A support group for everything about chemotherapy, being treated and side effects. Tell others about your experiences and get answers to your questions.


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Question to the forum:  I have heard that tumeric is very good for you if you have cancer and then I have heard that it is not advised to take during chemo.  I have been using it in cooking since I was diagnosed, not overdoing it but we do use it quite abit.  I am currently having chemo and just want to know if it is true that it should be avoided during chemo.


Posted by

Hi Clarrie

I can only relate to you my experience. Before I had chemo I took Curcumin capsules. (BTW you can also get Tumeric tea.) Tumeric contains curcumin which is a substance with powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.I found it eased my lower back pain, the pain in my finger joints and helped with frozen shoulders. I also seemed to heal quicker while taking it and had less sore throats/colds etc. I also took garlic capsules as well as they are a natural 'antibiotic'. I was advised not to take the Curcumin capsules during chemotherapy and I complied. After a few weeks of not taking them, I did feel my aches and pains return. So when I see my oncologist next week I shall ask him if it's okay to go back on them. 

You need to ask your team about this. Many oncology teams are open to "natural" products, and mine welcomed my questions as it showed I was actively invested in my treatment. But we need to be aware that just because something is "natural" it doesn't necessarily mean 'safe'. The chemicals in various plants can interact in all sorts of ways with drugs, so please get some advice from your team.

I wish you all the best. It can be a difficult and lonely journey sometimes. But the ladies on here are very supportive. Much love, Lesley

Ricky - Macmillan
Posted by

Hi , our dietitian Lindsay has answered another member's question about turmeric in our Ask a dietitian (closed) area. Here is the relevant section. I hope it's useful.

Research is being done into turmeric and green tea. Turmeric is known to have anti-inflammatory properties. The main active ingredient is called curcumin. However, research on cancer cells has only been done in a lab. Results are promising but it is ongoing. There is no strong evidence for me to advise it at present but if used in cooking (curry’s) it is safe. Cancer research has some information on Turmeric.

Kind regards,

Posted by

I don't know about turmeric during chemotherapy (I was not aware of its potential until after I was given my termination notice) when I started taking more active interest in staying alive.

Turmeric has been used for thousands of years - it is said that turmeric was the 'Gold' the maji gifted to baby Jesus along with the Frankincense and Myrrh.

I personally use the fresh root  as I am suspicious of any supplements and foods which have been processed to sell for profit.  Whole foods with the additional minerals, vitamins, fibre etc are balanced by nature - we cannot guess what these additional ingredients contribute to our body's ability to extract the beneficial elements.

If you do use curcumin powder in cooking it is apparently best to heat it along with black pepper.


Posted by

Hi Lesley - thank you so much for replying and for this information. I haven't been taking the capsules but using the powder in cooking and fresh tumeric in cooking too.  I will ask my team, the only thing they told me not to eat before I started chemo were live bio yoghurts, blue veined cheeses/brie/soft cheeses/shellfish (although my Macmillan recipe book says otherwise!) pates/unpasteurised things and that was about it.  

I will check with the tumeric though.  I totally agree, it is a difficult and lonely journey at times, I find night times the worst because I am going over and over in my head and getting upset about the slightest little thing and mind going into overdrive about the physical side effects etc.  

Love Claire x