Many spices are being used for medicinal purpose for over several decades or you can say thousands of years. Turmeric scientifically known as curcuma longa, is one of those spices and used in traditional medicine.
Basically this flavor packed spice cultivated from the rhizomes, roots and flowering plant in the many part of Southeast Asia and region of India. Turmeric is popular to give a vibrant yellow color to food especially yellow color of curry.
Aside from this Turmeric is packed with potent antioxidants and anti-inflammatory property, on the basis of past researches.
The main chemical constituent which is responsible for the yellow color and the pharmacological activity of turmeric is curcumin. Basically curcumin is responsible for all the potential health benefits of turmeric.
Owner of Shaw’s Simple Swaps Consulting, Elizabeth Ann Shaw says “Curcumin is a natural antioxidant that has anti-inflammatory benefits, as well as [possible] benefits related to slowing the aging process and preventing Alzheimer’s disease and potentially depression”. Curcumin is oil soluble in nature and difficult to absorb in blood stream.
Dana Angelo white, owner of Dana white nutrition, says although curcumin doesn’t get absorb in blood stream, having curcumin in curry once a month is unlikely to give you desired antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits.
You may be get benefits of curcumin by adding black pepper to turmeric or by consuming black pepper incorporated supplements. According to Dana white black pepper contains piperine as main chemical constituents of black pepper which tends to increase bioavailability of curcumin.
The term bioavailability refers the amount of a substance available to be used by body. According to a pat research it is concluded that 20 mg of piperine along with 2 grams of curcumin increased bioavailability by 2000 folds.
Here are some health benefits of curcumin are detailed:
1. Benefit of turmeric as an Anti-Inflammatory
One of the widely known claimed facts about turmeric is that it fights against inflammation. The credit of a huge number of benefits of turmeric directly goes to curcumin.
In a past study it has been found out that curcumin may be more effective in fight against inflammation in comparison of commercial anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen and aspirin.
Acute inflammation as well as chronic inflammation causes a number of diseases, chronic inflammation more likely to associate with serious medical conditions. Curcumin helps to prevent those medical conditions by fighting against inflammation.
Some serious problems such as bowel disease, pancreatitis and arthritis are associated with inflammation that may be prevented or cure by use curcumin.
2. Curcumin May helps to Prevent Cancer
As it is well known that inflammation is common cause of various diseases, it is also associated with tumor growth. With anti-inflammatory effect curcumin may play an important role in prevention and treatment of various cancers such as colorectal, breast, prostate pancreatic and gastric cancers.
In researches conducted in mice suggests curcumin may help in slowing the rate of tumor cells growth even in first place tumor forming can be prevented.
Curcumin disrupts formation of cancerous cells at various stages of cell cycle by interfering with the signaling pathways.
3. Curcumin helps in the ease of symptoms of osteoarthritis
Due to gifted anti-inflammatory property of curcumin it may be safe and promising drug for long term treatment for the people suffering from osteoarthritis. Basically osteoarthritis is a common form of arthritis and associated with the joint pain and stiffness.
In a previous study people suffering osteoarthritis consumed 1000 mg/day of meriva for eight months experienced a noticeable improvement in stiffness and physical function of the joints, whereas no improvements were notice in the control group.
Meriva is a made-up of a natural curcuminoid (75 percent curcumin; 15 percent demethoxycurcumin; and 10 percent bisdemethoxycurcumin), microcrystalline cellulose, which is a refined food pulp used in food and pharmaceutical industries and phosphatidylcholine which is found in eggs, soybeans and other foods.
In the issue of June of Arthristis Research & Therapy, a study carried out in the mice has been resulted as that 50 mg oral curcumin / kg body weight significantly slow down the progression of OA.
Topical application of curcumin alleviates the pain in OA. This is subject to concern if these benefits would apply to humans or not.
4. Curcumin helps to Protect cardiac Disease
In a previous study it has been found that functions of endothelial cells or the health of thin protective membrane that make linings of heart and blood vessels are enhanced. Heart and blood vessels are covered with endothelial cell lines and play a role in regulating blood pressure.
They also provide protection. Lowering the endothelial function shows the aging of heart and increase the risk of heart disease. Curcumin known to help protection against age related heart problems and reduce the risk f heat diseases.
A study conducted in which researchers carried a study in women and compared the results of regular eight week aerobic exercise and effect of consumption of curcumin in two test group.
As a result they found an improvement n endothelial function where no changes have been observed in control group. In another study it has been found that curcumin is equally effect in the improving endothelial function as the commonly prescribed drug like atrovastatin in diabetes patients.
Generally atrovastatin used to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. However many studies have been conducted still there is a need to determine the use of curcumin is safe or not as a long term treatment strategy in people with heart diseases.
