If you’ve researched holistic and herbal remedies to chronic health issues such as inflammation, you may have read about a common natural chemical called curcumin. But what exactly is curcumin and what does science say about the benefits of making curcumin a part of your daily health and wellness regimen? It all starts with an herb belonging to the ginger family: turmeric.
Turmeric plays an important role in traditional Asian and Ayurvedic medicine, and it's linked to many health benefits. Its active ingredient, curcumin, is the source of most of these benefits. Curcumin is most often closely associated with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties, which make it effective in treating a variety of conditions and improving overall health.
The History of Curcumin
To best understand the history of curcumin, we first have to address the herb that it is found in, turmeric. The first uses of Turmeric stems back to around the time the Great Pyramids of Giza were in their relative infancy, in 2500 BCE! Archeologists examined pots near New Delhi, India and found residue from turmeric in them. Fast forward to 500 BCE and we have the first recorded use of turmeric used for medicinal purposes.
While turmeric is well known for its beautiful yellow color, it wasn’t until 1815 that we understood exactly why. Curcumin was officially named in 1815 when Vogel and Pierre Joseph Pelletier reported curcumin as the "yellow coloring-matter" from the rhizomes of turmeric.
So how did something that’s existed for over 4,500 years only recently hit the mainstream? The answer is fairly simple: science is listening.
Curcumin Finds Popularity
Simply put, thanks to a far more seamless ability to share information about holistic treatments via the internet and a surge of clinical studies, curcumin’s popularity has been a significant player in the supplement space. To date, there are over 15,000 manuscripts that have been published about curcumin, according to the NIH (National Institutes of Health). Its rise in popularity and has led to the first-ever comprehensive database that exclusively covers curcumin known as the Curcumin Resource Database (CRDB) to study, confirm, or deny what kind of benefits the chemical compound found in turmeric may have.
In 2019, the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) came out with their yearly Consumer Survey on Dietary Supplements. The survey found that 77% of all U.S. adults take some form of dietary supplements with turmeric listed as one of the 10 most popular supplements among U.S. adults.
But of course, there have to be significant health benefits courtesy of the curcumin that makes turmeric so widely used.
The Benefits of Curcumin
Curcumin belongs to a class of compounds called curcuminoids that are found in turmeric. The scientific community continuously investigates curcumin's healing properties. For these studies, curcumin is typically extracted from turmeric to improve its effectiveness and how well it's absorbed by the body.
There are many findings from studies on the potential health benefits of curcumin. These findings include:
If you’re interested in taking curcumin, we encourage you to perform extensive research and always check with your doctor to make sure turmeric and curcumin use is right for you.
If you’ve have experiences using curcumin, let us know in the comments section and be a part of the conversation!