Herbs and stuff
From the beginning of time societies have used medicinal herbs to treat all kinds of ailments and afflictions. However, in the last few decades there has been a resurgence of interest in medicinal herbs as an alternative to pharmaceutical drugs and medications. So much so that the pharmaceuticl companies in some cases feel enough threatened that through the aid and abetting of the FDA in the US they have been clamping down on the herb and natural supplement industry citing a plethora of so-called threats to the population at large. Health threats who have -in some cases- been proven to be completely non-existent and in others only in dosages that cannot even remotely be considered realistic.
Water can be dangerous to your health if you drink too much of it. Death by medicine seems to be more of a threat thn all the herbs and other natural products together.
In a new study, experimental ulcerative colitis was induced in rats using a chemical called dextran sulfate sodium, which was added to their drinking water for 5 days. This chemical induced changes in the rats consistent with ulcerative colitis, such as ulcerations in inner lining of the colon, shrinkage of colon length, increased relative colon weight/length ratio, swelling and edema of the mucosal lining in the colon, and bloody stool. Additionally, measures of inflammation and oxidative stress were increased, including tumor necrosis factor alpha, colonic myleoperoxidase, malondialdehyde (MDA), and total nitric oxide. There were also decreased levels of the enzyme glutathione-S-transferase activity in the colon and reduced levels of the potent antioxidant glutathione, which is important for cell detoxification and reducing damage caused by lipid peroxidation.

When these rats received curcumin for 7 consecutive days prior to receiving the dextran sulfate sodium, these detrimental changes were mitigated. In fact, all of the damaging changes noted above were ameliorated in the animals given curcumin.

The study authors concluded, “These results suggest that curcumin could possibly have a protective role in ulcerative colitis probably via regulation of oxidant/anti-oxidant balance”  as well as by modulating the release of inflammatory mediators.

Reference:

Arafa HM, Hemeida RA, El-Bahrawy AI, Hamada FM. Prophylactic role of curcumin in dextran sulfate sodium (DSS)-induced ulcerative colitis murine model. Food Chem Toxicol. 2009 Mar 11.




A recent study investigated the effects of curcumin in regards to cognitive deficits and oxidative damage in the brain.

Curcumin is a potent antioxidant and the principle active constituent in turmeric (Curcumae Longa). In a new study, rats were treated with a chemical called streptozotocin to induce oxidative damage within the brain, which is used as an experimental model for dementia. The rats then received either 80 mg per kg of curcumin or placebo for 3 weeks.

After 2 weeks of streptozotocin treatment, the rats showed significant cognitive deficits as measured by passive avoidance and water maze tasks. The rats that received curcumin demonstrated significantly improved cognitive performance compared to the rats that did not. In addition, the group supplemented with curcumin also showed a significant decrease in markers for oxidative stress such as 4-hydroxynonenal, malonaldehyde, thiobarbituric reactive substances, hydrogen peroxide, protein carbonyl, and oxidized glutathione. Curcumin also augmented levels of the potent antioxidant glutathione and the enzymes responsible for the regeneration of glutathione in specific areas in the brain, including the hippocampus and cerebral cortex. Furthermore, curcumin increased the activity of the enzyme called choline acetyltransferase in the hippocampus, which is important in the synthesis of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Reduced levels of acetylcholine are believed to play a role in Alzheimer’s disease.

The researchers concluded, “The study suggests that curcumin is effective in preventing cognitive deficits, and might be beneficial for the treatment of sporadic dementia of Alzheimer’s type.”

Reference:

Ishrat T, Hoda MN, Khan MB, Yousuf S, Ahmad M, Khan MM, Ahmad A, Islam F. Amelioration of cognitive deficits and neurodegeneration by curcumin in rat model of sporadic dementia of Alzheimer’s type (SDAT). Eur Neuropsychopharmacol. 2009 Mar 27. Published Online Ahead of Print.

For anybody interested in the scientific background of curcumin . . .check here