Is There Any Other Anti-Cancer Botanical Compound As Exciting As Curcumin?

Curcumin ResearchCurcumin is one of the hottest plant polyphenol extracts being researched, today. Until recently, I was unaware of the extensive history of curcumin research…dating back over 170 years!  In the last 10-years, alone, there have been over 4,600 scientific papers published on curcumin.  Many of these studies suggest that this compound could be useful in the prevention and treatment of a wide spectrum of medical conditions and physiologic processes (i.e. cancer, inflammatory diseases, cystic fibrosis, Alzheimer’s disease, etc.) 

Curcumin is derived from the roots of Curcuma longa, a member of the ginger family. Curcumin is the major component of the Indian spice turmeric, and is responsible for giving turmeric its bright orange-yellow color.

  • **It turns out that whole turmeric may be even more potent than curcumin extract. Read the bottom of the blog post to learn more.**

Why Do I Love Curcumin?

curcuminWhen Mother Nature designed curcumin, she gave it the ability to target numerous critical mechanisms essential for the development, growth and progression of  most cancers.

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About Brian D. Lawenda, M.D.

I am an integrative oncologist. I trained at Massachusetts General Hospital (Harvard Medical School) in radiation oncology and through Stanford-UCLA (Helms Medical Institute) in medical acupuncture. I am the founder of IntegrativeOncology-Essentials.


  1. Hey Dr L – great summary, thanks. I do take curcumin, but only 2 times per day. Will shift to 3 times per day starting tomorrow! I have a question. Do you know of a researcher or lab that might test whether curcumin affects MTC cancer cells? My cancer is so rare that I know no studies will likely be done on it, but I know that one way they test potential compounds is to test in test tubes/dishes with cancer cells. Not sure who I might inquire about this? I would even pay for the test (and know it is not a proper study).
    I have plenty of tumor tissue and would be happy to donate… :-/

  2. NewAdventuresAhead says:

    I was disappointed to learn that this potential wonder-drug will likely not be a viable option for me since I am scheduled to begin Tamoxifen in three weeks.

  3. debora stav says:

    hi, thanks for the information. i have small cell lung cancer and was treated with chimotherapy and radiation.
    i was told by my physician that they dont have now any possibility to erradicate this kind of cancer.
    anyway i would try to use the tumeric but i didnt understand how much and wich way to take.
    i would really appreciate to receive an answer about this and also if you have any kind of idea about my condition.

    • Hi Debora, We are very sorry to hear about your diagnosis. Unfortunately, no one knows the exact amount of curcumin or turmeric to recommend for each individual. Generally, for those with a cancer diagnosis, the range of doses of curcumin to take each day are 800-3000 mg per day (divided doses, with meals.) Make sure to discuss this with your oncology team before you start taking curcumin.

      • debora stav says:

        dr lawenda, thanks for your prompt response. i will talk with my oncology doctor but i dont think i would get any specific answer. he is a very good doctor but he allready told me that he can”t advice me about treatments that dont have a scientific research done. he said to me that to try anything that is not harmfull is ok, but he doesnt know the possible outcome. thanks, and i would really appriciate to hear from you because with this type of cancer any idea will be wecome.
        thanks again

  4. Nadine Wood-Peters says:

    I know from my own research curcumin is something I will take for my Breast Cancer.
    Is there any other supplements I should know about?

    • Hi Nadine. Curcumin is one of my favorite supplements, but there are many others with anti-cancer activity (i.e. EGCG from green tea, medicinal mushroom extracts, vitamin D3, baby aspirin, and many others.) That said, each person has to assess the specifics of their medical history, cancer, staging, other medicines and supplements they are taking, quality/supplier/dose of the supplements and numerous other factors. It’s important to discuss these issues with your cancer care team before you start taking a new supplement. I also recommend that you consider a consultation with an integrative oncologist or other specialist who is very knowledgeable about all of these factors.

