Although curcumin may be a useful supplement alongside traditional cancer treatments, more research is necessary to understand exactly how it may benefit people with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is a type of blood cancer that develops in lymphocytes, which are white blood cells forming part of the immune system.

Curcumin is a naturally occurring compound called a polyphenol. It comes from turmeric root. Although curcumin may offer some health benefits, more research is necessary to determine this supplement’s use in cancer treatment.

This article will examine the potential benefits of curcumin for people with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, the risks to be aware of, and when to speak with a doctor about other treatment options.

Curcumin supplement tablets for people with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.-1Share on Pinterest
Catherine Falls Commercial/Getty Images

Further research is necessary to understand whether curcumin can benefit people with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

However, research has examined its potential benefits as a complementary therapy alongside conventional cancer treatment.

Enhancing conventional cancer treatments

According to a 2017 article, curcumin regulates the growth of tumor cells and increases the effects of chemotherapy and radiation therapy in cancer treatment.

A 2021 lab-based study tested the effect of curcumin alongside a cancer drug called imatinib (Gleevec, Glivec). The researchers administered the combined therapy into non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cells using nanostructured lipid carriers, which are tiny, fat-based drug delivery systems.

They found that applying this formulation to the cancer cells in a test tube could increase imatinib’s ability to kill the cancer cells.

Stopping the growth and spread of lymphomas

A 2021 study suggests that curcumin combined with omacetaxine (Synribo) inhibited lymphoma cell growth and prevented the formation of new blood vessels in lymphoma cells.

However, people should note that researchers performed this study on cell cultures. It did not look at curcumin use on lymphomas in humans.

A 2020 study explored the effects of curcumin on diffuse large B-cell lymphoma, a subtype of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. As with the 2021 study above, this study did not involve humans. Instead, the researchers used tissue cultures.

The researchers found that curcumin inhibited the rapid growth, spread, and invasion ability and promoted programmed cell death, known as apoptosis, in B lymphocyte cells.

Reducing systemic inflammation in people with lymphomas

Researchers in a 2017 article have also tested giving supplemental curcumin to people with solid tumors, including lymphomas.

The article’s authors found that supplements suppressed systemic inflammation and improved quality of life in people with cancer.

A 2019 article highlights that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) generally recognizes curcumin as safe. It notes that clinical studies suggest most people can tolerate up to 12 grams of curcumin daily.

However, older research from 2017 warns against curcumin’s potential to toxify enzymes and healthy lymphocytes. Curcumin could also potentially bind to iron and affect iron metabolism, especially in people with low iron levels.

People can speak with a healthcare professional to weigh the benefits and risks of curcumin as a part of their treatment.

As with any supplement or complementary therapy, a person should always consult their doctor before taking curcumin.

The American Cancer Society (ACS) highlights that certain dietary supplements can make cancer treatments less effective and cause side effects if people take the wrong dosage.

Speaking with a doctor before taking curcumin can help reduce these risks.

Below are the answers to some frequently asked questions about curcumin and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

What foods should people with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma avoid?

The ACS recommends a balanced, healthy diet during any type of cancer treatment. However, it suggests limiting or avoiding processed foods, sugary drinks, and red meat.

People can speak with a nutritionist for further help with the best diet during non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma treatment.

What herbs are good for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma?

According to a 2023 article, taking sijunzi decoction, a Chinese herbal formula, alongside the herb Prunella vulgaris, may have value as a part of cancer treatment for the lymphoma subtype double-hit diffuse large B-cell lymphoma.

People with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma must speak with a healthcare professional, such as a doctor or nutritionist, when looking to include more herbs in their diet, due to the potential for interactions with treatment.

What is the best cure for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma?

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma treatment typically depends on the subtype, the stage of the cancer, and a person’s overall health.

Treatment options may involve chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and immunotherapy. People may also be able to join clinical trials, which explore treatment improvements.

Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma starts growing in white blood cells called lymphocytes, which form part of the immune system.

Research suggests that taking curcumin, a naturally occurring plant compound from turmeric root, may have benefits in cancer treatment.

Although doctors and scientists generally consider curcumin safe, people should always consult a healthcare professional before taking any supplement, especially if they have a health condition or are taking medication.