- Alternative & Natural Medicine
12 Health Benefits of Turmeric
Powerful Health Benefits of Turmeric
Turmeric is well known for it's health benefits. A powerful phytochemical in it is known as curcumin and it has also become famous. This article was written December 5, 2013.
Just like tomatoes and watermelons are red because of the phyochemical (plant medicine), lycopene in them, the curcumin is responsible for the yellow color of the turmeric rhizome (a mass of roots).
In the book that I have, Anti-Cancer: A New Way of Life by David Sherman-Schrieber M.D., Ph.D., it says about turmeric:
No other food ingredient has such a powerful anti-inflammatory effect.
Turmeric is a popular spice in India just like curry is. Most of the time turmeric is the first ingredient in curry. Curry is a mix of different spices that can vary. Wikipedia says:
Most curry powder recipes include coriander, turmeric, cumin, fenugreek, and red pepper [cayenne] in their blends. Depending on the recipe, additional ingredients such as ginger, garlic, asafoetida, fennel seed, caraway, cinnamon, clove, mustard seed, green cardamom, black cardamom, nutmeg, long pepper, and black pepper may also be included.
I am a Jewish/Irish-American but I love Indian food. The majority of Indian food is vegetarian. So if someone becomes a vegetarian they can eat some delicious Indian food. Now their secret is that they make these sauces that the vegetables are in. They have mastered the mixtures of spices to add to make it taste great.
They also make it very hot (spicy) but in restaurants you can order a milder version. The ones sold in grocery stores are very mild since you can spice it up at home. But many people also like spicy foods like spicy Mexican foods and also sushi for the extremely hot wasabi.
Turmeric made the list of the 13 best herbs of Dr. James A. Duke (PhD in Botany). He worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), in the Medicinal Plants Research Laboratory, for over 3 decades cataloging the different plant medicines (phytochemicals) in different plants (herbs). See 13 Best Herbs for Health and Healing.
Actually I had them add fake duck and walnuts to it, so they called it Charlie Hot Pot. Charlie is another nick-name for Charles like Chuck is. The Chinese like Charlie Chaplin and can have trouble pronouncing some English words so they pronounced Charlie as Cha Lee.
So you can learn to use turmeric or curry in the food that you eat. Also the book above says turmeric is much more bioavailable if eaten eaten with black pepper and many curries have both turmeric and black pepper. Piperine is a main biochemical in black pepper.
Here is a PubMed study called Influence of piperine on the pharmacokinetics of curcumin in animals and human volunteers. It says that the piperine increases the bioavailability of curcumin by 20 times. Also see the 4 minute video below by Michael Greger M.D. about this. Piperine is a phytochemical in black pepper just like curcumin in turmeric.
12 Health Benefits of Turmeric
Here is what the University of Maryland Medical School says about turmeric:
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) has been used for 4,000 years to treat a variety of conditions. Studies show that turmeric may help fight infections and some cancers, reduce inflammation, and treat digestive problems, and it has gotten a lot of press lately.
Curcumin is also a powerful antioxidant.
In addition, curcumin lowers the levels of two enzymes in the body that cause inflammation. It also stops platelets from clumping together to form blood clots.
1. Turmeric is Antiseptic and Antibacterial
Antiseptics prevents the growth of disease-causing microorganisms. The above benefits are from applying it topically.
2. Turmeric Prevents Cancer
Turmeric was the second food listed among the foods that prevent cancer in the Anti-Cancer book listed above. So what was the first food listed above? Green tea! The more green tea that you drink, the less chance you have of getting cancer.
Here is an article called Great Foods that Fight Cancer. It mentions turmeric, green tea and other other more common foods.
3. Prevents Cardiovascular Disease
Above it says that it helps to prevent blood clots that cause heart attack and strokes. There is an article called Spices Stop Blood Clots Better Than Drugs. Besides mentioning turmeric it also says that piperine (remember from black pepper) helps prevent blood clots.
It says that one of the most powerful spices for doing this is capsaicin. Now this is the main compound in cayenne pepper or red pepper. Most of the time curry contains red pepper as mentioned above. Also the other spices usually found in curry are very healthy. I always buy the organic curry. I do not want pesticides in my spices.
4. Turmeric Detoxifies the Liver
Here is a whole article about it called Turmeric for Liver & Digestive Health. It says:
Turmeric shares similar liver protectant compounds that milk thistle and artichoke leaves contain. It is said to shrink engorged hepatic ducts, so it can be useful to treat liver conditions such as hepatitis, cirrhosis, and jaundice.
5. Prevents Inflammation
This one benefit may influence many of the others since the less inflammation people have, the less chance they have of getting diseases associated with aging.
6. Prevents Arthritis and Osteoarthritis
Of course the benefit listed above this one is responsible for this. Webmd.com says:
Curcumin, a substance in turmeric, may help to reduce inflammation. Several studies suggest that it might ease symptoms of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, like pain and inflammation. Other compounds in turmeric might also be medicinal.
7. Improves Digestion
This benefit was talked about in the article about liver and digestion. This herb stimulates bile production in the liver and this helps the body to digest fats.
8. Natural Painkiller
Aspirins helps pain and inflammation since they go together.
9. Helps Diabetes
10. Prevents Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease (AD)
PubMed is the U.S. National Library of Medicine that is one of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This PubMed article is called: The effect of curcumin (turmeric) on Alzheimer's disease. It says:
It has been used in various types of treatments for dementia and traumatic brain injury. Curcumin also has a potential role in the prevention and treatment of AD. Curcumin as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and lipophilic action improves the cognitive functions in patients with AD.
11. Speeds the Healing of Wounds
This spice even has the ability to heal wounds faster and repair already damaged skin. You can make a tea of it apply it topically. But as an herbalist, I feel that it is better to also take it internally when you use it externally.
12. Improves Cell Health and Boosts the Immune System
This is another reason that it is so effective in preventing cancer.
I did not make this clear in the beginning but Indian food is my favorite style of food. Of course that Chinese restaurant mentioned above had the best food because the owner, Peter Fong, made it his mission to make vegan foods taste as good as possible and it was not limited to Chinese food.