Turmeric Regenerates Brain Cells – New Animal Study

Copyright_melpomen123RFStockPhotoTurmeric, a close relative of ginger is one of the most-used medicinal herbs. Studies of turmeric have generally focused on the ingredient curcumin, the phytocompounds that gives the root its bright yellow color, but a new study from Germany reports that the compound known as aromatic-turmerone, or ar-turmerone, appears to induce regeneration in brain cells, both in vitro, in neural stem cells, and in live rats.

The study from Institute of Neuroscience and Medicine in J├╝lich, Germany, first grew neural stem cells from rats and treated the cells in vitro with six different concentrations of ar-turmerone over a 72 hour period.

At certain concentrations, ar-turmerone was shown to increase NSC proliferation by up to 80%, without having any impact on cell death. The cell differentiation process also accelerated in ar-turmerone-treated cells compared to untreated control cells.

In other words, the number of neural cells increased by up to 80% without killing the cells.

The study then went on to test the effects of ar-turmerone on the neural stem cells in live animals. The researchers injected healthy adult rats with ar-turmerone, and used non-invasive, non-surgical imaging techniques to detect reproduction of cells. They found that, in the brains of rats injected with ar-turmerone, both the subventricular zone and the hippocampus expanded, two sites where the growth of neurons is known to occur.

Speaking to ScienceDaily, lead author of the study, Adele Rueger, said: “While several substances have been described to promote stem cell proliferation in the brain, fewer drugs additionally promote the differentiation of stem cells into neurons, which constitutes a major goal in regenerative medicine. Our findings on aromatic turmerone take us one step closer to achieving this goal.”

Turmeric can be used in many dishes as a fresh root, much like ginger, or in powdered form.

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