Food GOLD: Turmeric is just as effective as 14 pharma drugs but suffers from NONE of the side effects


Image: Food GOLD: Turmeric is just as effective as 14 pharma drugs but suffers from NONE of the side effects

What if you could replace all the pills in your medicine cabinet with just one herb? Depending on what you take and why, that may be possible with turmeric. Its main component, curcumin, boasts enough health-enhancing properties to keep pharmaceutical execs up at night.

In fact, this herb is so powerful that it has been at the heart of more than 12,000 peer-reviewed biomedical studies. Researchers have found more than 800 different therapeutic and preventive uses for curcumin. Here is a look at just a few of the drugs to which it compares favorably, as outlined by Green Med Info.

Metformin (for diabetes)

Diabetes numbers continue to climb as Americans grapple with obesity, and that means more and more people are taking Metformin – and taking on its scary risks as well. However, a study in the journal Biochemistry and Biophysical Research Community found that curcumin has value in treating diabetes; it is between 500 and 100,000 times more powerful than Metformin when it comes to activating AMPK, which raises glucose uptake. Studies have also shown that it has a 100 percent efficacy rate in preventing those with pre-diabetes from developing full-fledged diabetes.

Lipitor (for cholesterol)

A 2008 study revealed that curcumin compares favorably to atorvastatin, which you may know as Lipitor, when it comes to dealing with the endothelial dysfunction behind atherosclerosis while reducing inflammation and oxidative stress. Other studies have shown that it can impact triglyceride levels, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol. While most of the studies so far have been done in animals, it is believed that it could have the same effect in humans, although the right levels have yet to be established.

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Prozac (for depression)

A study in 2011 found that curcumin compares favorably to the antidepressants fluoxetine (Prozac) and imipramine when it comes decreasing depressive behavior. Best of all, it doesn’t carry the serious side effects that Prozac does, which include sleep problems, tremors, headaches, nausea, a lower sex drive, and suicidal ideation. In addition, it’s well-tolerated by patients.

Researchers believe it works on depression by inhibiting monoamine oxidase, the enzyme that has been linked to depression when it’s present in high amounts in the brain. It also raises levels of calmness-inducing serotonin and dopamine.

Oxaliplatin (for chemotherapy)

A study published in the International Journal of Cancer looked at curcumin’s effects in stopping colorectal cell lines from proliferating. The researchers discovered the herb compared favorably to the chemotherapy drug oxaliplatin. Other studies are underway exploring the impact curcumin has on various types of cancer after animal studies showed it could help prevent illnesses like skin, stomach and colon cancer in rats.

Anti-inflammatory medications

Curcumin is also great for inflammation, which is at the root of many chronic illnesses today such as cancer, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, degenerative diseases, and heart disease. A study published in Oncogene identified it as an effective alternative to drugs like ibuprofen, aspirin and naproxen given its strong anti-inflammatory effects, fighting inflammation at the molecular level. Meanwhile, in a study of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, curcumin worked even better than anti-inflammatory drugs.

Curcumin is so effective at addressing such a vast array of conditions that it’s hard to discuss it without sounding like you’re exaggerating. However, turmeric is truly “food gold” and it’s something well worth making a conscious effort to consume more of. You might not be ready to clean out your entire medicine cabinet, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start adding this spice to your food. It pairs well with a variety of dishes, soups, salads, stews, and smoothies; consuming turmeric with fats is ideal, and make sure you add a pinch of pepper to boost its bioavailability.

Sources for this article include:

GreenMedInfo.com

NaturalNews.com

VeryWellHealth.com

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800 Reasons Turmeric Threatens Big Pharma


No single herb threatens the pharmaceutical industry’s global monopoly as much as turmeric. Here’s why…

Turmeric has received a lot of attention in the past few years. The reason has everything to do with the power of social media to undercut traditional pharmaceutical industry controlled media channels, along with the reality that the available published literature that has accumulated on turmeric’s health benefits is astoundingly vast. The open access database MEDLINE, for instance, now contains over 10,000 study abstracts on turmeric and/or its components, such as the polyphenol known as curcumin. Our intention at GreenMedInfo.com is to save you time looking through these thousands of studies by putting all the relevant ones to natural and integrative medicine in one spot. In the case of the burgeoning volume of turmeric and curcumin literature, that spot is our Turmeric Research dashboard.

Previously, we wrote an article titled “600 Reasons Turmeric May Be The World’s Most Important Herb,” which received a quarter of a million social media shares and many more views. Since then, the Greenmedinfo database on turmeric has grown to encompass 800 distinct potential health benefits linked to this ancient Indian spice. This is all the more amazing when you consider the fact that most pharmaceutical drugs are marketed for one major health benefit, but come with about 75 known side effects. Take a look at our article showing curcumin as effective as 14 conventional pharmaceuticals. Clearly natural substances are superior to synthetic ones in this regard, and in a very real, embody physically a form of inter-kingdom compassion between plant and animal. And yet, you can not patent natural substances, which precludes turmeric or any of its extracts from ever receiving FDA approval for the prevention or treatment of disease, even though it is capable of doing exactly this

The purpose of this article is to help bring turmeric back into the forefront by introducing our newly refashioned and retooled Turmeric database, which we believe will provide the tools necessary to spread the truth about its unparalleled healing properties.

