Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Benefits of Turmeric: Important Herb in Preventing Heart Attack & Heart Failure

(University Heath Network) Turmeric has long been used in traditional eastern medicine to prevent scarring in healing wounds. A recent study published in the February Journal of Clinical Investigation entitled “Curcumin Prevents and Reverses Murine Cardiac Hypertrophy” shows that this folk remedy may have a strong foundation in science.

Curcumin, an ingredient in turmeric, has effects deep in the cell nucleus that go beyond what most herbal remedies are capable of. “Curcumin’s ability to shut off one of the major switches right at the chromosome source where the enlargement and scarring genes are being turned on is impressive,” says Dr. Peter Liu, cardiologist in the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre and Scientific Director at the Canadian Institutes of Health Research.

Cardiac hypertrophy is a strong predictor of future cardiac problems, including heart attack and heart failure. Researchers at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre of the Toronto General Hospital found that when curcumin was given orally to mice with enlarged hearts, it prevented and even reversed the hypertrophy. If the clinical trials prove that curcumin is effective in humans as well, it will offer the possibility of an inexpensive and safe treatment for millions of people.

While the results of the study are exciting, Dr. Liu advises a cautious and moderate approach. “Whether you are young or old; male or female; the larger your heart is, the higher your risk is for developing heart attacks or heart failure in the future. However, until clinical trials are done, we don’t recommend patients to take curcumin routinely. You are better off to take action today by lowering blood pressure, reducing cholesterol, exercising and healthy eating.”


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