by Dr. Tina Marcantel
Curcumin is the active ingredient derived from turmeric, a plant used as a yellow spice. It’s often used in Middle Eastern and Asian cooking, and it’s the main ingredient in curry.
Beyond its use as a spice, medical research has shown curcumin to have many medicinal effects. According to an article published through the Department of Experimental Therapeutics at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, “Curcumin has been shown to exhibit antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anticancer activities and thus has a potential against various malignant diseases, diabetes, allergies, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and other chronic illnesses.”
Used as an anti-inflammatory on a regular basis, curcumin is effective in treating chronic muscle and joint pain such as that caused by fibromyalgia and arthritis. It can also be used to relieve acute pain and minor injuries in athletes. My “weekend warrior” husband and his buddy use curcumin for relief from tennis elbow and knee joint pain after overextending their hours on the tennis courts on weekends.
The great thing about curcumin is that there are no side effects like those that can be associated with long-term use of NSAIDS (i.e., aspirin, ibuprofen, naproxen) such as liver or kidney problems.
Instead, curcumin offers additional benefits with its use. For example, curcumin is an excellent agent for detoxification that supports the liver. Also, its antioxidant properties reduce the load of free radicals that can disrupt healthy cells and cause disease.
Studies also show that curcumin decreases the formation of LDL (low density lipoprotein—what doctors sometimes call the “bad” cholesterol). The anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin can contribute to heart health, while the antioxidant properties can help the skin stay young and healthy.
Since most of us won’t get enough curcumin in our diets to derive all these great benefits, the best way to take it is as a dietary supplement. We offer a brand called Theracurmin™ (Integrative Therapeutics) through our medicinary. Here’s the company’s description of the product:
Standard curcumin is poorly absorbed. Theracurmin™ is a unique preparation of turmeric (Curcuma longa) that utilizes patented, natural colloidal dispersion technology to enhance bioavailability and dramatically increase curcumin levels in the blood.* Its high absorbability suggests that Theracurmin supplementation can maximize curcumin’s biological effects, including relief of occasional pain due to overuse and support of the body’s natural detoxification and inflammatory pathways.*
We’ve had excellent reports from several of our patients after introducing curcumin as part of their dietary supplement regimen. Is it time to “spice up” your life with this great natural health aid?
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* This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.