Can Turmeric Block Out Our Bad Memories?
During a recent study in New York scientists discovered some amazing results by dosing rats daily with curcumin one of main active compounds in turmeric. Researchers found when testing the effects it had on fear responses that…
- It prevented new fear memories being stored in the brain
- It also drastically aided in the removal of mental association with pre–existing fear memories.
Have you ever had something really shock or scare you, something that even made you flinch or scream? We all have experienced moments like this where fear kicks in and our body responds. For some, the moment may replay in their mind over and over. When this happens it causes the same reaction in our body all over again, a chemical fear response. Each time this occurs a neural pathway is formed and strengthened, meaning basically the more you do it the more it will happen. That is how our brains form patterns and help us learn, sometimes however it can have a negative effect. This is part of what happens, t0 the extreme, for people who have post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), the mind keeps vividly recalling an experience that causes you anxiety or fear. What if you could prevent your brain from giving importance to the memories and thoughts that caused fear, releasing them, or at least allowing for the fear response to stop?
If you don’t already know, Turmeric is the miracle herb that has been gawked over for centuries due to its amazing variety of medicinal benefits. This Includes powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and neuro-generative properties. Many of these benefits come from the high levels of yellow curry compound, curcumin. This latest discovery is one that intrigued me as it may have the power to help many people suffering with PTSD and other prevalent mental disorders.
“The curcumin effectively prevented the re-consolidation of the fear memory, and the effect was very long-lasting. It looked to us like very convincing data that the fear memories lost were lost”- Glenn Schafe, PhD, study coauthor and Psychology Professor at Hunter College.
While human brains and emotions are still much more complex than those of rats, this discovery will hopefully lead to more research. Especially into potential uses for the treatment of post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other mental disorders rooted in tragedy. Really, we all could use some help with letting go of our fears and negative thoughts sometimes!
Currently the dose of cucurmin found in turmeric used as a home seasoning is nowhere near high enough to achieve most of the benefits found in research studies. However there are people constantly working on innovative ways to extract and make higher concentrations of absorbable, usable curcurmin. Considering the immense amounts of evidence for its potential benefit, it’s definitely worth pursuing.