"They call it the spice of life," says P. Murali Doraiswamy of Turmeric , a common ingredient of Indian curries, to combat arthritis, Alzheimer's and cancer. In fact, "doctors trained in Ayurvedia medicine, a traditional medical system in India," have used "turmeric to treat inflammatory diseases such as arthritis" for centuries. Western researchers are now arriving at similar conclusions, as a new study published in a journal called "Arthritis & Rheumatism" reveals that turmeric, when injected into rats "almost completely prevented the onset of arthritis."
Not only that, but "rates of Alzheimer's in India are about four times lower than in the ," according to Gregory Cole of . It's believed that "curcumin" is the "powerful substance" in turmeric "that might protect the brain from damage that leads to Alzheimer's." A "test-tube study" by , commenting on the potential of researchers at in October "showed that curcumin could help clear the human brain of toxic protein deposits thought to cause the memory loss and confusion of Alzheimer's." In addition: "A study of more than 1,000 older men in last year found that those who ate lots of curry-spiced food did better on memory tests than those who rarely ate the spice." Bharat Aggarwal of the University of Texas-Houston meanwhile advises that it's too early to conclude that curry is a cure for cancer, but says evidence is mounting.
"The curcumin in curry seems to shut down genes that trigger the development and spread of breast cancer" in animals. "And a preliminary human study suggests curcumin supplements might -- in a handful of cases -- be able to stabilize pancreatic cancer ... Epidemiology studies in humans also have linked frequent use of turmeric spice to lower rates of breast, prostate and colon cancer," according to Dr. Aggarwal. It's possible to buy OTC supplements that contain curcumin, but why not go to the source and give Indian food a try. Darci Jayne, who started eating Indian food once or twice a week to help her arthritis, noticed an additional benefit -- her joints not only felt better but she also lost weight, finding that a hearty Indian meal made her less prone to nibbling on late-night snacks.