Turmeric: Truths and Myths | Miracle Spice or Myth?
As someone who has done a lot of research into natural alternatives to modern medicines, I’ve found that not everything you read on the internet is true. I think we all understand that.
That is why I am here today to dispel some of these rumor that have been floating around the internet concerning turmeric.
There is a lot of bad information floating around out there, so let’s be clear about what turmeric CAN NOT do:
Turmeric usually does not cause significant side effects — ( The truth is that some people can experience stomach upset, nausea, dizziness, or diarrhea)
You can use turmeric if you have gallbladder problems — (The truth is that turmeric can make gallbladder problems worse)
Turmeric is not helpful for diabetes — (The truth is that early research suggests that taking turmeric daily for 9 months can reduce the number of people with prediabetes who develop diabetes.)
Now that we have cleared up what Turmeric cannot do, let’s talk about what it CAN do for you.
According to the University of Maryland Medical Center (http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/turmeric), turmeric has been used for roughly 4000 years as a medicine for a wide variety of medical conditions. Turmeric was mainly for digestive issues, but can be used to treat everything from indigestion to cancer.
The main active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, and according to UMMC, “Curcumin is also a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants scavenge molecules in the body known as free radicals, which damage cell membranes, tamper with DNA, and even cause cell death.
Antioxidants can fight free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause. In addition, curcumin lowers the levels of two enzymes in the body that cause inflammation. It also stops platelets from clumping together to form blood clots.”
Turmeric has been shown to treat:
- Ulcerative Colitis
- Stomach Ulcers
- Heart Disease
- Bacterial Infections
- Viral Infections
The research that back up these claim is extensive to say the least. For instance, a publication from The International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology (www.sciencedirect.com) says: “Although safe in most cases, ancient treatments are ignored because neither their active component nor their molecular targets are well defined. This is not the case, however, with curcumin, a yellow-pigment substance and component of turmeric (Curcuma longa), which was identified more than a century ago. For centuries it has been known that turmeric exhibits anti-inflammatory activity, but extensive research performed within the past two decades has shown that the activity of turmeric is due to curcumin, a diferuloylmethane. This agent has been shown to regulate numerous transcription factors, cytokines, protein kinases, adhesion molecules, redox status and enzymes that have been linked to inflammation. The process of inflammation has been shown to play a major role in most chronic illnesses, including neurodegenerative, cardiovascular, pulmonary, metabolic, autoimmune and neoplastic diseases.”
The publications concludes: “The wisdom and scientific credentials of curcumin in the Ayurvedic and Chinese systems of medicine have been corroborated by numerous studies conducted over the past 30 years. These observations are also supported by epidemiological data suggesting lower incidence of chronic diseases in people from countries where curcumin is consumed. The various effects of curcumin have been widely studied in Western systems of medicine for decades, and has been found to possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. Considering that inflammation plays a major role in most chronic illnesses, anti-inflammatory agents are needed for prevention purposes. Although several different steroids and NSAIDS (such as celecoxib, aspirin, ibuprofen, phenylbutazole, etc.) have been approved for treatment of inflammatory conditions, most of them have side effects, especially when consumed over long periods of time. Because curcumin inhibits multiple proinflammatory pathways and is affordable, this phytochemical should be further explored for prevention and treatment of various chronic diseases. Further clinical trials are needed to fully develop the potential of this ‘age-old NSAID’”.