The herb turmeric contains compounds called curcuminoids which are phenolic compounds that give turmeric its distinctive yellow/orange color.  Phenolic compounds are present in most plants and have been found to provide plants with defenses against oxidation and pathogens.  These compounds are also known to facilitate anti-inflammatory effects.  They appear to block inflammatory processes by inhibiting the production of chemicals called prostaglandins which are found in high concentrations in areas of tissue inflammation.  Turmeric’s most active and dominant curcuminoid is curcumin.  

       Research has shown that curcumin is an effective antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.  Curcumin has been shown to be effective in the treatment of a variety of health problems including heart disease, cancer, diabetes and arthritis.  Some studies have shown that curcumin raises HDL cholesterol.  One study showed that human volunteers taking 500 milligrams of curcumin daily for just seven days increased their HDL cholesterol (the good guys) by 29% and decreased serum cholesterol levels by 11.63%.  There also was a significant decrease in the level of serum lipid peroxides indicating that curcumin reduces oxidative damage.

       In a 2004 study, lung cancer cells treated with curcumin showed curcumin to have an inhibitory effect on the growth of these cells and to facilitate the death of existing cancer cells.  A 2005 study reported in Biochemical Pharmacology found that curcumin can help slow the spread of breast cancer cells to the lungs in mice.  This report explained that curcumin acts to shut down genes that are involved in the growth of cancer cells. Research at Emory School of Medicine has shown that curcumin attacks vascular endothelial growth factors which reduces the ability of tumors to generate their own blood supply lines.  This is a critical dynamic in preventing tumors from growing. 

       In recent years, a number of products have become available where manufactures have extracted curcumin from turmeric.  Such products are often advertized as natural anti-inflammatories.  However, research done with curcumin reveals it is poorly absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract.  The intake of large amounts of curcumin is needed in order for it to show up in the blood.   The challenge is to get adequate levels of curcumin into the blood stream to allow for its therapeutic effect.

       In an effort to solve this problem of poor absorption, the company New Chapter manufactures a curcumin product called Turmeric Force which provides not only the curcumin but also the other curcuminoids found in turmeric along with other constituents present in this herb.  It is New Chapter’s belief that all the components of turmeric need to be present in order for this herb to be adequately absorbed and utilized by the body.

       In 2009, research was conducted at Miami Children’s Hospital where Turmeric Force (TF) was used to treat certain forms of pancreatic cancer.  It was found that TF was more effective in killing cancer cells than curcumin used by itself.  This result appears to be supported by the fact that the incidence of pancreatic cancer in India is very low compared to the United States and Europe.  The people of India use a great deal of turmeric in their daily diet.  The company New Chapter markets the product Turmeric Force and this product is available at Milk ‘N Honey.  Another product from New Chapter called Zyflamend is also available at Milk ‘N Honey and contains an ample amount of curcumin plus other anti-inflammatory nutrients. 

       Another curcumin product that has shown excellent results is Curamin from the company EuroPharma.  This product contains a very absorbable form of curcumin called BCM-95.  BCM-95 is a blend of curcuminoids and the essential oil of turmeric. For an interesting video on how BCM-95 is produced, go to  According to an article found on, fifteen healthy volunteers (men and women ages 24-45 years old) were assigned either to a group using a standard curcumin extract or to a group using the specialized curcumin, BCM-95.  Blood samples were drawn before the volunteers were given the curcumin and then at regular intervals after they ingested the curcumin.  This study indicates that the bio-availability of the specialized curcumin (BCM-95) extract was 7 times higher than that of the standard curcumin extract.  Moreover, the results show that the specialized curcumin stayed in the blood stream longer and at higher levels than the standard curcumin extract.  We carry Curamin at Milk ‘N Honey. 

       There have been thousands of studies published on the beneficial effects of the curcuminoids found in turmeric.  All indications are that these compounds will help reduce inflammation and oxidation in the body.  Because of the poor absorption of curcumin into the blood stream, it is best to use a high concentration of the whole herb turmeric as seen in the New Chapter product or to use a specialized extract of curcumin as found in BCM-95.  While you will get some curcumin into your diet by using turmeric as a spice and eating turmeric based products such as curry, the amount of curcumin ingested will be very minimal.  However, regular eating of turmeric based products, as seen in India, does appear to provide some level of benefit.  

       Inflammation has been shown to be a root cause of many health problems.  We should be doing all we can to minimize the effects of inflammation in the body.  Supplementing with an effective turmeric product will help keep inflammation at bay.