Spices have long been used because of their health-promoting properties and the amazing flavors they bring to food.
Even though numerous spices offer some health benefits, this spice shines thanks to its therapeutic effects.
Turmeric is considered to help in treatment of a number of health problems, including psoriasis, arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and even cancer.
Traditional Therapeutic Effects of This Spice
Turmeric is actually a spice derived from Curcuma longa root.
In addition, it has long been used as a natural remedy in Ayurveda.
Moreover, it is among the spices used to create curry powder.
Turmeric is often used dry, but the root could also be grated fresh.
It was used traditionally to alleviate arthritis, dissolve gallstones, enhance digestion, and relieve symptoms of colds and allergies.
This spice was applied topically to treat skin problems and wounds.
The Connection between Curcumin and Turmeric
Unfortunately, a number of websites improperly use the following terms curry powder, curcumin and turmeric, which makes it difficult to understand the information on this spice.
Namely, curry powder is a combination of various spices, including turmeric.
In addition, turmeric possesses many compounds, including curcumin.
Curcumin is one of the most comprehensively studied compounds of all compounds found in turmeric.
Curcumin is present in turmeric and ginger.
Several natural health websites state that turmeric has been found to help in the treatment of about 600 health problems.
However, most of studies were conducted on the isolated curcumin, but not turmeric.
In fact, it is easier to examine a compound, including curcumin that could be standardized and isolated. That’s not all, there is also little monetary incentive to study a spice that is present in most kitchens all over the world unless it could be turned into a patented substance.
Scientific Evidence on the Healing Properties of Turmeric
Many studies have shown that curcumin could regulate diabetes, treat depression, alleviate the pain triggered by arthritis, relieve allergies, lower the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, and reduce the likelihood of heart attack.
Turmeric has been shown to possess about 20 compounds that have 12 anti-tumor, antibiotic, 10 antioxidant, 14 cancer-preventive, and 12 anti-inflammatory capabilities.
– Turmeric Helps Treat Depression
This spice has remarkable antidepressant properties.
Additionally, turmeric has been proven to be a more effective antidepressant compared to Prozac (fluoxetine).
Turmeric works by decreasing the stress hormone called cortisol while elevating the neurotransmitter related to happiness called serotonin.
Unlike pharmaceutical antidepressants, turmeric does not come with serious side effects.
You can also safely mix it with other natural antidepressants, like SAM-e and St. John’s wort.
– This Spice Helps Prevent or Fight Cancer
Curcumin may help prevent or treat cancer by selectively destroying tumor cells without touching the healthy cells. It actually works synergistically to elevate the effectiveness of radiation and chemotherapy.
A medical oncologist at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Dr. Saraswati Sukumar, has been involved in many studies on the anti-cancer effects of this spice.
Dr. Sukumar concluded that consuming turmeric prepared in food offers greater benefits compared to taking either a turmeric or curcumin supplement.
– It Helps Fight Arthritis
Many inflammatory conditions, including arthritis are quite common today.
But, turmeric has potent anti-inflammatory properties that make it effective at treating arthritis when consumed orally and when applied externally.
This spice has been fount to provide long-term improvement in function and pain for osteoarthritis patients.
The recommended amount of this spice for treating osteoarthritis is 0.5-1 g of turmeric root (powdered) or 400-600 mg (1 capsule) 3 times on a daily basis.
– Turmeric Helps in the Treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease
Turmeric could help in the prevention of Alzheimer’s.
About 200 compounds have been found in turmeric and curcumin isn’t the only one being examined for Alzheimer’s.
Turmerone, another ingredient present in this spice has been proven to induce new neuron production. As a result of this, it may be a beneficial treatment for many degenerative brain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, traumatic brain injuries, Parkinson’s, and stroke.
How to Improve the Bioavailability of Turmeric:
Unlikely, curcumin, the main active ingredient found in turmeric, cannot be easily absorbed.
Unless you take the right measures, this ingredient usually passes through your intestines unutilized.
You can significantly elevate absorption by mixing it with some black pepper.
Piperine, the compound present in black pepper, helps elevate the absorption of curcumin by up to 2,000%.
As curcumin is fat soluble, you can improve its bioavailability if you cook turmeric in oil, including butter-derived ghee; coconut, peanut, and sesame oil.
How to Use Turmeric:
Homemade Turmeric Tea Recipe 1
If you boil turmeric in some water for ten minutes, it can elevate curcumin solubility up to twelve times.
The residents of Okinawa (Japan) are the longest-lived in the world, with an average life span of 81 years because they consume turmeric tea on a regular basis.
You can prepare your homemade turmeric tea by adding half a teaspoon of turmeric powder to 1 cup of water. Then, allow it to simmer for several minutes.
At least, strain.
Homemade Turmeric Tea Recipe 2
- A tbsp. of coconut oil
- Half a cup of coconut milk
- Half a tsp. of turmeric powder
- Half a cup of water
- Some stevia or honey
- You should boil the water and then add turmeric.
- Afterwards, allow it to simmer for several minutes.
- Next, add the coconut oil and coconut milk and heat until warmed through.
- Add some stevia and honey to taste.
- Of course, you can adjust the amounts to prepare the tea that is best for you.
The Right Dosage of Turmeric:
You are probably familiar with the turmeric in the dried spice section at grocery stores.
However, you can also purchase turmeric root in produce sections.
The following turmeric dosages should be used by adults:
- 15-30 drops of tincture 4 times on a daily basis
- 30-90 drops of fluid extract on a daily basis
- 1-3 g of powdered root (dried) on a daily basis
- 1.5-3 g of cut root on a daily basis
The recommended dosage of curcumin for powder supplements is about 500 mg three times on a daily basis.
It is advisable to buy products standardized for 95 percent curcuminoids, which also possess black pepper or piperine extract.
The Side Effects of Turmeric Supplements:
Turmeric eaten as a spice in food is considered to be safe.
In fact, there aren’t any known side effects of turmeric except for a higher likelihood of kidney stones in those susceptible.
However, turmeric supplements could result in many possible side effects.
It is recommended to avoid taking turmeric or curcumin supplements in case:
- You suffer from iron deficiency as turmeric could inhibit iron absorption.
- You are on diabetes drugs because turmeric elevates the likelihood of low blood sugar levels.
- You are on medications that help lower stomach acid as turmeric could impede the action of Nexium, Zantac, and Tagamet by stimulating stomach acid production.
- You suffer from stomach problems, including ulcers, GERD, etc., since turmeric could make GERD even worse and contribute to nausea, stomach upset, diarrhea, and gastric irritation.
- You are on drugs, which slow clotting like warfarin, naproxen, ibuprofen, diclofenac, clopidogrel, and aspirin since turmeric could elevate the chance of bleeding and bruising.
- You will have surgery in the following 15 days because turmeric could raise your likelihood of bleeding.
- You suffer from gallbladder disease or have gallstones. Taking turmeric supplements could make gallbladder issues even worse.
- You suffer from hormone-sensitive conditions. Namely, turmeric could work as estrogen, meaning you need to avoid it in case you have uterine fibroids, endometriosis, or reproductive cancer.
- You want to conceive. In case you want to conceive, avoid taking curcumin or turmeric supplements.
- You are pregnant. Specifically, curcumin could stimulate your uterus and increase your possibility of a miscarriage.
- Majeed, Muhammed. ˮTurmeric and the Healing Curcuminoidsˮ;
- DeJager, Prashanti. ˮTurmeric: The Ayurvedic Spice of Lifeˮ;
- Jefferson, Warren. ”The Healing Power of Turmeric”;