[music] Researchers at the Arizona Health Sciences Center are discovering that the root
of the Turmeric plant used for centuries in cooking and in ayurvedic medicine is effective
against some inflammatory diseases.
Turmeric is a spice that's used, it's what causes curries to be orange,
and it's traditionally used a lot in Indian cooking but it's also used traditionally
in Indian medical systems and it's used specifically for inflammatory things
like colds, sore throats, and arthritis.
Dr. Janet Funk is a clinical endo-crinologist at the University of Arizona College of Medicine.
With support from the national institutes of health, she studied Turmeric to see
if it is useful in treating arthritis.
In her lab, she found that it prevented arthritis
by blocking an inflammatory response in the body.
Turmeric attacks something early on.
We know that same pathway is important in a lot of other diseases.
Dr. Funk recently teamed with Dr. Leslie Ritter, coordinator for the Stroke Center
at University Medical Center to see if Turmeric might help stroke patients.
Their research has shown that Turmeric can reduce the inflammation
that complicates the effects of stroke and may even be preventative.
Are more curries in order?
or Turmeric supplements?
As we know in laboratory models, it works very well.
But still, there's no clinical trials with people showing
that they work and that they're safe.
Turmeric that we buy at the grocery store and that we use in cooking is basically comes
from the Turmeric rhizome and they dry it and grind it up and that's Turmeric powder
that you buy in the spice section at the grocery store.
When you go to the store to buy turmeric as a dietary supplement, it comes in a pill form
and it's not just the dried rhizome put in a pill, rather,
instead they take the dried rhizome, they extract it with various chemicals
to get just a small part of it so that one pill, one dietary supplement pill
of turmeric is usually equal to this much of the dried powder.
So what you buy is very different then what you use in cooking.
These are just different capsules that we've opened up and we've looked at them
to see what they're composed of and just looking at their colors you can see
that they're not all the same and when you go to the health foods store, you can't really tell.
There's not enough information given to you to figure out what's in a given capsule
because that's just the way they're regulated.
In their lab, Dr. Funk and Dr. Ritter used turmeric extracts that are isolated
and prepared specifically for them so they know exactly what they are testing,
what works, and how.
Additional research and clinical trials in the future may prove
that turmeric is an effective therapy for many of our ills.