Chewing curcumin…

A couple of days ago I received a verrrrry interesting Eurekalert (see discussing a new curcumin/head and neck cancer study. A couple of vigilant blog readers have already sent me notes about it, which is great, since hey you never know, I might miss something important (and have, in the past, in fact)…so, thanks, you guys! 🙂

Here’s the gist: In this study, 21 patients with head and neck cancers gave samples of their saliva before and after chewing two curcumin tablets totaling 1,000 milligrams. One hour later, another sample of saliva was taken and proteins were extracted and IKK beta kinase activity measured. Thirteen subjects with tooth decay and five healthy subjects were used as controls, Wang said.

Results: the chewed curcumin, only 2 grams of it!, inhibited the noxious kinase activity, which corresponded to a reduction in the levels of bothersome cancer-friendly cytokines. Fantastabulous!!!!!

Note: not surprisingly, the noxious IKK beta kinase is important for the growth of myeloma cells, too (see, e.g.: This study might therefore have some interesting implications for myeloma patients, too. And all this chewing on curcumin activity reminded me of when I was experimenting with my own chocolate-curcumin concoction. I used to stick globs of my yummy homemade gooey chocolatey gunk under my tongue and wait for it to dissolve (suck on it, rather! ;)). The color of the inside of my mouth would become a rather lovely shade of orange/chocolate, and in fact bright orange mouths were the only side effects experienced by this group of head and neck cancer patients…

But chewing curcumin tablets without any chocolate acting as a sort of buffer? Sputter sputter.Ugh. Not sure how that would taste. But hey I might just try it…I’m always up for new experiments…within reason, of course! 🙂

Curcumin as an adjuvant treatment for cancer, huh? Well, holy cats, it’s about time!


  1. I am new to all of this, but I am definitely interested in trying things to either cure or hold up the progression of the myeloma. The not knowing if or when it will rear it’s ugly head and require treatment is the worst. I have no one to really talk to about it. Family won’t admit it is serious because there are no visible symptoms. I try not to think about it a lot, but sometimes I just want to talk about it. I really appreciate your investment in all of this, but I don’t know what is acceptable and not and what is important to know! Do I need to check with my doctor before I ad or remove things from my diet? Are there specific questions I should be asking? I am open to any suggestions you can give me.

  2. Makes sense: a better absorption of the curcumma by keeping it long in the mouth. By a long time to chew it. How can we do that? Can we make own gum or lozenges with curcumma?

    (sorry, I know, my English is verry bad …)

  3. I would venture a guess that this has everything to do with fact that sublingual delivery methods circumvent the first pass processes of the liver. Tinctures of curcumin, with drops under the tongue are probably a great idea.

  4. I read today – combining curcumin with Omega 3 oil [fish oil], or cold pressed olive oil or cocoa butter or yoghurt or raw milk, will help the bioavailability. [Also read elsewhere, works better if warmed]. It’s worth a try. [So, perhaps Margaret’s chocolate/curcumin mix is really the way to go !!] Pat, Aus.

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