Posted: 18 Jun 2014 09:19 AM PDT
[You can fight inflammation with common ingredients from your own kitchen. Here's a list of the top nine anti-inflammatory herbs and spices, plus some of my favorite recipes using them.] You may think that “inflammation” only occurs after a bee sting, when you scald your hand on a hot…
Turmeric: This common spice used so often in Indian cooking (it’s the main ingredient in curry powder, and what lends it its golden hue) has been noted over and over as a top anti-inflammatory herb. The reason is curcumin, the pigment that provides that glorious color. Curcumin has been shown to improve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis, cystic fibrosis, reduce the risk of various cancers, and even help with liver function. as well as showing promise preventing and treating Alzheimer’s disease. Turmeric has a very subtle, slightly nutty and fragrant taste.
Ginger: You’ve probably heard that ginger can help treat nausea and improve digestion, but its anti-inflammatory properties are also impressive, courtesy of compounds called gingerols. But note that the powdered form is more effective than the fresh to treat inflammation. According to Studio Botanica, ginger pairs up with turmeric as the two most potent anti-inflammatory spices.
[Watermelon-Basil Cooler –basil]
Basil:The base of your favorite pesto is also a potent anti-inflammatory, shown to work in a similar fashion to anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen or Tylenol. In addition, the natural oils in this herb are anti-bacterial and can help fight infection. Plus, like most herbs, basil is chock full of vitamins and minerals, too.
Black Pepper: Yes, it does more than make you sneeze! Black pepper not only decreases inflammation, but also helps to reduce the pain associated with it. Interestingly, it also helps improve digestion by preventing intenstinal gas; and it can help to increase the bio-availability of turmeric by up to 1000 times when the two are ingested together. So don’t pass by the pepper grinder next time you have that plate of pasta, soup or salad.
Cloves: I love cloves in all kinds of festive baked goods and puddings, so I was thrilled to discover their anti-inflammatory properties, too. Like many other spices or herbs, the major benefits are derived from cloves’ volatile oils, which contain eugenol, an anti-inflammatory compound. Clove oil has long been known as a remedy for toothache pain, providing both analgesic and antibacterial properties to soothe pain and prevent infection. There’s also some evidence that, when combined with other existing anti-inflammatory compounds, cloves will increase the overall effects of the other spices or herbs. Gingerbread, anyone?
[Grown-Up Superfood Cookies–cinnamon]
Cinnamon: This common household spice is not only slightly sweet tasting, fragrant and delicious; it also helps to keep blood sugar stable, lowers cholesterol, is anti-fungal and anti-bacterial, and possesses a slew of other health-promoting properties. Among these, of course, is that it decreases inflammation in the body.
Garlic: Garlic is another staple household superfood that confers multiple health benefits along with its anti-inflammatory properties. Containing sulfur compounds called allicins, garlic (and to a lesser extent, onions) work to prevent the body’s inflammatory response from following through, much the way nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen) do. The anti-inflammatory effects also work to help prevent heart disease and perhaps even obesity.
Cayenne: Spice lovers, rejoice! Feel free to sprinkle your cayenne pepper with abandon, knowing that the compound called capcaisin in it helps to decrease inflammation in your body. It’s even been used topically for arthritis with good results. Furthermore, contrary to what many people may think, cayenne is actually good for stomach upset and may even help to protect against ulcers due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
[Roasted Squash and Apple Bisque–rosemary]
Rosemary: Perhaps the least familiar ingredient in this list, this herb from an evergreen shrub is another useful anti-inflammatory food that works by inhibiting the pro-inflammatory response in the body. Rosemary has been shown to reduce pain, to reduce cortisol levels (which are raised by stress) and–perhaps most interesting–to stimulate hair growth! It’s also a delicious addition to many vegetable-based dishes.
