Everything You Need to Know About Curcumin (Turmeric)
Scientific Name: Curcuma longa (of the Zingiberaceae family)
Any Other Names: Longvida Curcumin, Longvida Optimized Curcumin, Turmeric Curcumin, Haldi (Hindi), Jiang Huang (Chinese)
Primary Constituents: Curcumin, Curcuminoids (Demethoxycurcumin and Bidesmethoxycurcumin), Resin, Bitter Principles, Volatile Oils (Zingiberen and Turmerone)
Country or Region of Origin: Native to India and Southeast Asia, Cultivated in Regions Around 75 Degrees Fahrenheit with Heavy Rainfall
Known Uses: Cognitive Function, Memory, Mood, Anti-Fatigue, Anti-inflammation, Dye, Culinary Ingredient, and More
General History & Introduction
Turmeric is a bright yellow plant native to India and Southern Asia. It is also found in many tropical regions, though it does require a humid climate and well-drained soil (Chevallier, 2016). It has a long history of being used in Ancient Ayurvedic and Chinese medicines. It has been used to treat some short-term ailments, as well as more chronic health problems. A lot of the research and empirical data currently being collected on the herb and its primary constituent, Curcumin, have been confirming the traditional uses of the plant (2016).
Turmeric has been a part of intercontinental trade since the early 1400s, becoming very popular in Europe as a result (Chevallier, 2016). The Europeans believed that herbs like Curcumin allowed for greater longevity and healthier lives (2016). This fad would catch on in North America in modern years with Turmeric becoming popular for cooking and its use as a dietary supplement.
Curcumin is an excellent, natural way to get a genuine boost to cognitive performance and memory (Kuszewski et al., 2018). It is a wonderful mood stabilizer, improving calmness and thwarting depression (Ramaholimihaso et al., 2020). The herb has been used to reduce fatigue and inflammation and has proven its worth in a variety of other ways (Chevallier, 2016). It is reasonable to suggest Turmeric and Curcumin deserve more attention and research, so that the nootropics world can more fully understand the potential benefits.
Nootropic Benefits of Curcumin (Turmeric)
Cognitive Function and Memory
One study analyzed the long-term effects of Curcumin in healthy adults to find to significantly increased memory in study participants (Cox et al., 2015). This same study also outlined a recorded benefit in cognitive function. Specifically, the empirical data highlighted an improved state of attention and working memory tasks. This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial also supported the claim that Curcumin can improve memory (2015). Recent studies have shown the herb’s positive effects on dementia and traumatic brain injury (Mishra & Palanivelu, 2008). This same research outlined its additional benefit as an antioxidant, and as having the ability to improve cognitive function in Alzheimer’s patients (2008).
Many modern studies have begun to reveal curcumin’s true positive effects on cognitive function and working memory (Kuszewski et al., 2018). A recent, long-term double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of curcumin published in a popular psychiatry journal has uncovered more significant cognitive benefits stemming from its anti-amyloid brain effects (Small et al., 2018). The study measured significant benefits which included improved memory and attention-span, and decreased plaque accumulation in the brain regions which modulate memory (2018).
A recent study showcased the nootropic’s ability to significantly improve mood (Cox et al., 2015). These studies report participants as experiencing a ‘state of calmness’ (2015). Another noteworthy study called Curcumin a generally “health-promoting” agent (Stohs et al., 2020). Turmeric has been proven to offer mood enhancing effects which specifically treat depression (Ramaholimihaso et al., 2020). Not only can the herb help reduce symptoms of depression, but it has been proposed as a potential alternative treatment for managing Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) as well as reducing oxidative stress (2020). Some more recent research has outlined the results of a FDDNP-PET scan post Curcumin-treatment to reveal a decrease in plaque and tangle accumulation in the brain region which modulates mood (Small et al., 2018).
Turmeric has been a traditional remedy for chronic fatigue throughout many Eastern cultures. In modern times, there have been studies which do prove Curcumin’s ability to reduce fatigue and fatigue-induced stress (Cox et al., 2015). One study showcased the supplement’s potential wide spectrum bioactivities which could be responsible for improving exercise performance, reducing fatigue, and promoting overall health (Huang et al., 2015). Curcumin has also been suggested to have the ability to reduce symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome (Campen & Visser, 2019).
One study outlines the nootropic’s ability to reduce inflammation, even pointing out the herb could ultimately alleviate symptoms in patients suffering from certain forms of arthritis (Gupte et al., 2019). And although Turmeric is not directly used for pain relief, the anti-inflammation properties can make it a useful long-term treatment for arthritis, as it leads to reduced pain (Chevallier, 2016). It is also commonly used to treat allergies, asthma, and eczema for the same reason. These anti-inflammatory properties and the herb’s other effects make it an excellent choice for treating circulatory disorders. It has even been suggested to have the ability to reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack (2016).
Turmeric was well-known in Ayurvedic medicine as well, traditionally being used as a treatment for jaundice (Chevallier, 2016). It would also become a part of many other herbal remedies as a bitter and for its various medicinal properties. Some of these benefits include antimicrobial properties, anti-platelet properties (thins the blood), and its ability to lower cholesterol levels. It can be used to treat athlete’s foot, and even motion sickness (2016).
