After five years of living with cancer and the ravages of side-effects from repeated unsuccessful treatment, Dieneke Ferguson thought she was finally losing the battle. She had a serious relapse and there seemed little hope.
Dieneke had been diagnosed with the blood cancer myeloma in 2007 and had undergone three rounds of chemotherapy as well as four stem cell transplants.
‘I have been on all sorts of toxic drugs and the side-effects were terrifying,’ she says. ‘At one point I lost my memory for three days, and in 2008 two of the vertebrae in my spine collapsed so I couldn’t walk. They injected some kind of concrete into my spine to keep it stable.
’Yet, despite all this, ‘nothing worked: there was just too much cancer — all my options were exhausted, and there was nothing else I could do,’ she says.
Then Dieneke started a new treatment — not another high-tech, expensive drug, but a remedy based on something many of us have in our kitchen cupboards. Where all others had failed, this one worked, and five years on, Dieneke’s cancer cell count is negligible.
The treatment? Curcumin, which is a key component of the spice turmeric. Dieneke’s recovery was so extraordinary that it recently made the pages of the eminent British Medical Journal as a one-off case report of how a natural ingredient was somehow keeping cancer at bay.
‘When you review her chart, there’s no alternative explanation [for her recovery] other than we’re seeing a response to curcumin,’ Jamie Cavenagh, professor of blood diseases at London’s Barts Hospital and co-author of the report, said. [...]
Turmeric and curcumin are among the most popular herbal medicines, with many health benefits and few side effects. Here, Dr Sarah Brewer explains the concrete evidence - and how to use them.
It's the spice that everyone's talking about - barely a week goes by without us hearing about another purported health benefit of turmeric.
The kitchen cupboard staple, widely recognizable by its spectacular golden color, fast becoming one of the most researched plants in the world.
And with so many possible scientific and medical uses, it's not difficult to see why.
Last month, the Daily Mail reported how a woman dying from cancer credited turmeric with keeping her alive.
Dieneke Ferguson, a 67-year-old from North London, was told there was 'no hope' for her after three rounds of chemotherapy and four stem cell treatments failed to halt the progression of her blood cancer.
She credits curcumin, a key component of turmeric, with keeping her alive, after she started taking 8g a day of it in tablet form.
And just last night, the benefits of turmeric were discussed last night in the Channel 4 programme Superfoods: The Real Story.
In the show, presenter Kate Quilton explained how she had fallen down the stairs last year and fractured two vertebrae in her back.
She'd had physio but had also tried to include turmeric in her diet in 'as many weird and wonderful ways as possible', after learning of its anti-inflammatory and healing properties.
Now back on her feet, she was on a mission to try and ascertain whether the turmeric played any part in her recovery.
Scientists Kate met assured her it had – and advised viewers to eat 1.5 teaspoons of the spice a day.
So why is turmeric such a superfood? And how can you reap the most benefits from taking it? [...]