Of course, there are many other foods that can help reduce inflammation, such as Omega 3 fatty acids (the most common source is fish oils, but walnuts, flax seeds, chia seeds and seaweeds and many other foods are also good sources); nettle and licorice (both available as tasty teas); berries; or cruciferous vegetables; all topics for a future post!
Not sure how to incorporate these powerhouse herbs and spices into your daily regime?? Here’s a list of some of my favorite recipes that contain them.
Carob-Buckwheat Breakfast Bake (cinnamon)
My All-time Favorite Tofu Scramble (turmeric)
Almost Instant Pumpkin Porridge (cinnamon)
Baked Pumpkin-Cranberry Oatmeal Pudding (cinnamon, cloves, ginger)
Watermelon-Basil Cooler (basil)
Holiday Nog (cinnamon)
Meal-in-a-Bowl Pesto Bean Topped Salad (basil, garlic)
Apple and Red Wine Soup (cinnamon, cloves)
Creamy Pesto Pasta Salad (basil, garlic)
Roasted Squash and Apple Bisque (rosemary)
Almond “Feta Cheese” (rosemary)
Raw Gingersnap Cookie Bon Bons (ginger)
Soba Noodles with Ginger, Chard and Walnuts (garlic; use gluten-free noodles–and forgive the awful photo!)
Vegan Cassoulet (garlic, cloves)
Vegan Tortière (cinnamon, cloves)
African Sweet Potato Stew (turmeric, cayenne)
Gingered Potatoes with Browned Onions and Tomato (ginger, turmeric)
Tempeh “Bourguignon” (garlic, cloves)
Grown Up Superfood Cookies (cinnamon)
Cinnamon-Crumb Coffee Cake (cinnamon, of course!)
Cinnamon-Spiced Coconut Bark (yep, more cinnamon)
D -A friend of mine says she just gave turmeric to her teenage daughter, and in 3 days her acne disappeared! She’s says to get the one with black pepper,
and make sure you eat it with fat. But I read you must take with vitamin D3, so don’t know the answer to that!
So they gave it to another teenage guy friend of hers, and same thing happened!
Here’s a story from the NET -http://freefromacne.com/turmeric-acne/
My Experience With Turmeric for Acne Troublesby Anna Stacy November 15, 2012 Follow me on Twitter
My Experience With Turmeric for Acne Troubles
It is one thing to have a not so healthy skin, but entirely another to have acne problems.
We are so conscious of our skin that we treat skin problems as a burden or a sin; hiding away somewhere while it lasts. Even a small zit seems to threat to our personality and looks. From expensive dermatologists to Ayurvedic treatment, every type of remedy is desperately sought by men and women alike as soon as acne hits the stage.
Though there are many topical and oral medicines that help you get rid of acne, but here we are about to disclose about a natural herbal remedy that not only removes acne but also prevents it from attacking again.
Yes, you heard it right.
Let me tell you about the turmeric acne relief. It is an inexpensive, easy to use and highly effective ingredient that can save the day, just when you are about to lose hope.
Turmeric is an amazing gift of nature; it is the root of a plant named Curcumin Longa that has antibacterial qualities. This Curcumin ingredient contains antiseptic, pain killer, anti-inflammatory qualities. But that’s not all…
All over the world, dermatologists and beauticians are starting to realize and further investigate the astonishing benefits of turmeric for skin and body.
Here are a few benefits that might interest a person suffering from any type of acne:
1) Worried about pigmentation?
A little turmeric added with either cucumber or lemon extract can work wonders for you. Not only can the application of it on face reduce pigmentation but it can also even out the skin discoloration.
2) Giving up on acne solutions?
Mix a little turmeric with sandalwood powder and plain water. This harmless paste does not have any side effects, even in prolonged use.
3) Need to Exfoliate?
Using turmeric powder to make a scrub mixed with gram flour is a great way to exfoliate and dry out mild acne. Face masks made from turmeric have skin softening and glowing affects.
4) Need first aid at home?
