The Power of Turmeric

DSC_0115By Shana Perkins, HHC

Turmeric may well be one of the world’s healthiest foods. The benefits of this bright orange spice have been well known for ages. In fact, it has so many healing properties that currently there have been 6,235 peer-reviewed articles published proving the benefits of turmeric and one of its renowned healing compounds, curcumin.

Most of turmeric’s beneficial properties are due to the fact that it is both a very strong anti-inflammatory and a potent anti-oxidant. Turmeric is such a potent antioxidant that is can surpass many drugs in effectiveness, including anticoagulants/antiplatelets, anti-depressants, anti-inflammatories, arthritic medication, diabetes treatment and many more. The beauty about this natural herb is not only its powerful healing abilities but also the lack of side effects.

Anti-oxidants combat the free radicals that assault our cells each day and cause aging by wearing down the building blocks of our body. Inflammation is the root cause of disease and we are living in a world where most of us walk around chronically inflamed. Consuming a pure source of turmeric on a regular basis will not only help to keep you young but also give you serious protection from a wide range of diseases. There has been much research on 3 diseases in particular and turmeric’s effect on them: Alzheimer’s, arthritis, and cancer.

One of the most comprehensive summaries of turmeric studies to date was published by the respected ethnobotanist James A. Duke, Phd., in the October, 2007 issue of Alternative & Complementary Therapies, and summarized in the July, 2008, issue of the American Botanical Councilpublication HerbClip. Reviewing some 700 studies, Duke concluded that turmeric appears to outperform many pharmaceuticals in its effects against several chronic, debilitating diseases, and does so with virtually no adverse side effects. Here are some of the diseases that turmeric has been found to help prevent or alleviate:

Alzheimer’s disease: Duke found more than 50 studies on turmeric’s effects in addressing Alzheimer’s disease. The reports indicate that extracts of turmeric contain a number of natural agents that block the formation of beta-amyloid, the substance responsible for the plaques that slowly obstruct cerebral function in Alzheimer’s disease.

Arthritis: Turmeric contains more than two dozen anti-inflammatory compounds, including six different COX-2-inhibitors (the COX-2 enzyme promotes pain, swelling and inflammation; inhibitors selectively block that enzyme). By itself, writes Duke, curcumin – the component in turmeric most often cited for its healthful effects – is a multifaceted anti-inflammatory agent, and studies of the efficacy of curcumin have demonstrated positive changes in arthritic symptoms.

Cancer: Duke found more than 200 citations for turmeric and cancer and more than 700 for curcumin and cancer. He noted that in the handbook Phytochemicals: Mechanisms of Action, curcumin and/or turmeric were effective in animal models in prevention and/or treatment of colon cancer, mammary cancer, prostate cancer, murine hepatocarcinogenesis (liver cancer in rats), esophageal cancer, and oral cancer. Duke said that the effectiveness of the herb against these cancers compared favorably with that reported for pharmaceuticals.

As with many pharmaceuticals, the manner in which it is taken impacts its effectiveness. To get the most out of the turmeric you are consuming, it is important to consume it raw. When you cook it you lose a lot of its nutrition value. Enjoy it in your curries, but to truly get the maximum benefit take it in supplement form on a regular basis from a company you can trust to provide you with the pure and high quality ingredients you need to enhance your health and well being.


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