Grandmother's turmeric-cures have always been infallible, so much so that the spice is revered as 'holy powder' in India. Now, boffins at Michigan University have finally unravelled the age-old mystery behind the much hyped healing power of the main ingredient in turmeric.
Turmeric has been used for centuries in folk medicine to treat wounds, infections, and other health problems.
While many scientists have conducted research on its main ingredient-curcumin-no details had been revealed as to how it functions in the body, until now.
In the new study, Ayyalusamy Ramamoorthy and colleagues, used a high-tech instrument termed solid-state NMR spectroscopy and discovered that molecules of curcumin act like a biochemical disciplinarian.
The molecules insert themselves into cell membranes and make the membranes more stable and orderly.
This increases cells' resistance to infection by disease-causing microbes.
The study appears in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, a weekly publication.