Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was first diagnosed in veterans coming back from war, but it is now known that anyone experiencing a trauma can experience this problem. A recent research report suggests that a yellow spice common in Indian and Asian cooking—turmeric—might lead to a new treatment.
PTSD can occur following events such as a car accident, an assault (physical or sexual), a terrorist attack, domestic violence, or many other types of trauma. Common symptoms include flashbacks, nightmares, and chronic anxiety, and treatment often involves a combination of psychotherapy and medication.
The chemical compound curcumin, which is one of the active components in the spice turmeric, has long been known to have potent anti-inflammatory properties, and many studies have been done on the potential benefit of curcumin for Alzheimer’s disease.
Medical researchers at Yale University and The City University of New York recently conducted a study to see if curcumin might decrease the symptoms of PTSD. They simulated PTSD in rats by repeatedly shocking the animals’ paws after they heard a certain tone. After a while, this routine made the animals fear the tone, just as PTSD sufferers typically fear a recurrence of whatever traumatic event or events lead to their problem.
Some of the rats were fed regular rations, but some were fed food supplemented by curcumin. Some time after the conclusion of the shocking episodes, the scientists measured how easily the rats recalled the fearful memories. Then all the rats were sacrificed and their brains microscopically studied.
The results showed that the rats fed the food supplemented by curcumin had a much easier time forgetting the painful episodes. The rats without the curcumin had a hard time forgetting their traumas, similar to what happens in PTSD.
Of course this was an animal study only, and it’s hard to know if this effect would also be true for humans. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine of the National Institutes of Health (USA) says “findings from animal and other laboratory studies suggest that a chemical found in turmeric—called curcumin—may have anti-inflammatory, anticancer, and antioxidant properties, but these findings have not been confirmed in people.”
Many spices and foods are praised as “anti-cancer” or “protective against Alzheimer’s Disease”, but curcumin is one that has lots of good research behind it that suggests that it might truly be a very helpful for our bodies and particularly for our brains.
Even if you don’t have PTSD or concerns about Alzheimer’s Disease, you might take notice of this common spice and use it freely up stir-fry vegetables or meats, or to make a curry. It adds a nice yellow color to food, along with a distinctive taste, and may well have some health benefits. We will keep you informed here in the ProcuraMed blog as more research about curcumin is published.
Read also in ProcuraMed:
Esta postagem também está disponível em: Portuguese (Brazil)