100,000 times stronger than curcumin…

I would like to mention that yesterday I updated my links to articles and studies, but mainly I put them in order by publication year. I hope that will make my blog more user-friendly (for me, too, eh…sometimes I have to do a search of my OWN blog to find stuff…!).


Now, let me explain the rather intriguing title of today’s post: the July 14 online edition of the Arizona Daily Star (http://www.azstarnet.com/metro/248162) had an article about a University of Arizona chemist, Prof. David Gang, who is currently studying the healthful effects of turmeric, ginger and sweet basil. Quick update: before posting this piece, I tested the above link and discovered that you have to register to read the article…a slight drag, even though said registration is free…(okay, I know I probably shouldn’t have done this…but I copied the article and would be happy to forward it upon request…no registration required…happy to do it…).


At any rate, Prof. Gang mentions the discovery of two other compounds found in the rhizome of turmeric that have up to 100,000 times the anti-inflammatory potency of curcumin. 100,000 times??? Now how come I wasn’t aware of this? Unfortunately, the names of these two compounds are not mentioned in the article…drat! I will have to put on my SR (=Serious Researching) cap at some point soon…


Prof. Gang has a holistic approach to health, which I very much appreciate, of course. And I was intrigued by his suggestion that adding turmeric to the diet would be more beneficial than taking a curcumin supplement: […] Gang believes it’s more beneficial to actually eat the spices than it is to take supplements of isolated compounds […] “You’re better off using it as part of your diet than waiting till you get sick and taking a supplement,” he said.


Truth be told, this is not the first time that I have considered the “spice versus active ingredient” business, but this may be the first time I have written about it.


My thoughts at this time: if your goal is to PREVENT an illness of some sort, even cancer, making dietary changes should be high on your list. I wish that years ago I had known what I know now. One of the things I would have changed entirely is my diet. But that milk is long spilt.


But what happens once you HAVE cancer? Is it enough to change your diet and add spices? Hmmm, I wonder. And I think Prof. Gang would be doubtful, too. Perhaps that might work for some types of cancer…but I am a bit too tired right now to start wading out into the deep end of the pool. wink smiley Of course, it’s never too late to change one’s lifestyle etc., and in fact, since my cancer diagnosis, I have made more than a few changes in my diet, which is still not perfect but is heaps better than before. And, especially during the winter months, I cook with truckloads of spices, such as turmeric, red pepper and ginger. But I also take supplements of isolated compounds. Is all this enough to keep me stable–my goal at present? Only time will tell…


An interesting experiment might be to stop taking curcumin for a couple of months and try just adding more spices to my daily diet. BUT: would I have the nerve to do that? STOP taking curcumin? The very idea gives me the quivers. Yikes…


By the way, Prof. Gang adds that a colleague of his is already looking to form a private company to develop pharmaceutical remedies from the compounds he isolates.


Spices for thought…


  1. This is really interesting Margaret (and you don’t need to register to see the article – your link takes you straight there).

    I had never heard of David Gang but there is a video interview with him here: http://tinyurl.com/5r69q9

    I couldn’t find what those compounds were but this webpage might give a clue http://tinyurl.com/6dw57j

    Its a request from his University for collaborators on an innovation – a specific extract from turmeric:

    “The turmeric oily fractions were tested for anti-inflammatory activity in a human leukemia cell line (HL-60 cells). Combinations of several of the fractions that contain the turmeric oils were more effective than curcumin, or single turmeric fractions, in inhibiting PGE2”

  2. So interesting! I’d better get cooking! So maybe the spice bottle is a co-warrior with the pill bottle. Can’t hurt to do both.
    Thanks, Margaret, again, for all you uncover.

  3. Great work once again, Margaret.

    It’s interesting how we continue to discover potent therapeutic properties among so many intensely colored and flavored plants and derivatives. This area of study deserves a lot more investigation — doesn’t it?

  4. Hi Margaret. I was trying to get bottles of curcumin extract, few months ago. I found your interesting blog (remember, I even wrote you an e-mail). I finally ordered my supplements from http://www.turmeric-curcumin.com . Since I had to wait forever to get my bottles (6 weeks indeed, still waiting for them…), I went to a ”natural food” shop. They suggested that I buy the ”New Chapter” turmeric Force, saying that it is better, since they extract also the turmeric oil and some other components. I took their advice (well, I had no choice) and reading your last article, I am pretty happy about it !

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