Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) is the most common infection. About 1 in four individuals in US are affected by HPV. It is a group of 150 viruses.
HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease. It can infect skin or mucous membranes. More than 40 HPV viruses can affect male and female genitals.
Most people don’t have signs or symptoms of infection, but symptoms can develop years later. Genital warts are a common feature of HPV which is why the name papilloma.
HPV type 6 and 11 generally cause warts.
High-risk HPV types and persistent infection can lead to the development of cancer or precancerous lesions.
HPV can lead to cancer of cervix, vulva, vagina, penis, anus and also oral cancer. HPV 16 and 18 are the most common types involved in the development of cervical cancer.
Regular screening, vaccination, and safe sexual practices are best measures to avoid HPV.
But the rising prevalence of HPV worldwide makes it necessary to search for complementary non-toxic and preventive treatment options.
Table of Contents
- 5 Benefits of Turmeric In HPV
- Frequently Asked Questions on Turmeric and HPV Infection
- Dosage of Turmeric In HPV
- Research Studies
5 Benefits of Turmeric In HPV
Turmeric or Haldi is a famous spice used in Asian cuisine. In traditional medicine systems, it is revered as a priceless herb and science today proves its efficacy in treating a number of diseases.
Curcumin is its bioactive ingredient which holds a number of therapeutic properties.
Curcumin has broad-spectrum anti-microbial properties. Research proves that curcumin demonstrates anti-viral activity against :
- Influenza virus
- Human Immunodeficiency Virus
- Herpes Simplex Virus
- Hepatitis C virus
- Japanese encephalitis
- Human T cell lymphotropic virus
- Human Papillomavirus
In addition to terminating these infections, it also reverses antiviral drug resistance.
Indian researchers suggest that curcumin is a strong anti-HPV agent and it can be used to prevent or clear HPV infection or to prevent the development of cervical and oral cancers.
What does this mean?
Curcumin’s status as an anti-viral agent is suggestive of its efficacy in treating HPV infection.
2. Topical turmeric formulation clears HPV infection
Vacurin, a curcumin-based vaginal cell is found to selectively eliminate HPV infected cervical cancer cells without inducing toxicity in other normal cells.
Lab studies show that it effectively acts against cervical cancer cells that infected by different strains of HPV and increases the expression of tumor suppressor proteins. Animal studies suggest absence of any adverse events.
Indian researchers have developed a polyherbal cream (Basant) which is effective in treating HPV. It contains curcumin, Amla extracts, saponins from Reetha (Sapindus mukorossi), Aloe vera and rose water.
It inhibits the growth of microbes that cause vaginal infection like Neisseria gonorrhoeae and Candida species. It also inhibits the activity of HIV and HPV virus.
Phase II clinical trials of this polyherbal formulation in humans showed great results.
The efficacy of Basant cream and curcumin vaginal capsules were tested in women who were positive for HPV infection. The study lasted for 30 days.
Clearance rate of infection was 87.7% in Basant group and 81.3% in capsule group. The most common side effect with the cream was vaginal irritation but it was mild to moderate intensity and no serious side effect occurred.
What does this mean?
Cream based formulation of turmeric as topical agents have proven to be effective in clearing HPV infection.
3. It acts as a chemopreventive agent
Research has proven that curcumin displays is so fast acting that it curbs the activity of cancer-causing proteins within 6 hours post-treatment.
Not only does it display anti-tumorigenic properties but it also restores the activity of our natural proteins that suppress tumor formation.
Benzopyrene is a cancer-causing agent present in tobacco smoke which has been found to increase the activity of HPV E7 protein. Surprisingly curcumin attenuates this increase and acts as a chemopreventive agent.
Activation protein-1 is a protein that regulates the activity of genes responsible for cell development and therefore is said to be crucial in the progression of HPV infection to cervical cancer.
This protein is prepared by other elements such as c-fos and fra-1 which are normal genes but become cancer-causing genes due to mutations and are present in excess in cancerous cells.
Now, these proteins can be restored to normal function by antioxidants.
Researchers found that treating tumor causing HPV infected cells with curcumin, a strong antioxidant, not only lowered the activity of AP-1 but also restored c-fos and fra-1 to normalcy.
By means of its antioxidant properties, curcumin can prevent the progression of HPV infection to cervical cancer.
Another study shows that curcumin is specifically toxic to HPV16 and HPV18 infected cells and not to non-infected cells.
It reduces the activity of infectious cancer-causing proteins and also lowers the presence of pro-inflammatory biological molecules.
What does this mean?
Curcumin reduces the activity of cancer causing HPV proteins and increases the expression of tumor suppressing proteins. By means of its antioxidant property it prevents progression of HPV infection to cervical cancer.
4. It serves to be therapeutic in cervical cancer
One of the most common outcomes of HPV is cervical cancer. Curcumin acts in a number of ways to prevent the development of and kill cervical cancer cells:
- It counteracts the protective effect of hormone estradiol which is necessary for the spread of cervical cancer.
- It uses multiple pathways to cause toxicity and cell death in cervical cancer cells.
- It improves the sensitivity of cervical cancer cells to anti-cancer drugs.
- It reverses drug resistance in cervical cancer cells.
What does this mean?
