How WHOLE Turmeric Heals the Damaged Brain

Wake Up World
By Sayer Ji

Long considered impossible to accomplish, new research reveals how a simple spice might contribute to the regeneration of the damaged brain.

Turmeric is hands down one of the, if not the, most versatile healing spice in the world with over 600 experimentally confirmed health benefits, and an ancient history filled with deep reverence for its seemingly compassionate power to alleviate human suffering.

But, most of the focus over the past decade has been centered on only one of its many hundreds of phytocompounds: namely, the primary polyphenol in turmeric known as curcumin which gives the spice its richly golden hue. This curcumin-centric focus has lead to the development of some very good products, such as phospholipid bound curcumin concentrate (e.g. Meriva, BCM-95) which greatly helps to increase the absorption and bio-activity of curcumin. But, curcumin isolates are only capable of conferring a part of turmeric’s therapeutic power – and therein lies the limitation and hubris of the dominant ‘isolate the active ingredient’ model.

Indeed, it has become typical within the so-called nutraceutical industry to emulate the pharmaceutical model, which focuses on identifying a particular “monochemical” tree within the forest of complexity represented by each botanical agent, striving to standardize the delivery of each purported ‘active ingredient’ with each serving, as if it were a pharmaceutical drug. These extraction and isolation processes also generates proprietary formulas which are what manufacturers want to differentiate their product from all others and henceforth capture a larger part of the market share; a value proposition that serves the manufacturer and not the consumer/patient.

Truth be told, there is no singular ‘magic bullet’ in foods and herbs responsible for reproducing the whole plant’s healing power. There are, in fact, in most healing plants or foods hundreds of compounds orchestrated by the intelligent ‘invisible hand’ of God or ‘Nature,’ or whatever you wish to call it, and which can never be reduced to the activity of a singularly quantifiable phytocompound or chemical.


Beyond The Curcumin ‘Magic Bullet’ Meme

Now, an exciting new study published in the journal Stem Cell Research & Therapy provides additional support for the concept that curcumin alone is not enough to explain the healing power of turmeric as a whole plant. The study found that a little known, fat-soluble component within turmeric – Ar-tumerone – may make “a promising candidate to support regeneration in neurologic disease.”

Titled, “Aromatic-turmerone induces neural stem cell proliferation in vitro and in vivo,” German researchers evaluated the effects of this turmeric-derived compound on neural stem cells (NSCs) – the subgroup of brain cells capable of continuous self-renewal required for brain repair.

The study found that when brain cells were exposed to ar-tumerone, neural stem cells increased in number through enhanced proliferation. Moreover, these newly formed neural stem cells also increased the number of fully differentiated neuronal cells, indicating a healing effect was taking place. This effect was also observed in a live animal model, showing that rats injected with ar-tumerone into their brains experienced increases in neural stem cell proliferation and the creation of newly formed healthy brain cells.

This study did not go unnoticed by major medical news channels. Here are some good reviews if you wish to explore the implications in greater depth:

Newsweek: Curry Power: Turmeric Compound Boosts Growth of Brain’s Stem Cells
Guardian Liberty Voice: Turmeric Cure Evidence Grows
Monthly Prescribing Reference: Turmeric May Help Regenerate Brain Cells
Times of Malta: Turmeric Link to Brain Cell Repair
Medical Daily: Turmeric Helps Your Brain Heal Itself: Spice Up Your Brain

The GreenMedInfo.com Turmeric Database Confirms It’s Brain-Saving Power!

As you may already know, our database is the world’s most extensive open access natural medical database on over 1,800 different natural substances, with over 1600 study abstracts on turmeric’s healing properties indexed thus far: view the Turmeric research page here to view! If you take a look at the laundry list of over 600 diseases that this spice (or its components, e.g. curcumin) has been studied for to prevent and/or treat, the sheer volume of supportive literature is astounding. Amazingly, we have identified over 180 physiological pathways – according to their conventional pharmacological characterization, e.g. COX-2 inhibitor, Interleukin 6 down-regulator – by which turmeric or its components heals the human body. In addition, you will find over 100 articles on turmeric’s neuroprotective properties on this page: Turmeric as a Neuroprotective agent.

