Queen of Spices
Composition of Turmeric
Turmeric may be the most effective nutritional supplement in existence. It is also loaded with many healthy nutrients such as protein, dietary fiber, niacin, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, potassium, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and zinc. Due to all these factors, turmeric is often used to treat a wide variety of health problems.
Despite its use in cooking for several thousand years, turmeric continues to surprise researchers in terms of its wide-ranging health benefits. While once focused on anti-inflammatory benefits, decreased cancer risk, and support of detoxification, studies on turmeric intake now include its potential for improving cognitive function, blood sugar balance, and kidney function, as well as lessening the degree of severity associated with certain forms of arthritis and certain digestive disorders.
It’s important to know that the vast majority of studies on turmeric have not examined the spice itself, but rather one of its constituents called curcumin. When you hear about the benefits of turmeric on a website or on a health news report on television, you are mostly likely hearing about the benefits of curcumin. Curcumin is the main active ingredient in turmeric. It has powerful anti-inflammatory effects and is a very strong antioxidant. Therefore, if you want to experience the full effects, then you need to take an extract that contains significant amounts of curcumin. Unfortunately, curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream. It helps to consume black pepper with it, which contains piperine… a natural substance that enhances the absorption of curcumin by 2000%.
Health benefits of Turmeric
There are many different forms of cancer, but they do have several commonalities, some of which appear to be affected by curcumin supplementation. Researchers have been studying curcumin as a beneficial herb in cancer treatment. It can affect cancer growth, development and spread at the molecular level. Studies have shown that it can reduce angiogenesis (growth of new blood vessels in tumors), metastasis (spread of cancer), as well as contributing to the death of cancerous cells.A number of laboratory studies on cancer cells have shown that curcumin does have anticancer effects. However, there is some evidence that it may help prevent cancer from occurring in the first place.
Not only was it discovered that all patients tolerated curcumin well, but they discovered curcumin was as effective as Prozac in managing depression. Curcumin has shown some promise in treating depression as well.
Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory. It removes excess mucus in the sinuses and helps to heal the respiratory tissue.
Arthritis and Gout
Given that curcumin is a potent anti-inflammatory, it makes sense that it could help with arthritis. Several studies show this to be true.
The anti-inflammatory properties in turmeric are great for treating both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, turmeric’s antioxidant property destroys free radicals in the body that damage body cells. It has been found that those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis who consume turmeric on a regular basis experience much relief from the moderate to mild joint pains as well as joint inflammation.
Turmeric contains a substance known as lipopolysaccharide, which helps stimulate the body’s immune system. Its antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal agents also help strengthen the immune system.
Turmeric Curcumin is a strong antioxidant and it uses this pharmacological property in protecting lungs from nicotine induced oxidative damage. Curcumin reduces such inflammation and activation and migration of immune cells to lung fluid. It also prevents tumor formation in such cases. Researchers feel that curcumin treatment in premalignant phase can protect high risk COPD patients from developing lung cancer.
Emphysema is a condition in which the tiny air sacs that present in the lung (these filter the air and help blood absorb oxygen) known as alveoli are damaged. Cigarette smoke can cause inflammation and emphysema.
Turmeric is anti-bacterial targeting bacteria linked to acne. One study showed curcumin is 36 times stronger than azelaic acid for treating acne. The anti-fungal curcumin can kill Candida yeasts. Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory.
Turmeric intake can keep the pancreas healthy. Its anti-glycaemic properties help to maintain proper functioning of the pancreas, regulate and balance insulin levels, prevent insulin resistance in the body. It also lowers blood sugar and triglyceride levels, thereby helping to treat diabetes effectively or prevent its onset.
Turmeric is considered to be one of the best herbs for liver health. It removes cholesterol from liver. It also protects liver from toxins such as hepatoxins (aflatoxin) etc. and rebuilds it in case of damage. Excess of alcohol damages liver. Turmeric can assist the liver in coping up with excess of alcohol and its consequences.Turmeric is also known to increase the secretion of bile thus improving digestion.
Turmerics pharmacological properties help in protecting the heart and also benefits in various heart conditions. These pharmacological properties involve antioxidant action, anti-inflammatory action, anti-platelet activity. Cardiac hypertrophy is a condition in which the heart muscle thickens and reduces the size of heart chambers. Studies show that curcumin can benefit cardiac hypertrophy by affecting genetic expressions. Cardiac arrhythmia is abnormal rhythm of the heart. A study published in International Journal of Cardiology, 2009 suggests that curcumin’s anti-inflammatory action and ability to affect calcium homeostasis can benefit in and prevent arrhythmia.Calcium homeostasis is balance of calcium levels in the body and any disturbance in this balance can affect cardiac function.Congenital heart disease is a condition where there are defects in the heart at birth. Wang et.al have studied the therapeutic effect on congenital heart disease.
Turmeric is rich in antioxidants, primarily curcumin and curcuminoids which help fight and prevent heart diseases.It protects from heart attacks.
Inflammation plays a very important role in progression of kidney disease leading to kidney failure. Inflammation is characterized by production of pro-inflammatory chemicals and migration of white blood cells to the site of injury or infection. Almost all the kidney failure is caused by inflammation. Turmeric is a potent natural anti-inflammatory substance.
Many of the compounds in turmeric have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Some turmeric compounds may also help directly regulate the immune system. Research indicates that they could help prevent or reduce symptoms of lung conditions. These diseases include: Asthma, Chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder, Emphysema, Pneumonia, Bronchitis and Pleurisy.
Turmeric can work for increasing hair growth. Turmeric has many antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties, which are going to help your body detoxify and get rid of inflammations in it. These inflammations are the ones responsible for lowering hair growth and even for growing you very weak and thin hair.
Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants are essential for protecting the integrity of the skin by preventing free radicals from destroying its texture and elasticity. Antioxidants also protect the skin from ultraviolet light, one of the key contributors to the visible signs of aging.
Aromatic-turmerone may help in the recovery of brain function in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and stroke. Previous research has also shown that curcumin may help inhibit the accumulation of destructive beta-amyloids in the brain of Alzheimer’s patients, as well as break up existing plaques.
Turmeric can cure atherosclerosis due to its ability to reduce the blood cholesterol levels in the body, thus preventing plaque build-up in the arteries. Oxidation of bad cholesterol leads to the accumulation of fatty streaks along the arterial walls. Turmeric helps prevent arterial blockage by preventing this oxidation process. Turmeric can prevent the clumping together of blood platelets and inhibit blood clot formation.
Turmeric is believed to have excellent cholesterol lowering capacities. It has the ability to act on blockages and damage in the arteries and repair them. Acute coronary syndrome refers to a condition of heart problems and chest pain due to obstructed blood flow to the heart due to cholesterol clogged arteries. Turmeric is a natural anti-atherosclerotic agent.
The active ingredient in turmeric, known as curcumin, helps to heal the sinus cavity and clear the airways. Since sinus infections are caused by nasal inflammation, and turmeric possesses anti-inflammatory properties, the spice can be an effective solution for sinus infection. Turmeric has natural anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce swelling in the sinus cavities. The herbal supplement is also a stimulant that will act as a natural decongestant, alleviating sinus pressure and pain.
History of Turmeric
The use of turmeric dates back nearly 4000 years to the Vedic culture in India, where it was used as a culinary spice and had some religious significance. It probably reached China by 700 AD, East Africa by 800 AD, West Africa by 1200 AD, and Jamaica in the eighteenth century. In 1280, Marco Polo described this spice, marveling at a vegetable that exhibited qualities so similar to that of saffron.
Today, turmeric is widely cultivated in the tropics and goes by different names in different cultures and countries.