  5. alyshia says:

    Is it okay to take both Berberine and Turmeric at the same time? Is it necessary, or, which is more beneficial? I just started taking Berberine as a preventative for several diseases. I am thinking of taking Turmeric, as well. Turmeric spice sprinkled on his food daily has kept my dachshund alive and well after a heartworm diagnosis 2 years ago. It also healed a tumor that came up between his toes and split his foot open. The medication from the vet did not faze it…
    Thank you!

  6. If the “vehicle” combo shows the most anti-cancer activity in the picture, then why does the text say that the
    “combination of curcumin with the chemotherapy drugs was the most effective” ???

  7. Laura Loria says:

    Would the interaction of vinblastine and curcumin be considered beneficial to TCC treatment? If taking Deramaxx, would curcumin supplementation be contraindicated? I am asking because my dog is currently undergoing Tx for TCC, and since it’s very similar to human Tx but much less effective, I’m looking for ways to improve his treatment regimen. Thank you!

  8. Guilherme Moreira says:

    I would like to know about curcumin in treating kidney inflammation.

    Thank you in advance.

    Guilherme, from Brazil.

  9. Guilherme Moreira says:

    Can I take curcumin and pentoxiflyline at the same time ?
    They are antiinflamatory and immunosuppressant substances.

    Thank you..


  10. Is it ok to take cucumin while also taking strong antibiotics?

  11. Hi Dr. Lawenda
    I have uterine papillary serous carcinoma. Stage 1. Had total hysterectomy in 2011 but came back in my lymph nodes in Sep. 2013. I have been treated at Sloane Kettering in New York. The doctor used cisplatin and Taxol. After three treatments and a CT scan, she said that I am cancer free. But will have to go through all six cycles of chemo.
    I have been taking turmeric capsules (95%) 450 mg. since four five years., twice a day. zyflamend whole body two morning two evening. Green tea extract two morning two evening. Cat’s claw one morning one evening. Astraglus two morning. Rodialia two morning.. Aloe Arborescens three table sp. three times a day. IP6 two in morning. D3 6000 IU, B complex 100, once. I started all these since Sep. 2013 when I was told that I had cancer.
    In the maintains and preventive phase I would like to continue with these and will add Matiak D Fraction mushoom from next week two morning two evening.
    I would greatly appreciate any recommendations

  12. Ed Dinnage says:

    Hi Dr L.

    I just want to thank you SO MUCH that you are giving your time and expertise to folks who are going through a very rough time answering complex questions for free. You truly are an inspiration and an example of what it is to be not just an excellent doctor and researcher but a truly committed healer and human being.


    Ed, England.

  13. Paul Marku says:

    Can any of the MD tell if
    Curcumin at the same time as I’m taking Dexa methasone 4mg.I would appreciate the opinion. thank you

  14. Samantha McPhee says:

    Hi Dr L,

    Thanks so much for this valuable information on Turmeric/Curcumin. I have been taking turmeric powder and eating turmeric root for a while now. I usually juice the root as part of my daily juicing routine. My main problem is dosage, whilst I see you gave a breakdown on how to calculate the amount or curcumin for the powder, I have been trying to find out how much curcumin can be found in the root? Do you know is there a formula that gives the average amount of curcumin per weight or by size of the tumeric root. I always add pepper and coconut oil to my tumeric when consuming it. Thanks for the information on how quickly it leaves the blood stream. I hadn’t read about that before. Thankyou in advance from Sam in Australia. I am recovering from inflammatory breast cancer.

  15. If you found turmeric powder more effective to resolve cancer, why are you still recommending curcumin rather then pure turmeric powder?? Secondly it is advised not to take antioxidants while under going chemotherapy (according to my oncologist ) as they may diminish the effecacy of chemo,so how safe it is t take turmeric or curcumin etract while on chemo? Thirdly is it ok to take turmeric or curcumin with anastrazole and examastane? I noticed you have said its not to be taken with letrozole. Thanks for help

  16. I had kidney cancer RCC . NEPHRECTOMY of right kidney was done. It was metastatic .I was kept under observation. I was taking turmeric with black pepper tea for the last 6 months both morning and evening. Black pepper is hot.I used to consume ghee. In recent pet scan it is clear there is regression. I still continue to take the tea.

