Turmeric is biologically known as "Curcuma longa" is one of the extensively used spices in India, China, Pakistan and many other Asian countries. Along with being an integral part of numerous cuisines it also serves countless health benefits. After the research of many years, actual fact reveals and came into the light that turmeric contains a yellow bioactive compound called as "Curcumin" which is responsible for the wide spectrum of health benefits. Due to curcumin, turmeric act as an all rounder and also known as "Golden Goodness" because it not only heal you externally but it is a boon for your internal body also.
Turmeric- An All Rounder: 10 Beneficial Effects of Turmeric
Turmeric has been used as a medicinal herb for centuries. Here is the following pharmacological actions or 10 beneficial effects of turmeric:
Beneficial Effects of Turmeric on Stomach
H.pylori (Helicobacter pylori) is the destructive bacteria which is able to enter the body and lives in an acidic environment of the human stomach. This bacteria is responsible for the increase in gastric acid and pepsin secretion which causes gastritis, stomach/peptic or duodenal ulcers. Turmeric has a bactericidal action against these bacterias with a faster onset of action and it inhibits the adhesion of H.pylori to the stomach lining and flushes them out from the body. Turmeric has a beneficial effect on stomach as it helps relieve the ulcers by increasing the mucin secretion in the body and it also scavenges the reactive oxygen species .
Beneficial Effect of Turmeric on Liver
Curcumin of turmeric possesses protective actions on the liver by improving the detoxification ability of the liver and increase the bile secretion. It is also beneficial in reducing hepatitis and oxidative stress which causes due to the highly reactive and unstable free radicals that can destruct the cells and tissues . Turmeric also increases the secretion of liver enzyme glutathione S-transferase which act as a primary antioxidant.
Beneficial Effect of Turmeric on Cardiovascular System
Turmeric has the ability to reduce the severity of numerous pathological changes and heart problems such as myocardial infarction (MI) and atherosclerosis. It increases the Ca2+ transport by correcting Ca2+ homoeostasis in the cardiac muscle. Turmeric also has hypercholesteremic effect as it can reduce the serum cholesterol level in the hypercholesteremic state .
Effect on Nervous System
Curcumin of turmeric also possesses the neuroprotective action as it is able to penetrate the blood-brain-barrier (BBB) due to polar structure and lower molecular weight.
- It intensifies the hippocampus neurogenesis process in adults by increasing number of newly generated cells in the hippocampus gyrus region .
- It prevents the cell death of hippocampus region by inhibiting the reactive astrocyte expression.
- Curcumin of turmeric also reduces the progression of Alzheimer's disease by preventing fibril and oligomer formation.
Turmeric is known as best naturally occurring remedy for treating inflammation from ancient times and also considered as the good blood purifier in Ayurveda. It removes the foreign invaders and helps in repairing the damage.
- Turmeric inhibits the NF-kB which is a molecule responsible for the inflammation and also responsible for the many chronic diseases .
- It also decreases the regulation of cyclooxygenase-2 and nitric oxide synthetase by inhibiting NFkB stimulation for faster wound healing .
Beneficial Antioxidant Effects of Turmeric
Oxidative damage and free radicals are the main culprits behind ageing and other chronic diseases as they react with the many organic substances such as proteins, fatty acids and DNA. So antioxidants are very crucial for our healthy body and it is believed that turmeric contains more than 300 antioxidants and curcumin is one of the potent antioxidants, which scavenges and neutralises the oxygen free radicals and prevent oxidation of haemoglobin. Curcumin possesses activity by maintaining the body's antioxidant enzymes that are superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase and much more. The antioxidant activity of curcumin is due to its unique conjugated structure that has a radical-trapping ability .
Beneficial Anticancer Effect of Turmeric
Cancer is a life-threatening disease which is caused due to uncontrolled growth of the cells. Curcumin in turmeric is a potent anticancerous compound that can reduce the growth of cancerous cells, development of new blood vessels in tumours that is known as angiogenesis, spreading of tumour cells that are metastasis and also responsible for increasing the death of cancerous cells called as apoptosis . By blocking the activation of NF-kB, curcumin also inhibits the nitric oxides and its derivatives and COX-2 production which plays a major role in the progression of cancer.
Effects of Turmeric in Diabetes
Diabetes is a disease in which blood sugar level get so high and the body is unable to regulate it. Insulin is the major hormone which is produced by the pancreas and help in controlling the blood sugar level. So if the body is unable to produce enough insulin or if it becomes insulin resistance then the condition arise is known as diabetes.
Curcumin act as an anti-hyperglycemic agent which lowers the blood sugar level in following ways :
- Lowers down the regulation of glucose from liver
- Increases the secretion of insulin
- Enhances the glucose utilisation by body
- Increases cells activity of pancreas
- Enhances the sensitivity to insulin
- Reduces Adipocyte fatty acid binding proteins.
Effect on Depression
Curcumin in turmeric has various sophisticated action and anti-depressant action is one of them. It has been proved that turmeric has promising action on major depressive disorders (MDD). Depression and numerous medications reduce the BNDF level (brain derived neurotropic factor) and shrink the brain's hippocampus region which is responsible for the learning and memory . They also alter the ability of the brain to regulate the hormones such as thyroid, sex and adrenal hormones which further affects the production of neurotransmitters that are dopamine, serotonin and much more. Also, it affects the ability of regeneration of brain cells. Curcumin has the ability to intensify or boost these BNDF levels and neurotransmitters to reverse these unwanted changes and produce anti-depressant activity.
The main characteristic of anti-microbial agents is that they should be non-toxic to the body and turmeric is the safest antimicrobial agent as it doesn't have any toxic effect on the body and can be taken safely 8 g day−1 .
Anti-bacterial - Turmeric and it's phytochemical curcumin is a well-known source for the antibacterial activity. It possesses bactericidal action specifically against four bacterial genera that are:
- Staphylococcus aureus (Gram-positive)
- Enterococcus faecalis (Gram-positive)
- Escherichia coli (Gram-negative)
- Pseudomonas aeruginosa (Gram-negative)
Curcumin has anti-infecting and anti-bacterial activity by acting on the biofilm initiation, virulence and quorum sensing of bacteria .
Anti-fungal - Curcumin is active again many fungal infections caused by Aspergillus flavus and parasite such as Penicillium digitatum.
Anti-viral - Turmeric also possess the anti-vial activity and known as a novel drug against the HIV viral infection as it is able to inhibit the HIV-1 integrase which is an important factor for the viral replication. It also reduces the HIV gene expression induced by the UV light.
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