While there is not currently enough information or research, Turmeric is being investigated for its potential to prevent certain types of cancers (Chevallier, 2016). It has been used to treat some skin conditions, including fungal infections and psoriasis. It is also used to treat and reduce nausea. And although unproven, it has been suggested to have the ability to prevent some autoimmune diseases (2016).
Dosing and Usage Information
Turmeric extract supplements usually offer 500 to 2000 mg daily servings, depending upon the extract ratio. Generally only the rhizome, or roots, of the plant are used for culinary or medicinal purposes (Chevallier, 2016). The roots are normally unearthed and broken into pieces, then boiled and dried before being further produced and manufactured. Some preparations might include decoctions, powders, poultice (pastes), and herbal teas (2016).
Turmeric is generally accepted as safe when consumed as a dietary supplement within established daily values. Non-extracted products which offer up to 8 grams of curcumin in a daily serving are common. The rare side effects which can occur include diarrhea, dizziness, headache, and nausea (Hewlings & Kalman, 2017).
Although it is clear through the collection of many studies and clinical trials that Curcumin offers health benefits of various kinds (Stohs et al., 2020), more research will determine the full extent of these benefits. Still, enough research does exist to determine some baseline supplement benefits. Curcumin is great for cognitive function, memory, and mood; and it is especially more useful with age (Cox et al., 2015). In other words, while the supplement can help a young person in many ways, it will help older people with even greater effects. It can even purportedly prevent some aspects of mental decline altogether! And depending upon the goal of a nootropic stack, it is reasonable to find curcumin in many daily regimens.
A Note from NooFiles
This article is intended to be used for information only. We want to remind you that consulting your physician is recommended before adding any dietary supplement of any kind to your daily regimen.
Campen, L., & Visser, F. (2019). The Effect of Curcumin in Patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Disparate Responses in Different Disease Severities. Pharmacovigilance and Pharmacoepidemiology. Edelweiss Publications. Vol. 2(1). Pp. 22-27. ISSN: 2638-8235
Chevallier, A. (2016). Encyclopedia of Herbal Medicine. Third Edition. DK Publishing. New York, New York. ISBN 978-1-4654-4981-8
Cox, K., Pipingas, A., and Scholey, A. (2015). Investigation of the effects of solid lipid curcumin on cognition and mood in a healthy older population. J Psychopharmacol. Vol. 29(5). Pp. 642-51. DOI: 10.1177/0269881114552744
Gupte, P., Giramkar, S., Harke, S., Kulkarni, S., Deshmukh, A., Hingorani, L., Mahajan, M., and Bhalerao, S. (2019). Evaluation of the efficacy and safety of Capsule Longvida® Optimized Curcumin (solid lipid curcumin particles) in knee osteoarthritis: a pilot clinical study. Journal of inflammation research. Vol. 12. Pp. 145–152. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2147/JIR.S205390
Hewlings, S. and Kalman, D. (2017). Curcumin: A Review of Its Effects on Human Health. Foods (Basel, Switzerland). Vol. 6(10). Pp. 92. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/foods6100092
Huang, W., Chiu, W., Chuang, H., Tang, D., Lee, Z., Wei, L., Chen, F., and Huang, C. (2015). Effect of curcumin supplementation on physiological fatigue and physical performance in mice. Nutrients. Vol. 7(2). Pp. 905–921. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/nu7020905
Kuszewski, J., Wong, R., and Howe, P. (2018). Can Curcumin Counteract Cognitive Decline? Clinical Trial Evidence and Rationale for Combining ω-3 Fatty Acids with Curcumin. Advances in Nutrition. Vol. 9(2). Pp. 105–113, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/advances/nmx013
Mishra, S., & Palanivelu, K. (2008). The effect of curcumin (turmeric) on Alzheimer’s disease: An overview. Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology. Vol. 11(1). Pp. 13–19. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4103/0972-2327.40220
Ramaholimihaso, T., Bouazzaoui, F., and Kaladjian, A. (2020). Curcumin in Depression: Potential Mechanisms of Action and Current Evidence-A Narrative Review. Frontiers in psychiatry. Vol. 11. PMID: 33329109 DOI: https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyt.2020.572533
Small, G., Siddarth, P., Li, Z., Miller, K., Ercoli, L., Emerson, N., Martinez, J., Wong, K., Liu, J., Merrill, D., Chen, S., Henning, S., Satyamurthy, N., Huang, S., Heber, D., and Barrio, J. (2018).Memory and Brain Amyloid and Tau Effects of a Bioavailable Form of Curcumin in Non-Demented Adults: A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled 18-Month Trial. The American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry. Vol. 26(3). Pp. 266-277. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jagp.2017.10.010
Stohs, S., Chen, O., Ray, S., Ji, J., Bucci, L., and Preuss, H. (2020). Highly Bioavailable Forms of Curcumin and Promising Avenues for Curcumin-Based Research and Application: A Review. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland). Vol. 25(6). Pp. 1397. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25061397