Turmeric is renown for being bright and yellow. The slightest amount spilled on your shirt or tablecloth is almost impossible to remove. It stains bright yellow and colors your foods the same.
Rule of thumb in herbal medicine is the law of signatures. This means a plant looks and acts in a similar way to its medicinal value. Slice a carrot across the section and you will the human iris, a grape looks like a blood cell and herbs that stain often have very good antioxidant, cell-protecting ability.
There is far too much that could be said about turmeric, so I will try and cover the key points.
Curcumin is the main bioactive component contained in Curcuma Longa, largely employed in traditional medicine. Recently, beneficial properties, useful for the prevention and treatment of several disorders, have been discovered for this compound.
Curcumin, a yellow pigment in the Indian spice Turmeric (Curcuma longa), which is chemically known as diferuloylmethane, was first isolated exactly two centuries ago in 1815 by two German Scientists, Vogel and Pelletier. The first study on its biological activity as an antibacterial agent was published in 1949 in Nature and the first clinical trial was reported in The Lancet in 1937. (1)
Numerous studies have indicated that curcumin is a highly potent antimicrobial agent and has been shown to be active against various chronic diseases including various types of cancers, diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular, pulmonary, neurological and autoimmune diseases. To date, over 100 different clinical trials have been completed with curcumin, which clearly shows its safety, tolerability and its effectiveness against various chronic diseases in humans. (1)
Modern science has revealed that curcumin mediates its effects by modulation of several important molecular targets, including transcription factors, enzymes, cell cycle proteins, cytokines, receptors, and cell surface adhesion molecules. Because it can modulate the expression of these targets, curcumin is now being used to treat cancer, arthritis, diabetes, Crohn’s disease, cardiovascular diseases, osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s disease, psoriasis, and other pathologies. (4)
Extensive research over the last half century has revealed several important functions of curcumin. It binds to a variety of proteins and inhibits the activity of various kinases. By modulating the activation of various transcription factors, curcumin regulates the expression of inflammatory enzymes, cytokines, adhesion molecules, and cell survival proteins.
Various preclinical, clinical, and animal studies suggest that curcumin has potential as an antiproliferative, anti-invasive, and antiangiogenic, as a mediator of chemoresistance, chemopreventive, and as a therapeutic agent. Thus, curcumin a spice once relegated to the kitchen shelf has moved into the clinic and may prove to be “Curecumin.” (2)
Turmeric possesses multiple medicinal uses including treatment for Alzheimer’s disease due to curcuminoids, a mixture of curcumin, demethoxycurcumin, and bisdemethoxycurcumin, which are the active constituents of turmeric. (3)
There is simply far to much research and information available on Turmeric for a full review to be given here. Suffice it to say this herb is a medicinal gold.
As a spice, it should be used in your food regularly for best results.
Try these recipes:
- Cauliflower curry
- Cream corn and chicken soup
- Carrot, ginger and turmeric smoothie
- Sweet and sour Chinese style
(1) Curcumin, the golden nutraceutical: multitargeting for multiple chronic diseases. PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27638428
(2) Research on curcumin: A meta-analysis of potentially malignant disorders. PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27072233
(3) Therapeutic potential of turmeric in Alzheimer’s disease: curcumin or curcuminoids? PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23873854
(4) Curcumin: getting back to the roots. PUBMED https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=curcuma+longa+human+alzheimers+turmeric+india