Scientists have found that turmeric, a widely used ingredient in the Indian curry powder, could be useful in the fight against prostate cancer.
ASC-J9, a synthetic chemical compound, derived from curcuma longa, or curcumin, another name for turmeric, shows considerable promise against prostate cancer, acne, and enlarged prostate, as well as Kennedy's disease, a debilitating neurodegenerative condition, researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center in the US say.
Curcumin, a pigment of the spice turmeric has been shown to aid in the support of healthy bones and cartilage. It supports proper liver function and lowers cholesterol levels. It offers promise against breast cancer, melanoma, Alzheimer's disease and the blisters that come with radiation treatments for cancer.
Thus there are several citations to turmeric's therapeutic properties.
But the new found turmeric's efficacy against Kennedy's disease is easily the most striking aspect of the research. For currently there is no treatment for this inherited disorder.
In the experiments on mice it was found the compound could help muscle become much stronger, and they had near-normal levels of a vital molecule crucial for keeping nerve cells healthy.
While a great deal more research needs to be done to see if the compound could be developed into a drug to help people with the Kennedy disease, scientists say it's a very promising development. Thus far progress in that field has been slow.
They also stress that ASC-J9 must be rigorously screened for side effects and effectiveness, through clinical studies in people, before it can be considered as a possible treatment for any disease.
Incidentally the team is led by Dr. Chawnshang Chang, and Chinese too use curcumin extensively in their traditional medicine.