10 Science Backed Benefits of Turmericfor Non Hodgkins Lymphoma [UPDATED]

Lymphoma is the term used to describe cancers related to the cells of the lymphatic system. The two main types of lymphomas which occur in children and adults are Hodgkin’s and Non- Hodgkin’s Lymphomas (NHL).

Most forms of Hodgkin Lymphoma follow a classic pattern of development of large or abnormal lymphocytes at the lymph nodes. These are called Reed-Sternberg cells and the condition is often curable.

Non- Hodgkin Lymphoma comprises a larger number of disorders. They generally occur when the body produces an excess of abnormal white blood cells (lymphocytes). The extent of the harm they cause depends on the rate of their spreading i.e. they may travel fast and cause more pain (e.g.large B-cell lymphoma) or may be slow-growing thus not inducing much of a reaction like follicular lymphoma.

Common symptoms of an NHL include weight loss and loss of appetite, fever, and swelling of lymph nodes. Any of these signs should be given immediate medical attention.

Based on the stage of the problem treatment may vary. Medication, radiation therapy and chemotherapy comprise some of the therapeutic agents for this form of cancer. Stem cell transplant is also used in certain cases.

If you already know about Turmeric, please jump to the relevant section using the Table of Contents below, else please read on.

What is turmeric?

Turmeric is a spice derived from an herb belonging to the ginger family. Indians refer to it as ‘haldi’. It is a popular flavoring agent and is also known for its characteristic yellow color. The colour is due to the presence of a compound curcumin, which imparts several therapeutic benefits to the herb.

It has been listed as one of the world’s healthiest foods and has been go-to for treatment of diseases of varying origins for centuries. In fact, it is one of the key components of many Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese medicines.

Scientists are keenly investigating its modes of activity in order to develop relevant and efficient drugs based on the same.

10 Science-Backed Benefits of Turmeric for Non- Hodgkin’s Lymphoma

Turmeric is believed to have excellent healing properties. Increasing scientific evidence is indicative of its ability to reduce the risk of various types of cancers along with reversing their effects.

The nutrients present in it have the ability to decelerate the rate of cell division and fix cell damage, all contributors to lymphoma occurrence. Some of the benefits of turmeric in the treatment of various types of NHL have been listed as follows:

1.Turmeric exerts anticancer effect on malignant human B cells

B cell lymphoma has the largest prevalence amongst all forms of NHLs (approximately 90%). Scientists have conducted several studies to assess the anti-carcinogenic activity of turmeric with respect to these cells.

Sun C’s comparative study based on the effects of curcumin on B cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cells and normal peripheral blood mononuclear cells(basically a blood cell with a round nucleus) (NPBMNCs) showed that while curcumin did not have much of an impact on normal peripheral blood cells, the compound induced cell cycle arrest and cell death in B cell NHL cells in a dose-dependent manner.

This was followed up by another experiment on the effects of curcumin on follicular lymphoma (FL) cells. Follicular Lymphoma is a fatal and dangerous form of B cell Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

However, curcumin provides an efficient solution to this as it can retard cell growth and induce apoptotic (program cell death related) pathways.

The Journal of Biochemical Physiology in 2005 highlighted how curcumin treatment interrupted the cell cycle and displayed antiproliferative effects on a human Mantle cell lymphoma (a type of fast-growing lymphoma) model.

This was validated by the 2008 study where it was seen that curcumin acted on and downregulated key cell signaling molecules such as NF-kappaB and STAT3.

What does this mean?
The compound curcumin in turmeric possesses anti-carcinogenic properties in B cells i.e. it act against cancer-causing agents. It monitors the cell cycle enabling it useful in NHL therapy.

2.Turmeric has anti-inflammatory effect

Inflammation is one of the chief influencers of pain and swelling at the lymph nodes. It takes place due to the body’s attempts to repair damage at a particular site by activating immune cells called cytokines.

Das L and Vinayak M investigated the interactions between curcumin and pro-inflammatory cytokines using an animal model. The key molecules of interest were the two types of Interleukin-1 (IL-1α and IL-1β) as this proinflammatory cytokine is known to act on a multitude of cell lines.

It was seen that curcumin administration effectively reduced markers related to swelling and inflammation. This is due to the ability of the compound to modulate the gene promoters and binding sites of IL-1α and IL-1β in order to relieve inflammation induced pain

What does this mean?
The use of turmeric provides a potential remedy for NHL induced inflammation. It down-regulates the activity of immune cells and inflammation inducing agents like Interleukin-1.

3.Turmeric has immunomodulatory effects

In recent years, a large amount of research is being directed at immunotherapy of cancer i.e. bringing about biological changes in the immune system that can eliminate disease.

One mode of this process is an immunomodulatory therapy which works by stimulating immune cell activity. For example, Lenalidomide is a drug which has shown promising immune modulatory effects in Non Hodgkins Lymphoma cases.

