Curcumin is a chemical produced by some plants and is found in turmeric, this chemical is part of the ginger family. Curcumin is good at preventing cancer and it’s also a very strong anti-inflammatory compound. It also has similar properties to fish in that it is an effective metabolic syndrome preventer. Due to it being a chemical product of a bright yellow color, curcumin is widely used as a cosmetics ingredient. Other uses include supplements of an herbal nature, food colouring and food flavoring. When used in foods as an additive, its number is E100.
As wonderful a chemical compound Curcumin maybe, it is not for everyone for it has few disadvantages. If it is consumed in high dosages, one may suffer from stomach ulcers. When used in cosmetics, people with sensitive skin should steer clear of it. Curcumin can also prevent blood from clotting and depending on the situation this can be very bad.
In the year 1815 two scientists discovered a “yellow coloring matter” which came from the rhizomes of turmeric. They called this colored piece of matter Curcumin. The scientists that gave it this name were Joseph Pelletier and Vogel. This is not to say that Curcumin was not in use before these two scientists named it. Curcumin was used in ancient China to treat diseases associated with abdominal pains. Ancient Hindu medicine also employed the use of this chemical compound to treat swellings and sprains.
China and India have used Curcumin for thousands of years and explorers like Marco Polo documented the fact that turmeric and other Curcumin containing products.
While Curcumin has been widely used in Ayurvedic medicine, the potential that it has remains unproven. This is becoming an area of active investigation.
Ayurvedic medicine or Ayurveda as it’s commonly known is a holistic system of healing and its origins date back to over 3000 years ago in India. The principle it’s based on is that health and general wellness depend on a very fine balance involving the mind, body and spirit. This form of treatment is generally used in the modern era as a compliment to pharmaceutical medicines.
As mentioned before, curcumin is used in various areas. It is used in food coloring, as a dietary supplement and even in cosmetics. Because it is a very versatile plants, it has huge commercial appeal in South and in North America, sales figures as far back as 2014 point to a USD amount above 20 million. This goes to show that it’s a very valuable commodity.
More than 6000 studies have cited curcumin and one of the most interesting findings is that curcumin can be compared to conventional medicine. This is because benefits of taking it in some cases prevents one from having to use pharmaceutical medications.
Curcumin’s health benefits:
Many nutritionists recommend curcumin as a main dietary supplement while some of them consider it an essential part of the diet. Here is a brief summary that will definitely change your views on curcumin and why nutritionists recommend it:
- Fights against cancer stem cells (where cancer takes its first steps).
- Reduces inflammation and joint pain that became “out of control”.
- Helps to renew healthy cells and neutralizes damaging free radicals.
- Boosts heart’s overall health and prohibits the creation of LDL (bad) cholesterol.
- Counters blood platelets from sticking together, this boosts circulation and reduces the likelihood of blood clots.
- Prevents the damage caused by radiation.
- Protects against Alzheimer’s disease and other related conditions.
- Helps to maintain good and healthy pain-free joints.
- Boosts the health of kidneys and liver.
- Restores the body’s own detoxification attempts and helps to eliminate the damaging contaminants like heavy metals.
Curcumin vs. drugs
A recent study done on more than 700 clinical trials which involved curcumins effect of cancer reviewed that, it is as effective as pharmaceutical drugs. This means that it can be used to treat cancers of the colon, breast, liver, esophagus, prostate and mouth.
Curcumin and Joint Pain
If one suffers from painful joints, whether caused by rheumatoid arthritis or osteoarthritis, curcumin is very helpful.
Curcumin and Cancer
Researchers so far has shown that curcumin can be a powerful remedy. With ongoing research, people can expect more useful remedy tips on this chemical compound to come up. One piece of research that backs this up is with regards to skin cancer. Studies show that Curcumin can inhibit the development of skin cancer and delay the formation of tumours.
Joint pain relief
One of the popular benefits of Curcumin is that of joint pain relief. Curcumin has shown to be extremely effective with relief and it also has negligible side effects. Studies have shown at numerous times that curcumin’s anti-inflammatory facility works just like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Curcumin supplements may be used by patients with diabetes. It can be used by people with mental and physical dysfunctions with regard to the disease and it helps with focus. A recent study at Harvard University found that curcumin restores areas of the brain stem damaged by diabetes. This study was done on diabetic lab animals.
