For thousands of years, ancient cultures throughout Asia have been using turmeric, also known as curcumin, to spice up food -- and today, curcumin is used throughout the world. But this relative of ginger is hardly just a flavor enhancer, as studies continue to show that curcumin contains powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, antioxidant, and even anti-cancer properties that render it a powerful, disease-fighting medicine in addition to being a culinary spice.
A mixture of natural resin and turmeric oil, curcumin and the science behind its effects on the body continue to captivate the attention of scientists who have unveiled quite a bit about its healing capacities. Though it has long been used in traditional medicine, scientists have only recently within the past several decades uncovered the specifics of how curcumin works in the body to prevent and treat disease.
Curcumin fights harmful bacteria, bad cholesterol, and disease-causing inflammation
A 1949 paper published in the journal Nature is one of the earliest known studies to identify curcumin's powerful antibacterial properties. In it, the authors found that curcumin effectively targets Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella paratyphi, Trichophyton gypseum, and Mycobacterium tuberculosis.
Later in the 1970s, researchers found that curcumin is also effective at keeping cholesterol levels in check, fighting diabetes, relieving disease-causing inflammation, and targeting health-destroying free radicals. And by the 1980s, it was discovered that curcumin is also a powerful remedy for preventing and treating cancer, as it regulates the expression of genes that contribute to tumorigenesis, cell survival, cell proliferation, invasion, and angiogenesis.
Curcumin improves cell communication throughout the body
The human body is composed of an intricate network of cells that communicate with one another to promote growth, fight disease, process nutrients, create hormones, and perform other vital functions. This is accomplished via signaling molecules present throughout the body that act as messengers for cells, constantly delivering crucial information back and forth between them.
And curcumin has been shown to directly influence many of these signaling molecules, including inflammatory molecules, transcription factors, enzymes, protein kinases, protein reductases, carrier proteins, cell survival proteins, drug resistance proteins, adhesion molecules, growth factors, receptors, cell cycle regulatory proteins, chemokines, DNA, RNA, and metal ions (http://cms.herbalgram.org/herbclip/449/021237-449.html).
When cells fail to communicate properly, all sorts of diseases can emerge. Diabetics, for instance, suffer from their condition because of a breakdown in pancreatic cell communication, which is responsible for producing insulin. And individuals with multiple sclerosis suffer from a failure of nerve cells to adequately send information from one section of the brain to another (http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/begin/cells/badcom/).
Supplementing with curcumin is a great way to help prevent a myriad of diseases
All in all, supplementing with curcumin is an excellent way to avoid diseases of all kinds. From ulcers and cardiovascular disease to gastrointestinal disorders and cancer, curcumin is an excellent source of health-promoting nourishment that offers multiple benefits. And best of all is the fact that curcumin is relatively inexpensive, even when purchased as a supplement in capsule form.