Turmeric acts as a therapeutic agent against cervical cancer, the most common consequence of HPV infection. For more detailed information read Turmeric for cervical cancer.
5. It is an anti-cancer agent
HPV is a small DNA tumor virus which has been shown to be prevalent in about 90% of cervical cancers, 90% of anal cancers, 50% of penile, 40% of vulvar, 70% of vaginal cancers and 20–60% of cancers of the mouth and throat.
HPV 16 E6 protein is said to play a major role in the development of oral and cervical cancer.
Curcuminoids bind to this protein and restore the activity of our natural tumor suppressor proteins and cause apoptosis of infected cells.
Out of the curcuminoids, curcumin is the most active compound and it not only attacks HPV 16 E6 protein but also downregulates other proteins that are responsible for the proliferation of oral cancer cells.
What does this mean?
HPV increases the risk of developing many types of cancer, the most common one being oral cancer. Curcumin and the other curcuminoids prevent HPV virus from causing oral cancer.
Frequently Asked Questions on Turmeric and HPV Infection
Here are a couple of FAQs with answers in relation to turmeric’s therapeutic efficacy in HPV infection.
1.Will turmeric help in HPV infection?
Turmeric and its active ingredient curcumin are proven to have anti-HPV activity. Oral consumption of curcumin can help in treating and controlling the infection.
2. Can turmeric be taken for the pre-cancerous condition due to HPV infection?
Turmeric can help in pre-cancerous conditions due to HPV when taken orally or applied topically.
3. Can turmeric help treat genital warts?
Topical application of turmeric based cream may help in treating genital warts caused by HPV.
4. Can turmeric help in cervical cancer?
Turmeric has anti-cancer, chemosensitization, chemopreventive properties which benefit in cervical cancer.
5. What dose of turmeric should I take for HPV?
This depends on the form of turmeric you take. The details have been highlighted in the Dosage section below.
6. Should I take whole turmeric or curcumin for HPV?
We recommend whole turmeric or turmeric powder as Golden Paste for most conditions. In HPV one may have to take curcumin supplements in addition to dietary turmeric.
7. Is it safe to take turmeric/Golden Paste with turmeric supplements in HPV?
Yes, it is safe to take Golden Paste or turmeric in the diet when taking supplements; however it is advisable to limit to low doses say 1-2 teaspoon in a day to avoid gastric discomfort.
8. How long does it take for turmeric to benefit in HPV?
This depends on the individual, severity of the disorder, dosage as well as the form of turmeric you are taking. It makes take as much as 1-3 months to clear HPV infection and precancerous condition with turmeric.
9. I have taken turmeric for a month or more but I still see no improvement, what should I do?
If it been a month since you have taken Golden Paste at a dose of 1-2 tsp 2-3 times a day then here are a few things you could do:
- Check whether you are using good quality organic turmeric powder. (For help click here)
- Increase the dosage if it suits you.
Lastly, you can seek help from a health practitioner about turmeric supplements. Read Taking Turmeric But See No Benefits
10. Are there any side effects or precautions to note about turmeric?
Turmeric, when taken in the diet in moderate doses, is safe. However, there are certain precautions that you should be aware of and these have been discussed below in the Precautions section.
11. Should turmeric be avoided in gout?
Low doses of turmeric in diet can be used in gout but for a therapeutic purpose, it is preferable to take turmeric supplements. Please read the Precautions section.
12. I am taking a blood thinner, can I take turmeric?
Turmeric in small amounts in the diet is safe but turmeric supplements should be avoided in case of a bleeding/clotting disorder. It is advisable to discuss this with your doctor.
Dosage of Turmeric In HPV
Including turmeric in a diet is good for brain health.
To derive therapeutic benefits from dietary turmeric, take it with a pinch of black pepper and fats (olive/coconut oil).
When taking Golden Paste, start with ¼ tsp a day and continue this for a week.
If no side effects are observed then gradually increase the dose by ¼ tsp every week till you reach a dose of 1-2 tsp 2-3 times a day.
It is preferable to avoid taking Golden Paste on an empty stomach and do not take it close to other medicines to avoid drug interactions. (Read Does Black Pepper In Golden/Turmeric Paste cause drug interactions?)
The general dose of turmeric supplements is 400-600mg 2-3 times a day. This is for standardized 95% curcumin with bioperine.
Consult a physician before taking turmeric supplements.
Turmeric is absolutely safe in food. Also, turmeric supplements up to a dose of 8-12g a day is proven to be safe.
However, you should avoid turmeric supplements in case of pregnancy and lactation if suffering from gallbladder obstruction and 1-2 weeks prior to surgery.
Also, avoid taking them at the same time as taking other medicines.
If prone to developing kidney stones or suffering from gout, limit intake of turmeric as a spice. If suffering from bleeding disorders or taking blood thinners avoid turmeric supplements.
Turmeric is an anti-viral agent and it shows virucidal properties against HPV.
Topical formulations of curcumin are proven to clear an HPV infection.
Additionally, curcumin shows great potential in preventing the progression of HPV infection to cervical cancer and it also serves to be therapeutic in cervical cancer.
However more clinical trials in humans are required to warrant the use of curcumin as an anti-HPV agent. Till then it is safe to conclude that turmeric can be used as adjuvant therapy in HPV infection.