September 23, 2008

The Spice Turmeric Reduces Size of Stroke

The spice turmeric lowers the risk of getting cancer and Alzheimer's disease and it may reduce the size of a stroke as well, U.S. researchers said.

Second-year medical student Jay McCracken with Dr. Krishnan Dhandapani of the Medical College of Georgia used animal models to study curcumin, the active ingredient in the curry spice turmeric, on intracerebral hemorrhages -- bleeding in the brain caused by ruptured vessels.

"We found that curcumin significantly decreases the size of a blood clot, but we're not sure why it happens," McCracken said in a statement.

The researchers dissolved the yellow powder, which gives turmeric its color, in corn oil and injected it into the abdomen of an animal model of hemorrhagic stroke three times over three hours.

Patients likely will need to get curcumin intravenously, McCracken said.

The researchers said they believe turmeric -- a potent anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant -- may also help prevent strokes.

About 17 percent of strokes are hemorrhagic, said the American Stroke Association, and usually occur in people with high blood pressure.