The scientific journal Neuropsychopharmacology has published an important paper by Glenn E. Schafe, professor of psychology, on the curative potential of a natural compound found in a commonly used spice.
The compound curcumin, derived from the root of the widely used turmeric plant, is already known to possess properties potentially useful in the treatment of cancer, heart disease, arthritis and other diseases. Professor Schafe's paper is the first to suggest that curcumin may also be useful in treating post-traumatic stress disorder.
"We showed that rats freely fed a diet enriched with curcumin have impaired encoding of fear memories," Professor Schafe said. "We also showed that rats with a pre-existing fear memory can lose that memory when it is recalled while they are eating a curcumin-enriched diet."
This suggests, he said, that people suffering from PTSD and other disabling psychological disorders that are characterized by fearful memories may benefit substantially from a curcumin-enriched diet.