Turmeric – The Wonder Herb of The Planet
Turmeric is nature’s most potent anti-fungal and anti-cancer therapeutic substance. Curcumin – the active component of Turmeric, has shown protection against a plethora of diseases and ailments like;
Curcumin is a highly pleiotropic polyphenol that possess anti-inflammatory, hypoglycemic, antioxidant, wound-healing, and antimicrobial activities. It has also shown protection against hepatic conditions, cardiovascular disease, chronic arsenic exposure, and alcohol intoxication.
A study published in the European Journal of Pharmacology, titled, “Curcumin and its promise as an anticancer drug: An analysis of its anticancer and antifungal effects in cancer and associated complications from invasive fungal infections,” concluded that the primary polyphenols in turmeric may be the perfect way to fight cancers that have a fungal component.
Turmeric Plant — Monograph
A relative of ginger, turmeric is a perennial plant that grows 5 to 6 feet high in the tropical regions of Southern Asia, with trumpet-shaped, dull yellow flowers. Its roots are bulbs that also produce rhizomes, which then produce stems and roots for new plants. Turmeric is fragrant and has a bitter, somewhat sharp taste — peppery, warm and bitter flavor and a mild fragrance slightly reminiscent of orange and ginger.
Historically, Turmeric has been used as a spice, medicine, and dye. Traditionally, turmeric is used as a digestive aid, blood purifier, tonic, diaphoretic, antispasmodic, liver disorders, morning sickness, skin infections, arthritis, sores, sprains, eczema, hemorrhoids, gall bladder disorders, fat and protein digestive aid, muscle antispasmodic, and as treatment for intestinal worms and parasites.
Parts Used: The roots, or rhizomes and bulbs, are used in medicine and food.
Constituents: Turmeric containsvolatile oil (turmerone, ar-turmerone, α-atlantone, γ-atlantone, zingiberene, 1,8-cineole, α-phellandrene, ԃ-sabinene, borneol, dehydroturmerone, aneole, and monoterpines), the orange-yellow coloring pigment (referred to as curcuminoids) that include phenolic compounds (curcumin, monodesmethoxycurcumin, didesmethoxycurcumin, p-coumaroylferuloyl-methane, and di-p-coumaroylmethane), as well as sugars (glucose, fructose, and arabinose), protein, polysaccharides (starch, ukonanes), minerals, and vitamins A and C. Some sources suggest that turmeric contains betacarotene rather than vitamin A
Nutritional Properties: Turmeric rhizome contains high amounts of iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, potassium, selenium, silicon, and sodium. It contains moderate to low amounts of calcium, chromium, cobalt, crude fiber, dietary fiber, phosphorus, protein, riboflavin, thiamine, vitamin A (or betacarotene), vitamin C, and zinc.
Medicinal Properties: Anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antiarthritic, antioxidant, aromatic, antispasmodic, bitter tonic, carminative, choleretic, cholagogue, cholesterol lowering, hepatoprotectant, antihepatotoxic, analgesic, antibacterial, antiviral, antiseptic, immunomodulant, antimutagenic, anticarcinogenic, antimetastatic, and vulnerary.
Energetic Properties: Warm, bitter, pungent, and acrid.
The Wonder Herb
My personal encounter and love affair with turmeric dates back all the way to my childhood. I grew up in a “not-very-polite” neighborhood. Getting serious cuts, injuries and infections were common occurrences to us. We learned to have faith in turmeric. Whether a deep gash in the skull, a sharp cut on the hand or a blunt blow on the stomach; it was turmeric that we relied upon for healing and recuperating from our injuries and infections.
To paraphrase the words of a master herbalist, if I have to pick only one herb or medicine to carry with me on a long stay at a god forsaken hell of brewing infections and diseases, I will pick a sack or bottle of Turmeric Powder with out a second thought.
Turmeric is the planet’s most potent herb that is chuck-full of highly condensed phytochemicals and phytonutrients. Its applications and benefits span from minor cuts and infections to inhibition of cancerous activities. It is a treasure that is worth more than the market value of all the Pharmaceuticals Companies combined, but it is so abundant that it is the most common ingredient in Indian and Asian spicy dishes.