We also encourage those who believe in our mission to support the continued growth of our Turmeric database (our goal is to reach 1,000+ documented health benefits by the end of 2016), along with the 10,000+ other health topics on our website, by becoming a member. Or, lacking the resources to do so, to share it widely with others. This should help us to realize the three primary objectives of our mission:

1) To generate a greater awareness of Medline as the invaluable resource and much overlooked National Treasure that it is.

2) To contribute to the democratization of the information on Medline by acting as a liaison in its dissemination to the public.

3) To simplify the task of finding data relevant to alternative & complementary medicine.

Turmeric’s “Weight Loss Secret”: It Turns Bad Fat Good


Turmeric's "Weight Loss Secret": It Turns Bad Fat Good

A groundbreaking new study published in Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry reveals that curcumin, a golden-hued compound in turmeric, may provide a unique solution for overweight individuals by altering the composition of fat cells in their bodies in favor of the calorie-burning type. 

Obesity and overweight are global epidemics today, and are largely due to the now virtually universal Western type diet of highly processed, genetically modified, chemical contaminated, and evolutionarily incompatible foods, and which can have severe if not sometimes lethal adverse health effects.

Diet, however, is not the only contributing factor. Like all conditions, the problem is multi-factorial, with exposure to a host of endocrine disrupters, chronic stress, a dramatically altered and/or depleted microbiome, and a lack of sufficient movement and exercise, all playing key roles. Every year, billions of dollars are spent on weight loss gadgets, bariatric surgeries, and both synthetic and natural pills, and yet the problem only appears to be growing worse.

What if we could strike closer to the root causes of serious weight problems using something as familiar, affordable, and safe as a common spice on our spice rack?

Indeed, turmeric contains a golden-hued compound called curcumin which appears to be capable of changing “bad” fat cells into “good” ones, among a whole host of additional beneficial properties.

Know the Difference Between Brown and White — “Good” and “Bad” — Fat

Fat used to be a really bad word. Today, however, a growing number of consumers and health enthusiasts are embracing the concept of incorporating more “good fats” into the diet, i.e. olive oil, avocado, coconut. That said, many still don’t know that our bodies also contain both “good” (brown) and “bad” fat (white), and depending on our activity levels, environmental conditions, and what we do or do not eat, we’ll have a particular ratio that will significantly affect our level of health as well as risk for an entire gamut of diseases.

Brown fat is colored darkly because of the high density of iron-containing mitochondria it contains. Brown fat cells, unlike white fat cells, are capable of diverting significant quantities of dietary caloric energy into thermal energy or heat. This makes the metabolic role of brown fat cells completely opposite to that of white fat cells whose primary function is to store energy for future use as adipose tissue.  To underscore how radically different brown fat cells are from white, they derive from an entirely different stem cell lineage; the same one that skeletal muscle cells differentiate from.

Since the vast majority of fat found within overweight and obese adults is of the white fat variety (we have the most when we are infants at about 5% by weight), and since abdominal obesity (belly fat) has been found to be a greater risk factor for heart attack than smoking, it behooves us to look at belly fat as a concern relevant to far more than vanity, and to find ways to reduce midsection fat naturally, or at least increase the ratio of brown to white fat in the body.

The discovery of radically differing types of fat in the adult body, and a deficiency or much smaller ratio of brown to white fat in those with weight problems, has lead some researchers to hypothesize that increasing the brown fat cell phenotype could provide a novel intervention for obesity. Indeed, preliminary research on using cold temperatures to increase the brown fat in the mammalian body appear to have significant anti-obesity effects, but there is concern that these temperature changes may have unintended adverse effects for cardiovascular health.[1] Also, exposure to the cold is just plain uncomfortable, making it a less than ideal solution for many. A turmeric-based intervention could provide a much more convenient alternative.

Curcumin Brown Fat

Turmeric Extract (Curcumin) May Be An Ideal Weight Loss Supplement

In the new study titled, “Curcumin induces brown fat-like phenotype in 3T3-L1 and primary white adipocytes,” Korean researchers established for the first time that curcumin is capable of inducing browning of white fat cells (adipocytes) through at least four different mechanisms:

1.     By enhancing the expression of brown fat specific genes. This is a form of nutrigenomic “epigenetic modification,” which means that a nutrient is capable of altering a cell’s patterns of gene expression “from the outside in,” as it were, resulting in significant changes in the structure and function of the cells involved.

2.     By stimulating the production of new mitochondria, as evidenced by increased activity of the electron transport chain and increased fatty acid oxidation. Mitochondrial biogenesis can be stimulated with other natural substances and therapeutic modalities and is an intervention that may be of special benefit in age-associated loss of muscle and brain function, enhancing athletic performance, and in improving mitochondrial disorders. [see our database keyword: “Mitochondrial Biogenesis“]

3.     By increasing protein levels of hormone-sensitive lipase and p-acyl-CoA carboxylase, two markers that play a role in increasing fat-degrading processes (lipolysis) and the suppression of new fat production (lipogenesis).

4.     By increasing the activity AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK). AMPK activity is something of a cellular metabolic master switch that improves metabolic homeostasis, which is often out of balance in overweight and obese individuals.

In addition to these four mechanisms of action contributing to curcumin’s brown fat supporting properties, the researchers also noted that because curcumin is a well-established anti-inflammatory agent (view 88 studies on the topic here), and because obesity and its various co-morbid states such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease are conditions that involve upregulated and unremitting inflammatory and/or or dysregulated inflammatory response, curcumin’s anti-obesity effects may be in part due to its inflammation-reducing properties.

