The real effects of curcumin and curcuma

Effect of curcumin on cardiovascular diseases

Atherosclerosis poses the highest risk of heart attacks and strokes. However, this can only occur when food cholesterol oxidises in the blood vessels and forms plaques that damage and constrict the blood vessels. If the blood flow to the heart is obstructed, it may result in a heart attack. The blockage of an artery to the brain causes a stroke.

Curcumin prevents cholesterol oxidation

The curcumin in turmeric prevents this process by stopping the oxidation of cholesterol. It also reduces the amount of blood cholesterol circulating in the blood by reduction of cholesterol levels. Just 2600 mg turmeric powder or 3 x 2 turmeric capsules a day can normalise the cholesterol level in many people in a relatively short time.

In one study, the level of LDL cholesterol was reduced by 10.9 % after twelve weeks of treatment with alcoholic turmeric extract. Triglyceride levels fell 6.1 %.[1]

Curcumin lowers homocysteine ​​levels

The vitamin B6 contained in curcumin also reduces the level of homocysteine, which is considered to be another major factor in the development of atherosclerosis, with the associated risks of a heart attack or stroke.

Curcumin counteracts destructive inflammation within the blood vessels

Inflammation in blood vessels is another negative aspect which leads to their gradual destruction. As an antagonist of arachidonic acid, curcumin counteracts the inflammation in the blood vessels.

Curcumin increases blood circulation and lowers high blood pressure

Curcumin has antihypertensive properties; it dilutes our blood.

Curcumin prevents ischemia

Its anti-ischemic properties protect against deficient circulation, which is the cause of heart attacks, strokes and thrombosis.

Curcumin protects against myocardial hypertrophy, heart attacks and the effects of diabetes on the heart

In studies, curcumin has been shown to protect against myocardial growth (myocardial hypertrophy), myocardial infarction and diabetes complications.

Effect against thrombosis

The blood-thinning properties of curcumin can counteract thrombosis.


General effect of curcumin on brain performance and protection of the brain

Curcumin promotes the production of embryonic, neural progenitor cells and thus neurogenesis. In addition, curcumin can both prevent protein deposits in the brain and dissolve existing deposits, even at very low doses, according to Gregory Cole of the University of California (LA).[2]

In summary, curcumin reduces neurodegenerative processes, counteracts protein deposits in the brain and even dissolves them. It also neutralises inflammatory processes and efficiently counteracts free radical attacks.

These mechanisms are also confirmed by a study by Harvard University in Boston. The researchers also came to the conclusion that curcumin inhibits the death of neurites.

Effect on poor concentration – learning difficulties

In a study on 1010 persons aged between 60 and 93 years, the intake of curcumin rich curry resulted in higher MMSE values. This mini-mental state examination provides information about and is also the indicator of the mental capacity of humans.[3]

Effect of curcumin on Alzheimer's

Curcumin has been proven to protect the brain from neurodegenerative diseases in many studies. Similar to atherosclerosis, Alzheimer's disease is thought to be caused by the deposit of plaques (amyloid plaques) in the area where the nerve cells are located. This leads to the interruption of the neurological conduction of signals with corresponding loss of function.

Since this deposition is only possible under oxidation and curcumin is able to prevent it as a powerful antioxidant, it can effectively protect against Alzheimer's.

Interestingly, it can also positively affect pre-existing Alzheimer's by passing through the blood-brain barrier and can dissolve the existing deposits in the brain, as Gregory Cole of theUniversity of California has found. This extremely important aspect of Alzheimer's treatment was published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

According to a study at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, curcumin is likely to dissolve β-amyloid deposits in the brain. It also activates the Nrf2 transcription factor, thereby enhancing the spread and activity of heme oxygenase-1 in cell cultures of neurons and astrocytes.

Effect against inflammatory diseases, including arthritis.