Turmeric has enormous remedial usage and applications for a wide range of complications. Over time, I have come up with my own turmeric-based formulas that have proven to be highly effective in treating a variety of maladies and infections.
Nothing compares to turmeric’s anti infection properties. Our neighbors had their toddler’s foot burned and blistered. Following their pediatrician’s prescription, they were applying the ointment on the burn. But, it was not healing and the blister had become infectious. Knowing that I am a believer in natural remedies, they came to our home. I applied turmeric powder on and around the infection and advised them to apply it twice a day and at nighttime. The infection dried out in just two days. I had logged a new convert!
It is also an excellent source of iron, manganese, vitamin B6, dietary fiber and potassium. It is well tolerated and has no serious side effects as long as it is used as an herbal remedy and a spice (and not as a replacement for food!).
Major Benefits of Turmeric
Turmeric has a wide range of beneficial properties and usage. In it entirety or as it’s active ingredients – Curcumin or its volatile oil fraction – turmeric is recommended as natural herbal treatment for many painful and devastating ailments. Numerous studies and research testify to the effectiveness of Turmeric’s active ingredient – Curcumin, as a safe treatment for a long list of diseases.
Turmeric as Potent and Safe Anti-Inflammatory:
The volatile oil fraction of turmeric has demonstrated significant anti-inflammatory activity in a variety of experimental models. Even more potent than its volatile oil is the yellow or orange pigment of turmeric, the curcumin. Unlike the drugs, which are associated with significant toxic effects (ulcer formation, decreased white blood cell count, intestinal bleeding), curcumin produces no toxicity.
An Effective Treatment for Inflammatory Bowel Disease:
Turmeric (active ingredient Curcumin) provides an inexpensive, well-tolerated, and effective treatment for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) such as Crohn’s and ulcerative colitis. Turmeric is so effective that even enjoying it in small amount in flavorful curries treats this condition.
A Relief for Rheumatoid Arthritis:
Clinical studies have substantiated that turmeric’s active ingredients also exerts very powerful antioxidant effects. As an antioxidant, curcumin is able to neutralize free radicals, chemicals that can travel through the body and cause great amounts of damage to healthy cells and cell membranes. This is important in many diseases, such as arthritis, where free radicals are responsible for the painful joint inflammation and eventual damage to the joints.
A Help for Cystic Fibrosis Sufferers:
Curcumin, the major constituent of turmeric that gives the spice its yellow color, can correct the most common expression of the genetic defect that is responsible for cystic fibrosis. Cystic fibrosis, a fatal disease that attacks the lungs with a thick mucus, causing life-threatening infections, afflicts about 30,000 American children and young adults, who rarely survive beyond 30 years of age. The mucus also damages the pancreas, thus interfering with the body-ability to digest and absorb nutrients.
A Cancer Prevention Herb:
Turmeric’s antioxidant actions enable it to protect the colon cells from free radicals that can damage cellular DNA-a significant benefit particularly in the colon where cell turnover is quite rapid, occuring approximately every three days. Because of their frequent replication, mutations in the DNA of colon cells can result in the formation of cancerous cells much more quickly. Curcumin, turmeric’s active agent, also helps the body to destroy mutated cancer cells, so they cannot spread through the body and cause more harm. A primary way in which curcumin does so is by enhancing liver function.
An Inhibiter of Cancer Cell Growth and Metastases:
Epidemiological studies have linked the frequent use of turmeric to lower rates of breast, prostate, lung and colon cancer; laboratory experiments have shown curcumin can prevent tumors from forming; and even when breast cancer is already present, curcumin can help slow the spread of breast cancer cells to the lungs.
A Help in the Prevention of Colon Cancer:
Turmeric’s active ingredient, Curcumin, reduces both the size and number of precancerous lesions in the human intestinal tract. This activity curbs the formation of colon cancer.
Reduces Risk of Childhood Leukemia:
Research presented at a recent conference on childhood leukemia, held in London, provides evidence that eating foods spiced with turmeric could reduce the risk of developing childhood leukemia. The incidence of this cancer has risen dramatically during the 20th century, mainly in children under age five, among whom the risk has increased by more than 50% cent since 1950 alone. Modern environmental and lifestyle factors are thought to play a major role in this increase.