Turmeric mixed with Aloe gel, can instantly sooth a burn. The anti- oxidant qualities in this ingredient can help fight off mild skin abrasion and rashes.
5) Feeling exhausted?
Turmeric mixed in hot milk can not only help you fight fatigue, but it is also a great remedy for throat infections.
6) Want to learn about an ultimate health booster?
Turmeric when combined with honey is ideal to counter anemia. These two amazing ingredients work together to restore body energy and increases the infection fighting stamina.
These are only a few of the numerous benefits of turmeric. One simply cannot leave the topic without mentioning the amazing benefits of turmeric tea. Tea with turmeric, either fresh brewed or out of a dried tea pack, can leave long lasting impacts on a person’s health and the skin.
Here are a few of its amazing effects:
- It helps in the fading of acne scars.
- It helps to cleanses and detoxifies the blood, thus leaving the skin fresh and healthy.
- It works as a preventive measure against skin disease attacks, Gingivitis, Alzheimer disease, cholesterol and diabetic complications.
- It is very beneficial against stomach infections.
- It helps in shedding extra pounds off the body.
So you see, this amazing natural ingredient is an all rounder. What’s more, this turmeric acne relief remedy will not become a burden on your budget. A dried out root can easily go a long way, if you preserve and use it right
http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART03001/Three-Reasons-to-Eat-Turmeric.html3 Reasons to Eat Turmeric
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a culinary spice that spans cultures – it is a major ingredient in Indian curries, and makes American mustard yellow. But evidence is accumulating that this brightly colored relative of ginger is a promising disease-preventive agent as well, probably due largely to its anti-inflammatory action.
One of the most comprehensive summaries of turmeric studies to date was published by the respected ethnobotanist James A. Duke, Phd., in the October, 2007 issue of Alternative & Complementary Therapies, and summarized in the July, 2008, issue of the American Botanical Council publication HerbClip.
Reviewing some 700 studies, Duke concluded that turmeric appears to outperform many pharmaceuticals in its effects against several chronic, debilitating diseases, and does so with virtually no adverse side effects. Here are some of the diseases that turmeric has been found to help prevent or alleviate:
- Alzheimer’s disease: Duke found more than 50 studies on turmeric’s effects in addressing Alzheimer’s disease. The reports indicate that extracts of turmeric contain a number of natural agents that block the formation of beta-amyloid, the substance responsible for the plaques that slowly obstruct cerebral function in Alzheimer’s disease.
- Arthritis: Turmeric contains more than two dozen anti-inflammatory compounds, including sixdifferent COX-2-inhibitors (the COX-2 enzyme promotes pain, swelling and inflammation; inhibitors selectively block that enzyme). By itself, writes Duke, curcumin – the component in turmeric most often cited for its healthful effects – is a multifaceted anti-inflammatory agent, and studies of the efficacy of curcumin have demonstrated positive changes in arthritic symptoms.
- Cancer: Duke found more than 200 citations for turmeric and cancer and more than 700 for curcumin and cancer. He noted that in the handbook Phytochemicals: Mechanisms of Action, curcumin and/or turmeric were effective in animal models in prevention and/or treatment of colon cancer, mammary cancer, prostate cancer, murine hepatocarcinogenesis (liver cancer in rats), esophageal cancer, and oral cancer. Duke said that the effectiveness of the herb against these cancers compared favorably with that reported for pharmaceuticals.
How can you get more turmeric into your diet? One way is via turmeric tea. There are also extracts in tablet and capsule form available in health food stores; look for supercritical extracts in dosages of 400 to 600 mg, and take three times daily or as directed on the product.
And, of course, one can simply indulge in more curried dishes, either in restaurants or at home. However you do it, adding turmeric to your diet is one of the best moves toward optimal health you can make.
Healthy Turmeric Tea
f you would like to try it, here’s a recipe. Feel free to experiment with the ingredients and flavorings until you find a combination that suits your taste:
- Bring four cups of water to a boil.
