Turmeric demonstrated anti-inflammatory and anticancer activities in lab studies. A few studies suggest that curcumin has biological activity in some cancer patients but more data are needed to verify its benefits.
Turmeric is a spice that has been used in cooking for centuries. Scientists have determined that turmeric has many biological activities, although they do not fully understand exactly how it exerts these effects. From laboratory experiments, it has been deduced that substances in turmeric (called curcuminoids) prevent inflammation by inhibiting the molecules that mediate inflammatory reactions. Curcuminoids may protect the body in a few ways: they enhance the activity of an important detoxifying enzyme and they also act as antioxidants by neutralizing free radicals (which can cause DNA damage). In rats, turmeric prevented the development of kidney damage from toxins. Turmeric also stimulates the flow of bile in the gastrointestinal tract.