turmeric

Terrific Turmeric

The spice turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a tuber grown mostly in India. Turmeric has a long history of being used for medicinal purposes, especially in China and India. Curcumin, the major ingredient of turmeric, is what gives the spice its yellow color, and it has very strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

Today, turmeric is known for its use in Indian foods, especially curries, and it gives mustard its yellow color. Animal studies with the spice show great promise in treating and preventing many conditions and some diseases.

Here are just some of the conditions and diseases that turmeric has been found to help prevent or alleviate:

Cancer

Researchers have found curcumin can stop the growth of existing cancers and even destroy cancer cells. It also has a preventive effect against other tumor cells such as T-cell leukemia, childhood leukemia, colon cancer, and lung and breast cancers. Research presented at a recent conference on childhood leukemia held in London provides evidence that eating foods spiced with turmeric could reduce the risk of developing childhood leukemia. And in India, where turmeric is used liberally in food, it is rare for men to have prostate cancer.

Arthritis

The combination of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties in turmeric is very helpful for treating both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and consume turmeric on a regular basis experience much relief from the moderate to mild joint pains as well as joint inflammation.

Diabetes

Studies have shown turmeric is effective in reducing insulin resistance which may help prevent Type-2 Diabetes.

Alzheimer’s

Studies have shown Curcumin can block the plaque build-up and improve oxygen to the part of the brain responsible for the cause of Alzheimer’s disease.  India has one of the lowest incidences of Alzheimer’s in the world.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Studies with mice show when given an inflammatory agent to cause colitis and then given turmeric, they were protected from Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

Wound Healing       

Turmeric sprinkled on a cut or burn will speed up the healing process. It has natural antiseptic and antibacterial properties. It can also treat skin conditions like psoriasis.

Cardiovascular

Because of its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, it protects the heart by preventing plaque build-up in the arteries that leads to heart disease.

In general, turmeric is considered safe even in high amounts. However, turmeric does have some contraindications. It should be used with caution by people with gallstones, stomach ulcers, or bile duct obstruction as turmeric may exacerbate these conditions.

Turmeric is available in the following forms:

  • Powder in the spice aisle
  • Capsules containing powder
  • Fluid extract
  • Tincture

Because bromelain increases the absorption and anti-inflammatory effects of curcumin, it is often combined with turmeric products.

It is recommended to use a teaspoon of turmeric in your food. Alternate choices are as follows:

Pediatric

Turmeric supplements haven’t been studied in children, so there is no recommended dose.

Adult

The following are doses recommended for adults:

Cut root: 1.5 – 3 g per day
Dried, powdered root: 1 – 3 g per day
Standardized powder (curcumin): 400 – 600 mg, 3 times per day
Fluid extract (1:1) 30 – 90 drops a day
Tincture (1:2): 15 – 30 drops, 4 times per day

Source: Turmeric | University of Maryland Medical Center http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/turmeric#ixzz2xZJYhL6n
University of Maryland Medical Center

References:

http://ireport.cnn.com/docs/DOC-1012314

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-weil-md/turmeric-health-have-a-happy-new-year_b_798328.html

http://www.mnn.com/food/healthy-eating/stories/the-amazing-health-benefits-of-turmeric

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