- Add one teaspoon of ground turmeric and reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.
- Strain the tea through a fine sieve into a cup, add honey and/or lemon to taste.
Preliminary clinical studies show curcumin helps reduce beta amyloid plaque in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s (and prevent plaque buildup in people who don’t have the disease).
This plaque is the key to understanding — and preventing — the disease. As the NY Times recently reported:The disease is defined by freckles of barnacle-like piles of a protein fragment, amyloid beta, in the brain. So, the current thinking goes, if you block amyloid formation or get rid of amyloid accumulations — plaque — and if you start treatment before the disease is well under way, you might have a chance to alter its course.
According to Terry Lemerond, founder and president of Europharma, “Most brain researchers and Alzheimer’s specialists believe that preventing or reducing beta amyloid plaque in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease is important. Beta amyloid plaque interferes with proper brain function and contributes to dementia.”
D- A caregiver friend of mine says, with the approval of the spouse, she has been giving turmeric in regular doses to a woman with Alzheimer’s. The woman has now started using full sentences, a thing she has not done in years!
“According to Dr. William LaValley, one of the leading medicine cancer physicians I personally know, typical anticancer doses are up to three grams of good bioavailable curcumin extract, three to four times daily. One work-around is to use the curcumin powder and make a microemulsion of it by combining a tablespoon of the powder and mixing it into 1-2 egg yolks and a teaspoon or two of melted coconut oil. Then use a high speed hand blender to emulsify the powder.
Another strategy that can help increase absorption is to put one tablespoon of the curcumin powder into a quart of boiling water. It must be boiling when you add the powder as it will not work as well if you put it in room temperature water and heat the water and curcumin. After boiling it for ten minutes you will have created a 12 percent solution that you can drink once it has cooled down. It will have a woody taste. The curcumin will gradually fall out of solution however. In about six hours it will be a 6 percent solution, so it’s best to drink the water within four hours. Dr. LaValley is also helping us beta test new curcumin preparations that will radically simplify this process.”
Date: December 2, 2011
By: Truth Calkins
TONIC – TAKE TURMERIC EVERY DAY!
Description: Truth Calkins explains the ‘spice of the immortals’ and the organic compounds that make this one of the best spices on the planet.
Health properties of turmeric:
health tonic, medicinal substance,
- known as ‘super ginger’,
-a powerful liver tonic
- boosts detoxification.
- the special polyphenol contained in this herb can turn off nuclear factor kappa-b as well as other inflammatory molecules.
-The super anti-oxidants contained in this herb that have been known to assist the body in producing its own free radical scavengers.
- naturally increase glutathione in the liver as well as quench free radicals in the digestive tract.
- a natural antibiotic
-anti-inflammatory for the prostate, esp. in connection with cruciferous vegetable
-protects the heart, cardio-vascular – lowers LDL, for the entire immune system, crosses the blood brain barrier to protect the brain
-great liver tonic, you can take it daily 1/4 tsp. on steamed vegetables or quinoa, with a little coconut oil and lecithin granules
-combining with onions increases the Quercitin, add cruciferous vegetables
-protects the nervous system
-use the powder as a Ph tester – If the liquid you put turmeric in is below 7.4 it’ll turn yellow, above 8.6 and it’ll turn red
-use turmeric oil on a toothache as an anti-inflammatory
-used in cosmetic, as coloring agents
-stops the mutations in genes, mucus is dramatically reduced
-as an ant-repellent
Truth reveals his top-secret recipes that incorporate this delicious spice with delicious superfoods and superherbs, making it an easy addition to your meals
1 T. goji berries in a little lecithin powder and coconut oil, fresh ginger root with 2 ou. warm tea or water and 1 T. honey -Blend to make a nice gel. Throw in frozen fruit, veges or whatever to make a smoothie
2nd recipe -
2 T. Coconut oil, 2 T. goji berries and a little turmeric powder with tea
3rd recipe -
1/4 tsp. on steamed vegetables or quinoa, with a little coconut oil and lecithin granules
-turmeric combined with onions increases the Quecitin, add cruciferous vegetables
Juice cucumber- celery with 1 carrot, a stick of turmeric and ginger, some lemon with the peel
Eat it by itself – it’s mild and gentle
Chop it fine in a salad – 18 tsp.
