Several human and animal laboratory studies suggest that turmeric curcumin is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant compound. Interestingly, turmeric is a spice (Curcuma Longa), food coloring and food preservative used in culinary (a common ingredient in curry) and traditional, Indian and Chinese-medicine (as medicinal herb) for thousands of years.
The active ingredient in turmeric is a chemical known as curcumin. Turmeric curcumin has healing properties. It helps relieve inflammation and pain by reducing the swelling of joints, brain, stomach, liver and the skin. In fact, Arthritis Foundation claims that curcumin inhibits cytokines and enzymes that cause joint pain, stiffness and inflammation. Many researchers dub curcumin as a natural “wonder drug” of the 21st century because it is comparable in efficacy to dozens of non-steriodal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID).
Curcumin regulates blood-glucose levels, improves food digestion and eases menstrual cramps. It has reportedly helped out many patients return to normal, productive lives. Untreated arthritis can lead to deformed bones and skeletal structure and prolongs the agony of pain and inflammation.
Owing to its antioxidant properties, curcumin is an efficient scavenger of free radicals and removes toxins in the body caused by stress and pollution. It promotes nourishment and regeneration of cells to help restore and improve one’s overall health and energy. It also has anti-aging effect on the skin. Johnson & Johnson has marketed a plaster with turmeric paste to showcase the natural antiseptic ability of curcumin to heal skin wounds and scratches.
The American Cancer Society claims turmeric curcumin may prevent the growth and spread of certain types of cancer cells. In Alzheimer’s or dementia, turmeric curcumin is believed to prevent the formation amaloid plaques in the brain which cause irreversible memory loss.
Turmeric curcumin as a food supplement is available in many formulations from powder extract in capsules to liquid extract and tincture. For osteoarthritis and other cases, the recommended dose is 400 to 600mg three times per day.
The spice provides an excellent supply of manganese, iron, potassium, fiber, vitamin B6 and potassium.
The medicinal properties of turmeric curcumin are well-known to experts around the world. However, poor bioavailability can affect the efficiency of the drug absorption into the body. Because curcumin cannot be dissolved in water, researchers turned to piperine, a natural substance that accelerates the absorption of curcumin into the bloodstream by as much as 2000 percent in laboratory expirement.
A 154 percent increase in bioavailability is observed after the administration of piperine. Significantly, serum resulted in high serum concentration of curcumin in less than one hour after ingestion.
Curcumin, supported by piperine, increases its potency to fight cancer cells, infections and inflammation in the body. Piperine, an alkaloid extracted from black pepper (Piper Nigrum) and long pepper, is available as a food supplement in BioPerine, a patented product widely distributed in the market today.
Side Effects and Precautions
Turmeric curcumin are safe when administered orally or topically to the skin. For some individuals, however, the compound causes nausea, dizziness, stomach upset or diarrhea. It is not recommended for pregnant women, people with gallbladder problems, diabetes, iron deficiency and bleeding disorders.
Turmeric may interact with other medications. According to National Institutes for Health, turmeric slows down blood clotting and increases the risk of bruising and bleeding. Individuals taking the supplement might experience excess bleeding during and post-surgery and should stop using it. Consult your physician if you have conditions mentioned.
By: Janet Grace Ortigas