    • Further to my earlier email I am still continue taking curcumin & Black pepper tea both morning and evening. The curcumin 1 teaspoon and black pepper powder 1/4 teaspoon mix these two together in water and boil it for 10 minutes. Cool this down and mix either with coiled milk ghee or oil then consume. It reduced my cancer growth and also joint pain. I will continue using it for every. I am aged 77 with well built body.

  17. Chandan Das says:

    Hi Dr L,

    Please advise whether Curcumin is effective against Adenoid Cystic Carcinoma. Has any clinical trial been conducted for the same till date?


    Chandan Das

  18. Hi Dr. Lawenda,
    My hearty wishes that you answer any comments on your blog, God bless you.
    I’m from India, to our family it was a big shock when my mom is diagnosed with stage 4 colorectal cancer on Feb 2014, she is 62, had 8 chemos, Doctor says her body can’t accept any more chemos and every day is a gift to live. She’s only taking Zinc and vitamin tablets now. Since last week she has the problem with the stomach fluid – moderate Ascites, since the diagnosis in Feb 2014 her haemoglobin is less and she need frequent blood transfusion. Since the stop of Chemo, July 2014, every 2 weeks her blood level drops to 6.
    I live far from her in Germany here, you may know how hard it is for me. I was in loss of pay in India for 3 months and back now.
    The doctor is not open and doesn’t explain me the right diagnosis, he doesn’t know why her haemoglobin is dropping, why ascites are repeating in 2 weeks twice.
    I’m very keen on giving her turmeric. Can you please advise can I give her curcumin capsule or turmeric direct? I also read that turmeric can’t be easily absorbed in blood, so add it boiling water or in olive oil with pepper?
    Thank you very much for your time.

    • Hello Indu
      I am also from India and aged 77 with diabetes done 35 years. I was shocked when I came to know that my kidney cancer is renal cell carcinoma. It is rare cancer which does not have any proven therapy except observation and action. I was really shocked and down for few days. Then I came to know turmeric has so many medicinal benifits and to make more effective (bio viability) one has add it with black pepper. It is on this belief I started consuming the tea. I am only sharing my
      experience. We indian consume turmeric in day to day food without knowing the benifits because it is one of the practice gone along with generation. Only recently people realised the benifits of turmeric like antibecterial, antiviral, antinflamation, antioxidant and even blood thinner. Only after started consuming I realised the benifits. I am consuming since december 2013. I have gone through the Internet with all the benifits of turmeric with pepper. In Ayurveda this combination is known an very hot for body and so suggest to consume with some cooling effect like milk, ghee or oil.

      • Thank you verymuch for your reply Tunga, wishing very good health and all the best.
        Are you consuming the supplment curcumin or taking turmeric directly?

        Warm Regards,

        • I take direct Turmeric powder with black pepper powder. The turmeric powder is available in any food shop in india. The powder is available in sealed packet and brand like MTR and Everest in south India. Pepper corn you can buy and grind them. So far I did not take any suppliments. Mix the two as the proportion mentioned in my earlier letter in water and boil for 10 minutes cool the solution and drink. The quantity is roughly 1 large tea cup both in the morning and night.You can add ghee, olive oil or milk. It is hot may find some tone to adjust yourself. I understand pepper increases the bio viability of curcumin in the turmerice. The cancer in my body was already spread to lympnodes. Now it is cured.

  19. Hello Indu
    Cool cool have faith and take tea. It may take more time to cure. But take the decoction. You may not like the taste and aroma but try to continue. You can add juice and drink. This is just a food item.

  20. When the blood level in body is below naturalist give wheat grass drinks. This is also known as green blood. You can collect more information in the Internet. Wheat grass cut to size then dried and sealed packets are available in e market. I tried them for a month.

  21. Now I am taking the tea only once in a day with milk. Early morning in the day. How is your mother now. If you are taking twice you can reduce the quantity.

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