Turmeric has three curcuminoids namely; Curcumin, desmethoxycurcumin and bis-desmethoxycurcumin. These components are responsible for the yellow color of turmeric. Curcumin is obtained by drying the rhizome of the turmeric plant. Curmin has generated lots of interests over the years due to its medicinal properties. Research has shown that it can act as an anti-inflammatory agent and may even play a role in cancer treatment. In animal studies, it has also shown to have protective effects in cancers of the mouth, blood, lungs, pancreas and intestinal tract. Curcumin has side effects when used by people who have gallbladder problems as it has been known to make the condition to worsen. Benefits of curcumin are further discussed below.Anti-inflammatory; diseases like cancer, arthritis and chronic pain can be the result of inflammation. Curcumin is a powerful anti-inflammatory thus can help prevent such diseases. Oncogene journal published the results of a study that evaluated various anti-inflammatory compounds from around the world such as aspirin, ibuprofen and curcumin. Both aspirin and ibuprofen were found to be least effective while curcumin was among the most effective anti-inflammatory compounds in the world.
There are many research trials on laboratory animals that have proved that curcumin is effective in treating depression symptoms. Phytotherapy Research journal published the results of a study that had over 60 volunteers who were diagnosed with major depressive disorder. The study had split the group to determine how they responded to curcumin treatment against fluoxetine treatment. The final results showed that the curcumin treatment group tolerated the treatment well and that curcumin was as effective as fluoxetine in managing depression. The jounal’s authors also stated that this clinical evidence proved that circumin can be used as a safe and effective treatment option for patients with mild depression.
Curcumin is known for its powerful pain reducing characteristics. A Phytotherapy Research in 2012 showed that the rheumatoid arthritis patients who used curcumin had the highest percentage of improvement compared to the rheumatoid arthritis patients who used diclofenac sodium alone in the treatment of arthritis. The study also showed the curcumin treatment to be safe and did not have any adverse effects on the patients. This has encouraged more research in the use of curcumin to treat other types of arthritis.
Several laboratory tests have shown that curcumin does have anticancer effects. These tests have also shown that it is able to kill cancer cells and prevent more from growing. A 2007 American study showed that curcumin combined with chemotherapy to treat bowel cancer cells killed more cancer cells than chemotherapy alone. The American cancer society also stated that researchers reported that curcmin blocked the formation of cancer forming enzymes in rodents. Overall, curcumin has incredible results when it comes to stopping cancer in its tracks.
Curcumin has no adverse side effects when used optimally. People who are turmeric sensitive may experience mild stomach upsets or diarrhea. Pregnant women are advised to seek medical advice from their doctors before they use curcumin as a treatment option to a disease. Patients with gallbladder problems are advised not to use curcumin as a treatment option for it is known to make this condition worse. Excessive use of curcumin also causes slow blood clotting which can lead to excessive bleeding when you get an injury or go for surgery. These side effects are however highly avoidable when patients use curcumin optimally.