“Scientists have found that a chemical component in the spice turmeric—commonly used in Indian cuisine and curries—increases the regeneration of new neurons in cell cultures and in lab rats,” reports Newsweek.
As with other organs, the brain has an impressive ability to repair itself (within reason), and in a study published last week in the journal Stem Cell Research & Therapy, turmeric extract offered a possible avenue to healing, according to the new article here.
Preliminary findings from numerous animal and other laboratory studies suggest that a chemical found in turmeric—called curcumin—may have anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and antioxidant properties.
Previous studies suggested that curcumin, the active phenolic compound in turmeric, may be an effective treatment for other neurodegenerative diseases. Specifically, a couple of studies showed that curcumin inhibited the formation of amyloid ß plaques, which is thought to destroy neurons in Alzheimer’s disease, but all these findings have not yet been confirmed in actual patients.
Recently, a group of National Eye Institute-funded researchers found that curcumin may also be effective in treating retinitis pigmentosa (RP), an untreatable disease that leads to severe vision loss and blindness that affects more than 1 in 4,000 people worldwide.
The amounts used in her study of lab rats are more than one would get in a normal diet. “We need to test the effective dose of curcumin in patients,” Dr. Radha Ayyagari Ph.D., associate professor of ophthalmology at the University of California San Diego, who grew up in India with a great appreciation for the therapeutic potential in curries.
Some Indians credit turmeric for that country’s low incidence of Alzheimer’s. The flavor is not very strong, so it’s easy to incorporate in various dishes. Try adding it to cooked rice.
Photo by Steven Jackson Photography (CC license)