Many Health Benefits of Tumeric
There are many health benefits of tumeric or turmeric, a golden yellow spice. Used for over 2,000 years in India, turmeric research points to many promising health benefits. The active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, demonstrates powerful anti inflammatory, anti-cancer, and antiseptic properties. Unless turmeric upsets your stomach, it's considered a very safe herb with few side effects. You can easily add this spice to food or find curcumin and turmeric capsules at health food stores or online.
Through the centuries, turmeric has been used as an antiseptic for the skin. A paste made from the golden-yellow spice is applied to the skin. It has been used to treat cuts, burns and all types of minor skin irritation.
May Prevent Prostate Cancer
Researchers at Rutgers University uncovered another health benefit of tumeric or turmeric. It may prevent prostate cancer in men. The 2006 study included turmeric and vegetables from the cabbage family, including cauliflower and broccoli. Researchers were curious as to why prostate cancer rates are very high in the United States but extremely low in India. The spice turmeric is a staple of Indian cuisine, and the Indian diet is typically rich in vegetables and low in meat, both factors that may influence the low rate of prostate cancer in India. The American diet typically lacks turmeric and is much lower in vegetable consumption.
Breast Cancer Prevention
Another study conducted at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, links turmeric consumption with lower breast cancer rates. Researchers fed mice a diet rich in turmeric and noted a much lower rate of breast cancer. Turmeric may actually help prevent many different types of cancer, although why it works in some cases and not in all cases remains a mystery.
Slows Alzheimer's Progression
Yet another promising health benefit of turmeric is its effects on the brain and on cognitive (thinking) ability. Researchers again uncovered patterns of disease that were different in India than in America, with the rate of Alzheimer's disease much lower in India than in America among comparable groups of elderly people. Dr. Sally Frautschy reported her findings at the Alzheimers Society for Neuroscience conference that increased consumption of turmeric reduces the incidence of plaques forming within the brain. Studies on rates demonstrate a much lower incidence of plaques.
Anti Inflammatory Properties
Turmeric also demonstrate anti inflammatory properties. Throughout India, turmeric was often prescribed by healers to treat arthritis and similar conditions. Today, researchers are discovering that curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, does indeed provide some anti inflammatory properties. Turmeric inhibits Cox-2 enzymes, the chemicals responsible for inflammation. Many drugs prescribed for conditions such as arthritis work the same way. Turmeric may one day replace drug therapy once the exact mechanism is isolated.
Slows Progress of MS
Noted natural health expert Dr. Weil recommends turmeric and ginger to all his Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients. MS begins with damage to the myelin sheath surrounding nerves. The immune system attacks the nerves. Dr. Weil believes that turmeric's anti inflammatory properties may also calm the immune system in MS patients.
Helps Weight Loss
In laboratory studies conducted on rats and mice with diabetes, turmeric has shown an ability to lower blood glucose levels and cholesterol levels. The German Commission E, a group responsible for reviewing herbal treatments, approved turmeric to increase bile production. Bile breaks down fatty acids and fats. All of these results from using turmeric may aid weight loss.
With so many health benefits, turmeric is indeed an amazing spice. You can easily add more turmeric to your food by enjoying healthy curries and other Indian dishes. Find turmeric or curcumin capsules if you wish to add them to your diet. The most commonly reported side effects are stomach problems ranging from mild discomfort to gas and diarrhea. If side effects occur, discontinue use. Consult your doctor before taking these or any herbal supplements. The wonderful health benefits of tumeric are only just being discovered, but demonstrate so much promise for many conditions.