Improved Liver Function:
In a study conducted to evaluate the effects of turmeric on the liver’s ability to detoxify xenobiotic (toxic) chemicals, it was noted that turmeric significantly elevated levels of two very important liver detoxification enzymes (UDP glucuronyl transferase and glutathione-S-transferase). The researchers commented, “The results suggest that turmeric may increase detoxification systems in addition to its anti-oxidant properties…Turmeric used widely as a spice would probably mitigate the effects of several dietary carcinogens.”
Curcumin may be able to prevent the oxidation of cholesterol in the body. Since oxidized cholesterol is what damages blood vessels and builds up in the plaques that can lead to heart attack or stroke, preventing the oxidation of new cholesterol may help to reduce the progression of atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease. In addition, turmeric is a good source of vitamin B6, which is needed to keep homocysteine levels from getting too high. Homocysteine, an intermediate product of an important cellular process called methylation, is directly damaging to blood vessel walls. High levels of homocysteine are considered a significant risk factor for blood vessel damage, atherosclerotic plaque build-up, and heart disease; while a high intake of vitamin B6 is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.
Turmeric’s cholesterol-lowering effects are the result of the curry spice’s active constituent, curcumin, which research reveals is a messaging molecule that communicates with genes in liver cells, directing them to increase the production of mRNA (messenger proteins) that direct the creation of receptors for LDL (bad) cholesterol. With more LDL-receptors, liver cells are able to clear more LDL-cholesterol from the body.
Protection for Brain:
Curcumin is an inexpensive dietary supplement that offers powerful protection for aging brains. Curcumin has many mild physiologic effects when we eat it as a nutritional supplement, but one of the more important ones is that it reduces the buildup of Alzheimer’s-related amyloid in our brains as we age.
Protection against Alzheimer’s Disease:
Growing evidence suggests that turmeric may afford protection against neurodegenerative diseases. Epidemiological studies show that in elderly Indian populations, among whose diet turmeric is a common spice, levels of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s are very low. A number of studies have suggested that curcumin, the biologically active constituent in turmeric, protects against Alzheimer’s disease by turning on a gene that codes for the production of antioxidant proteins.
Curcumin crosses Blood-Brain Barrier and boosts amyloid plaque clearance in human Alzheimer’s patients. The most active ingredient in turmeric root, bisdemethoxycurcumin, boosts the activity of the immune system in Alzheimer’s patients, helping them to clear the amyloid beta plaques characteristic of the disease.
Turmeric is also effective as a natural painkiller and cox-2 inhibitor, a treatment for depression and a help in weight management.
Possible Help for Parkinson’s Disease:
Parkinson’s Disease is a degenerative disorder of the central nervous system that often impairs the sufferer’s motor skills, speech, and other functions. This condition is normally caused by the insufficient formation and action of dopomine. Turmeric’s active agent, Curcumin’s, capabilit to cross Blood-Brain Barrier and a combination of its physiologic effects may enhance the production of dopamine and provide support to brain’s overall health.
Turmeric speeds the healing of tissue and wounds:
When applied topically to wounds, turmeric has potent antibacterial effects on Staphylococcus aureus. The volatile oil and curcumin have antibacterial actions. The volatile oil is antiseptic against a variety of gram (+) and gram (-) bacteria, yeasts, and molds.
Turmeric is a deobstruent agent that moves stagnant blood and reduces swelling from physical trauma. It is excellent for speeding the healing of bruises, sprains, strains, and contusions. Topical use stimulates circulation in the tissues, reducing congestion, and decreasing inflammation.
Turmeric acts as a warming, aromatic, carminative, and mildly-bitter tonic that aids fat and protein digestion. It reduces nausea and indigestion that result from combining too many different types of food at once. Turmeric speeds recovery from digestive infections such as a stomach flu, food poisoning, salmonella, dysentery, and parasitic infections such as giardia.