Curcumin and Heart Health
Curcumin is good at managing inflation. This is important in maintaining a healthy heart because a big factor of heart disease inflammation. Curcumin also has other cardiovascular health benefits, especially in women going through age associated adverse changes in arterial health. It is very good and effective in improving the vascular function in that of postmenopausal women. A study done by the American Journal of Cardiology found that turmeric extract (Curcumin) reduces post-bypass heart attack by about 56%.
Curcumin and Obesity
There are no signs that obesity is losing steam, this is why scientists all over the world are searching for the magic pill to help desperate dieters in their path of losing weight.
It is known that there’s no substitute for a nutritious, whole-foods diet and moderate exercise. Several studies taken recently have shown that curcumin supplements may help suppress the development of fatty tissue.
Curcumin Side Effects
Curcumin does have a few side effects, especially when consumed in high dosages. Some of the most common side effects that are associated with curcumin supplementation include nausea and diarrhea. Not all individuals do experience these side effects.
Side effects are discussed in detail below:
Some evidence suggests that curcumin can bring out anticoagulant effects or blood thinning. This means, it is possible for curcumin to slow down blood clotting. This may increase the risk of bleeding or bruising. If one is taking blood thinner, curcumin can amplify its effects to an unwanted extent. This is why scientific literature of medicine recommends to discontinue curcumin two weeks prior to surgery. If curcumin is thinning blood to an unwanted level, it is advised one should visit a medical professional. It is recommended that people that have been diagnosed with pre-existing bleeding disorders should avoid using curcumin.
Diarrhea is a common side effects that is associated with curcumin supplementation. Curcumin irritates the gastrointestinal tract which leads users to feel stomach aches and in some cases, diarrhea. It might happen that diarrhea results from taking curcumin in abnormally high dosages or on an empty stomach. To prevent potential diarrhea that is associated with curcumin, it should either be administered in small dosages or after a big meal. The mix of post-meal ingestion and the dosage reduction can be an effective way to prevent curcumin-induced diarrhea. One should remember that sometimes the body has to wait a few days to adapt to a new supplement. Moreover, the realization that curcumin is manufactured with specific additives to boost its bioavailability is imperative. These additives can be the main culprit for the diarrheal response and not the curcumin itself. Another way of coping with diarrhea might be purchasing of Imodium. This should counter act with diarrheal responses.
Facial flushing this is a rare side effect that has been reported in a small percentage of curcumin users. Some people may notice the emergence of blotches, patches of redness and spots throughout their neck, facial or even upper chest region.
This might be a result of curcumin supplementation. Facial flushing can result from an allergic reaction to the product or may subside as the body starts to adapt to supplementation. There are some cases when the flushing may be followed by changes in perceived facial temperature like hot flashes or chills. If the use of curcumin is stopped, one can notice that the facial flushing starts to disappear. This leads to the realization that curcumin might be the reason for this. To cope with this side effect either use a different brand or adjust and reduce dosage. If the facial flushing doesn’t go, then curcumin isn’t compatible with the person’s body.
Fever a potential side effect with curcumin users. If a low-grade fever is registered after taking curcumin, it could be a response to bioperine. The side effects of bioperine aren’t really known or well understood, but while it increases curcumin’s bioavailability to an extent, it is often included in curcumin supplements. If symptoms such as feeling chilly or flu after curcumin consumption persist, and one takes a formulation with bioperine, a lower dosage is advised. Remember that a slight increase in body temperature can result from the body starting to adapt to curcumin and can subside as it gets used to it.
Curcumin vs. Cumin
Cumin and curcumin are two spices that have similar-sounding names and qualities. Both are used in Indian cuisine and both are valuable when it comes to Ayurvedic healing system, as mentioned in the beginning of the article. The reason why they are so common is because both have the ability to stimulate digestion. Also they have strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. They may have similar sounding names but not when it comes to the substance. They have different flavors, properties, and appearances.
The following points highlight their differences:
Increasing Antioxidant Function
Cumin has antioxidant functions which means it limits cell damage that is caused by free radicals. Curcumin is also a strong antioxidant but not as good as cumin.
Curcumin is an anti-inflammatory, making it very useful in treating inflammatory conditions, for example arthritis. Individuals that took curcumin for rheumatoid arthritis experienced improvements when it came to swelling and pain.