Put it in a smoothie
Put it in tea -goji berries, coconut oil and turmeric powder in tea
The dried turmeric powder stores really long, retains its potency
Many years ago, I developed a case of bronchitis so severe it weakened my chest; and, my ability to pick up every case of cold or flu. that came around improved. This wonder tea not only breaks up and clears out congestion, it also aids anyone with a sensitive stomach – it calms nausea and aids digestion.
My recipe for ginger tea is slightly different than others and there are no strict guidelines on ingredient amounts. If you love the peppery taste of turmeric – add a little more; or, if one of the ingredients is not your favourite – use less. I have laid the amounts I use out beside the Chinese herb pot I make mine in; but, any saucepan or container will work. From right to left: fresh ginger, lemon grass, turmeric.
To cold water add thinly sliced ginger, thinly sliced turmeric, and roughly chopped lemon grass. I don’t peel my ingredients (many nutrients are under the skin), I just wash them thoroughly before adding. Due to the way lemongrass grows, similar to leeks, there is the potential for dirt to be hidden in the leaves. Slice the lemon grass in half lengthwise and check the inside for dirt before chopping. Bring water up to boil, turn down heat and simmer for at least 15 minutes. This extracts every drop of goodness and flavour. An added advantage of simmering the tea is that as your tea simmers some of the goodness infiltrates the air and aids with every breath.
Since I don’t peel my ingredients, I strain the liquid as I pour it into my cup because some of the skin will boil off and float in the tea.
The tea is delightful exactly as is; but, if you like, you can add honey, brown sugar, or the sweetener of your choice. Drink the tea as often as you like – three times a day is recommended.
The benefits of ginger are:
Ginger is known worldwide for it effects on digestive ailments. It helps break down proteins and helps digest fatty foods; reduces gas; relieves nausea; and, treats morning sickness and motion sickness.
This rhizome reduces inflammation so it can be of benefit for arthritis, ulcerative colitis or any other inflammation-related disease. Studies show that it has been effective in inhibiting the replication of the herpes simplex virus.
Ginger is a warming herb, it knocks out a fever; stimulates circulation; relaxes the muscles around the blood vessels lowering the risk of blood clots; is a natural decongestant; and, an antihistamine.
Recent studies show that ginger might also have a role in lowering LDL cholesterol because the spice can help reduce the amount of cholesterol that is absorbed. It has also been shown in animal trials to help slow or even prevent cancerous tumor growth.
The healing properties come from it’s volatile oils, gingerols and shogaols, which are also responsible for it’s pungent taste. The oils cause more digestive enzymes to be produced which helps with the whole digestion process and neutralizes the acids that can cause nausea, cramps and even diarrhea.
The benefits of turmeric are:
Turmeric is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent. It is useful in disinfecting cuts and burns; speeds up wound healing; assists in remodeling of damaged skin; and, aids in the treatment of psoriasis or other skin inflammation problems.
This perennial shrub which grows in India and other parts of Asia holds amazing promise in the fight against cancer. When combined with cauliflower it has been shown to prevent prostrate cancer and stop the growth of existing prostate cancer; prevents breast cancer from spreading to the lungs in mice; may prevent melanoma and cause existing melanoma cells to die; reduces the risk of childhood leukemia; may prevent metastases from occurring in many different kinds of cancer; is a natural anti-infammatory; shows promise in slowing the progression of multiple sclerosis in mice; a natural painkiller and CO2 inhibitor; appears to aid pancreatic cancer and multiple myeloma; and, stops the growth of new blood vessels in tumors.
