Turmeric the Medicinal Spice from India

Up until recently, I hadn't given Indian food much thought. Some of it I liked, some was pretty hot for my taste. Recently however, I have discovered something really exciting. Turmeric.

Not only does turmeric taste wonderful, it has wonderful health benefits. Western civilization is just now getting to know about them, but in Indian Ayurvedic medicine, it has been around for thousands of years.

If you were told that taking as little as one teaspoon per day of a simple spice could possibly treat the pain of arthritis, ward off ulcers, fight heart disease, prevent some cancers, treat dysentery, and protect your liver.....would you be interested in trying it?

Well, this is turmeric. Turmeric has been the subject of a great deal of research and all of it has been very promising.

Turmeric exhibits very strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. This would be exciting enough, but turmeric offers so much more. It would probably be easier to say what it couldn't do...but that wouldn't be half as enlightening.

Turmeric is a member of the ginger family and like ginger it is the rhizome that is used. It is cured in a special process...boil, clean, sun dry, and polish. Not surprisingly, India is the world's major producer of turmeric today, responsible for around 94 percent of the worlds supply.

Curcuminoids are what give turmeric its characteristic (and beautiful) yellow coloring. Curcumin is one of the curcuminoids, and has been the focus of much research. Curcumin is similar to the compound capsaicin (found in cayenne), curcumin lowers something called "substance P" so pain signals are not transmitted through nerve fibers.

Turmeric has shown strong liver protective properties. In this age of giving a "pill for every ill", this kind of liver support can be potentially crucial. Our livers have to process every drug that we take in. This can take its toll. Acetaminophen (brand name Tylenol) can be especially hard on one's liver especially if we are taking it regularly or in large amounts. So can alcohol. Using turmeric may be a great insurance policy towards protecting that liver.

Arthritis can be a misery, but many of the medications to treat the pain and inflammation of the arthritis can be a misery in themselves. Taking turmeric (curcumin 1,200 mg to be exact) every day significantly improved the swelling and stiffness of the joints and improved the ability to walk in a study of rheumatoid arthritis sufferers. The best news here is that curcumin does not have the toxicity potential of other anti-inflammatory drug therapies.

Turmeric, like many culinary herbs, helps to slow food spoilage. This is due to the fact that it has an antibiotic action. Laboratory tests have shown that turmeric also fights protozoa. These are a group of nasties that, among other things, can be responsible for dysentery. Traditionally, turmeric has been used to treat this type of dysentery, and anecdotal reports show that it has been quite successful.

Turmeric may also prevent heart disease and stroke by preventing the blood clots that are the causes of many. Also, it has been shown to lower cholesterol. Be mindful, that these studies are preliminary, but very promising. Also, in the realm of heart disease, turmeric is strongly anti-inflammatory and inflammation is the enemy of our arteries.

A human trial was done involving only smokers. Participants were given 1.5 grams of turmeric (approximately 1 teaspoon) per day for one month. Findings were promising. Smoker's urine normally contains substances called mutagens. These mutagens are agents capable of causing mutations in genes. The mutagens are potentially carcinogenic. At the end of the study, the smoker's urine had a significant reduction of these mutagens excreted in their urine.

Good for your arteries, potential cancer and heart disease prevention, and so much more. It is usually very well tolerated also. In unusually large amounts, it can cause some stomach upset. If this should occur, either discontinue use or cut back on the dosage.

Pregnant women should not use turmeric in its supplement form. In addition those with gallstones or other bile duct blockages should not take it, as it is a bile production stimulant. Also, those people taking blood thinners (example: Coumadin) should check with their physician before using turmeric as a supplement. This is always a good idea with any herbal supplement, especially if you are taking medications or if you have preexisting conditions.

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Comments 16 comments

RenaSherwood profile image

RenaSherwood 8 years ago

Wow. I love tumeric, especially in rice, and of course in curry. Thanks for the information about one of my favorite cooking spices. Tumeric also has the active ingredient in aspirin (and willow bark) -- (I can never spell it) Salicylic acid. There was a 2006 study about really spicy curries with tumeric helped a headache.

http://www.dealingwithheadaches.com/take-two-curri...


Michele Engholm profile image

Michele Engholm 8 years ago from Hutchinson Author

Rena, thanks for the info! I am 100% for anything that helps with headaches!!!!


Madhavi Bhatia 8 years ago

hey even i didn't know that haldi or turmeric helped with headaches. we use it as a poultice with virgin mustard oil for sprains, torn ligaments etc. Infact when i have a cough the first thing i do is drink a glas of hot milk heated with either raw or dried turmeric. it's completely miraculous. when brides are about to get married the day before the marriage ceremony we put a haldi/turmeric ka lape (pack) all over the body. it acts as an antisceptic and makes the skin glow. Dear Michelle and Rena, i would love for your feedback on a website my friends and I are setting up . We call it the copperwiki, copper because we arent red but are turning and trying to be green. would love your additons to the haldi page michelle. thanks


Jo Brown profile image

Jo Brown 7 years ago from North of the Border

You are a great hubber! I like how you have linked your hubs.

