Dieneke Ferguson, 67, battled myeloma for five years, thought she had lost, and then tried a key component of a common kitchen spice: curcumin. Now, five years later, her cancer cell count is negligible, the Daily Mail reported.
Her recovery was so remarkable it was featured in the British Medical Journal. However, the report emphasized that few - if any - of myeloma sufferers used curcumin on its own, without conventional treatments.
And co-author Jamie Cavenagh, who works at London’s Barts Hospital as a specialist in blood disease, said many of his patients take curcumin at some point, but it doesn't work for everyone.
"A lot of my patients take curcumin at different stages of their treatment. I don’t object to it," Cavenagh said. " Dieneke’s is the best response I have observed and it is clear-cut because we had stopped all other treatment. I have not seen such a convincing response before."
"When you review her chart, there’s no alternative explanation [for her recovery] other than we’re seeing a response to curcumin."
Myeloma is a type of blood cancer, and to treat it, Ferguson first tried three rounds of chemotherapy and four stem cell transplants.
Curcumin is naturally found in the kitchen variety of turmeric (in Hebrew - curcum), but the spice contains just 25% curcumin, while the pills contain higher quantities of the ingredient.
Curcumin is known to help dementia, depression, heart disease, infection, and various skin conditions, including acne and psoriasis.
Ferguson currently takes 8 grams of curcumin a day (equivalent to two teaspoons of powered curcumin), mostly to ensure the disease does not come back. She orders her tablets from an Indian company called Sabinsa.
"I have been on all sorts of toxic drugs and the side-effects were terrifying," Ferguson told the Daily Mail. "At one point I lost my memory for three days, and in 2008 two of the vertebrae in my spine collapsed so I couldn’t walk. They injected some kind of concrete into my spine to keep it stable."
"Nothing worked: there was just too much cancer — all my options were exhausted, and there was nothing else I could do...
"I told my oncologist I was taking it and he was very interested, especially when it apparently made such a difference."
In the end, she said, she tried curcumin because she "had nothing to lose."
According to Myeloma UK senior researcher and report co-author Maggie Lai, an Italian curcumin product - known in the UK as Turmeric+, contains soy lecithin and is 29 times better absorbed in the bloodstream. It's also cheaper than the Indian product.
Cancer professor at London's St. George's Hospital Angus Dalgleish said, "Curcumin is a strong anti-inflammatory agent and chronic inflammation is the precursor of 99 per cent of all cancers."