I, Owen, personally take turmeric 2-3 times per day with some coconut milk or some other oil/fat which helps increase absorption. I LOVE it! Here are some other benefits I have researched about this wonderful, magical superherb.
Turmeric has been used for centuries in many parts of the world for its healing properties. In addition to being an antioxidant, it has powerful anti-inflammatory, anticancer, anti-aging and even memory-enhancing properties. The main bioactive part of turmeric is called curcumin, and it is the curcumin that gives turmeric its unique yellow color. In clinical settings, curcumin has been used to reduce inflammation after an operation.
In Ayurvedic medicine, the turmeric root is used to treat asthma, allergies and wheezing. Meanwhile, the essential oil of turmeric is effective against disorders of the respiratory tract, since it removes sputum, relieving cough and preventing asthma.
ALLEVIATES DIGESTIVE PROBLEMS
Turmeric was used in a partially blind randomized study to assess its efficacy in reducing symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome in healthy adults. The study found that there were significant improvements after treatment with tablets of standardized turmeric extract, and that there were even reports of improvement in bowel patterns overall.
TURMERIC BOOSTS THE BODY’S OWN ANTIOXIDANT ENZYMES
When taken as a routine dietary supplement, curcumin can protect against mercury exposure. In fact, in rats, treatment with curcumin was effective in preventing toxicity induced by TCDD (Agent Orange) exposure. Curcumin is a free radical scavenger and can act as a shield against certain kinds of environmental toxins. How does curcumin have the capacity to do so much good for our bodies?
In Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology, the researchers explain, “The anti-inflammatory effect of curcumin is most likely mediated through its ability to inhibit cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), lipoxygenase (LOX), and inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS). COX-2, LOX, and iNOS are important enzymes that mediate inflammatory processes. Improper upregulation of COX-2 and/or iNOS has been associated with the pathophysiology of certain types of human cancer as well as inflammatory disorders.” The study goes on to explain how inflammation is very closely tied to tumor growth, and the anti-inflammatory property of curcumin may be key to preventing the beginning of cancer formation.
TREATMENT FOR DEPRESSION
Curcumin can immobilize the monoamine oxidase enzyme (MAO). MAO dysfunction (in the form of too much or too little MAO activity) has been linked to depression, schizophrenia and other psychiatric and neurological disorders. Curcumin can inhibit MAOs and influence the release of serotonin and dopamine, which are neurotransmitters that have been associated with depression.
NATURALLY OCCURRING NUTRIENTS INSIDE TURMERIC
Turmeric contains essential vitamins and nutrients including vitamin C, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin B3, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, phosphorous and other beneficial plant nutrients. In turmeric, you will find curcuminoids, which are antioxidants. Turmeric contains three curcuminoids, all of which are major bioactive components (curcumin, desmethoxycurcumin and bisdesmethoxycurcumin).
If you decide to take turmeric supplements, it is very important that you do a little research to be sure that you are getting a quality product. As with all supplements and vitamins, the quality of your product is essential to how the body absorbs the nutrients. Many over-the-counter turmeric dietary supplements do not contain sufficient amounts of curcuminoids, so in order to get the best results from your vitamins, take a supplement or extract that has been tested and recognized as a reliable source of these nutrients.
TURMERIC EVEN BENEFITS SKIN WHEN APPLIED TOPICALLY
Soften wrinkles and fine lines and brighten the skin with a homemade turmeric face mask. Simply mix one teaspoon of a good turmeric powder with one teaspoon of raw organic honey and one teaspoon of raw milk or natural yogurt, and apply to your face and neck for 30 minutes. For dark circles, add a pinch of turmeric powder to buttermilk and dab around the eyes, being careful not to get any into your eye, then rinse after 20 minutes with cool water.
Turmeric can be used for skin rejuvenation because of its high-antioxidant properties. It is also a natural antibacterial agent that may help with skin problems such as acne. When eating turmeric, combine this spice with black pepper, a good fat (such as olive oil or coconut oil) or quercetin (onions, red wine, raw broccoli) to increase the bioavailability, or best absorption, of the important curcuminoids.
