Turmeric (curcumin) is one of the most effective health supplements known to man! The incredible health benefits of turmeric have proven beneficial for treating cancer, Alzheimer’s and so much more! If you haven’t yet added turmeric to your daily routine, now is the time to start!
17 Incredible Health Benefits of Turmeric
1. Reduces Side Effects of Chemotherapy
Curcumin (the active ingredient in turmeric), when combined with chemotherapy drugs like cisplatin (head, and neck cancer chemotherapy drugs), effectively inhibit tumour growth, and also minimize the side effects of cisplatin. This research suggested that turmeric may allow practitioners to manage lower level doses of chemotherapy and thus reduce its negative side effects on the body.
2. Aids In Fat Metabolism and Weight Management
Researchers theorized that dietary curcumin can stall the spread of fat tissue by inhibiting new blood vessel growth (called angiogenesis) which is necessary to build fat tissue. This study found that supplementing high-fat diet fed mice with curcumin reduced body-weight gain and total body fat, even though food-intake was not affected (in comparison to the non-supplemented high-fat diet group). The curcumin-treated group also had less blood vessel growth in fat tissue, and their blood glucose, triglyceride, fatty acid, cholesterol and liver fat levels were also lower.
3. Helps Coughs
Curcumin serves as an anti-inflammatory agent and possesses anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. These properties make turmeric an excellent aid in the treatment of bacterial and viral infections such as cough and cold. The anti-inflammatory action of curcumin helps relieve chest congestion that develops in individuals with chronic cough.
4. Strengthens Ligaments
Curcumin is a powerful nutrient in treating the pain, swelling and inflammation associated with ligament injuries. It is known for its powerful ability to help heal your tissues – including your ligamentous tissues – following traumatic musculoskeletal injuries.
5. Skin Tonic
Turmeric cleanses and nourishes the skin to retain its elasticity and youthfulness and promotes a radiant glow! It helps to aid the digestive tract to absorb nutrients and normalize metabolism, and thus cleanses from the inside out (which then reflects the quality of your skin).
6. Speeds Up Wound Healing
Wound healing and angiogenesis deals with the capillaries which consist of endothelial cells and pericytes. These cells do not divide readily but undergo rapid proliferation during spurts of angiogenesis in wound healing. Turmeric causes endothelial cells to proliferate, indicating that this molecule can be used to augment wound healing.
7. Natural Analgesic & Antibiotic
Turmeric guards your stomach by destroying fungus, viruses and bacteria that can cause food poisoning, diarrhea and other diseases. This rhizome has been historically used as an herbal salve to treat everything from minor cuts and scrapes to scabies, skin ulcers and even leprosy. Turmeric volatile oil is a powerful topical antibiotic that helps prevent infections and sepsis in wounds. Turmeric can also help stop pain and swelling while promoting the healing of damaged skin tissue as discussed above.
8. Natural Anti-inflammatory
This rhizome has been traditionally used as a remedy for inflammatory conditions like arthritis, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis. Plenty of evidence from research has shown that the potency of turmeric’s anti-inflammatory and anti-arthritic effects have been equated with that of the popular pharmaceutical anti-inflammatory drugs like Motrin and hydrocortisone (but without the nasty side effects and toxicity of these isolated drugs). A daily dosage of curcumin was found to be more effective in easing post-surgical inflammation as the regular anti-inflammatory prescriptions. Curcumin has the ability to inhibit the activity of enzymes COX-2 and lipoxygenase, which contributes to turmerics amazing anti-inflammatory properties.
9. Blood Purifier
Turmeric is a rich source of iron so it is valuable for those suffering from anemia. It also prevents platelets from clumping within blood vessels, making it effective in the prevention of atherosclerosis and its complications.
10. Slows Progression of MS
Turmeric may block the progression of multiple sclerosis by interrupting the production of IL-2, a protein that plays a key role in the destruction of the myelin by signalling for the development of neural antigen-specific TH1 cells, immune cells that then launch an attack on the myelin sheath.
11. Prevents Progression of Alzheimer’s
Multiple studies have pointed to the fact that extracts of turmeric contain a number of natural agents that block the formation of beta-amyloid, the substance responsible for plaques that slowly obstruct cerebral function in Alzheimer’s disease.
