Turmeric, with its unique flavor and rich yellow color, is known as “Indian gold” for its many healing properties. Science is only beginning to uncover the many ways in which this ancient home remedy serves as a natural medicine that can be picked up at virtually any grocery store for barely a fraction of the price of prescription drugs.
Past Research Proves Turmeric’s Anti-Cancer Power
In the 1990s, Bharat Aggarwal, Ph.D. and colleagues from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston sprinkled a bit of turmeric on some cancer cells in the lab and were flabbergasted by what they found. “The effect was staggering,” Dr. Aggarwal told Men’s Health in 2011. Just a pinch of the powdered perennial plant blocked a biological pathway required for melanoma, prostate and other cancers to grow.
Eight years ago, Chinese researchers found that curcumin, the primary constituent of turmeric, could play a pivotal role in treating prostate cancer by inhibiting hormones known to trigger the disease. Also in 2007, University of Alabama scientists discovered that combining curcumin with traditional radiation therapy killed prostate cancer cells that had previously become radiation-resistant.
In June, preliminary research by UCLA researchers found that a synthetic version of turmeric helps kill cancer cells that had been resistant to a common chemotherapy drug. The team hopes that someday turmeric will be utilized as a treatment for head and neck cancers.
Now the Spice is Being Used for Diabetes Control
Now, scientists want to know if a combination of turmeric and Omega-3 fatty acids might delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes or stave it off completely. Scientists from the University of Newcastle’s Nutraceuticals Research Group, led by Professor Manohar Garg, are on the hunt for 80 participants for a new clinical study to find out exactly that.
“The root cause of type 2 diabetes is systemic inflammation, which impacts insulin secretion and function,” said Garg. “We want to nip the inflammation in the bud,” he said, adding that both curcumin and Omega-3 fats are important anti-inflammatory agents. 
Diabetes is a metabolic disease primarily caused by a lack of insulin produced by the pancreas, or the body’s resistance to insulin. Previous research has shown that the curcumin in turmeric works to adjust the insulin in the body. Turmeric assists the pancreas in regulating and stabilizing insulin levels, thereby lowering glucose levels. Actually, the turmeric and diabetes connection is one Natural Society has reported on before. 
There’s also evidence that turmeric can help people lose weight, and obesity is one of the leading causes of Type 2 diabetes. A study from Xi’an Jiaotong University School of Medicine found that “cure-cumin” (as Dr. Aggarwal and his colleagues now refer to curcumin) can counter the negative effects of a “junk food” diet.
The study found that turmeric consumption improved insulin resistance and leptin resistance, both strongly associated with weight gain. The study’s authors wrote:
“By diminishing the sediment of fat, relaxing the lymphatic return, and refraining the apoptosis of beta cells, the curcumin might significantly decrease the level of insulin resistance and leptin resistance caused by the high fat diet.”
Turmeric has a long list of medicinal uses – so start eating it! If you’re not a big fan of Indian food, no worries: there are loads of tasty ways to enjoy the spice. You can even incorporate it into beverages, thanks to turmeric’s mellow, sweet flavor. Turmeric is shaping up to a real-life miracle drug, minus the side effects and regulatory red tape.