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Turmeric can help treat oral cancers quelling HPV in mouth

Advocated in ancient Hindu civilization as Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric was known to have boosting powers of immunity earlier, depending upon the digestible form and absorption levels.

The familiar yellow spice common in Indian cooking, is now found to helpful in treating oral cancers caused by a virus, says a study co-authored by an Indian-origin researcher.Turmeric

One of the herb’s key active ingredients – an antioxidant called curcumin – appears to have a quelling effect on the activity of human papillomavirus (HPV), the study pointed out.

“Turmeric has established antiviral and anti-cancer properties,” said corresponding author Alok Mishra of the Emory University, Atlanta, US. “And according to our new findings, we could say that it is good for oral health too,” Mishra noted.

HPV is a virus that promotes the development of cervical and oral cancer. There is no cure, but the new findings suggest that curcumin may offer a means of future control.

Mishra’s research group first noted the effect of curcumin on HPV and cervical cancer cells in 2005. The antioxidant slowed the expression of HPV, suggesting that curcumin could control the extent of HPV infection.

“Since HPV-related oral cancer cases are on the rise, we tested the same hypothesis on oral cancer,” Mishra explained. “They turned out to be some very interesting findings.”

The new research indicates that curcumin turns down the expression of HPV in infected oral cancer cells by downregulating the levels of cellular transcription factors AP-1 and NF-kB.

The research was published in the journal ecancermedicalscience.

Recently, researchers from Ohio found that the modified formulation of curcumin, a naturally occurring compound in turmeric, releases its anti-inflammatory goodness throughout the body.

Since, most curcumin in food or supplements stays in the gastrointestinal tract, and any portion that is absorbed is metabolised quickly.

“This study suggests that we have identified a better and more effective way to deliver curcumin and know what diseases to use it for so that we can take advantage of its anti-inflammatory power,” said lead author of the study Nicholas Young from Ohio State University.

Curcumin powder mixed with castor oil and polyethylene glycol in a process called nano-emulsion, has the best potential against macrophage-associated inflammation, the researchers found in a mice study.

Macrophages are important cells of the immune system.

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