Hey, spice enthusiasts! If you're a lover of curry powder, then you're undoubtedly familiar with the bold flavor and eye-catching yellow hue of turmeric. However, did you know that this incredible spice has been used for medicinal purposes for almost 4000 years? That's right, this little gem has been a trusted natural remedy for centuries!
In modern times, scientists have turned their attention to turmeric's main active ingredient, curcumin, to explore its potential as a treatment option for some of the most pressing health issues of our time. Could this golden spice hold the key to fighting cancer, type 2 diabetes, depression, and arthritis? Let's delve into the research and find out!
1. Reduces Depression
Depression is a serious concern for many people, but turmeric may offer a glimmer of hope. The spice contains several compounds, with the most well-known being curcumin. Researchers are particularly interested in curcumin's potential to alleviate symptoms of depression and enhance the effectiveness of antidepressant medications.
Back in 2017, a group of researchers conducted a meta-analysis on the use of curcumin for treating depression. After reviewing six clinical trials with a total of 377 subjects, researchers uncovered promising evidence indicating that curcumin may effectively alleviate symptoms of Major Depressive Disorder in a clinical setting (1). Furthermore, three of the trials showed positive anti-anxiety effects.
2. Prevents Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 Diabetes is a prevalent and concerning health issue, but curcumin may hold promise as a potential preventative or treatment option. Thanks to its ability to control blood sugar levels and possession of anti-inflammatory properties, curcumin could be a powerful tool in the fight against this disease.
In one study, 240 adults with prediabetes were given a curcumin supplement over a period of 9 months. The results were encouraging, with participants experiencing lower odds of developing type 2 diabetes (2). While research on this topic is ongoing, many of the current studies have been conducted on animals rather than humans, leaving much to be discovered about the full potential of curcumin in the fight against diabetes.
3. Improves Symptoms Of Arthritis
Although turmeric has shown potential for alleviating joint pain, stiffness, and inflammation associated with arthritis, further research is required to establish it as a reliable treatment option. Randomized clinical research was carried out to examine the effectiveness of curcumin in patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. All the subjects were given curcumin, diclofenac sodium, or a combination of both agents. Remarkably, all three treatment groups showed major improvements in “Disease Activity Scores” (DAS), with the curcumin group exhibiting the most substantial progress(3).
So, If you plan to use turmeric to relieve joint pain, consider consuming it along with black pepper to aid your body's absorption of natural curcumin.
4. Has Anti cancerous Properties
Turmeric has demonstrated the ability to impede the growth of tumor cells and enhance the functionality of detoxifying enzymes in laboratory and animal research(4). Nevertheless, these findings do not provide conclusive evidence of the effects of consuming turmeric on the human body. Additionally, there is a possibility that turmeric could interfere with certain chemotherapy medications.
5. Decreases The Risk Of Heart Disease
Curcumin, the active compound in turmeric, may help lower the risk of heart disease by improving the activity of the endothelium, a covering that lines your blood vessels. Several other researchers indicate that curcumin can improve heart health and reduce inflammation and oxidation, both of which can contribute to heart disease (5).
One research even found that curcumin was equally effective as exercise in improving heart health in post-menopausal women (6). In a separate study involving individuals undergoing coronary artery bypass surgery, those who received curcumin had a 65% lower chance of experiencing a heart attack during their hospital stay (7). While more research is needed, these findings suggest that curcumin may be a beneficial addition to heart disease and treatment strategies.
- Ng QX, Koh SSH, Chan HW, Ho CYX. Clinical use of curcumin in depression: a meta-analysis. J Am Med Dir Assoc. 2017;18(6):503-508.
- Zhang DW, Fu M, Gao SH, Liu JL. Curcumin and diabetes: a systematic review. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2013:636053.
- Chandran B, Goel A. A randomized, pilot study to assess the efficacy and safety of curcumin in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis. Phytother Res. 2012;26(11):1719-1725.
- Shanmugam MK, Rane G, Kanchi MM, et al. The multifaceted role of curcumin in cancer prevention and treatment. Molecules. 2015;20(2):2728-2769.
- Salehi B, Del Prado-Audelo ML, Cortés H, Leyva-Gómez G, Stojanović-Radić Z, Singh YD, Patra JK, Das G, Martins N, Martorell M, Sharifi-Rad M, Cho WC, Sharifi-Rad J. Therapeutic Applications of Curcumin Nanomedicine Formulations in Cardiovascular Diseases. Journal of Clinical Medicine. 2020; 9(3):746. https://doi.org/10.3390/jcm9030746
- Akazawa N, Choi Y, Miyaki A, Tanabe Y, Sugawara J, Ajisaka R, Maeda S. Curcumin ingestion and exercise training improve vascular endothelial function in postmenopausal women. Nutr Res. 2012 Oct;32(10):795-9. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2012.09.002. Epub 2012 Oct 15. PMID: 23146777.
- Wongcharoen W, Jai-Aue S, Phrommintikul A, Nawarawong W, Woragidpoonpol S, Tepsuwan T, Sukonthasarn A, Apaijai N, Chattipakorn N. Effects of curcuminoids on frequency of acute myocardial infarction after coronary artery bypass grafting. Am J Cardiol. 2012 Jul 1;110(1):40-4. doi: 10.1016/j.amjcard.2012.02.043. Epub 2012 Apr 3. PMID: 22481014.