I don't think I have been lied to this way, ever by anyone.
I am going to be over-dramatic about this, but I might have been fooled into drinking haldi waala doodh for absolutely no reason whenever I was sick, if this review is to be believed.
The wonder properties of turmeric were until now attributed to a compound found in it called curcumin which is an "unstable, reactive, non-bioavailable compound and, therefore, a highly improbable lead [for drug development]." The compound, however, does not live up to its hype.
The review suggests that the compound has limited, if any, actual health benefits. However, there may still be reason to include the “golden spice” in your diet, say the authors of the new review, published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry.
According to Time, when the reviewers looked at several recent clinical trials and epidemiological studies on curcumin, they noticed that research findings often weren’t translated correctly in the media.
Co-author Michael Walter, research associate professor at the University of Minnesota’s Institute for Therapeutics Discovery and Development, says,
Once something enters the popular press, it can be blown out of proportion. These studies have become a part of folklore, and their actual results don’t really measure up to what they’re quoted as.
Curcumin breaks down into chemicals which have different properties. Sometimes it is contaminated with other compounds that have their own biological activity, which gets falsely ascribed to curcumin. It even becomes fluorescent when ultraviolet light is shone on it, which fools a common scientific technique used to detect if a chemical is interacting with a specific protein.
The effects that turmeric may have on, say, a sore throat, could simply be placebo effects. That is to say, the act of going into self-care mode and drinking a hot, comforting drink is what results in healing rather than any direct effect of the turmeric.
Not everyone has given up hope. Julie Ryan of University of Rochester Medical Center failed to show in a clinical trial that curcumin could treat dermatitis. And, yet, she believes that the compound deserves more study. Turmeric is made of hundreds of chemicals and Walters isn’t hopeful of getting real results. “It may very well be the case that curcumin or turmeric extracts do have beneficial effects, but getting to the bottom of that is complex and might be impossible,” he told Nature.
Time to ditch the haldi wala doodh?