For thousands of years, turmeric has been a key ingredient in Bangladeshi, Indian, and Pakistani food—and it’s been an important part of India’s traditional medical system for just as long.
Native to southwest India, turmeric is a herbaceous plant of the ginger family. Now, medical professionals and herbal practitioners across many fields are using turmeric to treat and alleviate a number of different health conditions. The University of Maryland states that "studies show that turmeric may help fight infections and some cancers, reduce inflammation, and treat digestive problems."
Read on to see all of the benefits of this herbal medicine wonder drug.
1. Reduces the risk of cancer
Studies looking into turmeric’s effectiveness in fighting cancer are still in their early stages, but researchers at the American Cancer Society note that a primary compound in turmeric called curcumin “interferes with several important molecular pathways involved in cancer development, growth and spread.”
The US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health note: “The activity of curcumin reported against leukemia and lymphoma, gastrointestinal cancers, genitourinary cancers, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, lung cancer, melanoma, neurological cancers, and sarcoma reflects its ability to affect multiple targets.”
2. Reduces inflammation
With over two dozen anti-inflammatory compounds, turmeric is considered a powerful anti-inflammatory, and in particular, various studies have singled out curcumin for its excellent anti-inflammatory properties.
Dr. James Duke, a well-respected ethnobotanist, reviewed over 700 studies on turmeric and concluded in the July 2008 issue of the American Botanical Council that turmeric outperformed many pharmaceutical drugs prescribed for a range of chronic, debilitative conditions, with no significant side effects.
3. Promotes heart health
Of its many benefits, the curcumin in turmeric also promotes heart health. University of Maryland scientists discovered that the compound has effective plaque-removal properties, which helps prevent plaque buildup in the arteries, which could lead to a heart attack or stroke.
Curcumin is also effective in reducing bad cholesterol (LDL) and preventing blood clots. But if you take blood-clot medication, make sure to seek a doctor’s advice, because is turmeric may interact with your medicine.
4. Promotes brain health
Turmeric is said to have a very positive effect on our brains by enhancing our ability to learn and process in different environments. Additionally, curcumin may help ward off neurodegenerative conditions, such as dementia disorders and Alzheimer’s. And a study published by the Public Library of Science showed a possible link between curcumin and enhanced cognition after testing the effect of eating a curcumin-fortified diet on rats. This means turmeric may aid in neuroplasticity, the development of new brain connections.
5. Aids digestion
As a powerful anti-inflammatory, turmeric also helps improve digestion and reduce some symptoms of digestive disorders including ulcerative colitis and indigestion.
Researchers at the University of Maryland Medical Center found that turmeric helps prevent the remission of ulcerative colitis, a chronic disease of the digestive tract. And curcumin stimulates bile production, which is believed to help improve digestion.
On the other hand, researchers didn’t find any evidence of that turmeric helps with stomach ulcers. In fact, people with ulcers are advised to avoid turmeric as it may increase the production of stomach acid.
6. Reduces the symptoms of arthritis
Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties are believed to be more effective at alleviating the symptoms of arthritis than most pharmaceutical and over-the-counter alternatives.
The US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health published research that showed rheumatoid arthritis patients who supplemented curcumin into their diets experienced a “reduction in tenderness” and a reduction in “disease activity” in numbers far-greater in proportion to those who did not.
If anyone you know suffers from any of the illness above, share this article with them and let them know about the possible benefits of tumeric!
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