The research clearly indicates that turmeric is a great brain supportive plant. For a more layperson oriented review, read the following articles:

How Turmeric Can Save the Aging Brain From Dementia
Turmeric Produces ‘Remarkable’ Recovery in Alzheimer’s Patients
The Spice That Prevents Fluoride From Destroying Your Brain

How To Get The Most Out of Your Turmeric

One of the most frequent questions we field is ‘what is the best type of turmeric or curcumin to use’? Obviously, given the aforementioned research, the whole plant is going to carry a wider range of therapeutic compounds than curcumin alone. And yet, most have been heavily enculturated to focus entirely on the ‘how much’ question, opting to identify the molecular weight (i.e. how many milligrams in a serving) of a particular compound as more important than the qualitative dimensions (e.g. is it organic? It is delivered within its natural context as food or a whole plant?) which reflect the type of nutrigenomic information the substance contains, and therefore the ‘intelligence’ it embodies. To learn more about the intelligence of food watch my e-course ‘The Wisdom of Food.’

And really, there is no generic answer to a generic question about the best way to take turmeric/curcumin. The question always comes from an individual with a particular need, and so, recommendations must be bio-individualized.

For instance, if you have colonic inflammation or polyps, and you are trying to use turmeric to reduce inflammation there or regress precancerous growths, then using the whole plant is best versus a highly bioavailable form of curcumin in capsule form (e.g. Meriva), for instance, which will likely be absorbed by the small intestine and mostly pass through the liver never getting adequate quantities to the large intestine. So, in this person’s case taking a teaspoon of relatively difficult to absorb turmeric may result in painting the diseased surfaces of that person’s intestinal or colonic lumen with exactly the form needed to reverse disease.

But what if you have someone who wants to experience a systemic effect, say, for arthritis or for brain cancer? In these instances, getting turmeric compounds such as curcumin through the glucuronidation barrier in the liver with a phospholipid-bound or black pepper (piperine) combination could be ideal. There is certainly a place for the ‘nutraceutical’ model when properly applied, especially when provided as an adjuvant to the pharmaceutical model within an integrative medical setting.

Ultimately, the goal is not to wait to have such a serious health problem that you have to force yourself to take a ‘heroic dose’ of any herb or food extract. Better is to use small amounts in culinary doses in combination with ingredients that synergize on a physiochemical/informational and sensual basis (producing the all important vitamin P [pleasure] as well!). Recently we actually featured a study that showed culinary doses of rosemary helped improve memory whereas higher ‘heroic’ doses impaired it!

This is why exploring the use of turmeric in curries, or by adding a pinch in a smoothie, may be an ideal daily supplementation approach, versus capsules, whose questionably ‘natural’ capsules and excipients all can add up to cause some stress on the liver you are trying to protect with these natural interventions. Just remember quality is everything and less is more!

Top 5 Alkaline Foods and Why You Should Care

Natural Society
by Elizabeth Renter

We’ve all heard the term pH balance before, but do you know what it actually means? The pH scale is one that measures the acidity or alkalinity of something. In the case of alkaline foods, we are concerned with the pH of your body. Eating certain foods may affect this measurement, which can lead to several potentially negative health effects.

Ph levels are measured on a scale of 0 to 14. 7.0 is considered neutral; 0 is completely acidic, and 14 is completely alkaline. Your blood needs to be slightly alkaline, with a pH somewhere between 7.35 and 7.45. Generally, your body adjusts its pH levels automatically, keeping your blood right within that target area. However, some argue that many of today’s processed and unhealthy foods are acid-forming and throw off that natural balance.

Too much acid, and your body begins to experience some negative health effects including: fatigue, dental issues, compromised immune function, pain and inflammatory conditions, and even premature aging. By eating foods that are alkaline-producing, you are not depending on your body to balance the acidity, and therefore can avoid some of these health problems.


Alkaline Foods for Better Health

Fortunately, eating a diet rich in alkaline-forming foods is quite simple. Sticking with fresh produce is a good place to start. Here are 5 alkaline foods to get you started.