5. Curcumin May Help Treat or Prevent Diabetes
In studies publishesd in past reviews it has been found tah turmeric may help to prevent and treat metabolic disorder diabetes as well to treat diabetic nephropathy which is associated with diabetes. Many of the studies have been done in the mice hence it is a big drawback in human favor
As a example, a study done in rats include the administration of 80 mg of tetrahydrocurcumin/kg body weights to the rats having type 2 diabetes for 45 days show the significant decrease in blood sugar level with the increase in level of plasma insulin.
Curcumin may help to prevent diabetes by its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant property and this can also be improve human health in many ways like improving many factors that are responsible for insulin resistance, hyperlipidemia, high blood sugar and hyperlipidemia, a condition associated with increased level of low density lipids. So a broad study is needed in human subjects.
6. Turmeric May Help Delay or Reverse Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative medical condition and associated with the increasing level of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF is basically a protein located in brain and spinal cord and plays an important role in the health of neurons.
This also regulates the communication between the nerve cells, which are essential for memory and learning. In numerous benefits if turmeric this is also includes. Turmeric may help in Alzheimer’s disease by delaying it or by reversing it.
Because many of the researches have been done in mice, study in human is needed to confirm the effectiveness of turmeric in the prevention and treatments of diseases
7. Turmeric May to Treat Depression
Depression is one of the most leading causes to many diseases and it is associated with the lower level of BDNF which is also a cause of Alzheimer’s disease. Surprisingly turmeric tends to boost levels of BDNF; this historical spice is promising antidepressant.
In a study it is found that rats injected with 50,100, or 200 mg/kg of curcumin for about 10 days lead a dose dependant increase in BDNF while higher dose of 200 mg/kg showing the higher antidepressant effect.
While in a study carried out in human subjects published in the april 2014 issue of Phytotherapy research, researchers assigned 60 patients having depressive disorders in three groups in which 1 group given a dose of 20 mg of fluoxetine, another group received 1000 mg of curcumin ad third group received the combination of both.
At the end of the research for over 6 weeks all three groups shown a comparable improving results suggesting that curcumin may be safe and effective in the treatment of depressive disorder.
8. Curcumin May helps in Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis
Curcumin may help as a promising option for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) which is associated with a chronic inflammation and commonly affects the joints but may spread to other areas like eyes, lungs, skin, heart, and blood vessels.
Rheumatoid arthritis causes stiffness and swelling with severe pain in joints which leads erosion of bones and ultimately leads to deformities of the bones and physical disabilities.
In a research study, people suffering from RA were administered 500 mg of curcumin, 50 mg of diclofenac sodium (a prescription nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) individually, or the two in combination.
After the study of night weeks, as a result group administered curcumin show significant improvements in joint tenderness and swelling in comparison ofother groups. Researchers also found that curcumin also safe fr use and don’t have harmful effects.
9. Turmeric also improves Skin Health
Turmeric has antimicrobial, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties and may be a effective treatment of various skin conditions like acne, photoaging, psoriasis and eczema. A huge research is yet to be needed.
A review published in January 2018 in the issue of Open Access Macedonian Journal Of Medical Sciences suggests the oral use curcumin may be effective and promising treatment of psoriasis but before recommendation to patients this needs more studies.
In publication of another review, according to authors topical use of curcumin may be play useful role in the skin disorders and especially research suggests the even use of higher dose of curcumin is relatively safe. Due to its poor solubility at a high pH leave this as appealing option for skin treatments.
10. Turmeric alleviates Free Radicals and protects oxidative stress
Various Antioxidants are used to eliminate the free radicals. Free radicals are the highly reactive atoms that generated in our body as well as in environmental pollutants such as industrial chemicals and cigarette smoke.
These free radicals create mess and damage your DNA and causes oxidative stress on excessive exposure. This is associated with many diseases like arthritis, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and heart conditions.
Curcumin is an anti oxidant and found to reduce oxidative stress and alleviate the free radicals in order to protect you from radical damage.
Curcumin can scavenge different types of free radicals, control the expression of enzymes that neutralize free radicals, and prevent secretion of enzymes that create specific free radicals according to October issue of Foods.
11. Turmeric: As anti aging supplement
At present there is no evidence that longevity directly influenced by turmeric or curcumin, but due to its tendency to fight against inflammation, fighting against free radicals and potentially delay in brain degeneration may be effective as aging supplements.
Some studies suggests that although there are some side effects such as diarrhea, headache and rashes were noticed at a dose about 500-1200 mg, turmeric and curcumin are safe for use as an anti aging supplements.
12. Degeneration of eye can be prevented by curcumin
Glaucoma is a most common cause of blindness in people over the age of 60. Generally glaucoma is a medical condition of eye which is associated with the damage of optic nerve and decrease in eye health.
Glaucoma leads you to lose your eyesight and it is very unfortunate because gone vision cannot be restored. A preliminary research published in the issue of July 2018 some scientific reports shown that topical administered of curcumin may help in the protection of eye degeneration.
In study researchers applied curcumin aye drop in the rats twice a day for three weeks. At the end of the study it has been found that the rats without administered experienced a reduction by 23 % in retinal cells in comparison of those rats who administered the curcumin.