Turmeric, a popular spice in South Asian cuisine contains an important anti-oxidant known as curcumin. This substance gives turmeric its bright yellow color and delicious taste. Used frequently for curries and other staples of Indian cuisine, turmeric has been found to contain important medicinal properties. Scientists have been studying the therapeutic properties of curcumin and have, so far, found it to be effective in the treatment of a wide range of diseases and health problems, including Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disorders, and even hair loss!
For thousands of years, turmeric (and its active ingredient curcumin) have been used in traditional Indian medicine. This traditional medical system, known as Ayurvedic medicine, has been for around five thousand years. Turmeric has been used as the South Asian equivalent of the West’s aspirin due to the fact that it has important anti-inflammatory properties and can also be used to relieve pain. References to turmeric have been found in numerous Ayurdevic texts where turmeric is recommended as a potent remedy for many ailments. Researchers have started to find that there is an important basis for this association due to the fact that the yellow pigment in turmeric, known as curcumin, does have important effects on the human body.
In fact, turmeric is used in almost all Asian cultures where it is available as a powerful medicinal spice, including countries such as Iran, Nepal, and Thailand. When taken orally, curcumin has the ability to inhibit the inflammatory response of the body, helping relieve many ailments. Scientists suspect that curcumin works by stimulating the production of corticosteroids in the adrenal glands, located near the kidneys. These natural steroids help inhibit the body’s inflammatory response, relieving pain and a number of disorders. Curcumin has also been found to affect cortisone receptors, helping increase the effects of the body’s own natural steroids. When taken along with vitamin D, curcumin’s effects can be compounded in order to increase its healing properties. Due to the fact that turmeric does not cause the side effects of similar commercial drugs, scientists have started to consider curcumin as a serious, effective aid for many problems, including hair loss.
Studies have made scientists suspect that curcumin inhibits TGF-b. This substance is commonly known as Hair Follicle Assassin due to its important role in the mechanics of hair loss. Since curcumin has such an important inhibitory effect on this substance, there is reason to believe that curcumin may be a powerful treatment for hair loss as well as a potential way to prevent hair loss in the millions of individuals that are at risk today. Studies have shown that curcumin taken orally can stimulate hair growth, especially when it is combined with Resveratrol. Although curcumin in turmeric is often hard to absorb, curcumin supplements can be an effective way of preventing hair loss in older men that may be at risk for this problem.
TGF-b is an important factor in the development of hair loss in older men. Studies where older men took curcumin supplements showed that this substance reduced hair loss and promoted hair growth by a significant percentage! The positive effects of curcumin cannot be underestimated. Shown to be an effective pain reliever for rheumatoid arthritis and an important way to help Alzheimer’s symptoms be reduced by up to 30%, this substance is quickly gaining popularity as a natural supplement that can help promote general health and wellness.
It is important to note that the hair growth stimulation properties of curcumin were coupled with a regular intake of Resveratrol, a substance that has been effective as an anti-aging treatment in men. Some other benefits of this combination include retarding aging, treatment and prevention of cardiovascular disease and cancer, and treatment of numerous common skin diseases in older men, such as psoriasis. A good source of Resveratrol are grapes, where this polyphenol is present in great quantities (especially in the peel and seeds.) In fact, Curcumin and Resveratrol have similar chemical make-ups and curative qualities. Curcumin can also help in the reduction of cholesterol and other medical conditions. Although tests specifically targeted towards hair loss are still inconclusive, it has been shown that a reduction of hair loss and hair graying in patients was a side effect of trials for other kinds of diseases. Researchers have observed that the magic combination of these two polyphenols also helped reduce hair graying and even help patients grow back hair in areas that were already considered to be bald.
The exact mechanics of these effects are not yet known. According to researchers, it may be related to vitamin E and to the release of a substance commonly known as P. Of course, curcumin taken alone will probably not be an effective hair loss treatment. A combination of curcumin, resveratrol, vitamins E and D, and capsicin are recommended as a possible treatment for hair loss and to increase anti-aging effects in the patient.