Turmeric Health BenefitsTurmeric is a yellow, culinary spice widely used in Southeast Asia. Turmeric has been used in India for thousands of years and is a major part of Ayurvedic medicine. It was first used as a dye and then later for its possible medicinal properties. Turmeric comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant and has a tough brown skin and a deep orange flesh. This herb has a very interesting taste and aroma. Its flavor is peppery, warm and bitter while its fragrance is mild yet slightly reminiscent of orange and ginger, to which it is related.
Turmeric is used for arthritis, heartburn (dyspepsia), stomach pain, diarrhea, intestinal gas, stomach bloating, loss of appetite, jaundice, liver problems and gallbladder disorders. It is also used for headaches, bronchitis, colds, lung infections, fibromyalgia, leprosy, fever, menstrual problems, and cancer. Other uses include depression, Alzheimer’s disease, water retention, worms, and kidney problems. Some people apply turmeric to the skin for pain, ringworm, bruising, leech bites, eye infections, inflammatory skin conditions, soreness inside of the mouth, and infected wounds.
Turmeric is widely used in cooking and gives Indian curry its flavor and yellow color. It is also used in mustard and to color butter and cheese. Turmeric has been used in both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine as an anti-inflammatory, to treat digestive and liver problems, skin diseases, and wounds.
Curcumin is also a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants scavenge molecules in the body known as free radicals, which damage cell membranes, tamper with DNA, and even cause cell death. Antioxidants can fight free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause.
In addition, curcumin lowers the levels of two enzymes in the body that cause inflammation. It also stops platelets from clumping together to form blood clots.
Turmeric may be helpful for the following conditions:
Indigestion or Dyspepsia
Curcumin stimulates the gallbladder to produce bile, which some people think may help improve digestion. The German Commission E, which determines which herbs can be safely prescribed in Germany, has approved turmeric for digestive problems. And one double-blind, placebo-controlled study found that turmeric reduced symptoms of bloating and gas in people suffering from indigestion.
Turmeric may help people with ulcerative colitis stay in remission. Ulcerative colitis is a chronic disease of the digestive tract where symptoms tend to come and go. In one double-blind, placebo-controlled study, people whose ulcerative colitis was in remission took either curcumin or placebo, along with conventional medical treatment, for 6 months. Those who took curcumin had a relapse rate much lower than those who took placebo.
Turmeric does not seem to help treat stomach ulcers. In fact, there is some evidence that it may increase stomach acid, making existing ulcers worse.
Because of its ability to reduce inflammation, researchers have wondered if turmeric may help relieve osteoarthritis pain. One study found that people using an Ayurvedic formula of herbs and minerals with turmeric, winter cherry (Withinia somnifera), boswellia (Boswellia serrata), and zinc had less pain and disability. But it' s impossible to know whether it was turmeric or one of the other supplements or all of them together that was responsible.
Early studies suggested that turmeric may help prevent atherosclerosis, the buildup of plaque that can block arteries and lead to heart attack or stroke. In animal studies, an extract of turmeric lowered cholesterol levels and kept LDL "bad" cholesterol from building up in blood vessels. Because it stops platelets from clumping together, turmeric may also prevent blood clots from building up along the walls of arteries. But a double-blind, placebo-controlled study found that taking curcumin, the active ingredient in turrmeric, at a dose of up to 4 g per day did not improve cholesterol levels.
There has been a great deal of research on turmeric's anti-cancer properties, but results are still very early. Evidence from test tube and animal studies suggests that curcumin may help prevent or treat several types of cancers, including prostate, breast, skin, and colon cancer. Its preventive effects may be because it is a strong antioxidant, protecting cells from damage. More research is needed. Cancer should be treated with conventional medications. Don' t use alternative therapies alone to treat cancer. If you choose to use complementary therapies along with your cancer treatment, make sure you tell all your doctors.
Bacterial and Viral Infections
Test tube and animal studies suggest turmeric may kill bacteria and viruses. But researchers don' t know whether it would work in people.
As an anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory agent, turmeric works to heal wounds, cuts and other skin injuries. Using a saucepan, boil coconut oil and add a small amount of turmeric to it. Mix the two together, turn the stove off. When it is no longer too hot to touch, use a cotton swab to apply some of the mixture to the wound. Saving the extra oil in an airtight container allows you to use it in the future without needing to go through the boiling process again.
Turmeric can cause allergic reactions and rashes in a few individuals. For this reason it is a good precaution to talk to your doctor before using this treatment. If you try it and you develop a rash, it is a sign that it’s not the best treatment for you.
The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which is known as a powerful antioxidant. This means it targets dangerous free radicals in the body and reduces the damage they are able to cause DNA and cells. When cells are healthy the body is healthy, which means turmeric offers general wellness benefits, as well as targeting specific health problems.
The liver helps by detoxifying your blood through the production of enzymes. These enzymes break down and eliminate the toxins found your body. Taking a turmeric supplement or using turmeric recipes increase the production of these vital enzymes, thus increasing liver function. Studies conducted on rats revealed that enzyme production increases by 14% within fourteen days of taking turmeric.
A preliminary study suggests curcumin may help treat uveitis, an inflammation of the eye' s iris. In one study of 32 people with chronic anterior uveitis, curcumin was effective as corticosteroids, the type of medication usually prescribed. More research is needed.
Helps indigestion and weight loss
Curcumin stimulates the gallbladder and produces bile. Because bile helps digest fat, experts believe this improves digestion and may help control weight. At least one study found it treats indigestion, reducing symptoms of bloating and gas.
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