Curcumin, the compound found in turmeric spice, is one of the best natural anti-inflammatories around. The trouble is, curcumin in food and supplements tends to stay in the gut, and doesn't get properly absorbed by the body-so scientists have come up with a novel delivery system.
Mixing curcumin powder with castor oil and polyethylene glycol helps it by-pass the gut and get to where it's needed in the body, say scientists at Ohio State University. In fact, levels have been 10 times higher when people have sipped the solution rather than taking a supplement, they say.
Curcumin has been a staple of Indian Ayurvedic medicine for many centuries for conditions such as allergies, diabetes and ulcers, and the researchers reckon it could enjoy a similar status in the West, and should be a part of our daily health regimen. It's being tested for a range of chronic conditions, from colon cancer to osteoarthritis, but its anti-inflammatory properties are already well know, say the researchers.
Inflammation appears to be a common factor in many diseases, including heart disease and some cancers.
(Source: PLoS ONE, 2014; 9 (11): e111559)