TURMERIC A truly wonderful herb.
The use of turmeric was described in tradition Chinese and Indian medicine as early as seventh century AD. Traditionally Turmeric has been used to treat long list of conditions, including diarrhea, fever, bronchitis,colds, parasites, worms, leprosy, bladder and kidney inflammations etc. Herbalist have applied turmeric to bruise, leech bites,festering eye infections, mouth inflammation, skin conditions and infected wounds beside its application in the cosmetic industries. Turmeric is an important seasoning ingredient many Indian cusines.
Curcumin, an active ingredient in turmeric, is an antioxidant. Antioxidants are compounds that can protect the body’s cells from damage caused by activated oxygen molecules known as free radicals. Laboratory studies have also shown that curcumin interferes with several important molecular pathways involved in cancer development, growth, and spread.
Recently, curcumin has received a great deal more attention in studies than turmeric as a whole herb. Researchers are studying curcumin to learn whether it is an effective anti-inflammatory agent and whether it holds any promise for cancer prevention or treatment. A number of studies of curcumin have shown promising results. Curcumin can kill cancer cells in laboratory dishes and also reduces growth of surviving cells. Curcumin also has been found to reduce development of several forms of cancer in laboratory animals.
Human studies of curcumin in cancer prevention and treatment are in the very early stages. One study of 15 patients with colorectal cancer was done to find out how much curcumin they could safely take, and whether they could take a dose large enough to be detected in the blood. The patients were able to take 3.6 grams of curcumin without noting ill effects. At this high dose, some curcumin and its products were found in the blood. Lower doses may work for the stomach and intestine. Even though it does not absorb well into the body, it has been shown to absorb into the colon lining and into any cancerous tissue in the colon. The researchers recommended that the high dose be used when curcumin is tested for effects outside the intestine. Other small studies have found people were able to take up to 10 grams per day for a period of a few weeks without any noticiable problems. Some researchers are currently working on ways to increase absorption of curcumin by combining it with other substances. Further clinical trials are needed to find out what role, if any, turmeric and curcumin may play in the prevention or treatment of cancer.
Here are 20 reasons to add turmeric to your diet:
1. It is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent, useful in disinfecting cuts and burns.
2. When combined with cauliflower, it has shown to prevent prostate cancer and stop the growth of existing prostate cancer.
3. Prevented breast cancer from spreading to the lungs in mice.
4. May prevent melanoma and cause existing melanoma cells to commit suicide.
5. Reduces the risk of childhood leukemia.
6. Is a natural liver detoxifier.
7. May prevent and slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease by removing amyloyd plaque buildup in the brain.
8. May prevent metastases from occurring in many different forms of cancer.
9. It is a potent natural anti-inflammatory that works as well as many anti-inflammatory drugs but without the side effects.
10. Has shown promise in slowing the progression of multiple sclerosis in mice.
11. Is a natural painkiller and cox-2 inhibitor.
12. May aid in fat metabolism and help in weight management.
13. Has long been used in Chinese medicine as a treatment for depression.
14. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it is a natural treatment for arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
15. Boosts the effects of chemo drug paclitaxel and reduces its side effects.
16. Promising studies are underway on the effects of turmeric on pancreatic cancer.
17. Studies are ongoing in the positive effects of turmeric on multiple myeloma.
18. Has been shown to stop the growth of new blood vessels in tumors.
19. Speeds up wound healing and assists in remodeling of damaged skin.
20. May help in the treatment of psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions.
Turmeric can be taken in powder or pill form. It is available in pill form in most health food stores, usually in 250-500mg capsules.
Once you start using turmeric on a regular basis, it's fun to find new ways to use it in recipes.
Contraindications: Turmeric should not be used by people with gallstones or bile obstruction. Though turmeric is often used by pregnant women, it is important to consult with a doctor before doing so as turmeric can be a uterine stimulant.