Turmeric is often looked at as a sort of ‘miracle’ spice, backed up by the over 600 experimentally confirmed health benefits it has shown. This is largely attributed to curcumin as the primary source of this, but did you know the whole turmeric could actually help with brain regeneration? And it’s not just from curcumin like you might expect!
An Overlooked Benefit
Aromatic-turmerone is a fat-soluble component of turmeric that has been studied by German researchers on adult rats and in vitro for its effects on neural stem cells.
What they found in the petri dish was that the neural stem cells (NSCs) increased in number by as much as 80% when exposed to ar-turmerone, indicating there was a healing effect happening.
When used the on rats, they formed healthy new brain cells in the subventricular zone and the hippocampus, the place where new neurons are grown. They also noticed a size growth in both these areas (1 , 2).
On its own, ar-turmerone is a powerful regenerative that can aid NSCs in brain regeneration, and could eventually lead to aiding degenerative diseases like stroke or Alzheimer’s (3, 4). The biggest draw of ar-turmerone in the brain is that rather than just promoting stem cell proliferation, it also differentiates stem cells into neurons, which is a major goal of regenerative medicine.
Scientists also suggest that curcumin can improve the overall memory of Alzheimer’s patients. Although, the research sourced in this article is comprised of studies where scientists have conducted their tests on rats as opposed to the human brain.
So What Does This Mean?
As mentioned earlier, some of these remedies are only supported so far by preliminary studies with either a non-human subject like rats or mice or only a small group of human subjects. While scientists do further research to support these remedies, you can talk with your health practitioner about using one or even several of these natural options as an alternative to riskier drug-based methods.
Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking advice or treatment because of something you have read here. Many of these tricks have been passed down from generation to generation, and continue to be based on people’s success with them.
Many people think that using a curcumin extract on its own is enough to reap the benefits, but using the whole turmeric offers a range of therapeutic compounds they might miss out on.
For instance, for colonic inflammation or polyps, it is better to use the whole plant over an extract because the extract can likely be absorbed by the small intestine before ever getting to the large intestine where it’s needed most.
The effects of the brain using ar-turmerone are still relatively unknown, but this recent study shows there is definitely a regenerative factor embedded within. So go ahead, add a pinch to your smoothie or curry next time and you’ll thank yourself for it in the future!
Healing plants are often composed of hundreds of beneficial compounds, so it’s inaccurate to assume that one, in particular, is responsible for all the healing powers. Although curcumin and ar-turmerone have been found to have substantial positive benefits to the body and mind, turmeric as a whole will reap the most benefits.