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Curcumin is a chemical present in some spices (turmeric-based curry?). From what I've read, some research supports its use to slow down degeneration of nerve cells (and not just them) in many diseases.

For example:


Curcumin protected PC12 cells against MPP(+)-induced cytotoxicity and apoptosis not only by inducing overexpression of Bcl-2, but also reducing the loss of mitochondrial membrane potential (MMP), an increase in intracellular reactive oxygen species (ROS) and overexpression of inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS). (...) Because of its non-toxic property, curcumin could be further developed to treat the neurodegenerative diseases which are associated with oxidative stress, such as Parkinson's disease (PD).
"further developed" probably means isolating or modifying curcumin to be more suitable for those disases, but the beneficial effect is seen.


Turmeric, an approved food additive, or its component curcumin, has shown surprisingly beneficial effects in experimental studies of acute and chronic diseases characterized by an exaggerated inflammatory reaction.

(that's about anti-inflammatory use, not anti-neurodegeneration use)


Administration of curcumin by i.p. injections (30 mg/kg body wt) or by supplementation to the AIN76 diet (2.0 g/kg diet) for 2 months significantly attenuated ischemia-induced neuronal death as well as glial activation. Curcumin administration also decreased lipid peroxidation, mitochondrial dysfunction, and the apoptotic indices. The biochemical changes resulting from curcumin also correlated well with its ability to ameliorate the changes in locomotor activity induced by I/R.
(that's in gerbils, not humans - but they actually saw multiple benefits)


It has been suggested that CUR's anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant actions may be useful in the prevention-treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, e.g. Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Diseases.

(from what I've understood, proliferative inhibition translates to quantity over quality - fewer, but more developed, glial cells)


In a second group of middle-aged female SD rats, 500 ppm dietary curcumin prevented Abeta-infusion induced spatial memory deficits in the Morris Water Maze and post-synaptic density (PSD)-95 loss and reduced Abeta deposits. Because of its low side-effect profile and long history of safe use, curcumin may find clinical application for AD prevention.
(again, rats not humans, but benefits in animal model of Alzheimer's look real)


The current results suggest that curcumin is a promising agent for the prevention and treatment of both NO and microglial cell-mediated neurodegenerative disorders.

(the question is, are nitric oxide and overactive microglia a full picture)


In normal ageing, lipid peroxidation and lipofuscin concentration were found to increase with ageing, the activities of SOD, GPx and Na(+), K(+), -ATPase, however, decreased with ageing. Chronic curcumin treatment of both 6 and 24 months old rats resulted in significant decreases in lipid peroxide and the lipofuscin contents in brain regions, the activities of SOD, GPx and Na(+), K(+), -ATPase however, showed significant increase in various brain regions.

(that's about aging of rats, not Alzheimer's or Parkinson's in humans, but some protective mechanisms are pointed to)

Looks promising - even if it's not effective, it's just a rather non-toxic spice ;)

What do you think? If you have access to some of the papers, what do you think of them? (flawed research?)

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Curcumin is a chemical present in some spices (turmeric-based curry?).

Yep. It's the persistent yellow in curries and American mustards. You'd have to look for research on it, as it

doesn't seem to be traditional in the Western herbal lore. (Mentioned in Culpepper, Gerard skips it, even

John Lust's The Herb Book notes it mostly as a saffron substitute and dye plant. Best odds of finding

a traditional use would be in Ayurvedic medicine, and it probably has better odds of having real research behind

it than many of the herbs that are being pushed.

It's related to ginger; there are some tasty Indian recipes that use it heavily; and I think much of the

interest has been as an anti-inflammatory.

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I've also found that one study - by a scientific error, perhaps - claimed that it could be used to treat cystic fibrosis (allowing a faulty protein to produce chloride channels in spite of defect) - and the opinion is still circulating around the Internet despite all further studies refuting the argument.

However, claims about CNS and anti-inflammatory action of curcumin are supported by more than just one study, and the plant was successfully used by Indian medicine, so there may be something to it.

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tumeric is very common in ayurveda here's an article about it

Culpepper's herbal picks up on turmeric as an aid to functioning of the liver and the spleen - so there's probably

been long-term observation of improved bile production and improved digestion.

I liked some of the uses from the Ayurveda cite:

"The classic way to apply turmeric topically is as an

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Null it's medicine and lunch-bonus! ayurved is about 5,000 years old so these practices began long before merck, pfizer, or eli llly opened their doors ;)

little snippet about ayurved

About Ayurveda

Ayurveda, which literally means the knowledge and wisdom of life, is the traditional healing system of India. Often called the mother of all healing, it originated in India over 5000 years ago.

Ayurveda views health and disease as the end result of how we interact with the world, in terms of our beliefs, perceptions, thoughts, and feelings, which then ultimately determine our actions. Actions in harmony with our inner nature create health, while those dis-harmonious with our inner nature create disease. Ayurveda is the science of developing greater harmony with our environment through all of our senses.

Ayurveda assists the body in journeying back to optimal health by balancing the five elements in the body and mind through the use of herbs, diet, colors, aromas, lifestyle changes, yoga, and meditation along with other five sense therapies. The rejuvenative and cleansing therapies (Pancha Karma) described within help nourish our bodies while calming our minds from the stresses of modern daily life.

Your inner nature is called your constitution or prakruti, and is an individual blend of the three doshas, Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Your unique balance of these three energies was determined at the moment of conception and is with you the rest of your life. It determines what is in harmony with your nature and what will cause you to become out of balance, sick, and diseased. Knowledge of your constitution is essential to developing optimal health. Your constitution determines how you react to various foods, colors, aromas, and general life habits.

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I heard it kicks H. Pylori's ass.

Abstract on PubMed. Basically: turmeric kicks H. pylori's ass, so eat your curry already.

Medline-Plus gives it a "C" across the board, mostly because too much turmeric can kick your stomach's ass.

But that should be a self-correcting problem.

Anyone else getting hungry?

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