There are tons of research papers about the health benefits of turmeric-- from how it can help eliminate joint pain and aid in digestion to its role in preventing cancer. But do you know what turmeric actually is? And are you aware that there's actually another healing spice with a powerful reputation out there? If not, keep reading!
Curcumin, also known as Turmeric Extract or Curcuminoids is derived from the root extract of Curcuma longa. It has been used for centuries as a remedy for arthritis, cardiovascular disease, stomach problems and liver problems. Most notably however it has been found to be effective on many types of cancer including melanoma and pancreatic cancer.
The main active ingredient found in turmeric is Curcumin. In recent years, researchers have found that turmeric may be helpful in inhibiting the growth of different types of cancer including colon and lung cancer. It has been observed that this chemical inhibits the activity of enzymes involved in angiogenesis and metastasis, cancers associated with blood vessels. It can also inhibit the spread of cancer cells from one location to another within the body such as for example a tumor to a new organ such as from lung to liver or from liver to colon.
The anti-cancer activity of turmeric is mainly due to its ability to induce programmed cell death in cancer cells. It also inhibits the ability of cancer cells to adhere to other cells and facilitates their detachment from surrounding tissue. Turmeric has been found also to inhibit the expression of genes that promote cancer cell growth and survival.
Turmeric is said by some experts to be more effective than chemotherapy at certain stages of cancers such as pancreatic and lung cancer. Oncology professionals are still searching for a natural solution that can prevent or slow down the growth of tumors by increasing the immune system's ability to fight off this disease.
In East Asia, turmeric has been used for centuries to treat diseases such as the common cold. It is also a common ingredient in many traditional Chinese medicines. It is now being investigated for treatment of several types of cancer including pancreatic, lung, breast and bladder cancer.
Curcumin has been found to exert powerful antimicrobial properties that are very effective on infectious bacteria such as E.coli. Because it can combat bacterial infections and eliminate the toxic byproducts of cellular metabolism, it is considered an excellent natural detoxifying agent. Curcumin can help clear the body of toxins found in some plastics and other chemicals considered harmful to health.
Curcumin is a natural plant-based compound with antioxidant, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory properties that can be used in cooking to add flavor and color. It can also be taken as a supplement for its therapeutic benefits. In recent years in particular there has been much research into the health effects of curcumin. Evidence suggests that it may protect against cancer, heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer's disease.
Curcumin has not yet been proven to have efficacy as a treatment for any of these diseases but it certainly seems like an interesting possibility for several of them! Anyone interested in experimenting with curcumin should consult their physician before doing so.