1. Lemons are possibly the most alkaline foods around, plus, they offer many health benefits. Starting your day with a glass of lemon water is a good way to work towards balancing your pH levels first thing. While lemons are initially acidic, the end result is alkaline.

2. Watermelons are another great alkaline-forming food, and are a great diuretic to boot. Check out some other health benefits of watermelons here.

3. Cayenne peppers have numerous benefits even beyond being alkaline-forming. From their antioxidant concentration to their potential added benefits in weight loss ventures, these peppers should be a part of every diet.

4. Leafy Greens, like many other alkalizing foods, have a wealth of health benefits. Things like spinach, kale, chard, and collards are rich in folate and vitamin K. They are also great helpers for the digestive system.

5. Apples have a pH level of about 8.0. They are also rich in fiber, which makes them great for digestion.

Related:  TOP 10 ALKALINE FOODS

Turkey Tail Mushroom Used to Help Immune System Fight Cancer

Natural Society
by Mike Barrett

Can you prevent and help treat cancer simply by utilizing nature’s gifts? Absolutely – at least that’s what researchers at Bastyr University in Kenmore, Washington say. Using a naturally occurring mushroom known as ‘turkey tail’, which has been used for centuries to boost the immune system, the researchers have shown once again how natural foods can be used in the fight against cancer.

Knowing full well that cancer prevention has much to do with turbo-charging the body’s natural defense system, the researchers set out to test the effectiveness of a naturally occurring mushroom in terms of boosting immunity. But instead of lab experiments using mice, the Bastyr researchers tested the ‘turkey tail’ on real cancer patients – after receiving permission from the Food and Drug Administration.

One of Bastyr’s cancer patients and an ice skating competitor, Lisa Clinton, is just one of many individuals around the world who wholeheartedly believe that natural foods played a large role in her survival. After going through surgery, the ice skating competitor refused the extremely questionable cancer-treatment chemotherapy and turned to turkey tail instead to target her cancer.

“We consider cancer a failure of the immune system…When they [turkey tail] are ingested into the body, they stimulate immune cells that line the intestines, and then those stimulate other immune cells all over the body,” says Dr. Leanna Standish at Bastyr University.

Luckily, big pharma is unlikely to sell turkey tail as a patented treatment due to the mushrooms extremely long history in medicinal use. Turkey tail mushrooms have been used by various cultures in Asia, Europe, and by indigenous people in North America to treat various health conditions for hundreds of years – including cancer. While the mushroom has been brewed as a tea since the early 15th century, the medicinal properties of turkey tail have almost without a doubt been felt even before written history. It is no surprise that the mushroom is being explored today.

One ‘scientific’ finding concerning turkey tail revolves around the increased number of ‘natural killer cells’ after ingestion of the mushroom. Natural killer cells protect against viruses and tumors. “What’s more, turkey tail mycelium excretes strong antiviral compounds, specifically active against Human papillomavirus (HPV), which causes cervical cancer, and hepatitis C virus (HEP-C), which causes liver cancer,” reports HuffingtonPost.

What to Look For

If you’re interested in checking out turkey tail, there are a few things to consider first. Whether buying the mushroom itself or buying a product using turkey tail, be sure to purchase only certified organic. Secondly, find out where the mushrooms are grown and who grew them. While it may require a bit of digging, try to look for turkey tail coming from skilled growers with skills in cultivation. Companies are merely worried about the bottom dollar and generally care little for the consumer for various reasons – from constantly switching suppliers to ignoring the real quality of their product for reasons of profict. Doing your own research in this area can help tremendously.

The Turkey Tail Mushroom is Not Alone

Of course turkey tail is not alone; countless natural foods have been shown to heal the body in numerous ways and prevent cancer. The spice turmeric has repeatedly been shown to be an effective cancer-fighter and even block cancer growth, being shown to reduce tumors by an astounding 81% in one study. One father didn’t ignore the marijuana and cancer relationship, and used marijuana oil to save his sons life. Lastly, but certainly not least, a little-known plant known as the ‘thunder god vine’ has made headlines as a cancer killer for vanishing tumors in mice with pancreatic cancer.