It is also a natural liver detoxifier; may prevent and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s by removing amyloyd plaque buildup in the brain; natural treatment for arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis; and, may aid in fat metabolism and weight loss.
The Chinese have used it for ages as a natural remedy for depression.
The benefits of lemon grass are:
Lemon grass or citronella is known for its calming effect that acts as a sedative for the central nervous system relieving insomnia, anxiety or stress.
It is an antibacterial/antifungal; helps improve the skin by reducing acne and pimples; relieves arthritic pain and rheumatism; helps relieve flatulence and colic; and reduces fevers, agues, and colds.
Citronella helps to detoxify the liver, pancreas, kidney, bladder and the digestive tract; helps to boost the immune system; may help to prevent cancer; helps reduce uric acid, cholesterol, and excess fats; reduces blood pressure and improves blood circulation; and helps alleviate indigestion and gastroenteritis.
It also helps tone your muscles and tissues; helps with menstrual problems; helps promote milk formation in lactating mothers; and, helps reduce cellulite.
Citronella is also an active ingredient in many insect repellents.
The benefits of unpasteurized honey are:
Unpasteurized honey is an antiseptic, antibiotic, antifungal, and antibacterial. It is the only food product in the world that never spoils!
Raw honey aids the stomach in digestion and is used as a treatment for stomach ulcers. It is effective in treating 90% of allergies; is a superior treatment for skin ulcers and burns; is an effective moisturizer; treats mouth sores and cankers; treats hair and scalp; and, is a natural preservative.
Honey has anti-cancer properties and helps prevent the spreading of existing cancers. The lungs receive a great deal of benefit from honey also. Honey helps in the treatment and easing of respiratory problems and cough.
Wow!! What great benefits from one simple tea. Brew a pot, strain, and enjoy
(NaturalNews) Turmeric has been used for over two thousand years in India as a food and medicine – called Holy Powder. Ayurvedic medicine has used turmeric to treat many conditions, including wound healing and infections. Chinese medicine uses turmeric as an anti-depressant. The active ingredient in turmeric is called curcumin. Modern research has shown curcumin to have antibiotic, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant benefits.
Research conducted at the University of Michigan has now shown that the curcumin in turmeric helps regulate cells by inserting itself into the cell membranes. This is what causes the cells to become less susceptible to infection and even to cancer. This research counters the previous assumption that curcumin acted by interacting with the proteins in the cell membrane, but the new research has shown that the cell membrane is changed by the presence of the curcumin in turmeric.
The research, conducted by Ayyalusamy Ramamoorthy, was published in the Journal of the American Chemical Society in March 2009. Ramamoorthy was fed milk with added turmeric when he was sick during his childhood and used this history to inspire his research.
Ramamoorthy is a chemist and biophysicists, not a nutritionist, and his lab utilizes solid state NMR spectroscopy to look at the atoms and membranes of various proteins and compounds. This study shows the benefits of interdisciplinary approach to science when chemists can add to the knowledge of food. Much work is upcoming in this growing field of Food Science. Ramamoorthy’s group at the University of Michigan is conducting further research with turmeric and curcumin. They are collaborating with members of the Life Science Institute to search for compounds to treat infections and disease.
Turmeric is a common ingredient in Indian curries. It is a yellow-colored powder that is also used as a dye. Other research has shown turmeric’s benefits in reducing the spread of breast cancer in mice, detoxifying the liver, preventing the progression of Alzheimer’s disease, and preventing numerous forms of cancers and childhood leukemia. It has been shown to stimulate the growth of blood vessels, heal skin inflammation such as psoriasis, stimulate fat metabolism, and act as a painkiller. Turmeric has shown results in treating pancreatic cancer as well as arthritis.
Turmeric is available in the spice aisle of most grocery stores and is also sold as a tablet in health food stores. The usual dosage is between 250 and 500 mg. Because it stimulates the uterus, it is not recommended for pregnant women. It is also not advised for those with gall bladder disease or gallstones.
