Turmeric health benefits: Medical uses on skin & other diseases
Turmeric & India-Indispensable
When someone had to talk about turmeric it should start with India. Turmeric roots and its powder are considered as holy and a symbol of purity. Ceremonies like marriages, yagas, and yagnas never happen without the use of turmeric.
Turmeric is an important medicinal plants that has been used by Indians and other south-east countries from many centuries as a condiment for food preparation.
It was and is been used as a natural cosmetic to protect skin from infections, acne, skin blemishes etc.
A classical Indian lady would apply its paste on the foot as an indication of holiness on auspicious days. On the other hand, it imparts glow to the skin due to dye like effect and also acts as a natural anti-septic.
Indian system of medicine Ayurveda indicates turmeric to have many skin and other disease healing properties.
Turmeric skin benefits
Turmeric is has many healthbenefits and also used frequently as a cosmetic due to its characters like anti-septic, anti-oxidant and also skin colorant.
To decrease the pigmentation on skin, it is advised to blend turmeric with natural anti-oxidants like lemon juice or cucumber, then repeatedly apply on pigmented spots and rinse after a couple of minutes.
Application of a slurry made of turmeric and sandalwood powder using water decrease the appearance of acne.
Excess facial and other region hair growth can be minimized by constant cleansing with turmeric slurry.
It is a good anti-septic for application on burns, cuts and also on bruises as it decreases the tendency of inflammation
Turmeric cancer benefits
Turmeric is shown to possess prominent anti-cancer properties in recent scientific & medical research. It is under process to see if it can be used as a regular safe anti-cancer drug for treatment in humans.
The disadvantages of present anti-cancer drugs is the excessive side effects due to their use. Curcumin the active constituent of turmeric appears to be an alternative with less or no side effects in cancer therapy.
Some reports mentioned that, placitaxel an anti-cancer drug's effect was potentiated when administered in combination with curcumin.
Its ability to inhibit free radical production and also enzymes of cancer cells may be contributing to its anti-cancer properties.
In cancer, it has shown to inhibit the growth of cancer cells and also their multiplication.
It also seems to be limiting the spread of cancer (metastasis) form one region to another in the body.
The promising effects are known to be seen in esophageal, mouth, intestinal, stomach, breast, and skin cancers with less side effects.
Turmeric has been indicated for inflammation in ancient Indian system of medicine Ayurveda. Modern science approves this ability of turmeric in inflammation.
It is thought to be due to its COX-2 enzyme inhibition activity during inflammation. COX-I and COX-II are enzymes involved in synthesis of inflammatory factors or mediators in the body. COX-II in particular is exaggerated in production of these inflammatory mediators during an injury or infection leading to intense pain. Inhibition of this COX-II decreases inflammation and associated pain.
This anti-inflammatory activity may also be attributed to its anti-microbial property. Since microbial infections are also causative factor for inflammation.
Regularly used anti-inflammatory agents like non-steroidal's have side effects like gastritis, chances of ulcer and heart problems. In that case turmeric a herbal remedy is said to be safe alternative due to fewer side effects as a pain reliever.
Turmeric is prescribed to relieve inflammations in rheumatism, arthritis, muscle sprains, injuries and surgical incisions.
Turmeric overall has uses in medicine, food, cosmetic, dyeing and coloring industry.
Turmeric milk / Turmeric drink: Combination of warm milk or water with a spoon of turmeric and sugar is considered to be a good remedy for soar throat, cough, colds and sinusitis. The warmness of the fluid relieves congestion while turmeric combats infection.
Moreover this mode and dose of turmeric consumption is safer as its effects stay only till the stomach and intestine and rarely enters blood. So it's a good candidate for all types of localized gut infections.
Besides turmeric is shown to improve memory and also act as anti-oxidant.
Turmeric side effects
Turmeric was rarely reported for side effects by Indians and other regular users, perhaps this may be due to its low or limited consumption in food.
But it is believed that consuming in large amounts may result in stomach pain and other digestive disturbances.
For those who are allergic to turmeric, the chances of reactions are more like skin rashes.
Some studies in humans reported changes in metabolism of oxalate by curcumin. This results in a tendency to form kidney stones due to calcium oxalate crystal deposition especailly among those who are susceptible to kidney stones.
One should consult their doctor or pharmacist regarding the side effects and possible drug interaction with curcumin when taken together.
Where to buy turmeric
Turmeric root is on the list of approved by FDA under herbs for food and hence it is available as as spice in powdered form in common grocery stores.
It can be easily cultivated in your garden for prolonged and sufficient supply as the plant is perennial herb.
Like tulsi you can also make a tea (from its powder) for consumption, add into your food stuff or as ointments or pastes made of turmeric for application on the skin.
There appears to be no fixed dose for turmeric, but practitioners recommend taking a teaspoon with each meal.