One additional relevant mechanism of action not discussed in this study, but recently identified in a study published earlier this year in the journal Molecular Medicine Reports, is curcumin’s ability to induce programmed cell death (apoptosis) in white fat cells. This may contribute permanently to reducing the overall ability of the body to store unhealthy fat.

The study authors concluded,

“Our findings suggest that curcumin plays a dual modulatory role in inhibition of adipogenesis as well as induction of the brown fat-like phenotype and thus may have potential therapeutic implications for treatment of obesity.”

Curcumin’s Benefits Extend To A Wide Range of Health Issues

Given the research discussed above, curcumin should be considered a pleiotrophic anti-obesity agent, as it is capable of “targeting” and ameliorating a variety of metabolic imbalances in the body simultaneously. In fact, curcumin is so diverse in its therapeutic actions as to boggle the imagination. Our database project alone has characterized over 600 distinct health conditions that curcumin has been studied to prevent, treat, and in some cases reverse – something that puts every pharmaceutical drug on the planet to shame, especially considering that curcumin is immensely safer and has been time-tested for thousands of years in a wide range of different cultures. Add in the fact that curcumin has been studied in human trials to be at least as effective as Prozac for depression, a cardiovascular tonic as significant as exercise, and capable of preventing the progression of prediabetes to diabetes in an astounding 100% of those tested, it would seem unethical not to use it when the choices are either inaction or a pharmaceutical drug. For more information you can view 17 studies we have gathered on turmeric and/or curcumin’s anti-obesity properties here.


References

[1] Dong, Mei; Yang, Xiaoyan; Lim, Sharon; Cao, Ziquan; Honek, Jennifer; Lu, Huixia; Zhang, Cheng; et al. (2 July 2013). “Cold exposure promotes atherosclerotic plaque growth and instability via UCP1-dependent lipolysis” (Short article). Cell Metabolism 18: 118–129.doi:10.1016/j.cmet.2013.06.003.

600 Reasons Turmeric May Be The World’s Most Important Herb


600 Reasons Why Turmeric Is The World's Most Important Herb

 

There is a medicinal spice so timelessly interwoven with the origins of human cultureand metabolism, so thoroughly supported by modern scientific inquiry, as to be unparalleled in its proven value to human health and well-being.

Indeed, turmeric turns the entire drug-based medical model on its head.  Instead of causing far more side effects than therapeutic ones, as is the case for most patented pharmaceutical medications, turmeric possesses hundreds of potential side benefits, having been empirically demonstrated to positively modulate over 160 different physiological pathways in the mammalian body.

While no food or herb is right for everyone, and everything has the potential for unintended, adverse side effects, turmeric is truly unique in its exceptionally high margin of safety vis-à-vis the drugs it has been compared with, e.g. hydrocortisoneibuprofenchemotherapy agents. Furthermore, nothing within the modern-day pharmaceutical armamentarium comes even remotely close to turmeric’s 6,000 year track record of safe use in Ayurvedic medicine.[1]

Despite its vast potential for alleviating human suffering, turmeric will likely never receive the FDA stamp of approval, due to its lack of exclusivity, patentability and therefore profitability. Truth be told, the FDA’s “gold standard” for proving the value of a prospective medicinal substance betrays the age old aphorism: “he who owns the gold makes the rules,” and unless an investor is willing to risk losing the 800+ million dollars that must be spent upfront, the FDA-required multi-phased double-blind, randomized clinical trials will not occur. For additional details on this rather seedy arrangement read our article on the topic: Why The Law Forbids The Medicinal Use of Natural Substances.

Here at GreenMedInfo.com, we have reviewed over 5,000 study abstracts from the National Library of Medicine’s bibliographic database known as MEDLINE and have discovered over 600 potential health benefits of turmeric, and/or its primary polyphenol known as curcumin. These can be viewed on our turmeric research page which is dedicated to disseminating the research on the topic to a larger audience.

Some of the most amazing demonstrated properties include:

Again, what is so amazing is not that turmeric may have value in dozens of health conditions simultaneously, or that it may improve conditions that are completely resistant to conventional treatment, but that there are over six hundred additional health conditionsit may also be valuable in preventing and/or treating. Consider also the fact that turmeric grows freely on the Earth, and you will understand why its very existence threatens billions of dollars in pharmaceutical industry revenue.

Learn more about this research in the video below (keeping in mind that it is several years old and needing some updating), and please spread the information to others who may benefit from learning more on the topic

 

 

[1] The Genus Curcuma (Medicinal and Aromatic Plants – Industrial Profiles); CRC; March 2007

Science Confirms Turmeric As Effective As 14 Drugs


Science Finds Ancient Spice Turmeric As Effective As 14 Drugs

Turmeric is one the most thoroughly researched plants in existence today.  Its medicinal properties and components (primarily curcumin) have been the subject of over 5600 peer-reviewed and published biomedical studies.  In fact, our five-year long research project on this sacred plant has revealed over 600 potential preventive and therapeutic applications, as well as 175 distinct beneficial physiological effects. This entire database of 1,585 ncbi-hyperlinked turmeric abstracts can be downloaded as a PDF at our Downloadable Turmeric Document page, and acquired either as a retail item or with 200 GMI-tokens, for those of you who are already are members and receive them automatically each month.

