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The Many Health Benefits Of Turmeric

Updated on October 22, 2012

NOTE: I am not a physician, this article is educational in nature and should not be considered prescriptive advice. Anyone considering adding supplements of any kind to their diet should seek the advice of their physician before doing so.

I recently discovered a kitchen staple that has many health benefits and I had no idea. For all of my adult life, I have kept turmeric in the kitchen and used it for the usual recipes. Recently though, I watched the Dr. Oz TV show and he recommended that Turmeric may be beneficial for many diseases. Please note that I have not put entire studies in this article. A Google search or the links I have inserted will assist the reader in finding more information on this subject. I did a lot of research and found Turmeric may help in reducing or curing:

  • inflammatory disease of the joints
  • Indigestion or dyspepsia
  • Ulcerative colitis
  • osteoarthritis
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Bacterial and Viral Infection
  • Uveiti

Turmeric powder is dried from the root of a plant called Curcume longa. The plant averages 5-6 feet in height. The majority of Turmeric is grown in India and exported all over the world. It has a tough skin that is brown in color and the flesh is orange. Turmeric has a peppery but not hot flavor and gives a lovely yellow color to food. It has been used for centuries to make curry. Turmeric is in the ginger family and can be eaten fresh as well as dried. Even people who don’t know about turmeric probably have it in their kitchen because it is used to give that yellow hotdog mustard that bright color.

Now to the medicinal properties of Turmeric. India and China have used it for centuries, so this is not a new discovery. It is only new to us. Research is showing amazing benefits and results. The primary pharmacological agent in turmeric is thought to be Curcumin, the pigment that gives the yellow color.

  • Antioxidant

Curcumin is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants scavenge particles in the body known as free radicals, which damage cell membranes, tamper with DNA, and even cause cell death. Antioxidants can neutralize free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause

  • Inflammatory disease of the joints

Turmeric has established anti-inflammatory properties. In studies, curcumin's anti-inflammatory effects have been shown to be comparable to the potent drugs hydrocortisone and phenylbutazone as well as over-the-counter anti-inflammatory agents such as Motrin.

  • Indigestion or dyspepsia

The primary agent in Turmeric, Curcumin stimulates the gallbladder to produce bile, which some people think may help improve digestion. Germany has approved turmeric for a variety of digestive disorders. Studies show that turmeric reduced symptoms of bloating and gas in people suffering from indigestion.

  • Ulcerative colitis

Turmeric may help maintain remission in people with ulcerative colitis. In a study, people whose ulcerative colitis was in remission received either curcumin or placebo, along with conventional medical treatment, for 6 months. Those who took curcumin had a relapse rate that was much lower than those who took placebo.

  • osteoarthritis

Because of its ability to reduce inflammation, turmeric may help relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis. People using an alternative treatment formula of herbs and minerals including turmeric, reduced pain and disability. The other herbs may have an impact as well as the Turmeric. The study findings did not determine this.

  • Atherosclerosis

Turmeric may help prevent atherosclerosis, the buildup of plaque that can block arteries and lead to heart attack or stroke. It works in several ways. An extract of turmeric lowered cholesterol levels and kept LDL or "bad" cholesterol from building up in blood vessels. Because it stops platelets from clumping together, turmeric may also prevent blood clots from building up along the walls of arteries.

  • Cancer

Evidence suggests that curcumin may help prevent, control, or kill several types of cancers, including prostate, breast, skin, and colon. This may be due to its ability to stop the blood vessels that supply cancerous tumors from growing, and from its strength as an antioxidant, protecting cells from damage.

  • Diabetes

When animals with diabetes were given turmeric and their blood sugar levels dropped, as did their blood cholesterol levels.

  • Bacterial and Viral Infections

Studies suggest turmeric may have antibacterial and antiviral properties.

  • Uveitis

Curcumin may help treat uveitis, an inflammation of the eye. In one study people with uveitis, curcumin appeared to be as effective as corticosteroids.

  • An Effective Treatment for Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Curcumin may be an inexpensive and effective treatment for inflammatory bowel disease such as Crohn's.

  • Cancer Prevention

Curcumin's antioxidant actions enable it to protect colon cells from free radicals that can damage cellular DNA-a benefit in the colon where cell turnover is quite rapid, about every three days. Curcumin helps the body to destroy mutated cancer cells, so they cannot spread through the body and cause more harm. Curcumin does so by enhancing liver function. It may also inhibit the synthesis of a protein thought to be instrumental in tumor formation and preventing the development of additional blood supply necessary for cancer cell growth.

  • Inhibits Cancer Cell Growth and Metastases

Studies have linked frequent use of turmeric to lower rates of breast, prostate, lung and colon cancer. Experiments have shown curcumin can prevent tumors from forming; and research conducted at the University of Texas suggests that even when breast cancer is already present, curcumin can help slow the spread of breast cancer cells to the lungs in mice.

  • Reduce Risk of Childhood Leukemia

Research presented at a conference on childhood leukemia provides evidence that eating foods spiced with turmeric could reduce the risk of developing childhood leukemia. The incidence of this cancer has risen dramatically during the 20th century, mainly in children under age five, among whom the risk has increased by more than 50 percent. Childhood leukemia is much lower in Asia than Western countries, which may be due to differences in diet, one of which, the frequent use of turmeric, has been investigated in a series of studies over the last 20 years by Prof. Moolky Nagabhushan.

  • May Help Prevent Alzheimer's Disease

Elderly (aged 70-79) residents of rural India, who eat large amounts of curry, have the lowest incidence of Alzheimer's disease in the world: 4.4 times lower than that of Americans. Does that mean that curry helps prevent Alzheimer's? Other factors (dietary, genetic, social, economic, lifestyle-related, etc.) would have to be taken into account, and ruled out. But the correlation is suggestive, and there are scientific reasons for believing that there may indeed be a real effect there.

Now for some fun–or funny-facts about Turmeric.

Turmeric can be used to deter ants!

  • Turmeric is known to offer instant relief for heartburn, indigestion, impaired metabolism, flatulence, colic and diarrhea.
  • It is also popular as a treatment for respiratory problems like cough, cold, fever and sore throat.
  • In India, it is used as a local and internal antiseptic, anti-inflammatory drug and for de-worming.
  • In the southern areas of India, women apply turmeric paste to their face and feet after a bath. Turmeric is a traditional remedy for various skin conditions. Turmeric powder mixed with water is a potent potion that cures skin allergies, fungal infections, pimples and insect bites. It prevents blackheads and improves skin tone.
  • Turmeric is effective for treating measles, hepatitis and epilepsy.
  • High doses of turmeric along with blood-thinning drugs should be avoided.
  • People using Turmeric as a topical treatment for skin conditions should avoid excessive sunlight.
  • Mice receiving curcumin lost much less weight than control animals.
  • A teaspoon of the powder with warm milk is sure to ease your troubles away.

So add Turmeric to rice, noodles, tea, cauliflower, beans, yogurt, dips and pretty much everything you eat or drink. It may just be the dried fountain of life that people have sought for centuries!


Here are some websites that I researched to get you started:

NOTE: I am not a physician, this article is educational in nature and should not be considered prescriptive advice. Anyone considering adding supplements of any kind to their diet should seek the advice of their physician before doing so.



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