Some of us are only finding out now what the Asian Indians, the American Indians and the Chinese knew a long time ago - that one of the most amazing medicinal herbs is no rare plant or an artificially created compound. One of the most effective natural ingredients is actually a common herb - the turmeric.
Or, more precisely, its active ingredient - Curcumin. The percentage of Curcumin is very low in the Turmeric plant, and so it needs to be either digested for a very long time, or one can take curcumin pills, which hold a high percentage of Curcumin, to treat a variety of problems.
The turmeric is a shrub with large and wide leaves that envelope it and hide the flowers in its center. It mainly grows in south-east Asia, where it has been used as a cooking and medicinal herb for thousands of years. It is the herb that gives the traditional Indian dish, the Curry, its typical yellow color and strong taste.
The Curcumin hides many medicinal properties behind its familiar exterior - It strengthens the immune system, delays (and may even prevent) Alzheimer's Disease, prevents neuron death, strengthens the cells, it is an antioxidant and an anti-inflammatory, it helps keep sugar levels, helps the digestive system, reduces the risk of stroke and heart disease and most importantly - Is a great ally in the war against cancer, delaying its spread and stabilizing patient condition.
Only recently, after a sequence of successful experiments, has modern science discovered the full potential of Curcumin.
It started in 2005 with a research into Alzheimer's disease, where it was found that taking Curcumin prevented the outbreak of Multiple sclerosis and cystic fibrosis in mice. This interested the scientific community, and other research was conducted, with astonishing results: For many patients, the curcumin delayed the onset of cancer cells and even stabilized the condition of patients with aggressive cancer cells.
In the last 7 years, over 20 different experiments were made, researching the influence of Curcumin, and the scientific world was flabbergasted:
Delays and stabilizes the spread of cancer
Curcumin slows the spread of cancer cells by denying their replication process and strengthening the protection of cell membranes.
Strong antioxidant effects
Curcumin, because of the shape of its molecule, is very effective in preventing the oxidation processes and activity of free radicals in the body (Antioxidant), and thus slows the damage to our body cells and as a consequence - slows the aging of skin cells.
Increases the effectiveness of chemotherapy
Curcumin is especially effective in combination with chemotherapy, encouraging the process and increasing its efficiency.
Delays and reduces the chance of deterioration of the brain in adults
Curcumin helps the brain activity of older people, and may slow the cognitive decline by up to 49%. Even the occasional consumption of curry, the popular Indian dish that contains curcumin, reduces the risk of mental decline by up to 38% (American Journal of Epidemiology).
Anti-inflammatory and fights arthritis
Curcumin, when given as an essence by injection, fights inflammatory diseases and in fact is an anti-inflammatory in general, particularly effective in aiding the body in the fight against arthritis. Studies have shown that cartilage destruction in mice that were given the extract was reduced by 66%, and bone destruction in patients who received the extract was reduced by 57%.
Helps maintain a healthy heart and helps a sick heart return to action
Researchers in Canada found out that curcumin also reduces the risk of heart failure, as it helps the heart to return to normal and reduces the spread of scar tissue.
Anti-diabetic activity and reduces the risk of disease
In 2008 it was discovered that Curcumin also encourages the activity of liver enzymes that convert glucose carbohydrates, and creates anti-inflammatory activity that is required by people with a high fat content. The researchers suggest that consumption of small doses of curcumin daily is a great natural booster to traditional treatment, and significantly lowers the risk of diabetes in people who are overweight.
Fights cell death and the death of brain cells killed by Alzheimer's disease
Curcumin may protect against Alzheimer's disease, and inhibits and prevents cell death caused by the disease. In India, where curry with curcumin is eaten regularly, Alzheimer's disease is much rarer than in other countries.
Increases and strengthens the immune system
In 2009 researchers at the University of Michigan found that curcumin strengthens our cell membranes and thus increases the resistance against foreign infections entering the body. Perhaps this is one reason why curcumin fights cancer so well.
Reduces the risk of stroke, strengthens the body's blood vessels and lowers blood pressure
Researchers realized that curcumin slows the body's blood clotting activity, which causes a decreased risk of blood clots and strokes. Also, since curcumin enhances the blood cells, contributes to the strength of a body's blood vessels, lowers blood cholesterol concentration and fight infections, it actually lowers blood pressure.
Helps in digestion and absorption of nutrients
Curcumin fights harmful bacteria and thus facilitates digestion and reduces the risk of bacterial infection. Curcumin also reduces the accumulation of gas in the intestines, thereby preventing abdominal pain and swelling.
How to take it:
The best way to consume curcumin is by taking curcumin capsules containing a high concentration of the active ingredient in turmeric, the curcumin. You can find those in most health shops. When eaten, most of the curcumin gets destroyed by the stomach acid. Taking concentrated pills negates that effect and allows the body to absorb a significant amount of curcumin by letting the compound go through the digestive tract and reach the bloodstream and from there to all parts of the body, where the curcumin does its work to improve our health.