Also known as- Curcumin, Jiang Huang
Turmeric is a tropical perennial plant in the same family as ginger, native to India, and cultivated throughout the tropics around the world. Many of the healing of benefits of turmeric have been attributed to curcumin, a group of antioxidant compounds found in the rhizome. Although curcumin is available as a standardized extract, the whole herb may be more beneficial for you than the curcumin extract: Only very small amounts of curcumin are absorbed into the bloodstream. Turmeric as a whole herb stays in the digestive tract longer than curcumin, releasing antioxidant curcumin along with other beneficial substances. Turmeric is the main anti-inflammatory herb of Ayurvedic medicine.
A remarkable study was published in the journal Ayu titiled "Effects of turmeric on Alzheimer's disease with behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia." [ii]
Researchers described three patients with Alzheimer's disease whose
behavioral symptoms were "improved remarkably" as a result of consuming
764 milligram of turmeric (curcumin 100 mg/day) for 12 weeks. According to the study:
three patients exhibited irritability, agitation, anxiety, and apathy,
two patients suffer from urinary incontinence and wonderings. They were
prescribed turmeric powder capsules and started recovering from these
symptoms without any adverse reaction in the clinical symptom and
After only 3 months of treatment, both the patients' symptoms and the burden on their caregivers were significantly decreased.
The report describes the improvements thusly:
one case, the Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score was up five
points, from 12/30 to 17/30. In the other two cases, no significant
change was seen in the MMSE; however, they came to recognize their family within 1 year treatment. All cases have been taking turmeric for more than 1 year, re-exacerbation of BPSD was not seen."
Precautions: Do not take during pregnancy. As is the case with so many herbs, turmeric should be used in moderation. Too much turmeric used for extended periods of time may cause stomach distress. Since turmeric is included in Ayurvedic formulas for birth control, women trying to become pregnant should limit their consumption of the herb, and it should be avoided entirely while pregnant. Excessive use of turmeric should also be avoided in people with congestive heart failure. The curcumin in turmeric activates a gene called p53. This gene deactivates cancer cells, but it also deactivates damaged cells in the heart.
Note: parts used - rhizome, dried and ground. Product is air dried at temperatures not exceeding 90 degrees F.