Benefits of Curcumin
There are supposedly several beneficial uses of curcumin. Benefits may include treating or preventing high cholesterol, indigestion, certain types of cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis. Also, there is some evidence that curcumin may have antioxidant effects and may stimulate the immune system. Curcumin is also sometimes used topically to help with various conditions, such as ringworm or infections.
What Are the Benefits of Curcumin?Curcumin is a compound found in turmeric, a spice often used in Indian cuisine. There has been much interest in the potential health benefits of curcumin. Specifically, it is claimed to provide medicinal benefits when used for the following conditions:
- High cholesterol
- Indigestion or heartburn
- Cancer, specifically skin cancer and colon cancer
- Chronic anterior uveitis (an inflammatory condition of the eye)
- Rheumatoid arthritis.
Sometimes, curcumin is used topically (applied to the skin) for a variety of conditions, such as ringworm or infections. Also, some people use turmeric, which contains curcumin, to treat just about everything, from liver disease to headaches.
Some of these uses have more scientific evidence in their favor than others (see Does Curcumin Work? for more information).
How Does Curcumin Work?Curcumin may have several different effects in the human body, such as:
- Anti-inflammatory -- Curcumin seems to inhibit several different inflammatory substances and enzymes. This may be helpful for a number of conditions, such as arthritis or heart disease.
- Angiogenesis inhibition -- Curcumin may inhibit the growth of new blood vessels (a process known as angiogenesis). This property may be useful for preventing or treating cancer, but it could cause problems in the treatment of heart disease.
- Blood clotting -- There is some evidence that curcumin may help to prevent blood platelets from sticking together (a process known as platelet aggregation), an important step in the formation of blood clots.
There is also some evidence that curcumin may have antioxidant effects and may stimulate the immune system.