Turmeric used in several food items has the capability to cure bowel cancer.

Scientists from the Cancer Research UK and the National Institute for Health Research Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre (ECMC) have found that curcumin or turmeric has the ability to kill bowel cancer cells.

They claim that turmeric should be added to the standard treatment for bowel cancer that has spread across the world.

Scientists conducted a study on Colin Carroll, a bowel cancer patient, who had agreed to take part in the study after being diagnosed with advanced bowel cancer in January.

Scientists gave Carroll some amount of curcumin or turmeric before being treated with FOLFOX and found that he got cured within few months.

"The diagnosis came as a big shock because I'd had no symptoms apart from some occasional cramps. I had taken a few tests which had come back clear and I'd just been booked for a CT scan when I was rushed to hospital with a suspected intestinal blockage," said Colin Carroll, 62, a bowel cancer patient, in a statement. Scan reports revealed that he did not have bowel cancer.

The study revealed that usually patients who are suffering from bowel cancer are given a treatment called FOLFOX, which combines three chemotherapy drugs. Even though FOLFOX is widely used across the world, the treatment has lots of side-effects such as severe tingling or nerve pain.

"Once bowel cancer has spread it is very difficult to treat, partly because the side-effects of chemotherapy can limit how long patients can have treatment. The prospect that curcumin might increase the sensitivity of cancer cells to chemotherapy is exciting because it could mean giving lower doses, so patients have fewer side-effects and can keep having treatment for longer," said Professor William Steward, chief investigator at the ECMC and director at the University of Leicester.

Scientists are now planning to conduct a study on 40 bowel patients at Leicester Royal Infirmary and Leicester General Hospital. As many as three quarters of them will receive curcumin tablets for seven days before being treated with FOLFOX. The others will receive only FOLFOX. They believe this will help to know more about bowel cancer.

"This research is at a very early stage, but investigating the potential of plant chemicals to treat cancer is an intriguing area that we hope could provide clues to developing new drugs in the future," said Steward.