What about treating Alzheimer's disease with the spice turmeric? An exciting case series was published in 2012. Three Alzheimer's patients treated with turmeric, and their symptoms declined, along with the burden on their caregivers. Let me show you what these data mean in real lives. Case number one: 83 year old woman, started losing her memory, getting disoriented. Then she started having problems taking care of herself, wandering aimlessly, incontinent. After the turmeric though, her agitation, apathy, anxiety, and irritability were relieved and she had less accidents. Furthermore she began to laugh again, and sing again, and knit again. After taking turmeric for more than a year she came to recognize her family and now lives a peaceful life without a significant behavioral or psychological symptom of dementia.
Case 2 was similar, but with hallucinations and delusions and depression, which appeared relieved by turmeric. She began to recognize her family again and now lives in a peacefully serene manner. And the third case, similar as well, including an improvement in cognition. This is the first demonstration that turmeric may be effective and safe for the treatment of the behavioral and psychological symptom of dementia in Alzheimer's disease patients. They call it a drug, but it's just a spice you can walk into any grocery store and buy for a few bucks. They were giving people like a teaspoon a day, which comes out to be about 15 cents.
Two trials using curcumin supplements rather than turmeric, however, failed to show a benefit. Curcumin is just one of hundreds of phytochemicals found in turmeric. Concentrated into pill form at up to 40 times the dose, no evidence of efficacy was found. Why didn't they get the same dramatic results we saw in the three case reports? Well, those three cases may have total flukes, but on the other hand turmeric, the whole food, is greater than the sum of its parts.
There is a long list of compounds that of been isolated from turmeric, and it's possible that each component in the mixture of curcumin-like compounds plays a distinct role in making it useful against Alzheimer's disease, and hence a mixture of compounds might better represent turmeric in its medicinal value better than curcumin alone. But why concoct some artificial mixture when Mother Nature already did it for us with turmeric? Because you can't patent the spice. And if you can't patent it, how are you going to charge more than 15 cents?