Given the sheer density of research performed on this remarkable spice, it is no wonder that a growing number of studies have concluded that it compares favorably to a variety of conventional medications, including:

  • Lipitor/Atorvastatin(cholesterol medication): A 2008 study published in the journal Drugs in R & D found that a standardized preparation of curcuminoids from Turmeric compared favorably to the drug atorvastatin (trade name Lipitor) on endothelial dysfunction, the underlying pathology of the blood vessels that drives atherosclerosis, in association with reductions in inflammation and oxidative stress in type 2 diabetic patients. [i]  [For addition curcumin and ‘high cholesterol’ research– 8 abstracts]
  • Corticosteroids (steroid medications): A 1999 study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research found that the primary polyphenol in turmeric, the saffron colored pigment known as curcumin, compared favorably to steroids in the management of chronic anterior uveitis, an inflammatory eye disease.[ii]  A 2008 study published in Critical Care Medicine found that curcumin compared favorably to the corticosteroid drug dexamethasone in the animal model as an alternative therapy for protecting lung transplantation-associated injury by down-regulating inflammatory genes.[iii] An earlier 2003 study published in Cancer Letters found the same drug also compared favorably to dexamethasone in a lung ischaemia-repurfusion injury model.[iv]  [for additional curcumin and inflammation research – 52 abstracts]
  • Prozac/Fluoxetine & Imipramine  (antidepressants): A 2011 study published in the journal Acta Poloniae Pharmaceutica found that curcumin compared favorably to both drugs in reducing depressive behavior in an animal model.[v] [for additional curcumin and depression research – 5 abstracts]
  • Aspirin (blood thinner): A 1986 in vitro and ex vivo study published in the journal Arzneimittelforschung found that curcumin has anti-platelet and prostacyclin modulating effects compared to aspirin, indicating it may have value in patients prone to vascular thrombosis and requiring anti-arthritis therapy.[vi]  [for additional curcumin and anti-platelet research]
  • Anti-inflammatory Drugs: A 2004 study published in the journal Oncogene found that curcumin (as well as resveratrol) were effective alternatives to the drugs aspirin, ibuprofen, sulindac, phenylbutazone, naproxen, indomethacin, diclofenac, dexamethasone, celecoxib, and tamoxifen in exerting anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative activity against tumor cells.[vii] [for additional curcumin and anti-proliferative research – 15 abstracts]
  • Oxaliplatin (chemotherapy drug): A 2007 study published in the International Journal of Cancer found that curcumin compares favorably with oxaliplatin as an antiproliferative agenet in colorectal cell lines.[viii] [for additional curcumin and colorectal cancer research – 52 abstracts]
  • Metformin (diabetes drug): A 2009 study published in the journal Biochemitry and Biophysical Research Community explored how curcumin might be valuable in treating diabetes, finding that it activates AMPK (which increases glucose uptake) and suppresses gluconeogenic gene expression  (which suppresses glucose production in the liver) in hepatoma cells. Interestingly, they found curcumin to be 500 times to 100,000 times (in the form known as tetrahydrocurcuminoids(THC)) more potent than metformin in activating AMPK and its downstream target acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC). [ix]

Another way in which turmeric and its components reveal their remarkable therapeutic properties is in research on drug resistant- and multi-drug resistant cancers.  We have two sections on our site dedicated to researching natural and integrative therapies on these topics, and while there are dozens of substances with demonstrable efficacy against these chemotherapy- and radiation-resistant cancers, curcumin tops both lists:

We have found no less than 54 studies indicating that curcumin can induce cell death or sensitize drug-resistant cancer cell lines to conventional treatment.[x]

We have identified 27 studies on curcumin’s ability to either induce cell death or sensitize multi-drug resistant cancer cell lines to conventional treatment.[xi]

Considering how strong a track record turmeric (curcumin) has, having been used as both food and medicine in a wide range of cultures, for thousands of years, a strong argument can be made for using curcumin as a drug alternative or adjuvant in cancer treatment.

Or, better yet, use certified organic (non-irradiated) turmeric in lower culinary doses on a daily basis so that heroic doses won’t be necessary later in life after a serious disease sets in.  Nourishing yourself, rather than self-medicating with ‘nutraceuticals,’ should be the goal of a healthy diet.  [learn more at Sayer Ji’s new collaborative project EATomology]


Resources

Doctors Urging People Over 40 To Stop Taking Ibuprofen Immediately – Here’s Why!


If like many people around the world, when you’ve got a bad headache or a niggling pain you probably reach for a bottle or pack of ibuprofen (trade name Advil).


The chemicals inside this pharmaceutical medication will dull the pain superficially but is it safe? 

Is Ibuprofen really safe?

There are some real serious risks associated with even casual use of the drug.
The most concerning is the potential risk for heart damage.
In 2005, the FDA issued out an ibuprofen warning, claiming that it significantly increases the risk of heart attack or stroke and just last year, they strengthened this warning.
The FDA rarely does this.
After an extensive review of the drug, they issued the following statements:
 
“Even with short term use, one’s heart attack and stroke risk increase significantly”
 
“This risk increases the longer one continues to use ibuprofen”
 
“You do not need to have an existing heart condition to be at risk, although such a condition does increase your chances”
 
“These risks make ibuprofen especially dangerous to individuals over 40 – the age at which one’s risk of heart disease begins to skyrocket”
You have to bear in mind that the FDA approves some pretty nasty medications, but even they are raising a red flag when it comes to this over the counter drug.

Don’t Be Fooled

The major problem with over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen – or acetaminophen, for that matter – is that people generally assume they pose no major risk.
A prescription is seen as an indicator of seriousness. In its absence, most people just shrug and pop pills whenever they even think they need to.

Don’t worry there are other, natural options for pain relief.

