Doctor's Note

This is the first in a three-part video series on turmeric and cancer. Once they’re up, make sure you check out the next two videos: Carcinogen Blocking Effects of Turmeric Curcumin and Turmeric Curcumin Reprogramming Cancer Cell Death. You can subscribe to get email alerts when they are up by clicking here.

I’m working on another dozen or so videos on this amazing spice. This is what I have so far:

Amla, dried Indian gooseberry powder, is another promising dietary addition:

I add amla to my Pink Juice with Green Foam recipe. Not all natural products from India are safe, though. See, for example, my video Some Ayurvedic Medicine Worse than Lead Paint Exposure.

More on the antioxidant concentration in spices in general in Antioxidants in a Pinch. Why do antioxidants matter? See Food Antioxidants and Cancer and Food Antioxidants, Stroke, and Heart Disease.

Which fruits and vegetables might be best? See #1 Anticancer Vegetable and Best Fruits for Cancer Prevention.

If there are other herbs or spices you’d like me to cover, please let me know in the comments section below.

To post comments or questions into our discussion board, first log into Disqus with your account or with one of the accepted social media logins. Click on Login to choose a login method. Click here for help.

  • BEN

    HELLO !

    • Arjan de Hollander.

      What? Can you repeat that?

      • Merio

        i think he’s talking about the fruits of this plant:

        • Arjan de Hollander.

          Just a pun on his CAPS m8 ;-) …….

          • Merio

            some user do not understand that using the Caps Lock it is like SCREAMING during a normal conversion… not very nice…

  • Martin Miller Poynter

    Really enjoyed your video on gargling with salt water. I’d love to see a video about something all my friends have been talking about lately called “Oil pulling,” a strange process whereby people swish around coconut oil (among others) in their mouth for twenty minutes a day. I think it is a dubious practice, but they claim it has numerous benefits.

    As far as spices and herbs go, a video on why some people can’t stand the smell of curry, and what to do to increase their tolerance, would be great! I love curry, but my wife does not like the smell of it when I cook, or when we go out to the Indian restaurant.

    • Blanster

      Martin, I would love to see some discussion of this too. I have oral lichen planus and am in several Facebook groups for it. Several people swear by oil pulling, but I’m also skeptical of its benefits. But if it does help, I would like to know more about why.

      • It’s been awhile, but I did see a bulletin board post about the cement in the poster’s bridgework coming apart from oil pulling.

        • fineartmarcella

          Why would someone where their partials while oil pulling?

          • Bridgework is permanently cemented. It is not the same thing as a removable partial.

          • fineartmarcella

            Thank you, I didn’t know that!

        • jazzfeed

          Hard to believe that the bridgework wasn’t defective. Caramel or toffee would maybe do that, but oil?

        • Mac

          Oil pulling removes stains on teeth that could be decades old, so I
          could see it loosening dental adhesives.

      • Mac

        Oil pulling has been around for thousands of
        years, it’s an old Ayurvedic practice. I started the practice in Jan. of
        2015 and the results have been superb! I had gum disease since grade
        school, and that has cleared up… or at least the bleeding gums. Other benefits often noted are noticeable whitening of
        teeth, fresh breath, and an oral detox – confirmed from personal experience. A pleasant surprise was a clearing up of the sinuses,
        so I’m now breathing regularly from my noise for the 1st time in
        maybe 35+ years. Google “oil pulling”
        and “Utube” and you can see several videos.
        I intend to make this a lifelong practice.

    • b00mer

      Have you tried different curry powders, from different regions (north Indian, south Indian, Nepalese, Sri Lankan, etc)? I was convinced for most of my life that I hated curry, until I found one I like just in the last year or so. It’s less of a earthy musty smell and more of a smell like seasoned salt if that makes any sense. With that I can make a curry that tastes good to me, though I still prefer a higher ratio of turmeric and cumin to the curry powder. Also of course you can just eat the turmeric and skip the curry powders. Does she dislike turmeric as well? For me, I always liked turmeric; it’s something else in curry powders that I don’t care for.

