Changing the conversation about health

New research finds turmeric could have theraputic use for practitioners – including easing pain

New research has examined the effects of the spice turmeric as a theraputic option for GPs and practitioners.

The yellow-coloured spice – which contains the compound curcumin – has long been used as a herbal remedy for conditions associated with pain, including arthritis. Published in the December issue of the European Journal of Integrative Medicine, the Pukka Herbs paper is a meta-review of turmeric clinical studies.

There is a growing body of research relating to the therapeutic use of the popular culinary spice and herbal remedy, and the new research, led by Dr Vivien Rolfe and College of Medicine council member Simon Mills, examined which preparations of turmeric are most effective for which disorders.

The compound curcumin, found in turmeric, could help with pain relief, a meta-review of turmeric clinical studies found

The research, which looked at the impact on 20 disease topics, found moderate quality evidence to support the use of turmeric/curcumin for relieving pain and improving physical function in osteoarthritis.

There was low quality evidence for its use in metabolic syndrome, inflammatory conditions and other diseases. The resulting data suggested that whole turmeric and bioavailability-enhanced preparations may be useful for different conditions. Turmeric, often taken in power form, was found to be safe and well tolerated during the study.

Click here to read the full research; https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1876382020314335

In January, a US study found curcumin could boost memory and even ease depression. The research showed that the compound helped to prevent protein build-up in parts of the brain that are linked to emotions and memory.

The new research, which looked at the impact on 20 disease topics, found moderate quality evidence to support the use of turmeric/curcumin for relieving pain and improving physical function in osteoarthritis (Credit: pixabay)

Scientists from the University of California said the bright yellow compound has anti-inflammatory properties that could see memory improve by up to 30 per cent. Inflammation in regions of the brain has previously been associated with depression and dementia.

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Dr Gary Small from the University of California said at the time: “These results suggest that taking this relatively safe form of curcumin could provide meaningful cognitive benefits over the years.”

Published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, the study tested 40 people aged between 50 and 90 taking either a placebo or 90mg of curcumin twice a day in the easily-absorbed supplement Theracurmin.  

After 18 months, researchers looked at the effects on well-being including heart rhythms and thyroid function and 75 per cent of the group underwent a brain scan. It was found that the group who’d absorbed the compound had a 28 per cent boost to their memory.

Dr Small said: ‘These results suggest that taking this relatively safe form of curcumin could provide meaningful cognitive benefits over the years.’

Vivien Rolfe, Marion Mackonochie, Simon Mills, Euan MacLennan