Curcumin – Many Benefits

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Curcumin, an extract of the herb turmeric, which is the ingredient in curry which gives the characteristic yellow color from the carotenoids it contains.

Turmeric has been used for centuries in southeast Asia as a spice and medicinal herb. It is a relative of ginger, and if you have seen turmeric root you can see the similarity to ginger root, except for the strong, yellow pigment. It has been used as a tonic for the digestive, circulatory and respiratory systems. Turmeric is beneficial for indigestion, poor circulation, skin disorders, diabetes, arthritis and coughs. It is considered a natural antibiotic. It can be used fresh or powdered. Powdered turmeric can be put in capsules for daily use, or mixed with butter. Turmeric is better absorbed with fats.

Curcumin is 2-5 % of turmeric and appears to concentrate many of the beneficial aspects of turmeric. Many studies have been done and are in progress on curcumin. These studies show that curcumin is a:

Curcumin should NOT be used in pregnancy, jaundice or bile duct blockages.

Curcumin is not well absorbed. Less that 2% gets absorbed into the bloodstream. While unabsorbed curcumin has anti-inflammatory effects as it travels through the digestive tract, many of the above effects will not be realized. Like other plant carotenoids such as lutein, lycopene and beta carotene, it is better absorbed with fat.

One strategy that supplement makers use is combining curcumin with phospholipids (lecithin) from soy or sunflower. Another absorption enhancer is a black pepper extract, piperine, increasing bioavailability by 5-10 times.

The best absorbed extract is called BCM-95: Developed in India, it combines curcumin with oil of turmeric. Many of the studies showing curcumin's benefits have been done with BCM-95. Absorption studies indicate that compared to other curcumin preparations, BCM-95 reaches higher blood levels and stays in the blood longer, up to eight hours. This is the form that we carry in our practice and for personal use.

Using Curcumin

Using Turmeric

Uses in Cooking

2 medium onions, sliced
1 ½ lbs.carrots, sliced
4 tblspns.butter or coconut oil
3 tblspns.sliced turmeric root or 1 tbspn. dried turmeric
2 tspns.garam masala (an indian spice)
2 cupschicken bone broth
2 cups water
1 tbspns.freshly grated ginger
½ tspn.freshly grated lemon rind
sea salt and pepper to taste

Saute onion, carrots and turmeric very gently in the butter or oil for about 45 minutes till almost tender. Add garam masala and stir around until well mixed. Add stock, bring to a boil then add ginger and lemon rind. Turn down to a simmer and cover for about 15 minutes. Puree soup with a handheld blender. Season to taste and enjoy! Can put toasted pepitas on top before serving or a dollop of organic sour cream (preferably grass fed).