Turmeric is the spice commonly found in curry — and, according to new research published in Stem Cell Research and Therapy, it may boost your brain proliferation or its power to repair itself.
Aromatic-turmerone is a compound found within turmeric, and it’s this compound researchers from the Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine in Julich, Germany, injected directly into the neutral stem cells located in a rat’s brain. They scanned the rat’s brain afterward, noticing certain parts of the brain were more active after the infusion. And when it was all said and done, these infusions increased the brain’s self-repair and recovery by 80 percent.
"While several substances have been described to promote stem cell proliferation in the brain, fewer drugs additionally promote the differentiation of stem cells into neurons, which constitutes a major goal in regenerative medicine,” Dr. Adele Rueger, the lead study author and a researcher at the University Hospital of Cologne, Germany, and the Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine, said in a press release. “Our findings on aromatic turmerone take us one step closer to achieving this goal."
A couple caveats: For one, rats were injected directly with high concentrations of the common. And second, the researchers admitted additional trials need to be done before they can say for sure if these effects will translate to humans. However, if they were able to translate, this could change the medicine that’s available to treat neurodegenerative diseases — diseases that occur “when nervous system cells in the brain and spinal cord begin to deteriorate,” such as Alzheimer’s, Parksinon’s, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and Hungtington’s disease, according to Harvard NeuroDiscovery Center.
Today, an upward of thousands of Americans suffer from these diseases. If diseases go unchecked 30 years from now, Harvard added, the number of Americans who suffer will jump to 12 million. Finding effective cures for these patients' brain and spince “is a goal of increasing urgency.”
Outside of this study, turmeric is considered the “spice for life.” Another one of its active ingredients is curcumin, and curcumin is considered an anti-inflammatory. This ingredient has also been associated with the ability to prevent diabetes, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s. But as is the case with the rat research, the potential of turmeric acting as modern medicine is uncertain, though adding turmeric powder to food or tea is believed to supplement a well-balanced, healthy lifestyle. Doing so sets you ahead of the game if turmeric is found to be capable of repairing the human brain.
Source: Hucklenbroich J, Klein R, Neumaier B, Graf R, Fink G, et al. Aromatic-turmerone induces neural stem cell proliferation in vitro and in vivo. Stem Cell Research & Therapy. 2014.