Turmeric is often looked at as a sort of ‘miracle’ spice, backed up by the over 600 experimentally confirmed health benefits it has shown. This is largely attributed to curcumin as the primary source of this, but did you know the whole turmeric could actually help with brain regeneration? And it’s not just from curcumin like you might expect!
An Overlooked Benefit
Aromatic-turmerone is a fat-soluble component of turmeric that has been studied by German researchers for its effects on neural stem cells. What they found was that the neural stem cells (NSCs) increased in number by as much as 80% when exposed to ar-turmerone, indicating there was a healing effect happening. When used on rats, they formed healthy new brain cells in the subventricular zone and the hippocampus, the place where new neurons are grown. They also noticed a size growth in both these areas.
On its own, ar-turmerone is a powerful regenerative that can aid NSCs in brain regeneration, and could eventually lead to aiding degenerative diseases like stroke or Alzheimer’s. The biggest draw of ar-turmerone in the brain is that rather than just promoting stem cell proliferation, it also differentiates stem cells into neurons, which is a major goal of regenerative medicine.
Curcumin, on the other hand, has also been used on the brain and has been found to improve the overall memory of Alzheimer’s patients.
So What does this mean?
Many people think that using a curcumin extract on its own is enough to reap the benefits, but using the whole turmeric offers a range of therapeutic compounds they might miss out on. For instance, for colonic inflammation or polyps, it is better to use the whole plant over an extract because the extract can likely be absorbed by the small intestine before ever getting to the large intestine where it’s needed most.
The effects of the brain using ar-turmerone are still relatively unknown, but this recent study shows there is definitely a regenerative factor embedded within. So go ahead, add a pinch to your smoothie or curry next time and you’ll thank yourself for it in the future!
Healing plants are often composed of hundreds of beneficial compounds, so it’s inaccurate to assume that one in particular is responsible for all the healing powers. Although curcumin and ar-turmerone have been found to have substantial positive benefits to the body and mind, turmeric as a whole will reap the most benefits.
Curcumin against premenstrual discomfort
Curcumin reduces inconveniences that are related to the premenstrual syndrome. Showed by Iranian students. The total PMS score dropped from 102 to 42 points after three months of treatment. Participants had to take every 12 hours 100 mg of curcumin (or placebo). Curcumin is therefore a much better alternative than drugs, which often advised not to because of the side effects. Curcumin, according to Iranian researchers has ifferent effects. For example, curcumin affects the mood and brain substance that maintains the brain fitness (brain-derived neurotrophic factor). Curcumin is also an anti-inflammatory, and indeed anti-inflammatories are often prescribed in order to suppress certain symptoms of PMS.
Khayat S, Fanaei H, Kheirkhah M et al. Curcumin attenuates severity of premenstrual syndrome symptoms: A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Complement Ther Med. 2015 Jun;23(3):318-24