POSSIBLE TREATMENT FOR TYPE 2 DIABETES
One study found that curcumin can reverse hyperglycemia, insulin resistance and inflammatory symptoms that occur with obesity. Curcumin can also reduce some complications stemming from diabetes and increase postprandial (after meal) serum insulin levels. In one study, researchers suggested that curcumin could be used as a therapeutic option for treating chronic neuropathic (nerve) pain associated with diabetes.
Researchers in China conducted a placebo-controlled trial on humans after discovering that curcuminoid compounds lowered glucose in diabetic rats. The human study involved 100 overweight and obese Type 2 diabetics who took either 300 milligrams of curcuminoids daily for 12 weeks or placebo. Researchers found curcuminoid supplementation significantly reduces fasting glucose and insulin resistance. The study was published in "Molecular Nutrition and Food Research" in September 2013.
TREATMENT FOR BACK PAIN, SPORTS INJURIES OR WHIPLASH
National Health Service general practitioner Dr. Uzma Ali recommends taking turmeric after an injury for its anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation is one of the main causes of sports-related pain from injury, and reducing inflammation can ease the pain from an injury. Dr. Ali told the Daily Mail, “’Now, if I see patients with problems like sports injuries, back pain, whiplash, fibromyalgia or sciatica, I suggest that they add a supplement of curcumin to their treatment – or, if they can’t take painkillers, that they use it as their primary remedy.”
COULD CURCUMIN BANISH FEAR MEMORIES?
Curcumin may even prevent bad memories from being stored, according to researchers who did a bizarre study on rats and fear. If the curcumin-rich diet did in fact prevent bad memories from being stored, then it is possible that curcumin could be used to treat psychological disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder. In the abstract of the study published by Neuropsychopharmacology, researchers said, “Here, we examined the efficacy of dietary curcumin at impairing the consolidation and reconsolidation of a Pavlovian fear memory, a widely studied animal model of traumatic memory formation in posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).”
To the many traditional cultures around the world that have long utilized the spice in cooking and medicine, turmeric's amazing anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-cancer benefits are no secret. But modern, Western cultures are only just now beginning to learn of the incredible healing powers of turmeric, which in more recent days have earned it the appropriate title of "king of all spices." And as more scientific evidence continues to emerge, turmeric is quickly becoming recognized as a fountain of youth "superspice" with near-miraculous potential in modern medicine.
A cohort of scientific studies published in recent years have shown that taking turmeric on a regular basis can actually lengthen lifespan and improve overall quality of life. A study conducted on roundworms, for instance, found that small amounts of curcumin, the primary active ingredient in turmeric, increased average lifespan by about 39 percent. A similar study involving fruit flies revealed a 25 percent lifespan increase as a result of curcumin intake.
In the first study, researchers found that turmeric helped reduce the number of reactive oxygen species in roundworms, as well as reduce the amount of cellular damage that normally occurs during aging. Curcumin was also observed to improve roundworms' resistance to heat stress compared to those not taking the spice. And in fruit flies, curcumin appeared to trigger increased levels of superoxide dismutase (SOD), an antioxidant compound that protects cells against oxidative damage. (http://www.lef.org)
"Given the long and established history of turmeric as a spice and herbal medicine, its demonstrated chemopreventive and therapeutic potential, and its pharmacological safety in model system, curcumin, the bioactive extract of turmeric, promises a great future in human clinical studies designed to prevent and/or delay age-related diseases," explained the authors of a review on these and other animal studies involving turmeric.
Improve the quality of your life with therapeutic doses of curcumin
Even with all the data showing that it can help boost energy levels, cleanse the blood, heal digestive disorders, dissolve gallstones, treat infections, and prevent cancer, some health experts have been reluctant to recommend taking turmeric in medicinal doses until human clinical trials have been conducted. But unlike pharmaceutical drugs, taking turmeric is not dangerous, and civilizations have been consuming large amounts of it for centuries as part of their normal diets.
The use of turmeric can be dated back as far as 3,000 BC, and is one of the most important anti-cancer nutrients studied today.
Turmeric root can be purchased fresh in its root form (sometimes hard to find), or dried and powdered. In its dried form it is popular in Asian dishes, especially those of India, and is one of the key ingredients used in making curry powder.
