A great number of herbs have varied uses but apart from garlic, none are more talked about than Turmeric. In recent times turmeric has made the news for it’s cancer curing properties, as an anti-inflammatory and as a treatment for MS.
Turmeric has been an ingredient in Indian curries for centuries and has only just come to the attention of many people in North America. Turmeric gives curry the beautiful orange yellow colour. It has also been used in both Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine for just as long as it has been a culinary herb.
Traditional uses for turmeric include
- Liver cleanser/detoxifier
- Digestive aid
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Wound healing
- Cancer treatment
More recently turmeric has been found to be an excellent antibacterial and pain killer. It has also been used to boost the effects of the chemo drug paclitaxel.
The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin.which has powerful anti-inflammatory properties and anti-oxidant properties. According to Dr Weil the low incidence of Alzheimer’s disease in the elderly populations of Indian villages is thought to be due to the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric.
Let’s look at a few of the uses for turmeric individually.
Cancer Treatment and Prevention
When turmeric is combined with cauliflower it is thought to prevent prostate cancer and stop the growth of existing prostate cancer. According to a study by Rutgers School of Pharmacy PEITC and curcumin, alone or in combination, demonstrate significant cancer-preventive qualities in laboratory mice, and the combination of PEITC and curcumin could be effective in treating established prostate cancers,”
PEITC is the substance found in cauliflower and other cruciferous vegetables.
Turmeric inhibits the growth of cancer cells in the laboratory and research is being done currently to study its effects in humans.
Arthritis is an inflammatory disease and is therefore treated with anti-inflammatory drugs. Many of these have significant side effects so finding an herbal treatment with no side effects is particularly helpful.
The anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin can both reduce the inflammation that is thought to cause Alzheimer’s disease and the inflammation in the joints of those suffering with Rheumatoid Arthritis.
An NIH study showed evidence that curcumin is a viable treatment for Arthritis and recommended further study. Information on this study may be found at Science Daily
Turmeric or more accurately curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, has anti-oxidant properties which prevent free radical damage to the liver. It promotes the production of bile which assists in digestion and helps eliminate liver toxins.
Turmeric also blocks the conversion of alcohol into toxic substances which eventually lead to destruction of healthy liver cells. For more info go to ohealth.com
It is pretty clear that turmeric deserves its title as a wonder drug. It flavours curry, dyes cloth and heals the body. It truly is miraculous!