The Journal of Cellular & Molecular Immunology published an article analyzing the effects of curcumin on T-cell related NHLs. It was seen that curcumin protected cells from tumor damage by reactivating defense mechanisms of the T cells.

Cancer cells generally work by targeting and evading cell cycle controlling mechanisms. However, curcumin administration could boost the activity of the affected memory and cytotoxic T cells thereby preventing the progress of cancer.

What does this mean?
Curcumin has a potent ability to target different cell activities and bolster our immune defenses.

4.Curcumin in turmeric increases the effectiveness of radiotherapy

Radiotherapy is a method of cancer treatment that is slowly gaining popularity worldwide. Some medical professionals recommend that a cancer patient should undergo this procedure at least once. The estimated amount of patients who have gained reach to this process is roughly 50%.

Qiao Q et al have had a long standing belief that curcumin administration can enhance the effectiveness of radiotherapy on Non- Hodgkin Lymphomas. This has been validated through many of their studies using many cell lines and forms of radiation.

Some of these include the in vitro studies of NHL and Burkitts Lymphoma cells with Ionizing radiations such as X rays.

These studies have yielded positive results that show that curcumin can arrest the cell cycle along with regulating cell signaling pathways. In particular, it blocks the NF-κB pathway making it a promising anti-tumor agent.

What does this mean?
Turmeric’s anti-tumor activity and ability to modulate cell cycles in the body helps in radiotherapy. This is due to the fact that curcumin regulates cell signals thus blocks the NF-κB pathway.

5. Curcumin in turmeric prevents metastasis

Metastasis is the process by which cancer cells spread from one part of the body to another damaging several organ in the process. It is the main cause of cancer caused fatalities.

It generally occurs when carcinogens alter the activity of genes and gene products which protect from cancer expressions such as inflammatory cytokines, enzymes, and transcription factors.

Curcumin has been scientifically proven to reverse these effects and protect against such carcinogenic effects. This has been validated through phase 2 and 3 trials in humans.

Bayet-Robert M and colleagues documented one such trial where the effects of curcumin in a group of breast cancer affected patients were analyzed. They saw that along with being anti-metastatic, the turmeric derivative was safe for use.

What does this mean?
Since the compound curcumin present in turmeric is capable of binding to cells and regulating their immunological activity, it has potential to be used as a chemopreventive agent as it acts against metastasis.

turmeric for non hodgkins lymphoma

6.Turmeric protects from side effects of cancer therapy

Considering that treatment against cancer is highly intense, it exhausts the body’s energy and immune resources leading to certain adverse effects. The most common side effects of cancer therapy are a buildup of toxic free radicles, inflammation, and cachexia (weakness of the body).

A trial conducted to assess safety and efficacy of a specialized form of curcumin, Meriva showed positive results.

Antioxidant effects of the compound maintain a check on the levels of free radicles and eliminate them when necessary. Curcumin also exerts substantial anti-inflammatory activity.

The anti-cachectic effects of curcumin have also been studied through treatments targeted at melanoma cells. Investigation of parameters like cytotoxicity and apoptosis showed that it strengthens cells which have been weakened by cancer treatment.

What does this mean?
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of the curcumin protects from side effects of cancer therapy.

7.Curcumin is effective against HIV-related lymphoma

An individual affected by HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) becomes immune compromised and in such a situation they become more susceptible to lymphomas.

Curcumin acts as a preventive agent in such cases. It acts as an immunomodulator and also inhibits transcription of the virus.

It reverses the viral multiplication and thus prevents its expression. Since the viral cells cannot divide and spread, its malignancy gets suppressed.

What does this mean?
Curcumin can help prevent and reverse the effects of even the most complicated and fatal forms of lymphomas such as those related to HIV through gene silencing techniques.

8.Curcumin regulates genes to mediate anti-tumor and anti-cancer effects

Curcumin possesses the unique ability to bind closely to genes and regulate their functions.

These properties were illustrated through Sabry M and El Bahr’s 2013 animal model study where curcumin was seen to lessen the impact of B cell Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL).

It was seen that curcumin administration upregulated protective genes like insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) along with attenuating the oxidative stress conditions.

What does this mean?
Through regulation of gene activity and ameliorating oxidative stress conditions, turmeric helps improve the health status of Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma effected individuals.

9.Turmeric boosts antioxidant defenses of the body

Follicular Lymphoma is one of the most common forms of B cell Lymphomas which till 2011 was believed to be an incurable disease.

In an attempt to treat this condition Ahmad R. Bassiouny et al. studied the combinatorial effects of curcumin with epigallocatechingallate (EGCG), a green tea extract.

Through a series of safety and efficacy tests in humans, they found that the polyphenolic antioxidant, curcumin could suppress metastasis-related genes and eliminate toxic free radicles from the body. The length of time the individuals remained disease free also increased.

