Turmeric is a well known cooking spice. Its use date back thousands of years and is far from limited to cooking.
Turmeric has been used for thousands of years for its medicinal purposes as well. Modern science is now finally catching up with this ancient tradition, recognizing the potential of this plant.
The compound curcumin is naturally occurring in turmeric, and it is responsible for the many benefits of the plant. However, curcumin makes up only around 3% of the make-up of turmeric by weight. For that reason, supplements are the best way to get curcumin in your system.
Here are some of the best proven benefits of curcumin!
Inflammation is a natural way for our bodies to protect themselves against pathogens. Short-term inflammation is beneficial, but long-term inflammation can put unnecessary strain on the areas affected.
This prolonged inflammation can lead to diseases such as Heart Disease, Alzheimer’s, cancer, and other degenerative conditions. Curcumin is proven to reduce chronic inflammation, helping to prevent its negative long-term effects.
Oxidative damage is known to be a major contributor to aging. This damage involves free radicals, which react negatively with organic substances like DNA.
Antioxidants can protect our bodies from damage by free radicals. Curcumin happens to be a powerful antioxidant, capable of neutralizing free radicals. Curcumin also stimulates the production of our body’s own natural antioxidant enzymes.
Improved Brain Function
There is a growth hormone in the brain known as BDNF which helps foster the growth of neurons and neural connections. When there are low levels of the compond in humans, ailments such as depression and Alzheimer’s have been found to occur.
Curcumin can increase brain levels of BDNF. Curcumin is also capable of crossing the blood-brain barrier. In the brain, it has been found to help clear Amyloid Plaques, key contributors to the progression of Alzhimer’s. Given this, it is also likely to provide cognitive enhancement as well.
Studies have shown that curcumin can help prevent cancerous cells from growing, multiplying, and spreading. It has even been found to kill some cancerous cells.
For example, in a study of 44 men with lesions in the colon, which could possibly turn cancerous, curcumin was administered. The men were given 4 grams of curcumen per day for 30 days. At the end of the trial, the amount of lesions had decreased by 40%.
The cancer fighting potential of curcumin still has yet to be truly verified, but scientists are currently studying this miracle compound en-force to unlock its secrets.
A controlled study took 60 patients and divided them into three groups. One group was given Prozac, the other Prozac and curcumin, and the third just curcumin. The purely curcumin group experienced positive benefits, but the most effective treatment was found in the combination of Prozac and Curcumin.
In a study, patients with rheumatoid arthritis experience better results from taking curcumin supplements as opposed to arthritis medication. This is likely due to curcumin’s anti-inflammatory properties
The active chemical in turmeric, curcumin, is a wonder-molecule. Its many uses testify to its presence in human culture and Ayurvedic traditions dating back thousands of years. Its potentials are continuing to be studied, so that in the future we may learn even more about this magical molecule.