Turmeric is a plant derived from the ginger family usually found in southwest India and a staple ingredient in Indian cuisine. Although traditionally used with food it is also highly beneficial for your health and is used as a medical herb. Turmeric contains compounds called curcuminoids, the most important of which is curcumin, an active ingredient. It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant. It has great benefits for your body and brain. It helps boost brain activity, improves memory and can help fight, reduce or even reverse brain dysfunction. It also has beneficial effects on factors known to provoke heart disease.
Researchers have been studying turmeric as a beneficial herb in cancer treatment. It can affect cancer growth, development and spreading. Studies have shown that it can reduce the growth of blood vessels in tumours as well as contributing to the death of cancerous cells. Although it is yet to be tested properly there is some evidence that it may help prevent cancer from occurring in the first place, especially cancers of the digestive system.
Another disease it can prevent is Alzheimer’s. It is known that inflammation and oxidative damage play a role in Alzheimer’s disease and turmeric has beneficial effects on both.
It can also aid sufferers of arthritis due to its inflammatory properties. In a study of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, curcumin was even more effective than the anti-inflammatory drugs given. In addition to all this, it is used to help depression in patients too.
Turmeric/curcumin is best absorbed as an extract along with black pepper (piperine) which improves absorption. Without this substance, most of the curcumin just passes through your digestive system without any effect. So look for supplements that include both.