[Editor`s Note: NaturalNews is strongly against the use of all forms of animal testing. We fully support implementation of humane medical experimentation that promotes the health and wellbeing of all living creatures.]
Super Spice Secrets: Can This Miracle Spice Stop Cancer, Alzheimer’s and Arthritis?
February 17 2009
By Dr. Mercola
For more than 5,000 years, turmeric has been an important part of Eastern cultural traditions, including traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda. Valued for its medicinal properties and warm, peppery flavor, this yellow-orange spice has more recently earned a name for itself in Western medicine as well.
Turmeric comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant, which is native to Indonesia and southern India, and is widely used as an ingredient in curry dishes and yellow mustard. As research into this powerful spice has increased, it has emerged as one of nature’s most powerful potential healers.
Said Dr. David Frawely, founder and director of the American Institute for Vedic Studies in Santa Fe, New Mexico:
“If I had only one single herb to depend upon for all possible health and dietary needs, I would without much hesitation choose the Indian spice Turmeric. There is little it cannot do in the realm of healing and much that no other herb is able to accomplish.
Turmeric has a broad spectrum of actions, mild but certain effects, and is beneficial for long term and daily usage. Though it is a common spice, few people, including herbalists know of its great value and are using it to the extent possible. It is an herb that one should get to know and live with.”
Turmeric’s Beneficial Effects in a Nutshell
- Strengthens and improves digestion
- Reduces gas and bloating
- Assists in the digestion of protein and with rice and bean dishes
- Improves your body’s ability to digest fats
- Promotes proper metabolism, correcting both excesses and deficiencies
- Maintains and improves intestinal flora
- Improves elimination of wastes and toxins
- Supports healthy liver function and detox
- Turmeric helps increase bile flow making it a liver cleanser that can rejuvenate your liver cells and recharge their capability to break down toxins
- Helps to prevent alcohol and other toxins from being converted into compounds that may be harmful to your liver
- Supports formation of healthy tissue
- Purifies your blood
- Stimulates formation of new blood tissue
- Anti-inflammatory: Helps to reduce irritation to tissues characterized by pain, redness, swelling and heat
- Contains curcuminoids that fight cancer, arthritis, and Alzheimer’s
- Curcuminoids are potent phytonutrients (plant-based nutrients) that contain powerful antioxidant properties
- Counteract the damaging effects of free radicals in your body
- Relieve arthritis pain and stiffness, anti-inflammatory agent
- Anti-carcinogenic: “Curcumin has been shown to prevent a large of number of cancers in animal studies. Laboratory data indicate that curcumin can inhibit tumor initiation, promotion, invasion, angiogenesis and metastasis.”
- Supports treatment of Alzheimer’s disease: “Because Alzheimer’s disease is caused in part by amyloid-induced inflammation, curcumin has been shown to be effective against Alzheimer’s. Clinical trials are in progress at UCLA with curcumin for Alzheimer’s.”
Curcumin: Turmeric’s Active Anti-Inflammatory “Ingredient”
Most notably turmeric is known for its potent anti-inflammatory properties, which come from curcumin — the pigment that gives turmeric its yellow-orange color, and which is thought to be responsible for many of its medicinal effects. There are an estimated three to five grams of curcumin in 100 grams of turmeric.
Curcumin has been shown to influence more than 700 genes, and it can inhibit both the activity and the synthesis of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX2) and 5-lipooxygenase (5-LOX), as well as other enzymes that have been implicated in inflammation.
Turmeric’s Cancer-Fighting Properties
In India where turmeric is widely used, the prevalence of four common U.S. cancers — colon, breast, prostate and lung — is 10 times lower. In fact, prostate cancer, which is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in U.S. men, is rare in India and this is attributed, in part, to turmeric.
