Turmeric, one of the most powerful herbs!, is the main spice in the Indian dish curry, is argued by many to be the most powerful herb on the planet at fighting and potentially reversing disease. The health benefits of turmeric are incredibly vast and very thoroughly researched.
Currently, there are over 12,500 peer-reviewed articles published proving turmeric benefits, especially one of its renowned healing compounds, curcumin. Curcumin is the active ingredient in turmeric responsible for so many of its benefits. In fact, turmeric is even good for dogs thanks to this ingredient.
This puts turmeric on top of the list as one of the most frequently mentioned medicinal herbs in all of science. It has a long history of use, particularly in Ayurvedic medicine and other traditional forms of medicine. Here’s what you need to know about turmeric and curcumin benefits and more.
What other names is Turmeric known by?
Curcuma, Curcuma Aromatica, Curcuma Domestica, Curcumae Longa, Curcumae Longae Rhizoma, Curcumin, Curcumine, Curcuminoid, 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.
Turmeric is used for arthritis, heartburn (dyspepsia), joint pain, stomach pain, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, bypass surgery, hemorrhage, diarrhea, intestinal gas, stomach bloating, loss of appetite, jaundice, liver problems, Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection, stomach ulcers, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), gallbladder disorders, high cholesterol, a skin condition called lichen planus, skin inflammation from radiation treatment, and fatigue.
It is also used for headaches, bronchitis, colds, lung infections, fibromyalgia, leprosy, fever, menstrual problems, itchy skin, recovery after surgery, and cancers. Other uses include depression, Alzheimer’s disease, swelling in the middle layer of the eye (anterior uveitis), diabetes, water retention, worms, an autoimmune disease called systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), tuberculosis, urinary bladder inflammation, and kidney problems.
Some people apply turmeric to the skin for pain, ringworm, sprains and swellings, bruising, leech bites, eye infections, acne, inflammatory skin conditions and skin sores, soreness inside of the mouth, infected wounds, and gum disease.
In food and manufacturing, the essential oil of turmeric is used in perfumes, and its resin is used as a flavor and color component in foods.
Gradually Increases Antioxidants in Your Body
The antioxidant effect of turmeric is one of its greatest claims to fame. Oxidative damage is one of the mechanisms responsible for aging and many diseases. Free radicals react with organic substances in the body, which can cause harm. Turmeric contains curcumin, a powerful antioxidant that can protect from free radicals by neutralizing them, thanks to its chemical structure. Curcumin also stimulates antioxidant mechanisms in the body.
Can Help Control Diabetes
Boosts glucose control and augments the effects of medications that treat diabetes. This powerful herb can supplement mainstream diabetes treatments by helping moderate insulin levels. It also lowers resistance to insulin, which can help to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes. However, it is still best to consult a physician before supplementing diabetes treatments with natural options.
Might Prevent (and Treat) Cancer
There are many types of cancer, but they share common features that curcumin and turmeric could help address. The herb may be able to influence the growth, development, and spread of breast, colon, stomach, and skin cancer cells at a molecular level. Research also suggests curcumin can lower the growth of new blood vessels in existing tumors, prevent metastasis (spread), and possibly contribute to the elimination of cancerous cells.
Turmeric Helps Lower Cholesterol
High cholesterol has many poor health consequences. Studies show using turmeric to season your food can significantly lower blood cholesterol levels and suppress plaque build-up in the arteries, which are essential to preventing cardiovascular issues and other serious health diseases.
Can Help Prevent and Treat Alzheimer’s Disease
One of the most common neurodegenerative diseases in the world and the leading cause of dementia, Alzheimer’s is dreaded by many but still has no known cure. Turmeric reduces inflammation and oxidative damage; which researchers believe play a role in the development of the disease. Therefore, consuming turmeric could help prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s. Curcumin also aids in clearing up amyloid plaques, a key factor in the disease’s development.
Turmeric Can Treat Skin Conditions
Turmeric offers many benefits for the outsides of our bodies, too, including speeding up wound healing and calming the pores to help reduce acne. It can also prevent scarring and helps control psoriasis flareups. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties offer many perks, but the bright color can stain the skin, and some people may have allergic reactions to the topical application, so it is ideal to consult a dermatologist first.
Can Benefit People with Depression
Many studies offer promising results regarding turmeric and the treatment of depression. Research has linked depression to lowered levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factors (BDNF) and neuron loss in the hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for learning and memory. Curcumin can potentially reverse these effects thanks to its ability to enhance BDNF levels. There is also some evidence that curcumin can increase the brain neurotransmitters that produce dopamine and serotonin.
Turmeric Can Treat Gastrointestinal Conditions
Often, people with stomach and digestive conditions develop an intolerance to medical interventions. Because the GI tract is already compromised, the introduction of drugs can further damage the mucosal lining. Based on research and analysis, curcumin can help control inflammatory bowel disease, ulcerative colitis, and even Crohn’s disease so well that some people have been able to wean themselves off other medication. As an added benefit, curcumin doesn’t cause the side effects many people complain of with gastrointestinal medicines.
Can Help Relieve Arthritis
People suffering from both rheumatoid and osteoarthritis can benefit from using turmeric. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties help eliminate free radicals responsible for damaging cells. Anecdotal evidence from people with arthritis who regularly consume turmeric notes relief from mild to moderate joint pains, as well as reduction of joint inflammation.
Turmeric Can Help Control Weight
Powdered turmeric can help with weight control. The components in turmeric help calm the low-grade inflammation associated with obesity and promote fat loss. People who would like to lose a couple of pounds may benefit from eating a teaspoon of turmeric powder with every meal in addition to following a healthy diet and exercise routine. Turmeric should be used with caution in people with gallbladder disease because it stimulates bile production, which can lead to complications.
Arguably, the most powerful aspect of curcumin is its ability to control inflammation. The journal Oncogene published the results of a study that evaluated several anti-inflammatory compounds and found that curcumin is among the most effective anti-inflammatory compounds in the world.
Several animal trials have been completed investigating the relationship of curcumin and Alzheimer’s disease. In mice, it seems that curcumin “reverses existing amyloid pathology and associated neurotoxicity,” a key feature of the progression of this neurological disease related to chronic inflammation. This study shows turmeric curcumin may help with Alzheimer’s symptoms.
The next time you’re under the weather, you may want to sip some turmeric tea. Curcumin might help you to fight off a variety of viruses, including herpes and the flu. (But most of the research on this was done in a lab, not on people.) Keep in mind that turmeric is only about 3% curcumin, and your body doesn’t absorb curcumin well, so the occasional cup of tea won’t be a cure-all.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Early research, including a pilot study of 207 adults and another one using rats, has found that turmeric could help improve IBS symptoms such as abdominal pain. Like many things we’ve already covered here, more research is needed. Turmeric is also being studied as a treatment for diseases like Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis.
Since its relative ginger is a well-known natural headache remedy, it’s no surprise that turmeric gets recommended as a headache treatment, too — especially for migraines. Although people sing its praises online, there’s little scientific evidence showing that turmeric can treat or prevent headaches, although one study suggests it could be part of a new approach.
Some people claim that putting a turmeric mask on their skin or eating turmeric will help fight stubborn pimples — perhaps because of the spice’s reported antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Unfortunately, there’s no hard science to back this up.