What does this mean?
It can be implied from this study that turmeric could be potentially used in NHL treatment to eradicate harmful free radicles. It reduces oxidative stress and improves cell viability.

10.Curcumin induces apoptosis in lymphoma cells

One common characteristic of cancerous cells is that they divide nonproliferative and evade apoptosis (program cell death).

Zhang et.al illustrated how curcumin could selectively drive lymphoma effected T- cells to apoptosis. This activity was brought about through close monitoring of cell signaling pathways. Most importantly, the STAT-3 and NF-κB Signaling pathways.

The findings showed better results in T cell lymphomas when compared to peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs).

What does this mean?
The anti-tumor effects of curcumin can be attributed to its cell signal monitoring activities by which it selectively induces apoptosis in lymphoma cells.

Dosage of Turmeric For Non Hodgkins Lymphoma

We have identified a specific dosage of curcumin for cancers which you can find here: Curcumin/Turmeric Scientific Dosage For Cancer.

For healing NHLs it is recommended to consume the herb in the form of Turmeric milk or turmeric tea.
Golden paste combines turmeric with black pepper to aid absorption by the body.

There is no specific optimal dosage. It varies from person to person based on what suits them. Starting with a low dose is advised to avoid gastric side effects.

Start with small doses such as ¼-1/2 tsp a day for a week and if no gastric side effects are seen increase gradually by ¼-1/2 tsp every week. The recommended dose is 1-2 tsp 2-3 times a day (precisely 1 tsp 3 times a day).

You can find the recipe for Golden Paste here. You can also make Golden Paste from fresh roots.

Avoid taking on an empty stomach and if taking large doses avoid taking it the same time of taking medications. (Read Does Turmeric cause acid reflux? Black pepper in GP: Does it cause drug interaction?)

Some good brands to purchase are mentioned in our recommendations of organic turmeric brands.
If taking turmeric supplements consult a health practitioner prior.

Precautions

Despite the multiple benefits turmeric has to offer, it is best to seek the advice of a medical professional before beginning its use as a supplement. (Side effects of turmeric, Side effects of curcumin, Precautions with Turmeric use)

Large dosages are sometimes linked to acid reflux. Its use is not advisable on an empty stomach.

Turmeric as spice must be taken in limited quantities if suffering from gut and kidney stones. (Is turmeric safe in gout? Does turmeric cause kidney stone?)

Turmeric has anti-platelet property and hence turmeric supplements should be avoided if suffering from bleeding risks. You may consult a doctor before taking turmeric in this case. (Read Is Turmeric a Blood thinner?)

Curcumin interferes with drug metabolism enzymes and hence should not be taken concomitantly with any medication.

Conclusion

Turmeric and curcumin provide a number of benefits in the treatment of Non-Hodgkin Lymphomas.

The positive effects they provide are due to their apoptosis-inducing and gene regulatory properties. Their anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects are also being exploited in plenty.

Many in vivo and in vitro studies are indicative of their radiosensitizing and chemosensitizing properties, making them molecules of interest for chemotherapy.

About the Author

TurmericForHealthTeam

Turmeric for Health's writer team consists of passionate writers from the fields of biotechnology, pharmacy, nutrition, Ayurveda & microbiology.Our writers are highly qualified with many having Ph.D., M.Tech & MSc degrees while others having B.Tech, BSc, B.Pharm. Our differentiation lies in researching and presenting ONLY FACTUAL SCIENTIFIC information. We spend 10s of hours to write a single article. Info of our articles is sourced from reliable scientific sources which are also provided as a link alongside for readers to refer if they want. You can read more about our team in the " About us" section.

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5 Comments

  1. I have NH follicular lymphoma and I take Tecta to reduce stomach acid and reflux. How does the turmeric interact with this medication and how much, if any, is it safe for me to take? I would be taking it in the form of golden paste.

    1. Hi. If taking Golden Paste do take it after meals to avoid any acid reflux like symptoms. Also avoid taking it close to the time of taking other medications. Maintain a 3-4 hour gap.
      There is no concrete data available regarding turmeric’s interaction with stomach acid reducing medications. Maintaining a sufficient gap should avoid any such interactions. However your condition may require curcumin supplements the dosage of which is outlined here:
      https://www.turmericforhealth.com/general-info/turmeric-curcumin-dosage-for-cancer-a-scientific-plan
      Please consult a health practitioner before taking curcumin supplements for cancer.

  2. I have been taking tumeric curcumin for four months at 1600 mg due to arthritis in my back. How long can I do this?

    1. Hi. Studies have found doses between 1-2g of curcumin do not cause any significant adverse effects over a study period of 3-4 months. Safety studies have found that even doses up to 8g are safe. Long term studies have also not reported any major side effects. However we would recommend including Golden Paste in diet as well and when you have 80% relief you can cut the dose of supplements and increase the dose of Golden Paste.
      You may consider consulting a health practitioner with regards to this.