Turmeric or Curcuma Longa is a spice popular in Indian curries and other dishes, but the root holds more than just culinary benefits. Many experts consider tumeric one of the most powerful and effective herbs. Over the centuries and into today, it has been used to prevent and treat many ailments. More than 10,000 published studies discuss the benefits of this spice and its use in healing diseases and illnesses. Many highlight that curcumin, a compound in turmeric, has more effect than some prescription drugs.
The antioxidant effect of turmeric is one of its greatest claims to fame. Oxidative damage is one of the mechanisms responsible for aging and many diseases. Free radicals react with organic substances in the body, which can cause harm. Turmeric contains curcumin, a powerful antioxidant that can protect from free radicals by neutralizing them, thanks to its chemical structure. Curcumin also stimulates antioxidant mechanisms in the body.
Turmeric boosts glucose control and augments the effects of medications that treat diabetes. This powerful herb can supplement mainstream diabetes treatments by helping moderate insulin levels. It also lowers resistance to insulin, which can help to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes. However, it is still best to consult a physician before supplementing diabetes treatments with natural options.
There are many types of cancer, but they share common features that curcumin and turmeric could help address. The herb may be able to influence the growth, development, and spread of breast, colon, stomach, and skin cancer cells at a molecular level. Research also suggests curcumin can lower the growth of new blood vessels in existing tumors, prevent metastasis (spread), and possibly contribute to the elimination of cancerous cells.
High cholesterol has many poor health consequences. Studies show using turmeric to season your food can significantly lower blood cholesterol levels and suppress plaque build-up in the arteries, which are essential to preventing cardiovascular issues and other serious health diseases.
One of the most common neurodegenerative diseases in the world and the leading cause of dementia, Alzheimer's is dreaded by many but still has no known cure. Turmeric reduces inflammation and oxidative damage, which researchers believe play a role in the development of the disease. Therefore, consuming turmeric could help prevent the onset of Alzheimer's. Curcumin also aids in clearing up amyloid plaques, a key factor in the disease's development.
Turmeric offers many benefits for the outsides of our bodies, too, including speeding up wound healing and calming the pores to help reduce acne. It can also prevent scarring and helps control psoriasis flareups. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties offer many perks, but the bright color can stain the skin, and some people may have allergic reactions to the topical application, so it is ideal to consult a dermatologist first.
Many studies offer promising results regarding turmeric and the treatment of depression. Research has linked depression to lowered levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factors (BDNF) and neuron loss in the hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for learning and memory. Curcumin can potentially reverse these effects thanks to its ability to enhance BDNF levels. There is also some evidence that curcumin can increase the brain neurotransmitters that produce dopamine and serotonin.
Often, people with stomach and digestive conditions develop an intolerance to medical interventions. Because the GI tract is already compromised, the introduction of drugs can further damage the mucosal lining. Based on research and analysis, curcumin can help control inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, and even Crohn's disease so well that some people have been able to wean themselves off other medication. As an added benefit, curcumin doesn't cause the side effects many people complain of with gastrointestinal medicines.
People suffering from both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis can benefit from using turmeric. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties help eliminate free radicals responsible for damaging cells. Anecdotal evidence from people with arthritis who regularly consume turmeric notes relief from mild to moderate joint pains, as well as reduction of joint inflammation.
Powdered turmeric can help with weight control. The components in turmeric help calm the low-grade inflammation associated with obesity and promote fat loss. People who would like to lose a couple of pounds may benefit from eating a teaspoon of turmeric powder with every meal in addition to following a healthy diet and exercise routine. Turmeric should be used with caution in people with gallbladder disease because it stimulates bile production, which can lead to complications.
Though most people can eat foods with turmeric without experiencing any issues, some might find they face a few side effects after increasing this healthful ingredient in their diets. Constipation, diarrhea, and stomach aches are some of the more common, minor symptoms.
Additionally, because turmeric can increase bile secretion — a property that provides some of its benefits — people with an obstructed bile duct, liver disease, gallstones, or another biliary condition should avoid amping up their turmeric intake. Anyone taking prescription medication should speak to their doctor before beginning to take or significantly increasing this spice, as well.
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.