Kolkata: A component named circumin in turmeric, a herbal cure for many diseases for ages, could prevent and cure Human Papiloma Virus infection which leads to cervical cancer in women, scientists at Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute (CNCI) here claimed.
CNCI, known for cancer research, carried out a five year study on 400 women who suffered from cervical cancer or tested positive for Human Papiloma Virus (HPV), the main agent of cervical cancer.
"We extracted a component of turmeric called circumin which has anti-viral and anti-HPV properties," Partha Basu, the scientist who carried out the research, told PTI.
Jaydip Biswas, director of the institute funded by the Government of India, said that circumin was applied as a cream or taken as a capsule by women who tested positive for HPV.
"A total of 280 women were given the local application of circumin and were regularly followed up. The rest of the women were not given any form of circumin, for comparison," he said.
"It was found that those who took circumin, quickly healed from HPV infection and further infection stopped," Basu said.
He said that those who were not given circumin showed signs of aggravation and spread of HPV infection.
Basu explained that taking turmeric orally would not help as circumin, which healed HPV infection was metabolised by the liver and was not found in the blood stream.
"This is the reason behind the application of circumin as a capsule or cream. It reaches the cervix and starts action," Basu said.
It has been sent to the drug controller for approval for use as commercial medicine, he said.
According to a study done by CNCI in 2008-9, breast and cervical cancer were the two types of cancers affecting women in Kolkata.