Almost daily I seem to come across an article or research that adds to the ever-growing list of benefits and uses for turmeric or curcumin. Previously I featured a post about how this bright, golden spice can help with Alzheimer’s, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what this little wonder can do….
(written by Sayer Ji of Green Med Info) There is a medicinal spice so timelessly interwoven with the origins of human culture and metabolism, so thoroughly supported by modern scientific inquiry, as to be unparalleled in its proven value to human health and well-being.
Indeed, turmeric turns the entire drug-based medical model on its head. Instead of causing far more side effects than therapeutic ones, as is the case for most patented pharmaceutical medications, turmeric possesses hundreds of potential side benefits, having been empirically demonstrated to positively modulate over 160 different physiological pathways in the mammalian body.
While no food or herb is right for everyone, and everything has the potential for unintended, adverse side effects, turmeric is truly unique in its exceptionally high margin of safety vis-à-vis the drugs it has been compared with, e.g. hydrocortisone, ibuprofen, chemotherapy agents. Furthermore, nothing within the modern-day pharmaceutical armamentarium comes even remotely close to turmeric’s 6,000 year track record of safe use in Ayurvedic medicine.
Despite its vast potential for alleviating human suffering, turmeric will likely never receive the FDA stamp of approval, due to its lack of exclusivity, patentability and therefore profitability. Truth be told, the FDA’s “gold standard” for proving the value of a prospective medicinal substance betrays the age old aphorism: “he who owns the gold makes the rules,” and unless an investor is willing to risk losing the 800+ million dollars that must be spent upfront, the FDA-required multi-phased double-blind, randomized clinical trials will not occur. For additional details on this rather seedy arrangement read our article on the topic: Why The Law Forbids The Medicinal Use of Natural Substances.
Here at GreenMedInfo.com, we have reviewed over 5,000 study abstracts from the National Library of Medicine’s bibliographic database known as MEDLINE and have discovered over 600 potential health benefits of turmeric, and/or its primary polyphenol known as curcumin. These can be viewed on our turmeric research page which is dedicated to disseminating the research on the topic to a larger audience.
Some of the most amazing demonstrated properties include:
- Destroying Multi-Drug Resistant Cancer
- Destroying Cancer Stem Cells (arguably, the root of all cancer)
- Protecting Against Radiation-Induced Damage
- Reducing Unhealthy Levels of Inflammation
- Protecting Against Heavy Metal Toxicity
- Preventing and Reversing Alzheimer’s Disease Associated Pathologies
Again, what is so amazing is not that turmeric may have value in dozens of health conditions simultaneously, or that it may improve conditions that are completely resistant to conventional treatment, but that there are over six hundred additional health conditions it may also be valuable in preventing and/or treating. Consider also the fact that turmeric grows freely on the Earth, and you will understand why its very existence threatens billions of dollars in pharmaceutical industry revenue.
Turmeric is one the most thoroughly researched plants in existence today. Its medicinal properties and components (primarily curcumin) have been the subject of over 5600 peer-reviewed and published biomedical studies. In fact, our five-year long research project on this sacred plant has revealed over 600 potential preventive and therapeutic applications, as well as 175 distinct beneficial physiological effects.
