Various studies over the last 50 years have yielded turmeric benefits enough to continue performing research trials. Due to the increase in negative side effects of many drugs prescribed for medical conditions, some consumers are turning toward a more natural approach to increasing overall health.
What is Turmeric?
Turmeric (Curcuma Longa) is actually a rhizome, (rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant) from the same peppery root family as ginger. Other names turmeric is known by are, yellow earth and Indian saffron.
The active ingredient in the turmeric is curcumin, which gives it its rich yellow color. Known as a spice, a dye and a medicinal herb, turmeric is used commonly as a food coloring in many drinks and sauces, cosmetics, and is what gives mustard it’s distinctive color as well.
Curcumin has been of great interest because it contributes to the many turmeric benefits, such as its ability to fight off certain cancers, and aid in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.
How Does Turmeric Support Health?
Turmeric supports overall health by healing some conditions such as inflammation. Chronic inflammation is believed to increase the risk of certain types of cancer.
Turmeric treats and prevents a host of medical conditions. Firstly, the risk of contracting Alzheimer’s is reduced because turmeric effectively removes plaque from the brain. Also considered an antibacterial and an antiseptic, turmeric has been used for centuries to decrease pain, heal cuts and other mild abrasions. For those with liver problems, turmeric used on a regular basis detoxifies the liver.
Also considered an anti inflammatory, this spice reduces pain in individuals with chronic painful conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. Other turmeric benefits include the prevention of metastatic breast cancer, reduction of malignant melanomas, leukemia, and cancer of the pancreas.
Tumors have been found to kill themselves with the ingestion of turmeric, and new blood vessels that feed cancer are also prevented from forming. In addition to turmeric benefits against various cancers, it also has been studied in the prevention of multiple sclerosis, psoriasis, skin problems, and mild depression.
Foods and Cooking
Turmeric is absorbed by the body more readily after being cooked in oil. Many Indian recipes begin with onions, garlic and turmeric spice simmered in oil as a base upon which to build their meals. Curry chicken is a popular way to implement turmeric into the diet. Adding it to soups, stews, and salad dressings are just a few of the ways to increase turmeric benefits and its absorption.
Compounds Found in Turmeric
Disease fighting compounds have been found to increase turmeric benefits for overall good health. These compounds are angiogenesis inhibitor, which prevents the growth of cancer feeding blood vessels.
Anti inflammatory compounds decrease heart disease and reduces painful joints and muscular pain in chronic pain conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. Another compound in turmeric inhibits the development of blood clots by reducing sticky platelets. A powerful antioxidant, turmeric has been proven to stimulate the immune system.
Turmeric for Skin Care
Turmeric is not just a spice for ingestion but a miraculous topical for the skin. Added to cosmetics for many generations, turmeric inhibits the risk of melanoma by returning tanned skin back to its normal color therefore reducing the risks of contracting melanoma.
To brighten the skin, combining lemon juice and turmeric into a paste is an easy remedy to reduce uneven pigmentation. To make a mask, combine turmeric with chickpea flour, honey, and full fat milk to make a paste. Apply to the skin, leave on 10 minutes, then rinse off.
Whole Turmeric and Curcumin Supplements
Eating turmeric as a spice in recipes may reap many turmeric benefits, but one may not be able to ingest enough without digestive upset, so a combination of the spice and supplementation may be the optimal choice.
Research on Turmeric
Research on turmeric benefits through trial studies has shown the effectiveness of the compounds in turmeric has shown it reduces neck and head cancers by inhibiting cell growth of these specific tumors. According to a study performed at UCLA at the David Geffen School of Neurology, Professor of neurology Gregory Cole has shown through several studies that turmeric’s compound curcumin is promising medically because it reduces inflammation and oxidative damage, both of which contribute to deadly diseases.
Another study performed at the University of Texas, Anderson Cancer Center showed curcumin truly does inhibit the spread of breast cancer, specifically to the lungs. A clinical trial ongoing presently is studying the effects of turmeric in pill form on reducing and curing pancreatic cancer in subjects with only 6 months to live. Amazingly curcumin increases the effects of a drug to treat breast cancer called Taxol.
What to Look for When Buying
Turmeric supplementation is manufactured in pill and powder form, so which is best for consumer use? Turmeric benefits best when absorbed rapidly. The powder form is favorable because it may be mixed into drinks or foods. But, pill supplementation also contains an antioxidant powerhouse.
Most importantly, before purchasing pill supplements, be sure the product states it is a pure form of at least 95% and coated to increase absorption.