Solid Gold- Medicinal values of Turmeric
Turmeric, the humble Asian spice with an amazingly vibrant yellow color, is naturally anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-cancer (Source).
It is pure solid gold when it comes to medicinal values.
As my colleague from India puts it.
“ There is no curry where it isn’t used, and it is the first spice that is given to babies when they start solids. My grandmother used to pickle raw Turmeric with homemade clarified butter (Ghee), salt and chili to be consumed during winters. Turmeric is used in so many forms in my home that I take it for granted. Be it as Turmeric milk for curing a cold and flu or drinking it after a workout, or applying Turmeric paste on cuts, bruises, acne, even face packs for glowing skin, there is nothing that Turmeric doesn't do in our homes. It is one of the only spices offered to God during worship along with sandalwood and rice; marking its significance and potency in alleviating human suffering.”
Turmeric has been used for more than 3000 years as a medicine in Ayurveda, the traditional Indian system of medicine. It is widely known as "cleanser of the body." Turmeric is used in all kinds of inflammatory health problems like a toothache, gum diseases, skin diseases, wounds, parasites, digestive disorders, urinary tract infections, flatulence, jaundice, menstrual discomforts, bruises, hemorrhage, colic – the list is endless.
Try typing “Curcumin” in the search tab of Medline’s website. Curcumin is the primary polyphenol derived from Turmeric. To the last count, I found 12000+ ways Turmeric helps in combating various ailments. From Diabetic Cardiomyopathy to Cancer, healing wounds to battling depression, Turmeric can be termed as the most versatile healing spice in the world. And we have only touched one of its many hundreds of phytocompounds which gives it its rich yellow hue. The therapeutic power of Turmeric is yet to be fully discovered.
The age-old saying "The whole is better than the sum of its parts" holds for this universally grown and freely available root spice.
Today, 5 million Americans have Alzheimer's disease; 1 million from Parkinson's; 400,000 from multiple sclerosis (MS); 30,000 from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease), and 30,000 from Huntington's disease. Because neurodegenerative diseases strike primarily in mid- to late-life, the incidence is expected to soar as the population ages. (By 2030, as many as 1 in 5 Americans will be over the age of 65.) If left unchecked 30 years from now, more than 12 million Americans will suffer from neurodegenerative diseases.
Source: Harvard Neurodiscovery Center
New research reveals that this simple spice can spice up your brain too!
What was deemed impossible to accomplish, Turmeric has shown that it can be done! The healing power of turmeric goes beyond its well-known compound- Curcumin. ar- Turmerone, a lesser known component in this herb is known to help increase the number of neural stem cells (NSCs)- the brain cells capable of continuous self –renewal, a mandatory requirement for brain repair. The research, done on rats, also found that the newly formed NScs also increased the number of fully differentiated neuronal cells, showing that a healing effect was taking place.
Turmeric has thus become a promising candidate to support cell regeneration in neurological diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Apart from brain health, Turmeric and its components have also been linked to
- The slowing of prostate tumor growth (S. A. Shah et al. Cancer Research, 2012)
- Prevention and treatment of tendinitis (C. Buhrmann et al. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2011)
- Increasing the effectiveness of drugs used to fight colon, neck and head cancers (I. Aroch et al. Therapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology, 2010 and W. M. Abuzeid et al. Archives of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, 2011)
Apparently, with so much research, you could think that the whole plant carries a complete range of therapeutic compounds than the isolated Curcumin or Ar-turmerone. To get the most of Turmeric, consider having it in raw form. Raw Turmeric is a yellowish root, similar to ginger, and you can add extract of organically produced fresh Turmeric in any smoothie, milk, curry, even bread to give it that golden hue that you will end up loving.
The goal here shouldn't be to act after a severe health condition forces you to try any and every alternative that's available. You should focus your effort on including these plant-based herbs like Turmeric based on their potent anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant potential. There is a large body of evidence that asserts their efficacy in preclinical as well as clinical studies.
Active constituents in the herbs like Turmeric play an essential role in preserving the integrity of various neurotransmitters, and their receptor in the brain influencing its functions at the molecular level.
To make the most of this brain-booster, try adding a pinch in a smoothie, instead of taking it as a capsule.
If you can handle it, the best way to get all the health benefits of Turmeric is to consume fresh Turmeric root with some natural oil. Grated Turmeric lends color and a distinct flavor to soups and sauces.
Curcumin, the main bioactive ingredient in Turmeric, is soluble only in fats and oils. Try combining it with healthy fats such as extra virgin olive or coconut oil. The main bioactive component in black pepper seeds- called piperine can increase curcumin absorption by as much as 2000%!
It means that merely adding a pinch, not using the correct fat to dissolve the active ingredients may not give you complete benefits of turmeric. It should be taken on a regular basis in prescribed quantities to ensure the benefits can be seen in the long term.
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There is something else that is as easily available, has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties as turmeric? In more ways than one, it is even better than turmeric in its efficacy?
The only other substance that I have known to be better than Turmeric is Supplemental Oxygen!
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Additional sources: https://www.nicabm.com/