Turmeric shields

TURMERIC -- the age-old panacea for headaches, pimples and fractured limbs -- could also keep cancer away, say scientists at the Hyderabad-based National Institute of Nutrition.

Kamala Krishnaswamy and her colleagues have recently reported that curcumin, the active ingredient of turmeric (Curcuma longa), which is known to have an anti-cancer effect in animals, can also decrease the presence of cancer-inducing elements, or mutagens, in humans.

The scientists found if chronic smokers took 1.5 grams of turmeric each day, for 30 days, the level of smoke-derived, cancer-causing chemicals in their urine came down.