Turmeric, a significant source of the polyphenyl curcumin is an Indian herb that received keen interest from the modern health scientists. Turmeric is a rhizome from the herbaceous plant from the ginger family. It requires a hot climate for its growth. Some people call it ginger because of its appearance similar to ginger.
However, it’s inner flesh is orange-yellow color. It has been used in India for thousands of years as a spice in Indian Ayurveda. Turmeric active ingredient is curcumin which is high in antioxidants. Its antioxidants properties have a wide range of features from lowering blood pressure to cleansing the liver.
A lot of Asian peoples use turmeric in their cooking. The main signs of turmeric are its pepper like the smell, sharp taste, and golden color.
1. Turmeric Can Help Prevent Cancer:
Turmeric can block prostate cancer, stop the growth of the existing prostate cancer and even destroy cancer cells. Several researchers have found that active component in the turmeric makes it one of the best protectors against radiation-induced tumors.
It can also stop tumor cells from growing so it can guard the body against developing cancer. Curcumin is useful to suppress the initiation and progression of numerous kinds of tumors. Curcumin also uses a variable mechanism for killing cancer cells because of which cells may not develop any assistance against the compound.
According to a study published in the American Journal of pharmaceuticals scientists in 2009, they observed it that curcumin induces cells death and cancer cells can’t develop any resistance against curcumin.
It increases the effectiveness of chemotherapy and also prevents damage of healthy cells from the radiations. Unlike the medicine used in chemotherapy such as tamoxifen, turmeric can distinguish cancer cells from the healthy cells while it activates programmed cell death of the cancer cells without side effects.
In another study published in 2011, they gave 44 men 4 gram of turmeric for 30 days. After the survey, they observed that 4 g turmeric reduced the aberrant crypt foci (ACF) by 40%.
As the initiation signs look positive for turmeric use as anti-cancer, it has good potential for using as a treatment of cancer. It is because it has proven in many clinical studies on both human and animals.
2. Relieve Arthritis And Other Inflammations:
Arthritis is a severe pain that occurs in fingers, knee, elbow, hip, jaw or any other joints. Arthritis is a common problem above 40 years both men and women where inflammation causes problems for muscles and joints around the world.
Inflammation affects the body in many ways. As many of the modern scientists now going to believe inflammation is the primary cause of various illness such as cancer, arthritis, heart and brain diseases.
Because of turmeric used as an anti-inflammatory, it’s great to use for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Also, the antioxidant property of turmeric destroys free radical in the body that damages the body’s cells. It also has a cleansing effect on the entire body as it works to kill pathogens. Turmeric effectively enhances the health of the internal organs, especially pancreas.
In a study published in Sage journal, 2016 in which eight clinical trials were made on a patient with arthritis. In the research, turmeric has similar affect various non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicine such as glucosamine.
It could be useful for combating allergies and for treating the symptoms of various forms of illness. These effects work because curcumin can stimulate the adrenal glands to produce anti-inflammatory hormones.
In the case of polyps or chronic inflammation, using the whole plant instead of the extract is much better since the small intestine can absorb the extract before reaching the large intestine.
3. Control Diabetes:
Turmeric may be an excellent addition to your diabetes medicine. This is because it increases the work rate of drugs used for diabetes. But sometimes turmeric may lower your blood sugar level if used with active medication. It improves the production of the insulin in the pancreas by decreasing inflammation and degree radical damage to beta cells.
According to an article published in the International Journal of Endocrinology and metabolism in October 2014, Curcumin may reduce blood glucose levels.
Another study published in American diabetes publication found that after nine months curcumin intervention in pre-diabetic subjects, many peoples did not develop type 2 diabetes. But the absorption rate for turmeric is meager. That’s why a scientist is discovering a way to make super curcumin which has a relatively high degree of bio-availability to create this natural herb for diabetic treatment.
In another study published in the Indian Journal of clinical biochemistry, 60 people with type 2 diabetes were taken and divided into two groups. One group of people had given metformin, and other group gave turmeric alongside metformin. After the four weeks study period, the metformin group significantly experienced reduced glucose level. While other group experienced reduced blood glucose along with the low level of inflammation, lower bad cholesterol, and higher antioxidants content.
Hence, it may be an excellent remedy for type 2 diabetes in the future if further studies result in shows as promising as it is today.
4. Improves The Antioxidant Capacity of The Body:
Although oxygen is essential for our health, oxygen in free radical form is equally bad for health. Free radical is an atom that necessarily has an unpaired electron. It’s very unstable and highly reactive which causes a lot of damage to our body. It can attack your genetic material, DNA, protein, etc.
Our body itself produces many antioxidant, but it is sometimes insufficient to prevent all free radical damage. Curcumin has powerful antioxidant properties. As an antioxidant, it helps to protect cell wall from the free radical damage.
It prevents free radical damage that moves around inside the body which reacts with the exterior of the cells. Over time the cell wall looked aged and deteriorated causing wrinkles and other visible signs of aging. In worse situation, free radical can eventually penetrate all the way through the cell wall to damage the nuclei of the cells. This then causes mutation in the DNA which increases as the cells divide and replicates.
By consuming antioxidant like turmeric, it may be possible to prevent some of the visible signs of aging. It could potentially even help avoid mutation in the DNA.