Curcumin, a potent antioxidant contained in turmeric, protects cells from free radical destruction that damages DNA and leads to cancer. The antioxidant properties support the immune system and are helpful in inhibiting cancerous growths. They also slow the progression of Alzheimer’s and multiple sclerosis.
Inhibits Cancer Growth:
Curcumin enhances the cellular destruction of mutated cancer cells and increases the body’s production of cancer-fighting compounds such as glutathione. It has also been found to decrease incidence of cell mutation in smokers and decrease levels of cancer-causing compounds.
Curcumin has inhibitory effects on epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor sites. Two-thirds of all cancers produce an abundance of EGF receptors sites, causing increased sensitivity to EGF which stimulates cellular proliferation. Curcumin decreases the cellular tendency to proliferate by decreasing the number of EGF receptors.5 It also inhibits tumor growth by limiting angiogenesis, preventing the formation of new blood vessels that feed the tumor. It prevents excessive production of the enzyme cyclooxygenase 2 (COX-2) that contributes to tumor development.
Curcumin also inhibits nuclear factor kappa beta (NF-kb), a protein produced by cancer cells that blocks signals; thereby commanding the cells to stop proliferating. Curcumin encourages destruction of unhealthy cells by increasing a protein (nuclear p53 protein) that is essential for apoptosis. It also inhibits cancerous growth-promoting enzymes.
How to Take Turmeric — Proven and Practical Tips:
First of all, take note that with the rampant use of herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, chemical fertilizers, and all sort of carcinogenic and poisonous substances all over, it is important to strictly use only the organic turmeric powder – with a little search online, you will be able to find numerous sources from which to buy organic herbs and food.
Second, I am not a fan of using the isolated “active” ingredients of natural herbs. I prefer taking the herbs (in most cases) in their entirety. Turmeric, for one, contains a long list of Phytochemicals and phytonutrients that work in harmony with each other. It is the synergy of these ingredients that gives turmeric such a wide range of beneficial properties that are also extremely safe.
Take organic turmeric in powdered form – which is the most widely available form, anyhow.
Take Turmeric raw. Turmeric’s active ingredients are heat sensitive. Heating, frying or cooking turmeric decreases the potency of these ingredients.
For the Therapeutic and Immune Boosting Effects:
Most active ingredients in turmeric are lipophilic (fat-soluble). For the best absorption, mix turmeric powder in Yogurt or Milk. Take the mix at bedtime.
For Tooth Ache:
Mix turmeric powder with equal amount of Clove powder and apply it thoroughly on gums and all around. Twice a week nightly application will keep teeth and gums healthy.
For Wound, Burns, Cuts, and Infections:
Apply turmeric powder tropically on fresh cuts, bruises, and infections. For burns, thoroughly mix 1-teaspoon turmeric powder in 2-tablespoon organic virgin coconut oil. Apply it lightly on the infected area every 4-5 hours – leave it uncovered. Start covering it once the infection starts getting dry out. Depending on the severity of the infection, the healing may take from a couple of days to a couple of weeks. This application also help reduce the scar marks.
For Rectal Discomfort and Hemorrhoids:
Make the turmeric- Honey-Coconut Oil suppositories as explained here.
☞ Keep turmeric powder airtight and away from light. Make sure you always have turmeric powder at home. Carry it with you on travel and trips to wilderness.
Turmeric is considered safe and well tolerated – it has shown no side effects in numerous clinical studies. However, any herb can trigger side effects and may interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. When using turmeric in therapeutic dosage, always consult your healthcare service provider and let them know that you are taking Turmeric or Curcumin supplement.
If you have diabetes, take note that turmeric has blood sugar lowering effects. When combined with Pharma drugs, it may cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
Turmeric has a slight blood thinning effect. Those undergoing surgery should stop taking turmeric at least 2 weeks before the surgery — Inform your surgeon that you have been taking turmeric or curcumin supplement.
☞ Just remember; Turmeric is an herb – not food. Take it in moderation. Unless prescribed for therapeutic use, turmeric consumption should be limited to not more than ¾ teaspoon per day.
— My Favorite Recipe For Cinnamon-Turmeric Tea —
— And, Have A Great Turmeric Day! —
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