      Also, adding something like coconut milk can definitely improve the flavor of the curry, but of course some people (including me) don’t like to consume that much fat on a regular basis. I do make a curry with lite coconut milk every great once in a while and it’s divine.

    • Gunnel

      I don’t like the smell of curry, but we prepare this to add to food after it has been made (should not be heated): Olive oil with powdered turmeric, black pepper, red paprika, garlic, ginger and some hot red pepper.

    • Viji

      Hi Martin… I’m not an expert, but there’s no need to make “curry” to get the benefits of turmeric. The curry taste is mostly because of the other spices that are added. You could add turmeric to hummus, for example. We also typically beat it into eggs before we make an omelette. You could use it to marinate chicken/fish.

  • Rin

    For those of us who learn better through reading, could you also publish a transcript to accompany the video or just do transcript without video. Thanks.

    • Thea

      Rin: Already done! Look under the videos and you will see a line that says “Transcript”. You can click to expand that section. You won’t get the graphs and pictures, but you can get the words and then look at the video later if you want to see the graphs.

      • Broccoli

        And thanks, Ariel Levitsky, for the transcript.
        : )

    • b00mer

      Not sure if this would be helpful for you, but in addition to the transcript Thea mentions, there are also captions available if you click the CC in the lower right corner of the video. Mine seem to be automatically turned on for the videos on this site; I’m not sure if that’s true for everyone visiting the site or if that’s just my computer.

    • Broccoli

      Agree. For big words and others, reading is better than hearing.

  • David

    Someone whose judgement I trust, mentioned they had very good results – prevention of the frequent colds they had experienced – from Olive Leaf Extract – and natural Antibiotic. Thoughts/Experience/Opinion? Thank you!

  • Plantstrongdoc M.D.

    Indian vegetarian kitchen is great ! And one of the best is in Washington, Dr. G. Problematic with the ghee though.

  • Coacervate

    Thank you very much. Evidence comes from different quarters: labs, clinical research…demographics. By drawing these elements of research together you provide us with the tools to make our own decisions. There are never guarantees … except from the dark side. FWIW, my problems with kidney stones disappeared when I went WF/PB but my intake of turmeric went up at least a hundred fold. So far so good. I wonder if curry eaters have yellow brains!

  • guest

    I wish it didn’t have such a high value of oxalates in it. other than that turmeric is my favorite antioxidant!

  • Broccoli

    “Forty percent of Indians are vegetarians”

    40%……. what is the % of Americans?

    • Thea

      Broccoli: If memory serves, the last survey I saw put 4% of Americans as (true) vegetarian and an additional 1% as true vegan. I say “true”, because some people label themselves as say vegetarian, but actually still eat fish or even poultry. So, not a vegetarian… The survey I saw was careful not to ask people how they labeled themselves, but instead asked questions along the lines of, “In the last X months, have you eaten any meat, poultry or fish?”

      The neat thing is that while the numbers are still relatively low, they are growing every year. As another poster pointed out a little time ago, if we reach a “tipping point”, a healthy whole plant food based diet might quickly expand and become the norm. It seems like we actually might reach that tipping point, though I don’t know when. That’s just my thoughts on the matter.

      Good question.

      • jazzfeed

        A good criteria for having passed the “tipping point” would be when CAFOs start closing down.

  • Here’s a recipe for a turmeric concoction, mixed with cumin powder to disguise the flavor and pepper to boost bioavailability. I throw it into onions while gently sauteeing them, into cooked bean dishes and salad dressings. Would love to know what you think of the taste.

    • Thea

      Harriet: Thanks for sharing! I haven’t tried it yet, but I wrote it down and hope to give it a shot in the not too distant future. It helped that you gave some ideas on how to use it. (Ex: on onions, etc.)

      • Check my blog tomorrow, Thea. I’m posting my go-to, one-bowl, quick and easy recipe for Indalian onions, combining the best of Italy and India, including that turmeric concoction.

        • Thea

          Harriet: Nice! Thanks for the head’s up. I’ll be on the lookout!

  • HemoDynamic, M.D.

