The active compound of turmeric, curcumin, possesses more than 150 therapeutic effects, including antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer properties, all of which have been thoroughly studied.
Why Is Curcumin So Powerful Medicine?
As researchers explain, curcumin has various mechanisms of action, and here are some of the reasons why it is so powerful medicine:
- It can modulate approximately 700 human genes
- It can make the membranes of cells more orderly (1)
- It can positively modulate over 160 separate physiological pathways
- It can impact signaling molecules, such as: cell survival proteins, DNA and RNA, inflammatory molecules, HIV type 1 integrase and protease, histone, different metal ions and carrier proteins.
Because of these and more other properties, curcumin is extremely beneficial for your health in so many ways, and can prevent various diseases. Natural Product Reports has published a 2011 study according to which curcumin has been proved to be therapeutic for neurological, autoimmune, metabolic, inflammatory, cardiovascular, and liver and lung diseases.
Various studies have proved that curcumin, along with the other turmeric’s active compounds are able to:
- Obstructs low-density lipoprotein oxidation
- Support healthy cholesterol levels
- Causes platelet aggregation
- Suppress symptoms related to Diabetes type 2
- Protect against heavy metal toxicity and damages induced from radiation
- Suppress thrombosis and myocardial infarction
- Lowers systemic inflammation in obese people(3)
- Enhance bile secretion
- Improves wound healing
- Protect against cataracts
Turmeric Might Help Fight Alzheimer’s Disease and More Inflammatory Diseases
Researchers have been led to investigate the potential of curcumin for neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease mostly because of its ability to cross the blood-brain barrier (5).
Its powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects suggest that it can promote the general health of brain. In terms of Alzheimer’s disease, animal research has found that turmeric possesses another bioactive compound except for curcumin, which further enhances its neuroprotective properties.
The name of this compound is turmerone, and it can help the growth of NSC cells (neutral stem cells), which are important for the repair and regeneration activities of the brain. Adele Rueger is the lead author, who explains that turmerone additionally promotes the stem-cell differentiation into neurons, which is a huge goal of researchers in regenerative medicine (6).
Past research has proved that curcumin helps restrain the build-up of destructive beta-amyloids in Alzheimer’s patient’s brain, and to break up current plaques related to Alzheimer’s. People with this disease have shown to have brain inflammation in higher levels, and curcumin is widely known for its powerful anti-inflammatory effects. It is able to restrain the inflammatory metabolic byproducts and the activity of 5-lipooxygenase (5-LOX) and cyclooxygenase-2 (COX2) enzymes, and other hormones and enzymes which modulate inflammation.
Osteoarthritis is another condition that can be improved by the anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin. A A 2006 research have also discovered that turmeric extract can effectively prevent the launch of the protein responsible for the pain and swelling, by blocking the inflammatory pathways.
Curcumin Seems to Be Beneficial for All Types of Cancer
Turmeric’s anti-cancer activity is among its best benefits (9) that supports this effect of any other nutrient, even of Vitamin D. One of the best physicians in natural medicine cancer , Dr. William LaValley, believes that curcumin is beneficial for every cancer type. Even though this is a bit odd, as cancer consists of various molecular pathologies, curcumin can influence multiple molecular targets through multiple pathways.
It influences over 100 separate molecular pathways upon enetering in a cell. As Dr. LaValley explains, many studies have shown that whether curcumin molecule leads to decrease or increase in activity of a specific molecular target, the end result is a powerful anti-cancer activity. Furthermore, the non-toxic curcumin selectively targets cancer cells, and doesn’t harm the healthy ones, so it brings nothing but benefits in the treatment of cancer. One research has even discovered that curcumin acts synergistically with specific chemo drugs, improving the cancer cells’ elimination.
Moroccan Carrot Soup
- 1 pound organic carrots, chopped in half an inch dices (about 2 ⅔ cups)
- 2 tsp. of turmeric
- 2 tbsp. of butter
- 1 cup chopped organic yellow onion
- 2 minced garlic cloves
- 2 ½ cups of vegetable stock or low-sodium organic chicken stock
- 1 tbsp. of honey
- 1 ½ tsp. of cumin seeds
- 1/8 of allspice
- 1 tbsp. of fresh lemon juice
- Half a cup of sour cream, plain yogurt, or crème fraishe (optional for garnish)
- Salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
Take a large sauce pan and melt the butter over medium-high heat. Then, add chopped onion and saute for about two minutes. Add the carrots and stock, and bring to a boil. After that, cover the pan, reduce the heat and simmer about 20 minutes, until you notice the carrots are very soft. Then, mix cumin seeds in another frying pan for about 4 to 5 minutes, over a medium-high heat. Grind them finely in a spice grinder.
Take the pan with the soup off the heat, and puree it in a blender until smooth. After hat, return it in the saucepan. Stir in the lemon juice, honey, and allspice, and finally add pepper and salt to taste. Pour the soup in a bowl and sprinkle with some toasted cumin. Another option is to mix sour cream and cumin separately, and to pour that on the top of the soup. Your soup is now ready to serve.