Have you tried turmeric before?
Turmeric is a plant related to the ginger family. It naturally blocks inflammatory cytokines and enzymes. And that’s key – because while drugs like ibuprofen simply work to reduce inflammation, turmeric prevents it. For some conditions, like rheumatoid arthritis, it works much better than pharmaceuticals.

Why The Law Forbids The Medicinal Use of Natural Substances


Why The Law Forbids The Medicinal Use of Natural Substances

According to the FDA’s legal definition, a drug is anything that “diagnoses, cures, mitigates, treats, or prevents a disease.”

The problem with this definition is that there are numerous substances, as readily available and benign as found on our spice racks, which have been proven by countless millennia of human experience to mitigate, prevent and in some cases cure disease, and which cannot be called drugs according to the FDA.

How can this be? Well, the FDA has assumed for itself Godlike power, requiring that its official approval be obtained before any substance can legally be used in the prevention and treatment of disease.

The FDA’s legal-regulatory control therefore is totalitarian and Napoleonic in construct; what it does not explicitly permit as a medicine is implicitly forbidden.

Historically the FDA has required new drugs undergo expensive and elaborate multi-phased clinical trials, which are out of the grasp of any ordinary interest who might want to demonstrate the efficacy of a non-patentable (and therefore unprofitable) herb, food or spice.

The average out-of-pocket cost for obtaining a new drug approval is US$ 802 million dollars,[1] and therefore an investor putting capital into bringing to market a substance that does not lend itself to market exclusivity and therefore cannot produce a return on investment, is committing economic suicide, if not also breaking the law. The investor actually has a legally-binding fiduciary responsibility to its shareholders to make a profit. And therefore, capital will not flow into any would-be commodity that can be produced or obtained with ease, including most things that grow freely on this Earth.

It is an interesting footnote in history that shortly after the Declaration of Independence, Congress declared that natural substances, e.g. water or salt, were God’s gift to mankind and that therefore products of nature should be limited in their patent protection. While this was a noble declaration, it has actually been used against those whose rights it would protect. It has forced private interests to synthetically alter natural substances — for instance the burgeoning biotech field of recombinant DNA technology, i.e. genetically modified organisms (GMOs) — for the sole reason that it guarantees them ownership/patent rights.

In fact, a medical system that legally requires it make a profit threatens to destroy and/or incriminate itself if non-patented, non-profitable natural substances or therapies are employed. It also results in so much collateral damage to those it purports to serve that it could rightly be called a modern form of human sacrifice.

As a result, instead of choosing prospective medicines logically: because they work, are easily accessible, and safe, billions of dollars flow in the exact opposite direction, capitalizing only those substances which are unnatural, and therefore while proprietary are almost invariably unsafe, and whose access and administration can be intensively controlled.

Has The Attempt To Co-opt Medicine Through the Drug-Based Model Undone Itself? 

And yet, there is a silver lining to the story. Due to the fact that our bodies are ultimately constructed from the natural things (food, air and water), and obey very strict natural laws such as the well-known principle of chirality (handedness) – the fact that all amino acids in our body turn a beam of polarized light in the left-handed direction (L-lysine) and sugars to the right-handed direction (D-ribose)– one cannot simply create biologically active, synthetic drugs arbitrarily, as a mistake in handedness (or similar property) could be fatal. Nature, therefore, still provides an elegant biomolecular architecture of irreproducible intelligence and complexity, from which synthetic analogs are modeled and/or derivatives are spun.

As a result, billions of dollars of drug industry and government money (i.e. tax payer money) flow into finding lead compounds for drug development.  Nature is put on the rack, if you will, and her secrets teased from her through innumerable animal and test tube experiments, in order to find compounds that can then be converted into synthetic, patented drugs.

Inadvertently, some of the very same companies and interests which require that natural substances not receive the same drug-approval status as synthetic ones, are funding research that prove basic vitamins, foods and spices are as effective or more effective – and usually much safer – than the drugs  they are developing to replace or supplant them.

This means that tens of thousands of studies do exist showing that natural substances may prevent and/or treat disease, at least in the in vitro (test tube) and animal models. These results often confirm traditional uses in Ayurvedic, Chinese and other traditional systems of medicine, and therefore may be compelling enough for individuals or healthcare practitioners to use the information to inform their treatment decisions.

The Case For Curcumin In the Prevention and Treatment of Disease

The government biomedical and life sciences database known as Medline contains over 21 million published study citations, and is accessible to search through engines such as Pubmed.gov.  2.6 million of them contain reference to cancer.  115,000 of them remain after applying the “Complementary Medicine” filter.   There are 2,625 topics on cancerwhich can be found indexed on the GreenMedInfo.com database, referencing 612 natural substances of potential value.

Turmeric, and particularly its polyphenolic constituent known as curcumin, which gives the spice its golden hue, is one of the most extensively studied natural compounds of all time, with 4588 references to it on the National Library of Medicine’s bibliographic database known as Medline [as of 2.25.2012]. And yet, despite having been shown to have therapeutic value in over 500 disease states in animal and in vitro studies, it still has not been the subject of extensive human clinical research – for the reasons stated above.

GreenMedInfo.com, an open source natural medicine database, has indexed curcumin’s anti-cancer properties in over 50 cancers, with the top 10 most cancers researched in association with curcumin listed below.