I am keeping rice in the fridge all the time now so I can snack on rice with curry powder and turmeric!


Michele Engholm profile image

Michele Engholm 7 years ago from Hutchinson Author

Oh...Bless your heart Jo! THX! Good luck with the Rice Curry!!!


Tom Ridgley 7 years ago

Hi Michele,

I am looking for advice on curcumin. I am on Plavix now following stents and shortly after the stents clogged a bypass. I did not want the Plavix for reasons now being discovered. But apparently stopping it almost doubles your chance for heart problems. So I'd like to shift to curcumin and at the same time taper off Plavix. Do you or anyone you know have any advice on this? My surgeon thought curcumin was a joke until he had to call for a transfusion during the bypass as I had almost uncontroled bleeding. I didn't stop it soon enough. So please continue to warn people of this property. Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Tom Ridgley

Fairfield, IA.

myluckyday@lisco.com


mphozat 6 years ago

Thanks for that very informative hub. I stay alone and sometime cook a lot of food. Now I wont have to worry about my food being spoiled. Thank you!


Deb 6 years ago

I have discovered turmeric is wonderful for this pain I get in my side. I don't know what the pain is, but the turmeric takes it away. That's all I need to know. It's just a blessing that I found it.


drawer spice rack 6 years ago

turmeric has a great medicinal value, it is also used for ayerveda. =)


Robert 5 years ago

Tumeric and curry powder work awsome for the recovering alcoholic,try it in tea,or make your own snack with it ,you can't go wrong,try it.it will stop the feeling of your organs, heart, ect from the feeling of moving,trust me.


Robert 5 years ago

Tumeric and curry powder work awsome for the recovering alcoholic,try it in tea,or make your own snack with it ,you can't go wrong,try it.it will stop the feeling of your organs, heart, ect from the feeling of moving,trust me.


Taking Turmeric 5 years ago

Turmeric is a stunning curative. Quite a battle for some to adjust to its taste, though, unless they're into Indian cuisine. I prefer using gel caps to get a regular dose of this stuff for the health benefits.


Sarah 5 years ago

Great article! Thanks for all the information! :-) And also, the other comments are informative and interesting too! I'm starting to use curry and turmeric quite a bit in my cooking so it's always good to know you're using something with many health benefits :-)


patrick_the_fat 4 years ago

I have been taking turmeric for about 4 months to help heal from a concussion that happened a year ago. NSAIDs have been poisoning me as I have been dealing with this painful head swelling, and I am finally recovering properly. Also getting my abs back to good shape and totally cleansing my body, I recommend this to almost anyone. Make sure to get a good organic, top-shelf product (you can smell the earthly, organic qualities) ex. if you are getting McCormick brand get the Gourmet Selection not the one that comes in the cheap plastic bottle, or it can just make you feel sick. The first couple times it can give you a flappy stomach feeling but that is your gut going into a healthier state, just lower the dose for a day or so then resume. It makes your urine bubbly, look on Google for turmeric and urine and you find a great deal of research information. You can find this spice at most Indian grocery markets at reasonable prices, otherwise the best I have found (and been taking) thus far is Spice Island, which is overpriced for what it is used for. I go through 1-1.5 jars a week, often I skip days of dosing and on many days I take large doses. It really helps, I do believe it is anti-carcinogenic but for anti-inflammatory, at least for my condition, it still helps to take an NSAID such as Naproxin (no more Ibuprofrin) once in a while. They work great together, one low-dose NSAID can work for an entire week if you are taking turmeric. You can ask me further questions at patri.p.rip@gmail.com, I am a strong supporter of this practice and also use of other natural medicine, as it is outlawed in modern U.S. practice because it does not make our country money.


betsy lawson 4 years ago

i finally bought some turmeric yesterday at a Saigon Market grocery store but it has NO taste! it must be old altho there is no date stamped on bottle?


Jenna martin 4 years ago

Hey guys,

Turmeric is a very wonderful herb... It can cure staph type infection in a months times... This is a personal experience.. Take I tsp of organic turmeric in 1cup of lukewarm water... Drink this thrice a day like three cups golden blessing.... You will see the results for sure... And ppl suffering from boils will bless discovering how a boil can disappear by drinking just two shots of this potion...

Also betsy Lawson.. Dear friend turmeric doesn't have taste... It's bland just always take a fresh packed one and store in airtight container...

Hope it helps.

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