People have used spices for centuries, due to their amazing properties to enrich out food, as well as their numerous medicinal effects.
Yet, one spice is a real natural miracle! It is the miraculous turmeric!
Traditional Health Benefits of Turmeric
This amazing spice comes from the root of Curcuma longa, which is a flowering tropical plant native to India, and its healing properties have been used for thousands of years in Ayurveda. This is the natural Healing system of India, old 5,000 years. Moreover, scientists discovered cooking residue on pottery shards, which indicate that turmeric was used for cooking in Asia 4,500 years ago.
This versatile spice was used traditionally to improve digestion, dissolve gallstones, relieve arthritis, and alleviate symptoms of allergies and colds.
It was applied externally for wounds and skin conditions. It was also used as a beauty treatment. Soaps and creams containing turmeric are experiencing a surge in popularity today.
Turmeric paste is still applied to the skin of both the bride and groom in a ceremony before marriage in some parts of India, Bangladesh, and Pakistan to beautify skin and as a form of good luck.
The Relationship Between Turmeric and Curcumin
Although you may see it written this in numerous websites or newspapers, you need to know that turmeric and curcumin, as well as curry powder, are three different things, so you should not use them interchangeably.
First of all, curry powder is a mixture of various different spices, including turmeric.
On the other hand, despite all the numerous compounds of turmeric, there is one which has remarkable potential and brings various healthy benefits to the spice.
This powerful active ingredient is called curcumin, which has unique, potent characteristics and a wide range of beneficial health effects. This powerful compound may also be found in ginger as well, which is another strong medicinal spice.
According to numerous health websites, there is evidence that shows that turmeric can have strong beneficial effects in the case of more than 600 ailments.
Yet, the majority of research was conducted on curcumin, not turmeric.
Therefore, according to the comment of the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health“… there is little reliable evidence to support the use of turmeric for any health condition because few clinical trials have been conducted.”
The reason for this is the fact that research is done more easily if conducted on an isolated compound, as it can be studied as a drug- like, rather than as a spice- like.
Yet, the major reason is that there is a little monetary incentive to research a common spice, frequently used in our everyday life, as it is not a substance that can be patented.
Nevertheless, studies have provides evidence indicating that curcumin is effective in lowering the risk of heart attack, reducing allergies, reducing arthritis pain, controlling diabetes, breaking up the brain plaques of Alzheimer’s, and curing depression.
Moreover, it has been proven that turmeric has at least 10 antioxidants, more than 20 antibiotic compounds, 12 anti-inflammatories, 14 known cancer preventatives, and 12 anti-tumor ones.
Therefore, it is a powerful antibacterial, antiviral, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer agent. Turmeric has also been found to treat several specify health conditions, including:
Turmeric for Alzheimer’s
One of the most exciting benefits of turmeric is that it may prevent Alzheimer’s. Elderly villagers in India who eat turmeric as a regular part of their diet have the lowest rate of Alzheimer’s in the world.
Over 200 compounds have been identified in turmeric and curcumin is not the only one being studied for Alzheimer’s. Another compound in turmeric, turmerone, stimulates the production of new neurons and seems to encourage the brain to repair itself.
This property could make it a useful treatment for a variety of degenerative brain diseases besides Alzheimer’s, including Parkinson’s, traumatic brain injury, and stroke.
Turmeric for Arthritis
Arthritis and other inflammatory diseases are extremely common. Over $650 million is spent in the United States every year on natural remedies for treating chronic inflammation.
Turmeric is anti-inflammatory and has been found to be beneficial for arthritis when taken internally and when applied topically. The Arthritis Foundation reports that turmeric can provide long-term improvement in pain and function for those with osteoarthritis.
Their suggested dosage for osteoarthritis is to take one capsule (400-600 mg) three times per day or 0.5-1.0 gram of powdered turmeric root up to 3 grams per day.
Turmeric for Cancer
Curcumin is considered to enhance anticancer treatments, but this requires more clinical trials. It has the ability to destroy tumor cells selectively, without harming healthy cells. It works in a synergy with chemo and radiation, and stimulates their effectiveness.
Dr Saraswati Sukumar, an oncologist at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, has participated in many studies conducted to determine the anticancer properties of turmeric. The doctor has revealed that adding turmeric to diet is far more efficient than supplementing turmeric or curcumin.
Turmeric is more efficient than Prozac for depression Turmeric has amazing antidepressant effect. It has shown to be more powerful than fluoxetine, or Prozac.
How does it work?
Turmeric reduces cortisol levels, while increasing serotonin production. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that is associated with happiness and joy. This is more than great for those who literally stuff themselves with antidepressants.
The same applies for those who have experienced severe side-effects. Unlike antidepressants, patients can use turmeric supplements indefinitely or add it to their favorite dish. Turmeric does not cause side effects when combined with other natural remedies for depression, including St.John’s wort and SAM-e.