Cancer Number of Articles
Breast Cancer 58
Colorectal Cancer 23
Colon Cancer 51
Prostate Cancer 42
Pancreatic Cancer 24
Cancers: Drug Resistant 40
Lung Cancer 37
Liver Cancer 27
Cancer Metastasis 32
Skin Cancer 15

As one can see curcumin holds great promise. It has been repeatedly demonstrated to possess simultaneously both chemoprotective/chemosensitizing and radioprotective/radiosensitizing properties, meaning it is capable of reducing the adverse effects on healthy cells caused by chemotherapy and radiotherapy, as well as enhance the cancer-killing properties of these conventional therapies. It also has an exceptionally high margin of safety, at least an order of magnitude greater than commonly used conventional chemotherapy agents such as 5-fluoruracil.[2] Given these facts curcumin, at the very least, should be considered an ideal candidate for use as an adjuvant in integrative cancer care, and perhaps as a first-line treatment alternative to conventional chemo-agents.

For additional information on the remarkable research supporting the use of Turmeric and Curcumin in medicine, watch the video. URL:https://youtu.be/s2AZOMu0bVA

 

Fight Inflammation with This Turmeric and Lemon Morning Elixir


Starting the day with your morning routine may suit your needs just fine. A bit of yoga, maybe meditation, a shower, a healthy breakfast with organic coffee, and then out the door. Does this sound familiar? If so, your morning routine is already exceptional. But we have a mighty elixir that can compliment your regimen wonderfully.

You may have heard that warm lemon water will get those pipes working in the morning and optimize your health. You may even drink warm lemon water with Himalayan salt, or warm lemon water with honey in the morning. However, have you heard of warm lemon water combined with honey, cinnamon, and the most essential ingredient to this morning elixir, turmeric? If you have yet to try this one, you may be missing out on an excellent way to begin your day. All-natural lemon and turmeric are especially powerful ingredients that boast a wealth of beneficial properties.

Lemons offer a tasty, tart flavor with many health-promoting properties. According to a study published in the Chemistry Central Journal (2015), lemons possess a treasure trove of natural metabolites. The study authors state, “Citrus fruits exhibit plentiful bioactivities including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, antimicrobial and anti-allergy activities, as well as cardiovascular effect, neuroprotective effect, hepatoprotective effect, obesity control, etc.” Lemons are indeed a healthy ingredient to enjoy at the beginning of the day. However, when you couple lemon with turmeric, your health and wellness benefits increase significantly.

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a yellow-orange spice that is part of the ginger family. Native to tropical South Asia, turmeric is well known in traditional Asian medicine and cuisine. More recently, its health benefits have been recognized in Western medicine. According to a study published in the Journal of Nephropathology (2012), “Turmeric, a neglected Asian traditional drug might reemerge as remedy and/or preventive tool for various illnesses including different type of cancers, obesity, type-2 diabetes, hyperlipidemia, hypertension, CKD [chronic kidney disease] and ESRD [end stage renal disease], which are steadily increasing globally, claiming many lives and tremendous amount of resources worldwide.”

One active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, has been the focus of several academic studies.

Curcumin may alleviate inflammation: According to research from the Department of Stomatology at the University of California, San Francisco, curcumin possesses anti-inflammatory properties. The research, published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine (2004), found that curcumin, “may exert its anti-inflammatory activity by inhibition of a number of different molecules that play a role in inflammation.”

fightinflammationturmericlemon_640x359

 

 

 

 

 

Curcumin’s anticancer potential:Curcumin may play a vital role in cancer prevention, according to a study published in BioMed Research International (2014). Previous research has highlighted curcumin’s antioxidant, antibacterial and antitumor properties, according to the study, which concluded, “Curcumin, a vital constituent of the spice turmeric, is an alternative approach in the prevention of cancer.”

Therapeutic applications of curcumin: According to a review study published in the AAPS Journal (2013), “curcumin has shown therapeutic potential against a number of human diseases,” including multiple types of cancer, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, peptic ulcers, psoriasis, H. pylori infection, Alzheimer’s disease, acute coronary syndrome, atherosclerosis, diabetes, and respiratory tract infections.

The Turmeric and Lemon Morning Elixir
1 serving
Prep Time- 5 minutes
Cook Time- no cooking

Ingredients
What you’ll need…
1/2 of a lemon, squeezed for juice
1/4 – 1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp honey
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
1 cup warm water, and/or coconut milk (the coconut milk adds healthy fats, and helps absorption of turmeric)

How to make it…

Mix the lemon juice, turmeric and honey into your cup of warm water or milk. You will want to stir these ingredients well. Add cinnamon on top and continue to stir your morning elixir as you drink it — this will ensure that the turmeric does not settle at the bottom of your cup.

Turmeric with its main active ingredient, curcumin, may be that one healthy addition to your morning routine you’ve been looking for, and can help you fight inflammation in your body.  I enjoy this elixir nearly every morning with fruit, which adds a sweet, delicious twist.

What healthy alternatives get your morning off to a perfect start?

Science Confirms Turmeric As Effective As 14 Drugs


Science Finds Ancient Spice Turmeric As Effective As 14 Drugs

Turmeric is one the most thoroughly researched plants in existence today.  Its medicinal properties and components (primarily curcumin) have been the subject of over 5600 peer-reviewed and published biomedical studies.  In fact, our five-year long research project on thissacred plant has revealed over 600 potential preventive and therapeutic applications, as well as 175 distinct beneficial physiological effects. This entire database of 1,585 ncbi-hyperlinked turmeric abstracts can be downloaded as a PDF at our Downloadable Turmeric Document page, and acquired either as a retail item or with 200 GMI-tokens, for those of you who are already are members and receive them automatically each month.

