CURATIVE POWERS: Scientific studies and research are showing that turmeric powder,  the main spice that gives curry its distinctive taste, is not only delicious but also very effective in boosting our immune system response.

Turmeric has been used in India and other Asian countries not only as a flavorful food spice, but it has doubled as a remedy to combat fevers, colds, coughs and wounds for thousands of years. And now, Ayyalusamy Ramamoorthy, a professor of chemistry and biophysics, and a team of University researchers have uncovered the science behind the delicious ginger-like plant’s curative powers.


Ramamoorthy and a team of University researchers released a study last week explaining how turmeric’s main ingredient, curcumin, works to cure illnesses in the human body. They discovered that curcumin binds to a cell’s membrane, hardening the lipid molecules and making the membrane more rigid so that anything attacking it finds it very hard to damage the membrane.  This added protection causes cells to exhibit antitumor, anticancer, antiviral and antioxidant effects.

In fact, studies show that people who enjoy spicy foods with turmeric powder have fewer neurological disorders or Alzheimer’s disease.

LSA senior Michelle Fritz and LSA senior Jeffrey Barry are two undergraduate students who assisted in the research. Fritz said she and Barry worked to understand how curcumin interacts with the membrane to cause the death of cancer cells and how it affects proteins.

Possibly the greatest thing about this wonderful little plant (spice) is it’s versatility for cooking and flavoring all kinds of foods…not just in indian or Asian fare. Regular use in and on your home-made hot and cold dishes will not only add a little spice to your cuisine, but it will give your body’s immune system an added boost as a bonus. So next time you reach for that over-the-counter medicine, stop and think how much more enjoyable a delicious a curry-spiced meal would be. Then find a good restaurant nearby and savor, savor, savor!

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Inspired by: Curry cures? University researchers uncover truth behind natural remedies
Video credit: Chef Vince
More Turmeric Spice Tips: Top 10 Home Remedies, CNN, The Guardian, The Kitchn
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