Given the sheer density of research performed on this remarkable spice, it is no wonder that a growing number of studies have concluded that it compares favorably to a variety of conventional medications, including:
- Lipitor/Atorvastatin(cholesterol medication): A 2008 study published in the journal Drugs in R & D found that a standardized preparation of curcuminoids from Turmeric compared favorably to the drug atorvastatin (trade name Lipitor) on endothelial dysfunction, the underlying pathology of the blood vessels that drives atherosclerosis, in association with reductions in inflammation and oxidative stress in type 2 diabetic patients. [i] [For addition curcumin and ‘high cholesterol’ research – 8 abstracts]
- Corticosteroids (steroid medications): A 1999 study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research found that the primary polyphenol in turmeric, the saffron colored pigment known as curcumin, compared favorably to steroids in the management of chronic anterior uveitis, an inflammatory eye disease.[ii] A 2008 study published in Critical Care Medicine found that curcumin compared favorably to the corticosteroid drug dexamethasone in the animal model as an alternative therapy for protecting lung transplantation-associated injury by down-regulating inflammatory genes.[iii] An earlier 2003 study published in Cancer Letters found the same drug also compared favorably to dexamethasone in a lung ischaemia-repurfusion injury model.[iv] [for additional curcumin and inflammation research – 52 abstracts]
- Prozac/Fluoxetine & Imipramine (antidepressants): A 2011 study published in the journal Acta Poloniae Pharmaceutica found that curcumin compared favorably to both drugs in reducing depressive behavior in an animal model. [for additional curcumin and depression research – 5 abstracts]
- Aspirin (blood thinner): A 1986 in vitro and ex vivo study published in the journalArzneimittelforschung found that curcumin has anti-platelet and prostacyclin modulating effects compared to aspirin, indicating it may have value in patients prone to vascular thrombosis and requiring anti-arthritis therapy. [for additional curcumin and anti-platelet research]
- Anti-inflammatory Drugs: A 2004 study published in the journal Oncogene found that curcumin (as well as resveratrol) were effective alternatives to the drugs aspirin, ibuprofen, sulindac, phenylbutazone, naproxen, indomethacin, diclofenac, dexamethasone, celecoxib, and tamoxifen in exerting anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative activity against tumor cells. [for additional curcumin and anti-proliferative research – 15 abstracts]
- Oxaliplatin (chemotherapy drug): A 2007 study published in the International Journal of Cancer found that curcumin compares favorably with oxaliplatin as an antiproliferative agenet in colorectal cell lines. [for additional curcumin and colorectal cancer research – 52 abstracts]
- Metformin (diabetes drug): A 2009 study published in the journal Biochemitry and Biophysical Research Community explored how curcumin might be valuable in treating diabetes, finding that it activates AMPK (which increases glucose uptake) and suppresses gluconeogenic gene expression (which suppresses glucose production in the liver) in hepatoma cells. Interestingly, they found curcumin to be 500 times to 100,000 times (in the form known as tetrahydrocurcuminoids(THC)) more potent than metformin in activating AMPK and its downstream target acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC).
Related posts about the benefits of turmeric/curcumin in cancer treatment and how to help the body best absorb it:
Turmeric also helps protect and detox the brain from fluoride:
An excerpt about how turmeric/curcumin helps fight brain inflammation from Joshua Corn of Stop Aging Now:
The hallmark process associated with certain types of cognitive decline is the formation in the brain of abnormal protein structures. Normally when malformed proteins are formed within the brain, the immune system sends out cells known as macrophages, which engulf and destroy the proteins. If this ordinary function fails, defective proteins accumulate in the brain and cognitive decline can follow.
That’s why I was excited to read that recent research is showing that curcumin encourages the immune system to send macrophages to the brain. A landmark clinical trial involving people with severe cognitive decline that measured the effects of curcumin. Amazingly, the participants taking curcumin had significantly higher levels of dissolved abnormal proteins in their blood compared to those in the placebo group.
This study showed that curcumin has the ability to effectively pass into the brain, bind to beta-amyloid plaques and assist the body in their breakdown. Curcumin is one of the only substances known to have such a profound protective effect on the brain.
Wondering how much turmeric to take daily? Here’s what Susan Patterson, Certified Health Coach, Certified Metabolic Typing Advisor, and Content Director at The Alternative Daily says:
The recommended amount of turmeric depends on an individual’s age. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, these are the recommended guidelines for adults:
- Cut root: 1.5 to 3 grams per day
- Dried, powdered root: 1 to 3 grams per day
- Fluid extract: 30 to 90 drops daily
- Tincture: 15 to 30 drops, 4 times a day
Note: There is no safe medicinal amount for children; however, culinary doses are generally considered safe for any age. Keep in mind that turmeric can act as a blood thinner. If you are taking a blood thinner, it is important that you speak to your doctor before taking a turmeric supplement. If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, check with your physician also.
And here’s a recipe from Real Food RN that will give you a way to add more turmeric to your diet and get a good night’s sleep at the same time….
