It's believed that turmeric may prevent or slow the rate of growth of some types of cancers, including tumors in the mouth, intestines, stomach, skin and breast, according to the American Cancer Society. As of 2015, clinical trials are underway to determine turmeric's anti-cancer effects.
Curcumin, which is an active ingredient and antioxidant in turmeric, has been found to inhibit cancer cells and slow their spread in some animal studies, according to the American Cancer Society. A number of studies show that curcumin inhibited the formation of cancer-forming enzymes in rodents, can kill cancer cells in laboratory dishes and can shrink tumors in animals. As of 2015, additional research is necessary to determine if similar effects result in humans.
Turmeric is commonly used in Asian cooking as a food flavoring and coloring, and it is promoted as an anti-inflammatory herbal remedy with fewer side effects than commonly used pain relievers, as reported by the American Cancer Society. It's used in a variety of natural remedies to treat inflammation caused by arthritis, swelling, muscle pains and surgical incisions.
Some believe that turmeric has the ability to interfere with viruses, such as hepatitis and HIV, according to the American Cancer Society. Additionally, many advocates of turmeric use it as a remedy for digestive problems, including irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn's disease and colitis. Turmeric has been associated with protecting against liver disease, reducing cholesterol levels, relieving painful menstrual cycles and angina.