Given the sheer density of research performed on this remarkable spice, it is no wonder that a growing number of studies have concluded that it compares favorably to a variety of conventional medications, including:

  • Lipitor/Atorvastatin(cholesterol medication): A 2008 study published in the journal Drugs in R & D found that a standardized preparation of curcuminoids from Turmeric compared favorably to the drug atorvastatin (trade name Lipitor) on endothelial dysfunction, the underlying pathology of the blood vessels that drives atherosclerosis, in association with reductions in inflammation and oxidative stress in type 2 diabetic patients. [i]  [For addition curcumin and ‘high cholesterol’ research – 8 abstracts]
  • Corticosteroids (steroid medications): A 1999 study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research found that the primary polyphenol in turmeric, the saffron colored pigment known as curcumin, compared favorably to steroids in the management of chronic anterior uveitis, an inflammatory eye disease.[ii]  A 2008 study published in Critical Care Medicine found that curcumin compared favorably to the corticosteroid drug dexamethasone in the animal model as an alternative therapy for protecting lung transplantation-associated injury by down-regulating inflammatory genes.[iii] An earlier 2003 study published in Cancer Letters found the same drug also compared favorably to dexamethasone in a lung ischaemia-repurfusion injury model.[iv]  [for additional curcumin and inflammation research – 52 abstracts]
  • Prozac/Fluoxetine & Imipramine  (antidepressants): A 2011 study published in the journal Acta Poloniae Pharmaceutica found that curcumin compared favorably to both drugs in reducing depressive behavior in an animal model.[v] [for additional curcumin and depression research – 5 abstracts]
  • Aspirin (blood thinner): A 1986 in vitro and ex vivo study published in the journal Arzneimittelforschung found that curcumin has anti-platelet and prostacyclin modulating effects compared to aspirin, indicating it may have value in patients prone to vascular thrombosis and requiring anti-arthritis therapy.[vi]  [for additionalcurcumin and anti-platelet research]
  • Anti-inflammatory Drugs: A 2004 study published in the journalOncogene found that curcumin (as well as resveratrol) were effective alternatives to the drugs aspirin, ibuprofen, sulindac, phenylbutazone, naproxen, indomethacin, diclofenac, dexamethasone, celecoxib, and tamoxifen in exerting anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative activity against tumor cells.[vii][for additional curcumin and anti-proliferative research – 15 abstracts]
  • Oxaliplatin (chemotherapy drug): A 2007 study published in theInternational Journal of Cancer found that curcumin compares favorably with oxaliplatin as an antiproliferative agenet in colorectal cell lines.[viii] [for additional curcumin and colorectal cancerresearch – 52 abstracts]
  • Metformin (diabetes drug): A 2009 study published in the journalBiochemitry and Biophysical Research Community explored how curcumin might be valuable in treating diabetes, finding that it activates AMPK (which increases glucose uptake) and suppresses gluconeogenic gene expression  (which suppresses glucose production in the liver) in hepatoma cells. Interestingly, they found curcumin to be 500 times to 100,000 times (in the form known as tetrahydrocurcuminoids(THC)) more potent than metformin in activating AMPK and its downstream target acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC).

Another way in which turmeric and its components reveal their remarkable therapeutic properties is in research on drug resistant- and multi-drug resistant cancers.  We have two sections on our site dedicated to researching natural and integrative therapies on these topics, and while there are dozens of substances with demonstrable efficacy against these chemotherapy- and radiation-resistant cancers, curcumin tops both lists:

We have found no less than 54 studies indicating that curcumin can induce cell death or sensitize drug-resistant cancer cell lines to conventional treatment.[x]

We have identified 27 studies on curcumin’s ability to either induce cell death or sensitize multi-drug resistant cancer cell lines to conventional treatment.[xi]

Considering how strong a track record turmeric (curcumin) has, having been used as both food and medicine in a wide range of cultures, for thousands of years, a strong argument can be made for using curcumin as a drug alternative or adjuvant in cancer treatment.

Or, better yet, use certified organic (non-irradiated) turmeric in lower culinary doses on a daily basis so that heroic doses won’t be necessary later in life after a serious disease sets in.  Nourishing yourself, rather than self-medicating with ‘nutraceuticals,’ should be the goal of a healthy diet.

Better Than Chemo: Turmeric Kills Cancer Not Patients


About one hundred times less toxic than chemotherapy, turmeric extract (curcumin) was found more effective at killing colorectal cancer stem cells from patients than a popular combination of conventional drugs.

Researchers from the United Kingdom have just made a major breakthrough in cancer research by demonstrating for the first time in patient-derived colorectal cell lines that a turmeric extract (curcumin) is not only an effective adjunct agent to enhance conventional chemotherapy, but that it may be even more effective on its own.

Published this month in Cancer Letters and titled, “Curcumin inhibits cancer stem cell phenotypes in ex vivo models of colorectal liver metastases, and is clinically safe and tolerable in combination with FOLFOX chemotherapy,” the study evaluated the so-called “diet-derived agent” curcumin — the primary polyphenol in turmeric — as a possible adjunct to enhance conventional treatment of colorectal cancer with chemotherapy.

