Is turmeric Primal? You bet! And most of you know by now I’m a big fan of this ancient spice. Matter of fact I have been taking this herb in supplemental form and using as a cooking spice everyday for a couple years with amazing results.
Even though we know them as spices mainly used in curry, curcumin and turmeric have caused a buzz in the U.S. as a powerful natural herbal supplement. Turmeric comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant; it has a tough brown skin and a deep orange flesh. When discussing curcumin, you may also hear it described as turmeric. Often the two are used interchangeably, but there is a difference: turmeric is the yellow powder to flavor foods, and curcumin is the chemical contained in turmeric.
The History of Curcumin and Turmeric
For thousands of years, Asian, Indian and Indonesian cultures used curcumin and turmeric as herbal medicines and remedies. In various Asian folk medicine traditions, turmeric was used to treat conditions such as diarrhea, fever, bronchitis, colds, parasitic worms, leprosy, and bladder and kidney inflammation. Herbalists have applied turmeric salve to bruises, leech bites, festering eye infections, mouth inflammations, skin conditions, and infected wounds. Some people inhale smoke from burning turmeric to relieve chronic coughs. Some herbalists consider turmeric mixed with hot water and sugar to be a remedy for colds.
Recent Research Shows Turmeric has Strong Anti-inflammatory and Cancer Fighting Properties
Research by Sarker et al. notes its powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and antioxidant properties. Moreover, the U.S. National Library of Medicine and the National Institutes of Health have this to say about turmeric: “Laboratory and animal research has demonstrated anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-cancer properties of turmeric and its constituent curcumin.”
Unlike aspirin or ibuprophen, turmeric’s curcumin reduces inflammation naturally, without damaging the liver or kidneys. It has been found especially helpful in treating conditions like arthritis, sports injuries, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, tendonitis and various autoimmune diseases.
In state-of-the-art molecular facilities at the world-renowned University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, research on the power of nutrition to kill cancer as well as help traditional cancer therapies work better is almost secretive. The Anderson Cancer Center is at the forefront of new biological cancer medicines. On April 21, 2011 they published a groundbreaking scientific review of their research on their favorite anti-cancer nutrient – curcumin.
Curcumin (diferuloylmethane), a yellow spice and the active component of the perennial herb Curcuma longa, commonly known as turmeric, is one of the most powerful and promising chemopreventive and anticancer agents, and epidemiological evidence demonstrates that people who incorporate high doses of this spice in their diets have a lower incidence of cancer. Furthermore, epidemiological evidence exists indicating that there is a correlation between increased dietary intake of antioxidants and a lower incidence of morbidity and mortality…. How curcumin exerts its powerful anticancer activities has been thoroughly investigated, and several mechanisms of action have been discovered…. curcumin exerts its biological activities through epigenetic modulation.
More Benefits of Curcumin
Some of the additional benefits associated with using turmeric/curcumin supplements are listed below:
- Helps promote healthy skin
- Boosts antioxidant protection against free radicals (inflammation)
- Supports eye health
- Provides immune system support
- Aids skeletal system and joint health
- Encourages healthy liver function
- Balances the health of your digestive system
- Aids in support of healthy blood and your circulatory system
- Helps maintain normal cholesterol levels to support your cardiovascular system
- Assists neurological system’s healthy response to stress
- Promotes a healthy female reproductive system
- Helps maintain blood sugar levels already within the normal range
- Helps maintain healthy cells with support against free radicals
What the Experts are Saying
“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.”
Dr. David Frawely, founder and director of the American Institute for Vedic Studies in Santa Fe, New Mexico
“The bottom line that the therapeutic advantages of turmeric and curcumin are almost too numerous to list”. An overview published in Advanced Experimental Medical Biology in 2007 states that, “Curcumin has been shown to exhibit antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anticancer activities and thus has a potential against various malignant diseases, diabetes, allergies, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease and other chronic illnesses.”
Dr. Weil, the founder of and director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine
Great News for Athletes
As a former athlete, I find the studies and actual results of curcumin to be groundbreaking. I wish I knew about this powerful supplement during my competitive athletic days.
A study in the American Journal of Physiology indicated curcumin reduced inflammation and offset some of the performance deficits associated with eccentric exercise-induced muscle damage.
Proof is in the Pudding!
While recovering from major back surgery, which resulted in painful complications and post-surgery inflammation, my Holistic Practitioner advised me to start taking curcumin in pill form three times a day. The results amazed me; within days the inflammation subsided, and my pain level was greatly reduced. Needless to say, when I brought the results up with my neurosurgeon, he had never even heard of using curcumin as an anti-inflammatory, and his medical assistant had no idea what I was talking about! This is not to bash my neurosurgeon, because he did a fantastic job; this is why I prescribe to the balance of using modern Western Medicine with Holistic Medicine. When properly combined, the two have a synergistic effect on health and wellness.
Where to get Turmeric or Curcumin
Many manufacturers and companies now sell turmeric or curcumin, so it can be a little confusing when trying to decide which is the best brand. I carry a brand that I trust and love. Click here for more information…
Other Names Used for Turmeric
Curcuma, Curcuma aromatica, Curcuma domestica, Curcuma longa, Curcumae Longa, Curcumae Longae Rhizoma, Curcumin, Curcumine, Curcuminoid, Curcuminoïde, Curcuminoïdes, Curcuminoids, Halada, Haldi, Haridra, Indian Saffron, Nisha, Pian Jiang Huang, Racine de Curcuma, Radix Curcumae, Rajani, Rhizoma Cucurmae Longae, Safran Bourbon, Safran de Batallita, Safran des Indes, Turmeric Root, Yu Jin.
*The small amounts of turmeric used to flavor food rarely, if ever, cause side effects. Taking large doses of turmeric or purified curcumin for long periods of time, such as several grams per day, can potentially cause side effects; therefore, consult your doctor before taking large amounts of turmeric or curcumin.
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