A spice which shines for its medical benefits is turmeric. it has been used to make curry powder, usually dry. However, the root may be grated fresh just like ginger. It has been studied to have properties strong enough to treat:
- Control diabetes;
- Heart disease;
- Decrease the risk of heart attack;
- Improve digestion;
- Dissolve gallstones;
- Relieve arthritis;
- Treat depression;
- Alleviate symptoms of allergies and colds;
- Applied externally for treating wounds and skin conditions;
- Used in beauty treatments in soaps and creams.
The relationship between turmeric and curcumin
Curry powder is a mix of many spices that include the spice turmeric which contains hundreds of compounds that have unique properties. Curcumin is the most promising and the most widely studied of all the turmeric compounds. It can be found in ginger as well which is great in treating more than 600 ailments. There have been many studies done on the isolated compound of turmeric – curcumin. This is like that because it is easier study an isolated compound and there is a little monetary incentive to research a spice which is in many kitchens worldwide unless it can be transformed into a substance that can be patented.
The powers of turmeric
It contains at least 20 compounds which are antibiotic, 14 of them are known as cancer preventives, 12 are anti-tumor, 12 anti-inflammatory, and 10 antioxidants. For that reason, turmeric is considered to be a potent anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antibacterial, anticancer, and antiviral agent.
- Turmeric for Alzheimer’s – not only curcumin, but another compound in turmeric named turmerone is able to stimulate the production of new neurons and seems to encourage the brain to repair itself. This may be good for Parkinson’s disease, traumatic brain injury, and stroke as well.
Elderly villagers in India who consume turmeric on regular basis have the lowest rate of Alzheimer;s in the world.
- Turmeric for arthritis – as an anti-inflammatory, turmeric has been found to be beneficial for arthritis when internally taken and when topically applied. It is able to provide long-term improvement in pain and function for patients suffering from osteoarthritis (the suggested dose is a capsule of 400-600 grams 3 times per day.
- Turmeric for cancer – it selectively kills tumor and the normal cells are left unharmed, working synergistically to increase the effectiveness of radiation and chemotherapy. A medical oncologist, Dr. Saraswati Sukumar from the Johns Hopkins University School Medicine has found that eating turmeric prepared in food provides more benefits than taking either turmeric or curcumin supplements.
- Turmeric for depression – it has impressive antidepressant properties which have been found to be more potent than fluoxetine (the generic name for Prozac). Turmeric reduces he stress hormone cortical while increasing serotonin (a neurotransmitter connected to happiness). It can be used indefinitely either as a food or as a supplement, but can also be combined with other natural remedies for depression like St. John’s wort and SAM-e.
Enhancing turmeric naturally
Curcumin as the main active ingredient of turmeric is not very well absorbed, unless the right steps are taken. You can greatly increase its absorption by adding black pepper as piperine increases its absorption by 2,000%. Curcumin is fat soluble, thus its bioavailability is enhanced when turmeric is cooked in oil.
When you boil turmeric for 10 minutes, curcumin’s solubility will be increase up to 10 times. In order to make turmeric powder, put ½ tsp of turmeric powder in 1 cup of water and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain if needed and serve. Its taste is bitter and medical-tasting; however with this recipe you won’t feel that taste.
- ½ tsp of turmeric powder;
- ½ cup water;
- 1 tbsp. of coconut oil;
- ½ cup of coconut milk;
- Honey for taste.
How to prepare it: bring the water to boil, then add turmeric powder and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the coconut milk and oil and heat until warmed thorough. Finally sweeten with honey.
Most of the people are familiar with turmeric in its dried form; however, you can purchase its root that looks like ginger. The University of Maryland’s Complementary and Alternative Medicine Guide suggest turmeric dosages for adults:
- Cut root – 1.5-3 grams daily;
- Dried, powdered root – 1-3 grams per day;
- Fluid extract (1:1) – 30-90 drops daily;
- Tincture (1:2) – 15-30 drops, 4 times a day.
The recommended curcumin dosage fro standardized supplement is 400-600 mg, 3 times per day. You can look for products standardized for 95% curcuminoids which contain piperine or black pepper. But if you are not sure about the dosage, then follow the instructions on the label.
There is almost no known turmeric side effects and is considered safe, except for the risk of kidney stones in those susceptible. There are many side effects on the turmeric supplements.
- Pregnant women should not consume it because curcumin stimulates the uterus and raises the risk of miscarriages.
- If you try to conceive, then it may pose difficulties.
- If you have a hormone-sensitive condition, then turmeric will act like estrogen, thus it should be avoided if you have reproductive cancer, uterine fibroids, or endometriosis.
- If you have gallbladder disease.
- If you are scheduled for surgery in the next 2 weeks as turmeric increases the risk of bleeding.
- If you take medications which slow clotting like aspirin, warfarin, naproxen, ibuprofen, diclofenac, and clopidogrel. Turmeric increases the risk of bruising and bleeding.
- If you have stomach issues such as ulcers, GERD, and other as turmeric can make the condition worse and cause gastric irritation, upset your stomach, cause diarrhea, or nausea.
- If you take drugs which reduce stomach acid as turmeric interferes with the actions of medications such as Zantac, Tagmet, and Nexium, increasing the production of stomach acid.
- If you take medications for diabetes because turmeric increases the risk of hypoglycemia.
- If you are iron deficient because turmeric prevents iron absorption.
70 drugs interact adversely with turmeric and curcumin supplements according to Drugs.com.