Numerous studies have looked into this potential cancer-fighting link, with promising results. For instance, curcumin has been found to:
- Inhibit the proliferation of tumor cells
- Inhibit the transformation of cells from normal to tumor
- Help your body destroy mutated cancer cells so they cannot spread throughout your body
- Decrease inflammation
- Enhance liver function
- Inhibit the synthesis of a protein thought to be instrumental in tumor formation
- Prevent the development of additional blood supply necessary for cancer cell growth
As for the results of research studies, a study in Biochemical Pharmacology found that curcumin can slow the spread of breast cancer cells to the lungs in mice.
“Curcumin acts against transcription factors, which are like a master switch,” said lead researcher, Bharat Aggarwal. “Transcription factors regulate all the genes needed for tumors to form. When we turn them off, we shut down some genes that are involved in the growth and invasion of cancer cells.”
A second study in Biochemical Pharmacology also found that curcumin inhibits the activation of NF-kappaB, a regulatory molecule that signals genes to produce a slew of inflammatory molecules (including TNF, COX-2 and IL-6) that promote cancer cell growth.
Turmeric’s Essential Role for Your Liver
Your liver’s primary role is to process and remove toxins carried in your bloodstream. When functioning at its peak, it can filter up to two liters of blood per minute and easily break apart toxic molecules to reduce their toxicity. Your liver is also a crucial part of vitamin, mineral, protein, fat, carbohydrate and hormonal metabolism.
However, poor diet, allergens, pollution and stress can cause your liver to become sluggish, and this can impair its vital functions. This is where turmeric can be a very useful part of your liver support system. Studies have shown that it:
- May increase important detoxification enzymes in your liver
- Induces the formation of a primary liver detoxification enzyme, glutathione S-transferase (GST) enzymes
- Turmeric is also a natural cholagogue, a medicinal agent that promotes the discharge of bile from your system. Increased bile flow is important to help your liver detoxify and to help your body digest fats.
Turmeric for Your Heart, Brain and Overall Health
Turmeric inhibits free radical damage of fats, including cholesterol. When cholesterol is damaged in this way, or oxidized, it can then damage your blood vessels and lead to a heart attack or stroke. Therefore, research suggests that turmeric’s ability to prevent the oxidation of cholesterol may be beneficial for your heart. It’s also rich in vitamin B6, high intakes of which are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.
Meanwhile, turmeric appears to be highly protective against neurodegenerative diseases. In fact, in India levels of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s are very low, and studies have shown that curcumin can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s in mice. The compound has also proven capable of blocking the progression of multiple sclerosis.
Further, Professor Moolky Nagabhushan from the Loyola University Medical Center, Chicago, IL, who has been studying turmeric for the last 20 years, believes that turmeric can protect against harmful environmental chemicals, and in so doing protect against childhood leukemia. The research showed that curcumin in turmeric can:
- Inhibit the toxicity of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) (cancer-causing chemicals in the environment)
- Inhibit radiation-induced chromosome damage
- Prevent the formation of harmful heterocyclic amines and nitroso compounds, which may result in the body when eating certain processed foods, such as processed meat products
- Irreversibly inhibit the multiplication of leukemia cells in a cell culture
- Turmeric’s volatile oils also have external anti-bacterial action. As such, they may help prevent bacterial wound infections and accelerate wound healing. Johnson & Johnson even sells a curcumin-containing Band-Aid in India!
And the therapeutic potential of turmeric and curcumin do not end there. Evidence suggests the spice may also be beneficial for:
- Cystic fibrosis
- Type 2 diabetes
- Crohn’s disease
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Muscle regeneration
- Inflammatory bowel disease
Which Type of Turmeric is Best?
For use in cooking, choose a pure turmeric powder, rather than a curry powder. At least one study has found that curry powders tend to contain very little curcumin, compared to turmeric powder. Turmeric is also available in supplement form and for many this is a more convenient method to obtain these health benefits discussed above, especially if they are from a high-quality organic source and if one doesn’t particularly enjoy the taste of curry.