Arthritis is an autoimmune disease. Due to its proven immunomodulating effect, curcumin can condition the immune system to prevent the inflammatory reactions. In a double-blind study, the intake of curcumin in had the following effects on

-                    decreasing joint swelling

-                    decreasing morning stiffness

-                    improved mobility

Specifically, inflammatory reactions are suppressed via the following mechanisms:

-                    COX-2 inhibition

-                    inhibition of lipoxygenase (LOX)

-                    inhibition of NF-kb

-                    inhibition of prostaglandin E2 synthesis

-                    formation of inducible NO synthase (iNOS)

Furthermore, curcumin inhibits the production of proinflammatory messengers such as interleukins 1, 2, 6, 8 and 12, interferon-gamma and tumour necrosis factor-alpha.

Inflammatory diseases are also significantly caused by free radicals. Curcumin has extremely strong antioxidant properties and can efficiently counteract this formation mechanism. Another mechanism within arthritis is histamine release, which curcumin can also affect. Numerous studies have shown curcumin to be just as effective or even more effective against inflammation in the body than the traditional inflammation blockers of conventional medicine (ibuprofen, aspirin, etc.), and without any side effects!

The effect of curcumin on arthritis is so convincing that even the WHO (World Health Organization) recommends its use to tackle arthritis and rheumatism. Here, curcumin can replace side-effect-producing NSAIDs whose long-term use often leads to gastrointestinal problems and even heart disease.

Curcumin combats uveitis (inflammation of the middle eye skin)

In a study on 32 patients given 375 mg of curcumin 3 times a day for three months, 13 of the patients were permanently cured, and the condition improved in 30 overall.

Effect of curcumin on arthrosis

The advanced stage of arthrosis is characterised by joint pain and restricted mobility. In a double-blind study, a curcumin-phospholide complex demonstrated a significant improvement in the pain symptoms and mobility of arthrosis patients.[4] Among other things, this can be explained by the anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin, which alleviate the symptoms of swelling, pain, inflammation and redness and allow the tissue to regenerate. Here, curcumin can replace side-effect-producing NSAIDs.

Effect against cirrhosis of the liver and liver fibrosis

Curcumin has been shown to protect against liver fibrosis and cirrhosis due to fatty liver by activating PPAR gamma.[5] It also protects the liver from alcohol damage.

Effect of curcumin against cancer and tumorigenesis

The effect of curcumin on carcinogenesis is very comprehensive and therefore deserves its own section, ‘Curcumin and its effect on cancer‘.



Effect of curcumin against allergies

Allergies are caused by release of histamine. Curcumin has been shown to counteract histamine release and can thus prevent, or at least alleviate, allergies. The anti-inflammatory, antioxidant effect enhances the anti-allergic effect of curcumin.

Effect of curcumin on post-menopausal symptoms

A study by Dr. Beatrice E. Bachmeier suggests that curcumin acts as a vegetable oestrogen, can compensate for natural oestrogen losses after menopause and relieve the associated symptoms.[6]

Liver-strengthening effect of curcumin

Curcumin has pronounced hepatoprotective properties. The bitter substances contained in it promote bile production, meaning that fatty acids can be split more easily, which relieves the liver significantly.



Effect of curcumin against herpes virus

In a 2008 Michigan State University study, even low levels of curcumin were shown to disrupt the spread of herpes virus-1.

[1] Häringer, E.: Curcuma longa L. reduces functional dyspepsia and regulates elevated lipid levels, Pharm. Ztg. (Pharmaceutical Magazine) 2003; 148, p. 3396.

[2] Journal of Biological Chemistry

[3] Klaus Oberbeil: Kurkuma – die heilende Kraft der Zauberknolle (‘Turmeric - The Healing Power of the Magic Tuber’), 6/2012 p. 49


[4] Belcaro et al.: Product-evaluation registry of Meriva®, a curcumin-phosphatidylcholine complex, for the complementary management of arthrosis. Panminerva Med. (2010) Jun; 52 (2 Suppl 1), pp. 55-62, PMID 20657536

[5] Br J Pharmacol. August 2009; 157 (8), p. 1352 f.

[6] Klaus Oberbeil: Kurkuma – die heilende Kraft der Zauberknolle (‘Turmeric – The Healing Power of the Magic Tuber’), 6/2012 p. 52