I’m not sure whether this applies to the rest of the world, but over here in the UK we can’t get enough curry. Whether it be meeting friends in a local Indian restaurant, picking up a takeaway, getting a home delivery or even reverting to ready made sauces and cooking it at home, the majority of us enjoy the colour, variety and spiciness of a curry.
Even here in our little “back water” city of Norwich we have a wealth of different cultures, but nothing can beat walking down Magdalen Street either at lunch time or in the evenings and getting that mouth watering, spicy smell emanating from the welcoming doors of the Indian restaurants along there.
Magdalen Street, Norwich – the street’s changed little since this photo was taken although it now embraces a wide variety of restaurants and takeaways, particularly Indian
I have to admit that I do feel slightly guilty when I have an Indian takeaway as some of the dishes can pile on the calorie intake – I particularly like bhajis
But it’s refreshing to discover that one of the main ingredients can possibly assist in the curing of bowel cancer!
Curcumin which is found in turmeric, one of the main ingredients of curry, is to undergo some rigorous trials at Leicester’s Royal Infirmary Hospital and Leicester General Hospital..
Studies have shown that curcumin can beat cancer cells grown in a laboratory and the spice is thought to have benefits in helping reduce strokes and some of the symptoms of dementia.
Approximately 40,000 people a year in the UK are diagnosed with bowel cancer and, if the disease begins to spread through the rest of the body, patients normally have to take a combination of three chemotherapy drugs but only about 50% of those actually respond. However, it’s thought that if curcumin tablets are given to these people alongside the chemotherapy medication, this could significantly increase the chances of success.
Leicester University, who are leading the trial, have indicated that once bowel cancer begins to spread it’s extremely difficult to treat, in part because of the side effects of the chemotherapy drugs, which means that there has to be a time limit on using these drugs. However, it’s now believed that curcumin can increase the sensitivity of the cancer cells which means that ultimately lower doses of the drugs can be given, which in turn means that the drugs can be given for longer periods of time.
To begin with 40 patients will take part in the trial which will see the cancer sufferers taking curcumin pills a week prior to the standard chemotherapy treatment.
The research is obviously in its infancy at the moment but it’s certainly an exciting prospect that, once again, nature will come to the fore in modern medicine. We’re currently going through a phase of “artificial” drugs which almost always seem to have some nasty side effect so, if we can find out a bit more about this valuable spice then, who knows, we may well have ourselves a good, natural drug able to cure not only cancer but help reduce strokes and treat the symptoms of dementia into the bargain!