Among the estimated 50,000 plants used as medicines around the world, a few enjoy superstar status for their broad healing benefits—one of these is the herb turmeric.
Native to southern Asia, turmeric enjoys a long history of use for the treatment of arthritis, rheumatism, pain, allergies, asthma, sinusitis, coughs, and liver disorders. A large body of science shows that curcumin, a compound in turmeric root, possesses significant healing properties and is chiefly responsible for the herb’s overall healing powers.
Here is an overview of some of the research done on turmeric and curcumin and their health benefits:
- Arthritis and other types of pain. One Indian double-blind clinical trial involving patients with rheumatoid arthritis found that oral doses of curcumin resulted in significant improvement of morning stiffness, walking time, joint swelling, pain, and discomfort. Studies conducted at the Central Drug Research Institute in Lucknow, India, found that curcumin is an effective, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory, though it must be consumed in larger quantities than other anti-inflammatory drugs.
Anecdotally, curcumin supplements are used and recommended by holistic practitioners for all types of inflammation and pain—from foot and back pain to menstrual and muscle pain.
- Respiratory relief. Curcumin appears to offer pulmonary benefits as well. Patients with respiratory diseases who were treated with curcumin experienced varying degrees of relief from coughing, excessive sputum, and labored breathing. Some natural cold and flu formulas also include curcumin to help ease coughs from viral and bacterial infections.
- Liver health. In rat studies, curcumin decreased liver cholesterol, increased fecal excretion of cholesterol, and lowered serum cholesterol. Rats fed curcumin had one-half to one-third the serum and liver cholesterol levels of rats not fed curcumin.
- Brain and mood benefits. Recent studies suggest that curcumin may also offer significant cognitive-enhancing and antidepressant benefits. Other research on turmeric has shown that the spice helps deter Alzheimer’s disease. In fact, there is a lower incidence of Alzheimer’s in India (compared to the Untied States).
- Cancer. Although more research is needed, curcumin appears to be a possible anticancer agent. For example, in animal studies, curcumin inhibited the growth of ovarian cancer cells.
- Topical benefits. Researchers have found that applications of curcumin ointment on cancerous lesions reduced itching and pain in 90 percent of cases. Other studies showed that curcumin accelerates the healing of both infected and uninfected wounds.
Find a High-Quality Supplement
Curcumin is not well absorbed, and thus needs to be consumed in large quantities or taken in a superior extracted form. Some turmeric extracts add the pepper-derived agent piperine to increase absorption. In comparative studies of various extracts, one curcumin extract, called BCM-95, demonstrated up to seven times better absorption than other turmeric extracts. Curamin, a product sold by EuroPharma, contains the BCM-95 version of curcumin. Whole turmeric root and concentrated curcumin demonstrate great safety, even at very high doses.
Curcumin, at a Glance
What researchers know about curcumin:
- It is high in antioxidants.
- It is a natural anti-inﬂammatory.
- It has antimicrobial properties.
- It has been shown to protect the liver and heart.
- It is extremely helpful for people with arthritis.
EuroPharma Curamin contains a proprietary combination of curcumin, boswellia, nattokinase, and other all-natural ingredients to lower inflammation and ease pain.
New Chapter Zyflamend boosts healthy joint function and cell growth by promoting the body’s healthy inflammation response with ingredients such as holy basil, turmeric,
ginger, and green tea.
Doctor’s Best, Best Curcumin C3 Complex with BioPerine contains curcuminoids to neutralize free radicals, thus enhancing joint, brain, and cardiovascular health; contains an extract of black pepper fruit (bioperine) to enhance absorption.