Turmeric is the spice that gives curry its yellow colour, has been used for thousands of years as a spice, but also as a medicinal herb. The main active ingredient is curcumin, which is a bioactive compound with powerful medicinal properties.
1. It is a natural anti-inflammatory. It is now believed that chronic inflammation plays a major role in many diseases – including cancer, heart disease, and metabolic syndrome. It compares favourably to pharmaceutical versions.
2. Increases the anti-oxidant capacity of the body. Oxidative damage is believed to be one of the mechanisms behind ageing. It does this by blocking the growth of free radicals which tend to react with important organic substances such as fatty acids, proteins or DNA which are known to cause cancer.
3. Improves brain function. It boosts levels of the brain hormone, ‘Brain-deprived-neurotrophic-factor (BNDF) which fights various degenerative processes in the brain. It can therefore help to lower risk of brain diseases.
4. Lowers risk of heart disease. It improves function of the endothelium, the lining of the blood vessels
5. Can help prevent(and perhaps even treat) cancer. Especially of the digestive system – like bowel cancer.
6. May be useful in preventing &treating Alzheimer’s. It can cross the blood-brain barrier and help clear the amyloid plaques that cause a build-up of protein that are a key feature of this disease.
7. Arthritis or inflammation of the joints. It is more effective than pharmaceutical for rheumatoid arthritis
8. Curcumin has incredible benefits against depression. As this is also linked to reduced levels of BNDF and a shrinking hippocampus, a brain area with a role in learning and memory.
9. Delays ageing. As it can help prevent heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s. However the curcumin content of turmeric eaten as a spice, is not high enough to achieve the level needed to experience the full effects. So it’s better to take it as a supplement – in pill or capsule form.