Turmeric, like other plant medicines, has largely been ignored thanks to the pharmaceutical industry's all-consuming grip on modern medicine, but scientists are beginning to wake up to the fact that medicinal plants do exist -- and they outperform Big Pharma's concoctions any day of the week.
As Sayer Ji, founder of Green Med Info, notes that turmeric has been a staple in India for over 5,000 years. To this day, both urban and rural areas of the country display some of the lowest rates of Alzheimer's disease in the world. Recent research has shown that taking a daily turmeric supplement for three months produced sizable benefits in Alzheimer's patients.
Patients were given a daily dose of 764 milligrams of turmeric, containing 100 milligrams of curcumin. Curcumin is an active compound found in turmeric, and is highly regarded for its health benefits.
As Green Med Info reports, the study authors observed substantial improvements in the patients' irritability, agitation, anxiety, and apathy. After one year of supplementation, the authors report that the patients began to recognize family members again.
The study yielded very impressive results, but had one major drawback: Only three patients were included. But the body of research regarding turmeric (or curcumin) and Alzheimer's disease continues to grow. "This study illustrates just how powerful a simple natural intervention using a time-tested culinary herb can be," Ji contends.
Curcumin is known for its ability to help obliterate cancer, ward off neurodegenerative diseases and more -- so it is not surprising that researchers are looking deeper into the compound's brain benefits. As Natural Health 365 explains, scientists believe that curcumin exacts its effects by enhancing the processes associated with chemical signaling in cells and genes, as well as bolstering the body's resistance to inflammation and stress.
In addition to these benefits, it is believed that curcumin helps protect brain cells against premature aging. The compound is said to support brain health as well as prevent the damage to cells associated with Alzheimer's disease. As reported by Natural Health 365:
Curcumin binds to toxic proteins that can appear in the brain and prevents them from forming dangerous plaques. It also reduces oxidative stress and damage, lowers cholesterol, reduces inflammatory signaling molecules, promotes cleanup and induces protective mechanisms within the brain.
A 2008 paper by researchers from the University of Southern California identifies curcumin as a prime source of improvement in patients with Alzheimer's disease. The authors write that the antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and lipophilic action of curcumin are key to its beneficial effects. Indeed, turmeric and its active compounds have been linked to an array of health benefits due to these effects.
The researchers stated further, "Due to various effects of curcumin, such as decreased Beta-amyloid plaques, delayed degradation of neurons, metal-chelation, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and decreased microglia formation, the overall memory in patients with AD has improved."
The team ultimately concludes that curcumin is a "promising" treatment for Alzheimer's disease. Curcumin has been heralded as a miracle cure for an array of illnesses and conditions. You can learn more about turmeric and other natural remedies at AlternativeMedicine.news.
Sources for this article include: