A cancer cure that's cooking
in your kitchen
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Fruits and Vegetables
Pushpa Narayan, : The long quest for an
affordable anti-cancer drug has led scientists to an unlikely place — Indian
kitchens. It has been found that turmeric, garlic, ginger, saffron and capsicum,
used to spice up Indian curries, have excellent cancer-fighting qualities.
While research on curcumin (a derivative of turmeric) is in the human trial
stage, animal trials on others have shown promising results, scientists said at
the Indian Science Congress. The search for alternative cancer drugs began years
ago after doctors found the existing drugs unaffordable.
"They were bogged down by the side-effects of cancer therapy. They went in for
natural remedies,'' said Shrikanth Anant, professor of cancer research,
University of Kansas, who has been researching on curcumin. In most US
pharmacies, curcumin is available in tablet form. Studies published in medical
journals estimate that at least 62% of cancer patients in the US resort to
self-medication with natural compounds, he said.
He said doctors wanted to understand whether these natural products worked well
in isolation or when combined with existing therapy. "Cancer is a complex
disease. No therapy is a silver bullet. It has to be a combination. So, we're
looking at options that can make treatment more effective,'' Anant said. The
Kansas University, he added, had seen success in the first phase of human trial,
where they gave volunteers up to 12 grams of curcumin mixed with orange juice,
taken orally for three months. The reports are now being submitted to medical
journals for publication, he said.
The Times of India article