Turmeric has been used in India for over 5,000 years, and is a popular ingredient for many Indian, Persian, Thai and Malay dishes.
Turmeric has many medicinal properties, and is used in South Asia as an antiseptic for cuts, burns and bruises, and antibacterial agent.
Turmeric is popular as a tea in Okinawa, Japan, and in Pakistan it is used as an anti-inflammatory agent, and remedy for gastrointestinal discomfort.
According to Sayer Ji, Founder of GreenMedInfo.com, turmeric is one the most thoroughly researched plants in existence today, and its medicinal components (primarily curcumin) have been the subject of over 5600 peer-reviewed and published biomedical studies.
Sayer’s five-year long research project on turmeric revealed over 600 potential preventive and therapeutic applications, as well as 175 distinct beneficial physiological effects, and adds that a growing number of studies have concluded turmeric compares favorably to a variety of conventional medications, including:
1. Lipitor/Atorvastatin(cholesterol medication): A 2008 study published in the journal Drugs in R & D found that a standardized preparation of curcuminoids from Turmeric compared favorably to the drug atorvastatin (trade name Lipitor) on endothelial dysfunction, the underlying pathology of the blood vessels that drives atherosclerosis, in association with reductions in inflammation and oxidative stress in type 2 diabetic patients.
2. Corticosteroids (steroid medications): A 1999 study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research found that the primary polyphenol in turmeric, the saffron colored pigment known as curcumin, compared favorably to steroids in the management of chronic anterior uveitis, an inflammatory eye disease.
A 2008 study published in Critical Care Medicine found that curcumin compared favorably to the corticosteroid drug dexamethasone in the animal model as an alternative therapy for protecting lung transplantation-associated injury by down-regulating inflammatory genes.
An earlier 2003 study published in Cancer Letters found the same drug also compared favorably to dexamethasone in a lung ischaemia-repurfusion injury model.
3. Prozac/Fluoxetine & Imipramine (antidepressants): A 2011 study published in the journal Acta Poloniae Pharmaceutica found that curcumin compared favorably to both drugs in reducing depressive behavior in an animal model.
4. Aspirin (blood thinner): A 1986 in vitro and ex vivo study published in the journal Arzneimittelforschung found that curcumin has anti-platelet and prostacyclin modulating effects compared to aspirin, indicating it may have value in patients prone to vascular thrombosis and requiring anti-arthritis therapy.
5. Anti-inflammatory Drugs: A 2004 study published in the journal Oncogene found that curcumin (as well as resveratrol) were effective alternatives to the drugs aspirin, ibuprofen, sulindac, phenylbutazone, naproxen, indomethacin, diclofenac, dexamethasone, celecoxib, and tamoxifen in exerting anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative activity against tumor cells.
6. Oxaliplatin (chemotherapy drug): A 2007 study published in the International Journal of Cancer found that curcumin compares favorably with oxaliplatin as an antiproliferative agenet in colorectal cell lines.
7. Metformin (diabetes drug): A 2009 study published in the journal Biochemitry and Biophysical Research Community explored how curcumin might be valuable in treating diabetes, finding that it activates AMPK (which increases glucose uptake) and suppresses gluconeogenic gene expression (which suppresses glucose production in the liver) in hepatoma cells.
Interestingly, they found curcumin to be 500 times to 100,000 times (in the form known as tetrahydrocurcuminoids (THC) more potent than metformin in activating AMPK and its downstream target acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC).
8. Turmeric Causes Recovery in Alzheimer’s Patients
A recent study on patients with AD found that less than a gram of turmeric daily, taken for three months, resulted in remarkable improvements. Late last year, a remarkable study was published in the journal Ayu titiled “Effects of turmeric on Alzheimer’s disease with behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia.”
Researchers described three patients with Alzheimer’s disease whose behavioral symptoms were “improved remarkably” as a result of consuming 764 milligram of turmeric (curcumin 100 mg/day) for 12 weeks. According to the study:
“All three patients exhibited irritability, agitation, anxiety, and apathy, two patients suffer from urinary incontinence and wonderings. They were prescribed turmeric powder capsules and started recovering from these symptoms without any adverse reaction in the clinical symptom and laboratory data.”
After only 3 months of treatment, both the patients’ symptoms and the burden on their caregivers were significantly decreased.
The report describes the improvements:
“In one case, the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score was up five points, from 12/30 to 17/30. In the other two cases, no significant change was seen in the MMSE; however, they came to recognize their family within 1 year treatment. All cases have been taking turmeric for more than 1 year, re-exacerbation of BPSD was not seen.”
9. Turmeric’s Cardiovascular Benefits Found To Be As Powerful As Exercise
A remarkable clinical study found that an extract of the golden spice known as turmeric was as effective as an 8-week aerobic exercise program in improving arterial blood flow in human subjects.
10. Turmeric May Repair and Regenerate Diabetic Liver Function
Groundbreaking new research published in the Journal of the Medical Association of Thailand found that curcumin, the primary polyphenol in turmeric, is capable of repairing and even regenerating the liver tissues of diabetic rats.
11. Turmeric May Prevent Breast Cancer
According to a study that appears online in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, compounds (curcumin from turmeric and piperine from black peppers) derived from pepper and turmeric could help prevent breast cancer by limiting the growth of stem cells that promote tumor growth.
Sayer claims to have found no less than 54 studies indicating that curcumin can induce cell death or sensitize drug-resistant cancer cell lines to conventional treatment.
Considering turmeric (curcumin) has been used as both food and medicine in a wide range of cultures for thousands of years, Sayer insists that a strong argument can be made for using curcumin as a drug alternative or adjuvant in cancer treatment.