Enhance the efficacy of turmeric naturally
Unfortunately, human body cannot absorb curcumin completely. If not consumed properly, curcumin goes right through the intestines without being used. Increase its potency by combining it with black pepper, which is the case of curry powder.
Black pepper contains piperine, a compound that enhances the absorption of curcumin by amazing 2,000%. Curcumin is fat-soluble, so its bioavailability is multiplied by cooking turmeric with oil. Tradition covers this as well. In India, people use peanut, sesame and coconut oil, and butter-derived ghee is also a common fatty ingredient.
Turmeric tea is a great compromise between to trying to get enough turmeric into your daily diet and taking supplements.
Boiling turmeric in water for 10 minutes increases the solubility of curcumin up to 12 times.
The people of Okinawa, Japan are the longest-lived in the world, with an average life span of 81.2 years. And they drink large amounts of turmeric tea.
To make basic turmeric tea, put 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder in 1 cup of water and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain if needed and serve.
If you actually enjoy it, you’re in luck because not everyone is crazy about it. It’s very bitter and medicinal-tasting.
I’ve been experimenting to find a recipe that’s both healthy and delicious. This recipe is tasty and assures maximum bioavailability by both heating and adding coconut oil, a top brain-healthy fat.
Liquid Gold Turmeric Tea
– 1/2 cup purified water
– 1/2 teaspoon organic turmeric powder
– 1/2 cup organic coconut milk
– 1 tablespoon organic coconut oil
– 1 teaspoon raw organic honey (or stevia to taste)
Boil your water. Stir half a teaspoon of turmeric powder and simmer on low for 10 minutes. Add organic coconut milk and coconut oil. Heat well until your tea is completely warmed through. Add stevia or honey to taste.
Always use raw and organic produce to avoid undesirable chemicals and pesticides. You can experiment with the ratio of ingredients until you make the brew that works best for you.
Use almond or regular milk instead of coconut milk, and make sure it is full-fat. In India, people like using ghee, a traditional clarified butter, instead of coconut oil, as it gives their tea a rich, buttery flavor.
Turmeric sold in the dried spice section is probably the only kind of turmeric you know. However, try finding turmeric root. It is similar to ginger, which is its plant cousin.
As we already explained, ginger also contains turmeric. The University of Maryland made a Complementary and Alternative medicine Guide which lists the recommended doses for adults:
– Cut root – 1.5-3 grams per day
– Dried, powdered root – 1-3 grams per day
– Fluid extract (1:1) – 30-90 drops per day
– Turmeric tincture (1:2) – 15-30 drops, 4 times per day
– The suggested doses for standardized curcumin supplement is 400-600mg, 3 times per day. Always opt for products with 95% of curcuminoids. Make sure your product contains piperine or black pepper extract added. If dosing is not your best side, just follow the instructions listed on the label of your product.
Turmeric supplement side effects
Health experts agree that using turmeric as a spice is safe. Turmeric does not show any side effects, except for the possibility to stimulate the creation of kidney stones in people who are prone to this condition.
On the other hand, turmeric supplements may cause many side effects, undesired interactions and they sure come with a warning. Turmeric and curcumin are not the same, but their side effects and reactions are considered as one by Drugs.com, Rxlist.com, and the National Institute of Health’s MedLine.
They all agreed that turmeric and curcumin supplements are not recommended for:
— Pregnant women. Curcumin stimulates the function of your uterine and increases the risk of miscarriage. There is no proof of turmeric being safe for breastfeeding moms.
— Those who try to conceive. Turmeric could only make your problem worse.
— Individuals with sensitive hormone levels. Turmeric has the same effect as estrogen, and you should avoid it if you are diagnosed with reproductive cancer, endometriosis, or uterine fibroids.
— Patients with gallstones and gallbladder disease. Turmeric only adds to the problem.
— Those who are scheduled for surgery in 2 weeks. Turmeric thins blood and increases the risk of bleeding. Patients who take medications to affect clotting, including aspirin, clopidogrel, diclofenac, ibuprofen, naproxen, and warfarin. Turmeric raises the risk of bruising and bleeding.
— Individuals with GERD, ulcers, and other stomach issues. Turmeric worsens GERD and may trigger gastric irritation, upset stomach, nausea, and diarrhea.
— People who take drugs for their stomach acid. Turmeric interferes of the effect of Zantac, Tagamet, Nexium, and stimulates the production of stomach acid.
— Diabetics. Turmeric elevates the risk of hypoglycemia. Those who suffer from iron deficiency. Turmeric stops the organism from absorbing iron.
Drugs.com lists 70 drugs with adverse interaction with turmeric and curcumin supplements. Check for the thorough list of turmeric interactions.