    You are right the pharmaceutical companies don’t own the patent’s to plants yet but I’m sure Monsanto, Dow Chemicals etc have already addressed this potentially multi-trillion dollar market.

    No facts for this just, my cynical-hunch side coming through.

    If they own the seeds, they own the plants, they own the treatment! Yikes!

    • Plantstrongdoc M.D.

      Not cynical, just realistic – unfortunately.

      • Merio

        i want to say that as an unique mankind we got to write a law that severly restrict plant genetic manipulation… and it is really funny to see Monsanto and co struggling for patents but avoiding the labeling… Why ?

        • jazzfeed

          While we are squabbling about labels, genetic drift and contamination of conventional and organic crops by GM crops is occurring globally 24/7, and of course they are more than fine with that. At this point it is utterly naive to believe that is not part of their business plan. This ongoing plague makes it the darkest, yet most urgent and critical issue of our time. If all the facts were clear and out in the open would ANYONE consent to using their gut as a laboratory? REJECT and BOYCOTT all GMO-containing products!

          • Merio

            I agree with your opinion…

          • Liz

            Thank YOU, Jerio and Jazzfeed,
            Let’s all do it. Lets all boycott ALL GMO-containing products. Comeon people now, join with your people and we can help one another RIGHT NOW~~~
            This is easy stuff for us to do. JUST DO IT! swoosh!
            Elizabeth in NY~

  • Pete Greider

    Dr. Greger:
    Thanks for this information. I like to read the sources after viewing your videos, and none of the sources today focus on cancer rates in India. Could you direct me to any articles that talk about these amazing statistics? I’d like to learn more.
    Thanks, Pete Greider.

  • Linda

    I have a question for Dr. Greger or any of the experts. My dad was recently diagnosed with systemic lung nodules brought on by chrondrosarcoma in his arm. The chrondrosarcoma was removed by surgery, however the the nodules in his lungs are too spread out and small to be removed by surgery. Furthermore, chemotherapy (I have been told my oncologists) is not normally effective against lung nodules.

    Are there specific foods (and the amount) that he can eat to help combat this type of cancer?
    Thank you

    • jazzfeed

      Linda, Look through the database at GreenMed Info.

  • Calvin Leman

    I eat more than a teaspoon of turmerc cucumin each day. A sore on my cheek is in regression now. May have been cancer, now it is a scab, which may be gone in a few weeks.

    • Thea

      Calvin: Thanks for the update! Great news.

  • BennyB

    Where should I get it? I’m assuming Organic, but where to buy?

  • BennyB
  • Donna

    I was directed to this video when I clicked on bladder health. I know that one of the natural causes of death for men is kidney failure due to prostate enlargement preventing emptying of the bladder. What can men in their 60s for instance, do to decrease their prostate enlargement, evidenced by frequent need to urinate and incomplete emptying of the bladder? I know health food stores promote supplements. Are any safe and effective? Thanks for all you do to help us stay healthy.

    • Thea

      Donna: I don’t have a direct answer to your question, but I wonder if you have searched on the term “prostate”? There are quite a few videos on the topic:

      Hope that helps.

  • Raymond Jones

    For those having trouble with the curry smell, make your own and you can get it the way you want. I don’t buy any blends pre-made. For my curry, I use 3 parts coriander, 2 parts cumin, and 1 part turmeric. Depending on what you like, you can adjust this to taste. Sometimes, I may also add a dash of cayenne pepper depending on how hot I want it.

  • Joshua

    Has Dr. Greger done any work on “Vitamin B-17” or Amygdalin? I had a family member asking about it in reference to pancreatic cancer…

  • CJ

    Looking forward to more turmeric articles!

  • Judy Fields Davis

    Thank you so much!

  • John

    What about correcting for average age of death when you look at cancer……Chad has very low cancer rate, but average life expectancy is 49.81? India average life expectancy is 68, but does well in the cancer arena. Average life expectancy in US is 79.7. Could this extra decade of the average life span be why we see such a difference in cancer rates?

  • Victoria Dixon Pence

    Are the herbs Ashwagandha and Boswellia useful for immune and arsenal support and chronic pain?