There is hardly any other plant that has undergone so much scientific research as turmeric. There are over 5,500 peer-reviewed biomedical researches and studies which have been published on the medicinal benefits and the components of this plant. Of all these nutrients, curcumin has been found to be the most important one.
In a study conducted over a 5-year period, it was found that turmeric has more than 600 likely preventative and therapeutic benefits. Besides, it has also been found to have almost 180 unique physiological benefits.
Studies show that the plant has powerful medicinal benefits that make it a great alternative to some of the most widely used medications and treatments.
Turmeric Getting a Lot of Attention
Given the sheer density of research performed on this remarkable spice, it is no wonder that a growing number of studies have concluded that it compares favorably to a variety of conventional medications, including:
1. Lipitor/Atorvastatin(cholesterol medication): According to a study conducted in 2008, which was published in the Drugs in R&D, a concoction prepared from curcuminoids found in turmeric was found to have same effects as atorvastatin or Lipitor on patients suffering from endothelial dysfunction. It is the pathology of the blood vessels driving atherosclerosis. It preparation helped in reducing oxidative stress and swelling in patients suffering from Diabetes Type II.
2. Corticosteroids (steroid medications): According to a study conducted in 1999 (Phytotherapy Research) found similarities in the effects of curcumin and steroids used in managing chronic anterior uveitis. This is an eye disease associated with inflammation. In another study conducted in 2008 (published – Critical Care Medicine), curcumin was found to have many similarities to dexamethasone, a corticosteroid drug. It was studied on animals as an alternative to prevent injury caused due to lung transplantation. It worked by down-regulating the genes that caused inflammation. Similar results were found and published in 2003 in the Cancer Letters with regard to dexamethasone. In that case curcumin was tested on a model involving lung ischaemia-reperfusion injury.
3. Prozac/Fluoxetine & Imipramine (antidepressants): According to a 2011 research work, published in the Acta Polo Poloniae Pharmaceutica, the active ingredient curcumin showed similar effects as in antidepressants Imipramine and Fluoxetine/Prozac. It also helped reduce depressive behavior on animal subjects.
4. Aspirin (blood thinner): Aspirin is commonly taken for modulating prostacyclin and anti-platelet. According to an in-vitro and ex-vivo research work conducted in 1986 and published in the Arzneimittelforschung, curcumin also displayed same effects. If you suffer from vascular thrombosis and need anti-arthritis treatment, turmeric may prove to be the ideal solution.
5. Anti-inflammatory Drugs: People having tumors often take drugs like aspirin, sulindac, dexamethasone, ibuprofen, indomethacin, phenylbutazone, celecoxib, naproxen, tamoxifen and diclofenac because of their anti-proliferative and anti-inflammatory properties. A research conducted in 2004 (published – Oncogene) found that both curcumin and resveratrol had same properties.
6. Oxaliplatin (chemotherapy drug): Turmeric can be a natural alternative to chemotherapy drugs. According to a study conducted in 2007 (published – International Journal of Cancer), there were many similarities between the chemo drug oxaliplatin and curcumin for their anti-proliferative properties within colorectal cell lines.
7. Metformin (diabetes drug): Metformin is a widely used drug among diabetic patients. It works through the activation of AMPK and acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC). A study conducted in 2009 (published – Biochemistry & Biophysical Research Community) studied the benefits of curcumin in the treatment of diabetes. It was found to activate AMPK and suppress gluconeogenic gene expression within hepatoma cells by a degree of 500-100,000 times more effectively than the diabetes drug, metformin.
Turmeric Studied as Cancer Treatment
Another way in which turmeric and its components reveal their remarkable therapeutic properties is in research on drug resistant- and multi-drug resistant cancers. We have two sections on our site dedicated to researching natural and integrative therapies on these topics, and while there are dozens of substances with demonstrable efficacy against these chemotherapy- and radiation-resistant cancers, curcumin tops both lists:
– Cancers: Drug Resistant
– Cancers: Multi-Drug Resistant
It has been found no less than 54 studies indicating that curcumin can induce cell death or sensitize drug-resistant cancer cell lines to conventional treatment.
There are more than 27 confirmed studies where it has been found that curcumin can stimulate cellular death or sensitization in the case of multi-drug resistance cancer cell lines for traditional treatment.
Turmeric has been used for its nutritional and medicinal benefits for centuries in different cultures all across the world. Considering the thousands of studies and its widespread use, curcumin can be strongly promoted as an alternative to a wide range of drugs. It can also be considered for use along with regular cancer treatment.
It can be even better if organic turmeric is made a regular part of your daily food intake. This may eliminate the need for taking larger amount of it once you develop some disease in the future. A well balanced diet should be designed to nourish your body instead of replenishing and medicating it with nutraceuticals. So make sure to include curcumin in your regular diet to prevent the above-mentioned conditions.