5. Immunity Booster:
Turmeric contains a compound known as lipopolysaccharide which makes our immune system stronger. It also has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antifungal properties which aid our immune system to fight various diseases.
It has many healthy nutrients such as protein, dietary fiber, vitamin C, K and E, potassium, calcium, and iron. These nutrients further help our immune system.
Research by the Department of Experimental Therapeutics, University of Texas proves that turmeric is a potent immunomodulatory agent. Together, the finding suggests that it is an excellent therapeutic agent for an immune disorder.
6. Heals Wound, Cuts, And Bruises:
The ancient Indian and Chinese medical literature showed its use in thousands of years ago.
According to the journal of American chemical society, turmeric contains a wide range of antiviral, antioxidants, antifungal and anticarcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties. Due to its antiseptic and antibacterial properties, it can be useful as an effective disinfectant.
If you have a cut or burn, you can sprinkle turmeric powder on the affected area to speed up the healing process.
7. Lower Risk of Brain Diseases And Improves Its Functionality:
Up until 10 or 15 years ago, Modern scientist thought that the number of brain cells we were born with was what we had for life. That means we have a certain amount of cells and we would slowly degrade them and lose the brain cells we go. But recently science proving that otherwise which was told by Indian Ayurveda thousand of years ago. Brain cells are simply neurons. In the hippocampus portion of the brain, these neurons forms.
If we look at the Alzheimer’s and dementia, these diseases mostly occur due to degradation of the neurons. Turmeric curcumin helps us to regenerate brain cells which could help you increase your memory, improve your ability to learn and also regulates emotions.
German researchers have thoroughly studied its effects on neuron stem cells. And what they found is that the number of neuron stem cells increased by 80 percent when exposed to aromatic turmerone (found in turmeric). Apart from promoting stem cells proliferation, it also distinguishes between stem cells and neurons which is the primary goal of the regenerative medicines.
When used on rats they created healthy new brain cells and noticed a size growth in both subventricular zone and hippocampus.
8. Reduces The Risk of Heart Diseases:
According to disease control and prevention survey, more than 360000 deaths occur in 2013 in the USA due to high blood pressure or its related symptoms. High blood pressure causes illness like heart attack, stroke, kidney and liver diseases. That’s why we need to check blood pressure regularly and maintain it in the normal range (120/80). Turmeric’s curcumin content helps in lowering blood pressure.
According to some studies, turmeric prevents the buildup of plaque that can clog the arteries. A wide range of heart disorder is the result of plaque buildup which causes blood clots to form in the arteries of the brain and heart. According to these studies, turmeric may reduce the adhesive ability of blood platelets, thereby preventing them from forming clots.
In another laboratory test on animals, it was found that turmeric extracts could lower levels of LDL ‘bad cholesterol’ from building in the arteries. This could stop platelets from bunching together and could reduce the risk of clots being formed on the arteries walls.
Curcumin is known to send a signal to the liver enhancing the production of the mRNA which also promotes the production of the LDL cholesterol receptors. This forces the liver to get rid of bad cholesterol in the body.
The researcher concluded that long term curcumin treatment lowers cholesterol. Plus the combination of curcumin and exercise was also found to significantly slow age-related degeneration in the heart.
Another study published in 2012 in journal nutritional research claims that curcumin is effective in improving the vascular function in women after menopause similar to aerobic training. This training was conveyed on 32 women after menopause and lasted for eight weeks.
9. Weight Management:
Overweight causes a host of the problem like osteoarthritis, gallstones, liver problems, heart diseases, high blood pressure, high triglycerides, high cholesterol, diabetes, sleep apnea etc. Thus, weight management holds the key for a healthy living which depends upon fat burning.
Studies have proved that when the liver gets damaged, detoxification reduces. Turmeric can detoxify the liver and protect cell damage caused due to environmental pollutants, attack from free radicals etc.
High cholesterol causes plaque buildup in arterial walls leading to coronary heart diseases, atherosclerosis, weight gain etc. Researches have found that turmeric extracts lower LDL cholesterol. This reduces cholesterol level benefits weight loss by reducing adipose tissue weight gain.
Thermogenesis is a process that takes place when the central nervous system burns fat in order to maintain body temperature. Curcumin in turmeric fasten the capsaicin receptors and increase thermogenesis rates. This leads to fat burning and weight loss.
But you cannot take it as weight loss medication. It is not a quick fix. It requires approximately 6 months to see its results but it has many other benefits.
10. Improves Digestion And Cure stomach Upset:
If evening meal is heavy or poor digestion before bedtime leads to stomach problems such as stomach ache, acid reflux, heartburn or interrupted sleep. Turmeric makes an excellent anti-inflammatory before bedtime. It also improves the digestion and avoids acidic reflux. The health benefits of it come from its ingredient curcumin.
Bile is the yellowish fluid that produced by the liver in the body. It is bile which helps us in the digestion of the food. Turmeric boosts the production of this digestive juice called bile thus improves digestion.
You should be careful with its use if you have gallbladder disease. You should not take turmeric as that can make it worse.
If you have a digestive problem, it is always best to use raw turmeric, not capsules.
Hanish Kumar is a health blogger and currently, work as a chief operating officer at UK German Pharmaceuticals. He is an author at various writing published by UK German Pharmaceuticals.