The primary role of cancer stem cells in contributing to cancer malignancy as well asresistance to conventional treatment is addressed in the study. Whereas traditional cancer research methods focus on a treatment’s ability to reduce tumor volume (or the number of cells in a cancer cell culture), the cancer stem cell theory acknowledges that treatments have highly differential effects on the different cell types that comprise the tumor; namely, whereas the relatively benign daughter cells of a tumor may die when exposed to chemotherapy, the relatively chemotherapy-resistant cancer stem cell population (so-called “mother” cells) can actually increase in number as the tumor volume decreases, resulting in creating an albeit smaller but far more dangerous, treatment-resistant tumor.

The study design and results were summarized in the abstract below:

Here, we utilised patient-derived colorectal liver metastases (CRLM) to assess whether curcumin may provide added benefit over 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) and oxaliplatin (FOLFOX) in cancer stem cell (CSC) models. Combination of curcumin with FOLFOX chemotherapy was then assessed clinically in a phase I dose escalation study. Curcumin alone and in combination significantly reduced spheroid number in CRLM CSC models, and decreased the number of cells with high aldehyde dehydrogenase activity (ALDHhigh/CD133−). Addition of curcumin to oxaliplatin/5-FU enhanced anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic effects in a proportion of patient-derived explants, whilst reducing expression of stem cell-associated markers ALDH and CD133. The phase I dose escalation study revealed curcumin to be a safe and tolerable adjunct to FOLFOX chemotherapy in patients with CRLM (n = 12) at doses up to 2 grams daily.”

As you can see above, the researchers discovered that curcumin is both a safe and effective adjunct in the treatment of colorectal cancer. They noted the significance of these findings by pointing out that this was “the first time that curcumin may enhance oxaliplatin/5-FU-based chemotherapy in models derived directly from patients for whom the treatments are ultimately intended.” Specifically, the curcumin was able to inhibit what is known as “spheroid formation,” a 3-dimensional configuration of cells that indicates cancer stem cell driven cancer progression. Curcumin was also found to down-regulate cancer stem cell associated markers (e.g., CD44 and CD166 and ALDH activity), and various other chemical signals associated with carcinogenesis (e.g., epidermal growth factor, insulin-like growth factor and Notch). All these activities, taken together, indicate that curcumin is capable of targeting the stem cells at the heart of cancer malignancy. You can learn more about this in a previous article we wrote documenting curcumin’s ability to kill cancer stem cells: “Turmeric Extract Strikes To the Root Cause of Cancer Malignancy.” We also featured turmeric extract’s ability to selectively target cancer cells while leaving healthy ones intact in a previous article titled, “Turmeric’s ‘Smart Kill’ Properties Put Chemo & Radiation To Shame.”

Better Than Chemo

But what is even more remarkable about the new study is that the researchers found curcumin outperformed the combination chemotherapy treatment (5-FU/oxaliplatin) in decreasing the cancer stem cell linked spheroid formation: “In addition, curcumin alone decreased spheroid number to a greater extent than the 5-FU/oxaliplatin treatments.”

This tremendously provocative finding is given only brief mention in the paper. When you look at the toxicological risks associated with chemotherapy agents like 5-FU, which have an oral LD50 in rats of only 230 milligrams/per kilogram, and compare it to curcumin, with an LD50 in rats of 12.2 grams/per kilogram, you can begin to appreciate the revolutionary implications of this research. [Note: An LD50 is the dose required to kill 50% of a test population of animals, i.e. the lethal dose 50%.] Technically, therefore, 5-FU is 53 times more toxic than curcumin, yet according to this research, less capable in combination with oxaliplatin of killing cancer spheroids than curcumin. Oxaliplatin itself has an oralLD50 in rats of about 100 mg per kilogram, making it 122 times more toxic than curcumin. For additional information on the relative toxicity and ineffectiveness of chemotherapy in comparison to natural substances, you can also read: Research: Pineapple Enzyme Kills Cancer Without Killing You.

Clearly, findings like these reveal the conventional chemotherapy paradigm for what it is: a toxicological nightmare offering only questionable efficacy relative to food-derived compounds. The authors of the study acknowledge that, “Curcumin may provide added benefit in subsets of patients when administered with FOLFOX, and is a well-tolerated chemotherapy adjunct.”

We concur that this is true, especially considering that curcumin has been found to reduce the side effects caused by conventional treatment. But is that all? Shouldn’t curcumin be considered a first-line treatment itself? While the researchers do mention in their concluding remarks that, “Greater pro-apoptotic [inducing cancer suicide programs] and CSC [cancer stem cell] targeting efficacy was observed for curcumin than for oxaliplatin and 5-FU in a small patient subset, warranting further investigation to determine factors that influence response to curcumin,” this doesn’t seem strong enough. We believe that given the great burden not only of cancer, but cancer treatment-related morbidity and mortality, it is ethically imperative that curcumin should be investigated as the active intervention in future clinical trials compared with conventional treatment. We can no longer pretend that the reason why curcumin is not studied on par with patented chemical medicines is because of a lack of compelling research. This study proves it exists. The key is breaking through the mile high paywall (approximately 800 million dollars needed to fund the requisite clinical trials) that separates natural non-patented substances from FDA-drug approval. In the meantime, a growing population is taking their health into their own hands, and finding ways to prevent and even treat cancer through dietary interventions and related natural approaches.

For those doubtful that curcumin possesses significant anti-cancer properties, please review our curcumin database which contains over 1500 studies showing it’s value in over one hundred different types of cancer here:Curcumin research. You can also look at our research and article on Turmeric, which includes even more research on the value of this ancient healing spice: Turmeric Health Guide. Finally, use our Cancer Research Health Guide for an even more comprehensive set of data on natural interventions for a variety of cancers.