Turmeric a key for Alzheimer medicine

Washington: The humble Turmeric or `haldi` is emerging as a promising basis for an inexpensive treatment for Alzheimer`s disease (AD), a new study has found.

An article published in Chemical & Engineering News of the American Chemical Society explains that pharmaceutical companies have invested heavily in developing new drugs for AD and tens of thousands of dollars are being annually spent to treat each patient.

Turmeric or curcumin, a spice compound extracted from the rootstalks of the turmeric plant is being looked at as a promising and less expensive alternative to the common medications of AD.

The article details scientific evidence about curcumin`s potential and the hurdles that chemists must overcome to craft it into a drug. For instance, only tiny amounts of powdered curcumin taken by mouth get into the blood, let alone the brain.

Turmeric is often used to cure common skin problems, arthritis and is also said to protect liver and heart from damages.

More than 5 million people in the US alone already have that memory-robbing disease. Projections suggest that the number will rise to 16 million by 2050.