How This Particular Spice Is Keeping Your Mind Fresh
Spices of all kinds have been used as medicine for centuries, in fact, some of the medicines used today, are derived from the non invasive incorporation of spices in ancient medical practices from all over the world.
Curcumin, a compound found in the spice turmeric is being highly praised for its ability to help protect against the effects of neurodegenerative diseases such as severe memory loss and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), this according to a new study in rats whose findings were recently published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology.
Testing that led to these findings started when two groups of rats were given food, where one group had curcumin as the main ingredient, and the other group went without the spice.
Researchers fed rats either regular chow or pellets enriched with curcumin. They then conditioned the rats to fear a certain sound by playing a tone, then shocking their foot. After physical and mental conditioning to certain forms of fear, much similar to the ones seen in the brains of those suffering from PTSD, rat brains were then analyzed.
The rats who ate curcumin in their food were found to have a much more difficult time recalling the fear memory within the brain, meaning that the compound within the spice triggers parts of the brain that helps to suppress bad memories. This, compared to the other half of the rodents in the experiment that could not do the same when the memories were called upon.
So, upon further exploration, the curcumin was responsible for effectively preventing the re-consolidation of the fear memory, and did so for an extremely long amount of time.
Now, although the experiments were only performed on rats, the ties to humans are still very relevant, as most experimental tests are performed on rats and translate exceptionally well into the human study. Researchers still do not know the full extent of the mechanics behind curcumin’s ability to help memory, nit many suspect that the large amount of inflammatory agents within the compound are the reason.
Many see this discovery, especially if it does translate over into the human brain, as a great non invasive way to use dietary intervention to help those with memory issues and to slow the aging process of the brain in those with larger risk for illnesses like dementia. the compound is able to safely intercept the cellular processes in the brain so that specific bad memories are no longer stored long term in the brain.