It is no secret that turmeric and its active compound curcumin are capable of promoting liver health. Past research has found that turmeric is capable of repairing damaged liver tissues, while various cultures utilized the spice to promote liver health for generations before then. Most recently, researchers in Isreal have discovered that curcumin may be a potentially effective natural treatment for liver cirrhosis, an ailment where normal, healthy tissues in the liver are replaced with scar tissues.
The new study, published in Liver International, sought to examine the effects of this powerful spice on damaged livers. The researchers resorted to some fairly barbaric means to find that curcumin did, in fact, have a beneficial impact on liver damage.
Liver cirrhosis was induced in lab rats by administering thioacetamide (TAA), a solvent normally used in textile and leather processing. Then, they treated half of the liver-damaged rats with curcumin, which was administered by gavage. Gavage is a term that refers to force-feeding by administering something directly into the stomach through a tube down the throat.
Cruelty aside, the study did have some promising results.
Those rats who were force fed 300 mg of curcumin daily for 12 weeks fared better than the control group who did not receive any curcumin. The researchers believed this is due to the anti-inflammatory properties of the spice.
“Curcumin inhibited the development of TAA-induced liver cirrhosis mainly due to its anti-inflammatory activities and not by a direct anti-fibrotic effect. As curcumin ingestion is safe in humans, it may be reasonable to assess in clinical studies the beneficial effect of curcumin in slowing the development of liver cirrhosis.”
As with any disease or health problem, prevention should be the first line of defense. If you can avoid liver cirrhosis to begin with, you won’t need to seek out treatment.
Liver cirrhosis can be caused by a variety of factors including hepatitis types A, B, and C. Excessive alcohol consumption and even the overuse of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like Tylenol can trigger the scar tissue that marks cirrhosis. But non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is one of the main causes, and is entirely preventable through proper diet.
A super-spice linked to everything from anti-inflammation to anti-cancer benefits, curcumin may be an all-natural treatment worth celebrating. And if you are suffering from liver damage, this may be something to consider. But if you don’t have cirrhosis and hope to never have it, prevention is crucial and entirely possible.