For many people, all there is to turmeric; a local spice which resembles ginger with its near-yellow colour is its flavour in foods. But experts have found its inclusion in diet highly beneficial for good health.
Turmeric root is a local spice commonly used for culinary and called atale pupa in Yoruba; gangamau in Hausa; nwandumo in Ebonyi; and ohu boboch in Enugu (Nkanu East).
The science has continued to grow, too, with new studies supporting its usefulness for maintaining good health.
Relieves depression symptoms
Writing in the 2016 Journal of Affective Disorders, researchers from Australia said studies had collaborate the antidepressant effects of curcumin (from the spice turmeric) and saffron for people with severe depression.
The researchers from Murdoch University, Perth, undertook a study, using curcumin extract in 123 participants with major depressive disorder. They were allocated to one of four treatment conditions, comprising placebo, low-dose curcumin extract (250mg), high-dose curcumin extract (500mg), or combined low-dose curcumin extract plus saffron (15mg) for 12 weeks.
Those on all three drug treatments saw considerable improvements in depressive symptoms compared to the placebo group. However, no differences were found between the differing doses of curcumin or the curcumin/saffron combination.
Protective of heart disease
Experts also found curcumin to be a potential candidate for decreasing cholesterol and triglyceride levels, in people with coronary artery disease (CAD), the most common types of heart disease.
Eight weeks of supplementation with the curcumin ingredient was also associated with reductions in the bad cholesterol level (LDL) level in the blood. This involved 33 subjects with coronary artery disease at the Tehran Heart Centre Hospital.
But statistically significant effects were not observed in HDL cholesterol levels or C-reactive protein levels (a marker of inflammation), according to results published in the PubMed-listed Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research.
Moreover, a daily dose of two grammes of cinnamon for 12 weeks may improve blood pressure measures and blood sugar levels in people with type-2 diabetes.
Scientists has linked the popular Asian spice curcumin to reduce risk in the development of Type 2 Diabetes mellitus and improved function of the cells of the pancreas.
In a Thai study, published in Diabetes Care, curcumin extract “significantly lowered” the number of individuals who eventually developed Type 2 Diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and “appeared to improve the overall function of beta-cells”.
Given findings of the controlled trial conducted over a nine-month period in 240 Thai subjects, they propose that curcumin extract may be used for an intervention therapy for the pre-diabetes population.
Previously, results of a study with 66 type-2 Chinese people with type-2 diabetes in the 2012 journal Nutrition Research indicated that low and high doses of a water-extract from cinnamon were associated with improvements in blood sugar levels, while the low-dose was also linked to significant reductions in triglyceride levels.