Turmeric (Curcuma longa Linn) is one of the herbs that are very useful. Many diseases can be cured by turmeric, because a lot of useful content in turmeric, one of which is curcumin. Curcumin is a major component in turmeric is able to suppress cell signaling pathways that promote cancer growth in head and neck cancer. Curcumin can work in the mouths of patients with head and neck malignancies and reduce cancer growth.
This study using human saliva and the results of his research have been published on September 15 in the journal Clinical Cancer Research, published by the American Association of Cancer Research.
"Not only affects cancer cells by inhibiting the signal, curcumin also affects the saliva enzymes by reducing cytokines, which cause inflammation in the saliva," said Dr.. Marilene Wang researchers at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, as quoted by ScienceDaily.
Turmeric is a spice widely used in South Asia, East Asia, and Central Asia for cooking and has long been known to have medicinal properties, which have anti-inflammatory properties.
Previous research has shown that curcumin can suppress the growth of certain cancers. For years, women in India have been using turmeric as an anti-aging topical medication, treat cramps during menstruation and as a poultice on the skin to accelerate the healing of wounds.
"A 2005 study conducted by Dr. Wang and his team showed that curcumin suppresses the growth of head and neck cancer in mice. In animal studies, curcumin is applied directly to the tumors in paste form. Study in 2010 which was also performed on mice found that curcumin cells suppress the growth of head and neck cancer by regulating the cell cycle, "said Eri Srivatsan, professor of surgery and a Jonsson Cancer Center researcher who has been studying curcumin and its anti-cancer properties for seven years with Dr.. Wang.
Curcumin binds to and prevents an enzyme known as an inhibitor of kappa β kinase (IKK), which promotes cancer growth. In this study, 21 patients with head and neck cancers gave samples of their saliva before and after chewing two curcumin tablets 1,000 milligrams. An hour later, saliva samples were taken and extracted for measuring the activity of the protein kinase IKKβ.
Consuming curcumin not only make contact with the cancer, but also with the saliva, and this study shows that it reduces the level of cytokines in cancer worsen.
"An independent lab in Maryland confirmed that cytokines in saliva encourages inflammation and help to feed the cancer. Yet cytokines reduced in patients who chew and curcumin inhibits cell signaling pathways that trigger cancer growth," Wang said.
Curcumin had a significant inhibitory effect, blocking two triggers the growth of cancers of the head and neck cancers are different. The researchers believe that curcumin could be combined with other treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation to treat head and neck cancer. It also can be given to patients at high risk of head and neck cancer, ie smokers, those who chew tobacco and people with the HPV virus infection.
To be effective in fighting cancer, the curcumin must be used in supplement form. Although turmeric is used in cooking, the amount of curcumin needed to produce a clinical effect is much greater. "Expecting a positive effect through eating foods spiced with turmeric is not realistic," said Wang.
The next step for Dr. Wang and his team is to treat patients with curcumin for longer periods of time and see the inhibitory effect can be increased. They plan to treat cancer patients scheduled for the next few weeks will have surgery. They will perform a biopsy before the curcumin administration and at the time of surgery and then analyze the tissue to look for differences in the effect.
"There is potential for the development of curcumin as a supportive treatment for cancer patients. Curcumin is non-toxic, well tolerated, cheap and easily available at health food stores. Though this research is promising, it is important to extend the discovery so that more patients to confirm our findings," explains Dr. Wang.
Looking for other ways to treat head and neck cancer is very important because patients often require surgery and lose some their tongue or mouth. Side effects are also many, including difficulty swallowing, dry mouth and potentially having another mouth cancer later in life.