Turmeric has a long-list of powerful properties. In addition to adding a boost of flavor to your favorite curry, it is also a known antioxidant thought to help fend off cancer and reduce inflammation. And now it can add brain healing to its list of accomplishments.
According to a new study published in the journal Stem Cell Research and Therapy, turmeric might be able to encourage the growth of nerve cells in the brain, giving the brain more tools to repair itself when damage occurs. The study may help researchers working on medications to treat such conditions as Alzheimer's disease and stroke.
For the study, researchers from Germany's Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine performed brain scans on rats, before and after injections with a turmeric compound. They found that certain parts of the brain, known to be involved in nerve cell growth, were more active after the the rats received the turmeric infusion.
Researchers also conducted a separate study in which they bathed neural stem cells (NSCs) collected from rats in extracts of aromatic-turmerone — a compound found naturally in turmeric. NSCs have the ability to become any type of brain cell and scientists have long been interested in the role they might play in brain repair after damage or disease.
The study found that NSCs bathed in the turmeric extract were more prolific and also seemed to specialize into certain types of brain cells more rapidly.
It's important to remember that these studies were conducted on rats, so it's still not clear whether or not the brain-healing properties of turmeric could translate to humans as well. But be on the lookout for further studies on this topic.
And while you're at it, it may not be a bad idea to add a couple of curry dishes to your repertoire. Your brain might just thank you for it!
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