Dr. Amir Syed in Dawn.
Turmeric, an indispensable ingredient in spicy dishes of South Asia, has been used for generations to enhance the flavour of curries and giving them the characteristic golden colour. Besides its role as a food additive, the herb has found extensive application as an anti-inflammatory agent and as an anti-oxidative in the Ayurvedic and Unani systems of medicine. Recently, The Journal of Biological Chemistry reported some surprising findings about turmeric. Curcumin, chemically a polyphenol, is the active ingredient present in turmeric root powder which gives the herb its characteristic yellow colour. Investigators at the University of California, Los Angles, who studied curcumin’s activity in mice, found that it was highly effective against Alzheimer’s disease (AD). They were so impressed with their findings that they expect curcumin to eventually emerge as one of the most effective treatments for this devastating disease.