Curcumin is the yellow pigment extracted from turmeric and is one of three known curcuminoids in turmeric. Curcumin has demonstrated incredible anti-cancer benefits. In countries where people eat turmeric daily at about 100 to 200 mg (roughly 1-2 teaspoons) over long periods of time, research has shown there to be lower rates of certain types of cancer.
In fact, over 2,000 published studies have shown curcumin combats cancers of the breast, prostate, liver, colon, lung, pancreas and more. Many of these studies have shown curcumin actually stops cancer cells from dividing. Curcumin has also been shown to trigger apoptosis, or programmed cell death, which is the body’s natural and necessary way of ridding itself from damaged cells.
Unlike chemotherapy drugs or the breast cancer drug Tamoxifen (which by the way has been classified by the World Health Organization and the U.S. National Institutes of Health as a known human carcinogen with over 20 side-effects),curcumin has the ability to kill cancer cells while leaving healthy cells unharmed.
A 2007 U.S. study using curcumin along with chemotherapy to treat bowel cancer showed that adding curcumin to the diet killed more cancer cells than chemotherapy alone. In another study, curcumin helped stop the spread of breast cancer in laboratory animals. Curcumin in some form is currently being tested in no less than 16 clinical trials on cancer, including prostate, breast, colon and osteosarcoma.
Despite the fact that curcumin has been extensively researched for decades and has demonstrated clear anti-cancer power in clinical trials, it is still not widely prescribed in cancer therapy as there is little financial incentive to do so. Drug companies cannot patent natural substances, and without a patent there is no profit. The good news is that you are still able to receive many of the benefits of curcumin by using the spice turmeric liberally in your cooking and/or through supplements.
Increasing the Bioavailability of Curcumin
One challenge with getting enough curcumin into your diet is that it is not highly bioavailable. In other words, the human body doesn’t absorb much curcumin when it’s ingested alone. Curcumin is also not soluble in water, only in fat. Therefore, it’s best to combine turmeric with a healthy oil such as extra virgin olive or coconut oil whenever possible in recipes. (Note: never use vegetable oils such as corn, soy, canola, sunflower, etc. as these are pro-inflammatory oils, contribute to cancer, and are often rancid and genetically modified.)
When combined with other powerful nutrients such as fish oil, olive or coconut oil, and/or black pepper, curcumin’s anti-cancer effects are further amplified as it becomes more readily available to the body.
According to Dr. Michael Greger, MD, piperine (the phytochemical in black pepper that gives it its pungent flavor), increases the absorption of curcumin by as much as 2,000%. Apparently, even a little pinch of black pepper (as little as 1/20th of a teaspoon) can have positive and significant absorptive effects on the body. Dr. Greger also noted that eating the whole fresh turmeric root is best and mixing a natural oil with it can enhance curcumin’s delivery as much as seven to eight times.
Ways to Incorporate More Turmeric (and Curcumin) into Your Diet
Turmeric root has a light flavor and can be grated or chopped and added to recipes. Turmeric powder can be used on eggs, added to soups and sauces, or rubbed on vegetables or chicken. Chicken Curry is a flavorful dish that includes plenty of this bright yellow spice. Adding turmeric to vegetables and then roasting them adds both color and flavor. Coat veggies in olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper, and add turmeric, ginger, and cumin for a tasty dish. This same recipe also works great as a marinade for grilled vegetables.
Be aware that turmeric contains a very strong color that can easily stain your hands, clothes, and countertops. However, it’s this intense pigment that also makes it great for adding color to plain white rice or cauliflower by sprinkling some turmeric powder on top. (Again, combine with a bit of healthy oil and a liberal sprinkle of black pepper for added benefit.)
To make a healing tea, you can finely slice or grate fresh turmeric root. Add along with some grated or sliced ginger root to a teapot and steep in hot water. Sweeten your tea if desired with local honey or green leaf stevia. The longer you steep, the more intense the color and flavor of your tea.
The possibilities are endless with this diverse spice and a little turmeric can easily be included in your daily cancer fighting diet.