Turmeric milk is a traditional Indian and Ayurvedic beverage that is typically drunk before bed. Similar to what we do here in the States with warm milk before bed. Although, I never really enjoyed warm milk before bed as a kid, I sure do enjoy this delicious beverage. The warming effect it has on the body puts you right to sleep! I also chose to add ginger to my recipe to further enhance the anti-inflammatory properties (especially for the digestive tract!). Honey is optional as a sweetener…but it does also add more medicinal properties! I use coconut milk because it is full of healthy fats and contains lauric acid, antimicrobial lipids and capric acid, which have antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral properties. I hope you enjoy this as much as I do…
Turmeric has many beneficial healing properties and has been shown to:
- ease arthritis pain, due to it’s anti-inflammatory properties
- help the liver detoxify by enhancing liver function, and also enhances the flow of bile (aka gallstone prevention!)
- boost blood circulation, and also thins the blood (CAUTION to those already on a blood-thinning medication)
- heal and soothe the digestive tract, and even help prevent ulcers due to the antiseptic properties
- reduce the pain and fever associated with illness
A host of scientific investigations have also looked at the ability of curcumin to fight cancer. Curcumin kills several types of cancer cells in the laboratory. In animals, curcumin prevents or slows cancer in the skin, breast, liver, fore-stomach, duodenum and colon. Curcumin also has anti-angiogenic properties; translation: curcumin seriously slows new blood vessel formation in tumors, causes asphyxiation of tumors and thus preventing their growth and metastases.
Here is how to make this delicious healing beverage:
- 2 cups coconut milk , or milk of your choice
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper — the absorption of turmeric is actually enhanced when combined with *black pepper
- 1″ piece of ginger sliced
- raw honey to sweeten, if desired
*Note: If you have an ulcerative intestinal problem, omit the black pepper as it can be problematic with ulcers. Black pepper can even make small cuts in the bowels of people with Crohn’s disease.
- In a saucepan add all ingredients (except honey, if using) and whisk to combine
- Heat over medium heat until it starts to bubble
- Turn heat down to low and simmer for about 5 minutes so the flavors meld
- Strain out the ginger
- Add honey and stir
- Makes 2 servings, so you can share the love
Here’s how to keep it on hand for ease of use:
In a small jar combine:
- 3 Tbsp turmeric
- 2 tsp black pepper
- 1 Tbsp powdered ginger
- Cover the jar and shake to combine
- To use: Mix 1 teaspoon of the powdered mix with 1 cup of milk
Related Self-help Health post on turmeric (golden) milk:
Turmeric & Mushroom Rice – www.trinityskitchen.com/turmeric-mushroom-rice-vegan
Walnut & Turmeric Super Detox Salad – www.trinityskitchen.com/walnut-turmeric-sun-dried-tomato-super-detox-salad
FYI, you can get turmeric and curcumin at a discount at one of my favorite places to shop iHerb.com; use code CJG192 if you are a new customer and spend more than $40 and you will get $10 off, plus can take advantage of their wonderful Specials and Trial Offers section. Shipping is free on orders of $20 and up, and there’s no sales tax. There’s an extra 5% off on orders over $60.
Vitacost.com is another on-line favorite of mine and also has a huge selection of products. If you are new to Vitacost and make your first purchase of $25 or more through the link on my webpage you will receive a $10 off coupon. And if you plan on shopping again after that, be sure to sign up for a free acct. at eBates.com, if you don’t already have one. That way you can use the eBates portal to shop at Vitacost (and 100s of other popular stores) and earn cash back on your purchases. Plus, eBates usually offers some reward–I got a $10 gift card–when you place your first $25 order at a store through them. How does it get any better than that?!
And be sure and read a previous Self-help Health post about turmeric being effective at treating Alzheimer’s:
p.s. Be sure to subscribe to Self-help Health so you don’t miss any future posts, and tell your friends to do the same. Also check out my website’s To Your Health page and Evolution Made Easier blog for more helpful health tips, tools and information.
Disclaimer: Please note that any information here is provided as a guideline only, and is not meant to substitute for the advice of your physician, nutritionist, trained healthcare practitioner, and/or inner guidance system. Always consult a professional before undertaking any change to your normal health routine.