or colourful.  Cook with them, put them into your smoothies, soups and stews.  The benefits are amazing!!