Thursday, November 25, 2010


The report that there are 19 clinical trials approved by the National Institute of Health, Bethesda involving Turmeric and its active constituent, the yellow colored Curcumin must wake up even the most somnabolic observer to the importance and utility of this wonder herb to mankind. There are thousands of scientific studies which have brought out the role of Turmeric or Curcumin in treating a host of diseases though clinical trials with human subjects are far and few. Both ancient India and China had recognized the importance of Turmeric thousands of years ago and if it has been a strong part of Ayurvedic medicinal system there can be no doubt about its potential to become world's top most wonder material that can prevent and treat almost all diseases that confront man to day.

Recent report that Turmeric is effective in treating one of the most dreaded liver disorders viz Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) which can lead to liver failure, has put the spot light on this ordinary condiment that finds extensive application in most of the culinary preparations in India. But looking back there have been many similar studies in many countries in Europe, Australia, the US, India and others indicating the effectiveness of Turmeric both as a therapeutic material for treatment as well as a well being product to preempt the on-set of many health disorders. If liver is considered, it can be seriously affected by alcohol abuse or other damaging causes. A Curcumin rich diet's ability to prevent fatty livers or any conditions associated with alcohol abuse is due to blocking of activation of a molecule, Nuclear Factor kappa (NFkB) responsible for inflammation and tissue death. Drinking heavily causes the bacterial endotoxins produced in the GI tract to enter the blood stream and though the Liver detoxifies them to the maximum extent within its capacity, too much of these toxins can make the liver fail eventually.

Liver diseases can be either Steatosis or fatty liver involving build up of fat on liver cells or Hepatitis leading to liver dysfunction and jaundice or Cirrhosis causing build up of nodules on the liver that can be fatal eventually. The finding by Helsinki University Scientists shows that Curcumin rich diet can prevent Cirrhosis at least in animal experiments where as the group at Saint Louis University highlighted the role of Turmeric/Curcumin in counter acting NASH which is not alcohol related. Probably those addicted to alcohol and imbibing high levels of alcohol daily can expect possible protection of their liver by regularly consuming the capsules and tablets available in the market or diets rich in Turmeric. There are many such preparations containing Curcumin as high as 500 mg per dose. Further clarity may emerge in the coming years as the results of clinical studies start coming out in due course.

According to Indian traditional medicine system, Turmeric is endowed with many virtues and it is considered as analgesic, antibacterial, antitumor, antioxidant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, appetizer, cardiovascular protectant, carminative, digestive aid, diuretic, stimulant and vulnerary. It targets skin, heart, liver and lungs for conferring its beneficial effect. Combined with Cauliflower it is reported to prevent and /or arrest prostate cancer. Other attributes of Turmeric include reducing risk of childhood luekamia, slowing the progression of Alzheimer's disease, preventing occurrence of metastasis in different forms of cancer, relief from arthritis, healing of psoriasis and other skin diseases and slowing down multiple sclerosis. No wonder in Medieval Europe it was more commonly known as Indian Saffron though it costs not even 0.5% of the cost of the latter, considered a luxury item unaffordable to most people. Per capita consumption of Turmeric in India is about 1.5 gm a day, highest in the whole world and the low rate of cancer, especially colorectal and bowel related, in India has been attributed to this dietary practice.

No comments: