In 2007, Dieneke Ferguson went to the doctor to check on her high blood pressure and was instead given the diagnosis that would change her life: myeloma, a malignant form of blood cancer. The cancer has an average survival rate of five years. According to a report in the British Medical Journal, within 15 months her cancer had progressed to stage three and had begun to spread.
Ferguson embarked on a treatment plan that lasted longer than she could have imagined. She underwent several rounds of chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant in October 2009, but none of the treatments worked. Her cancer persisted; she began to consider ditching Western treatments in favor of alternative methods. When another two rounds of stem cell therapy failed, her resolve grew.
In 2011, Ferguson decided to take daily supplements of curcumin, the beneficial compound in turmeric, every night.
A couple of months after she began the regimen, she started on a weekly course of hyperbaric oxygen therapy. The non-traditional treatment involves breathing in pure oxygen from an enclosed chamber with specific atmospheric pressure adjustments.
Since then, Ferguson's cancer has remained stable and her blood counts are within a safe and normal range.
Of course, due to the close proximity of her introduction of turmeric and the hyperbaric oxygen therapy, it's uncertain whether it was the turmeric that cured the progression of her disease.
"The fact that our patient, who had advanced stage disease and was effectively salvaged while exclusively on curcumin, suggests a potential antimyeloma effect," the report concludes. "We would recommend further evaluation of curcumin in myeloma patients in the context of a clinical trial."
Their conclusion was influenced by the knowledge that turmeric has a number of positive health effects - even dogs could benefit from the spice. And since it's so easy to incorporate into your diet, it's been recommended by health experts for years. Regardless of whether turmeric was the key to Ferguson's cancer cure, it's not a bad idea to try cooking a recipe that uses turmeric. Here are eight of our favorites.