#13 – Turmeric

Two days ago we received a handwritten note from one of my husband’s co-workers (thank you Sandra!) and it was the recipe for Tumeric Paste.  I’d heard that turmeric itself had healing properties but had never explored it any further.  Usually when I get something like this I check out the primary conduits for cancer research and news – like the Canadian Cancer Society, American Cancer Society or Cancer Research UK.  I hit paydirt on the first site I checked (the ACS) where they have a page dedicated to turmeric and more specifically curcumin.  The article states: “Turmeric is a common food flavoring and coloring in Asian cooking. Animal and laboratory studies have found that curcumin, an antioxidant that is an active ingredient in turmeric, demonstrated some anti-cancer effects in the lab. But human research is needed to determine curcumin’s role in cancer prevention and treatment in people.”   There is a lot of good information there so it is worth reading more.  Notably, the page states studies are underway on a paste made with turmeric: “In India and Malaysia, there is a custom of making turmeric paste to apply directly onto the skin, a practice now under study for the possibility that it may prevent skin cancer.”  This page which has a lot more interesting data can be accessed at: http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/complementaryandalternativemedicine/herbsvitaminsandminerals/turmeric

Here’s the recipe for the paste that was dropped off for us.  Since my husband is in chemo right now I won’t be making it until he’s through, this paste and herb has antioxidant properties and I have been told to delay introduction of these until after his last chemo session.  Consequently I am just sharing the information for those interested to make or use based on your own good judgement.  For those who do use it I’d be interested in any feedback on it.  The recipe has been transcribed word for word from the sheet I received.  I believe that the final instructions about ingesting this warm mean that you should warm your milk or boil your water prior to putting the spoon of turmeric paste into it (which you will spoon out of your glass container from the fridge).  Once you’ve spooned in your paste don’t reheat it in the microwave – try to have the concoction while it is still warm to hot.

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Turmeric Paste

For cholesterol, high blood pressure, tumors, breast cancer

1/4 cup turmeric

1/2 teaspoon of cardamom

1/2 inch to an inch of ginger root, peel and slice thinly or squish it

5 peppercorns (whole)

1 teaspoon of vanilla

3 whole allspice

3/4 cup of water

Put in saucepan and cook on medium heat.  Constantly stir until it turns into a thick paste.  Let cool.  Once cool put into a glass container (not a plastic container).  Put in refrigerator.

Take three times a day.  If you are experiencing an upset stomach then take only two times a day.

When you are ready to consume this add 1 teaspoon to a glass of warm milk or warm water.  Make sure that the liquid is still piping hot and do not warm up in the microwave.  Stir constantly as you drink this.

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Many thanks to everyone who has shared some of their alternate remedies, tinctures, techniques and medicines with me.  I’ve been slow on updating this section of our cancer experience but will try to keep them coming.

November 8 Update:

Saw an article in the Canadian Health & Lifestyle Magazine for Fall 2014 that gives a great recipe using turmeric, here it is:

Turmeric Tea:

Boil 1 – 2 cups of water, turn to simmer and add:

1 teaspoon turmeric

1 teaspoon cinnamon

Pinch of nutmeg

Optional:

A pinch of cloves, or a teaspoon of fresh ground ginger

Simmer for 10 minutes.  Strain.  Sweeten with raw honey and add a dollop of almond or coconut milk to taste.

(Source:  http://www.healthandlifestyle.ca/health/wellness/3-spices-with-surprising-health-benefits/)

#10 – Antioxidants

For those of you knowledgeable about cancer, you will wonder why I have included this topic.  I continue to grow in awareness and understanding of this disease but still have some preconceived notions that I need to shake.  One of them surrounds the use of supplements, such as antioxidants, to stay healthy and support cells.  When my husband was diagnosed many people came out of the woodwork with ideas on how to beat or at least slow down his cancer.  One idea was the use of antioxidants.  All I have ever heard about antioxidants has been positive.  However, when I spoke with medical professionals they suggested deferring the use of antioxidants until after the chemo treatments had ended.

Apparently, at the present time, there is not enough solid data to show benefit from using antioxidants during treatment, and in fact there have been studies that suggest that taking antioxidants could interfere in some different types of chemo treatments.  The general consensus among those I spoke with is that the time to take antioxidants is before you develop cancer, as a preventive measure.  Perhaps the other view is that once a state of health is achieved after treatment, then the antioxidants should be a routine part of one’s health routine.  However, as the excerpt below states, ultimately the decision as to whether or not to take antioxidants during treatment rests with the patient, but the medical team should be informed.

“Several randomized controlled trials, some including only small numbers of patients, have investigated whether taking antioxidant supplements during cancer treatment alters the effectiveness or reduces the toxicity of specific therapies. Although these trials had mixed results, some found that people who took antioxidant supplements during cancer therapy had worse outcomes, especially if they were smokers.  … Additional large randomized controlled trials are needed to provide clear scientific evidence about the potential benefits or harms of taking antioxidant supplements during cancer treatment. Until more is known about the effects of antioxidant supplements in cancer patients, these supplements should be used with caution. Cancer patients should inform their doctors about their use of any dietary supplement.” (Source:  http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/factsheet/prevention/antioxidants  retrieved Sept 8, 2014.)

 “Results of recent studies do not support antioxidant supplements, but health authorities continue to find benefits of a high intake of fruits and vegetables. There is concern about possible interactions between high doses of some antioxidant supplements and chemotherapy drugs that work by using free radicals to kill cancerous cells.” (Source:  http://www.mydr.com.au/nutrition-weight/antioxidants-their-role-in-health  retrieved Sept 8, 2014.)