June 2016 Cancer has acquired epidemic proportions globally with research after research looking for ways to control and cure this malady. The good news is that California-based Dr Bharat B Aggarwal has found miraculous healing properties in the humble turmeric, which combats not only various types of cancers, but also most of the auto-immune and degenerative diseases such as Crohn’s disease, Ulcerative Colitis, IBS, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and Alzheimer. Founder of Anti-inflammation Research Institute in San Diego, Dr Aggarwal has discovered in his two-decade long research on healing spices that turmeric contains a component called curcumin which acts as a natural inhibitor to the progression of cancer cells. Almost all the diseases prevalent today have their origin in acute and chronic inflammation and curcumin acts as a deterrent to it. In cancer, this wondrous component selectively targets cancer cells unlike chemo and radio therapy that also destroy healthy cells. Curcumin provides a non-toxic environment for the chemo drugs to work, and also abets sensitisation of human cancers towards them while offering protection against the toxicity of these treatment regimens. Explaining that the proportion of cancer cases in India were not as high as in the West, perhaps because of our lifelong consumption of turmeric, he said, “No country has more cancer, obesity, diabetes, Alzheimer and Parkinson’s than America – a country which does not take turmeric. And since India is becoming Americanised in lifestyle, cancer is on the rise here too. Almost 30 per cent of all cancers are due to diet, 30 per cent due to smoking, and 30 per cent due to environmental pollution and other factors,” he says. Dr Aggarwal also said that early diagnosis of cancer was one of the main reasons for the dramatic rise in cancer cases. “It is a myth that early diagnosis saves lives; it really does not. Since we don’t have foolproof biomarkers of cancer to do early diagnosis properly, it actually does more harm than good.” Citing a study, he confirmed that early diagnosis of prostate cancer does not save lives. In breast cancer, researchers found 30 per cent increase in cancer of women who underwent regular mammograms. It has been established that virtually every person carries cancer cells in their body. But only less than one per cent have symptoms of cancer and only these people require curative treatment. Dr Aggarwal suggested regular consumption of turmeric as a protective guard against diseases caused by acute inflammation. “One should have it regularly in the diet, at breakfast, lunch or dinner, and increase the dose when sick,” he advised. He added that even when fried while cooking, it retains at least 70 per cent curcumin. “You do not need to reach out for curcumin. Hundred grams of turmeric may contain as much as six grams of curcumin,” he informed. He also suggested keeping one’s inflammation in check by listening to one’s body; going deeper within, and connecting with oneself. “The body will let you know. The second way is a litmus test that we at the Anti-inflammation Research Institute in San Diego are currently dabbling with. We are in the process of developing a chip which, when put on the tongue, will indicate the inflammation level in the body,” he informed Haldi, anyone?
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