Curcuma longa, popularly known as turmeric, is a yellow-colored spice that has been used in medicinal preparations in the East for thousands of years. It is only in the past few decades that Western science has started recognizing the health benefits of this spice. What gives turmeric its unique medicinal value is a substance called curcumin that is procured from the rhizomes of the herb.
1. Anti-inflammatory properties
Curcumin has been found to match the effectiveness of anti-inflammatory drugs without producing any of their side effects. It blocks a molecule called NF-kB that travels to the cell nucleus and turns on gene-related inflammation. One study that compared curcumin with other anti-inflammatory drugs like Aspirin and Advil found that it was far more potent. Curcumin can also help in dealing with conditions like inflammatory bowel disease, pancreatitis, and so on.
2. Cancer prevention
Since inflammation is linked to the growth of tumors, curcumin’s anti-inflammatory properties will also be useful in preventing and treating various types of cancers. A research study found that curcumin has the ability to kill off a wide variety of tumor cells. “Because of numerous mechanisms of cell death employed by curcumin, it is possible that cells may not develop resistance to curcumin-induced cell death. Furthermore, its ability to kill tumor cells and not normal cells makes curcumin an attractive candidate for drug development,” the study concluded.
3. Boost antioxidants
Turmeric has the ability to increase dramatically the antioxidant capacity of the human body. Not only does it protect the body from free radicals, but curcumin also develops the body’s defense mechanisms. Free radicals are highly reactive molecules that react with organic substances like fatty acids. The oxidative damage caused by free radicals is said to be one of the reasons for aging. As such, further research into turmeric might help unlock the spice’s anti-aging functions as well.
4. Help with osteoarthritis
Osteoarthritis is a medical condition in which the cartilage that cushions the ends of the bones wears down over a period of time. In a study, people with osteoarthritis who took a proprietary treatment made of significant amounts of curcumin reported big improvements in physical function in just eight months.
5. Lowers risk of heart disease
Curcumin has been shown to improve endothelial function, which basically refers to the health of the thin membrane that lines the insides of blood vessels and the heart. This membrane plays an important function when it comes to blood pressure. A person diagnosed with low endothelial function is at increased risk of heart disease. In a study, researchers looked at two groups of postmenopausal women. One group underwent an aerobic exercise program for eight weeks while the other was provided with a curcumin supplement for the same period. The researchers found that both groups saw an equal improvement in their endothelial function.
6. Deal with diabetes
Curcumin can also be useful in dealing with diabetes. A study found that feeding tetrahydrocurcumin, a main component of curcumin, to rats that suffered from type 2 diabetes resulted in a significant decline in blood sugar levels in just 45 days. In addition, the levels of plasma insulin increased. Another study on obese mice discovered that curcumin supplements had the ability to lower blood insulin levels in 16 weeks.
The writer of this story is not a medical professional, and the information that is in this story has been collected from reliable sources — every precaution has been taken to ensure its accuracy. The information provided is for general information purposes only, and should not be substituted for professional health care.