Curcumin is most known for its powerful anti-inflammatory properties which are crucial in those suffering from arthritis. It has been shown to influence more than 700 genes and can inhibit synthesis of COX-2 and 5-LOX which are important mediators of inflammation. Multiple studies of the efficacy of curcumin have demonstrated positive changes in arthritic symptoms. In fact, the highly bioavailable form of curcumin in fresh, raw turmeric is MORE EFFECTIVE in alleviating rheumatoid arthritis symptoms (tenderness, swelling of joints) than drugs that are currently on the market to mock these same effects. Individuals taking curcumin ONLY (no other drugs) have reported that they experienced the most improvement in their symptoms.
13. Improves Digestion, and Helps Prevent Gas/Bloating and Heals Stomach Ulcers
Turmeric is highly valuable for the influence it exerts on the digestive system and liver. It helps improve digestion and reduces gas and bloating. It is considered a cholagogue, which means that it helps stimulate bile production in the liver and encourages excretion of bile via the gallbladder which improves the body’s ability to digest fats. This rhizome is actually recommended for chronic digestive weakness and/or congestion, and can help individuals suffering from IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), colitis, Chron’s disease, diarrhea, and post salmonella conditions. It also reduces the itching and inflammation that accompanies hemorrhoids and anal fissures.
14. Lowers Cholesterol
Curcumin is an excellent messaging molecule that communicates with genes in liver cells and “tells” them to produce mRNA that direct the creation of receptors for LDL (bad) cholesterol. With more of these LDL-receptors, liver cells are able to remove more LDL-cholesterol from the body.
15. Improves Skin Conditions (Eczema, Psoriasis, etc.)
The list is endless for the amount of skin care benefits turmeric provides. Some of these include the treatment of acne, blackheads, dark spots, hyperpigmentation, and more extreme skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. It helps to heal and prevent dry skin as well as slows the aging process of skin by retaining its elasticity. It is also used to diminish wrinkles and keep skin supple and youthful. It is used daily by East Indian women as a facial cleanser and exfoliant.
16. Helps Prevent Many Cancers (Leukaemia, Breast, Prostate, Lung, Colon, etc.)
Turmeric is a great herb for treating cancers, particularly breast and uterine cancers as well as benign tumours. Many promising studies have shown turmeric’s anti-cancer properties to be helping in treating other cancers like skin, pancreatic, prostate and colon cancers too. The way this works is that the active ingredient in turmeric called curcumin, prevents the formation of cancer-causing enzymes, and thus reduces the risk of cancerous cell-formation and cell growth. One of the cancer-fighting mechanisms in turmeric involves inhibiting the activity of the enzyme Topoisomerase which is essential in the replication of cancer cells. Thus, turmeric limits the ability of cancer cells to spread to other parts of the body and prevents cancerous tumours from growing new blood vessels, starving them of nutrients and inhibiting their growth.
17. Improves Asthma
The anti-inflammatory action of curcumin relieves inflammation of the air ways and tightness of the chest which is associated with asthma. Multiple studies have found curcumin’s ability to inhibit airway constriction and hyper-reactivity. It helps to prevent allergic airway inflammation while inhibiting the actions of an inflammatory protein called NF-kappaB, and has been noted as being just as effective as the prescription steroid dexamethasone which is commonly used to treat asthma.
Kawamori, T., Lubet, R., Steele, V., Kelloff, G., Kaskey, R., Rao, C., & Reddy, B. (1999) Chemopreventive effect of curcumin, a naturally occurring anti-inflammatory agent, during the promotion/progression stages of colon cancer. Cancer Research, 59, 597.
Shahanas, C., Faisal, T., & Sehamuddin, G. (2008) Curcumin cell signaling: a possible target for chemotherapy. Current Trends in Biotechnology & Pharmacy, 2, 226-238.
Ruby, A., Kuttan, G., Babu, K., Rajasekharan, K., & Kuttan, R. (1995) Anti-tumour and antioxidant activity of natural cucuminoids. Cancer Letters, 94, 79-83.
Kunnumakkara, A., Anand, P., & Aggarwal, B., (2008) Curcumin inhibits proliferation, invasion, angiogenesis, and metastasis of different cancers through interaction with multiple cell signaling proteins. Cancer Letters, 269, 199-225
Cretu, E., Trifan, A., Vascincu, A., & Miron, A. (2012) Plant-derived anticancer agents – curcumin in cancer prevention and treatment. Rev Med Chir Soc Med Nat lasi., 116, 1223-9.
Asai, A., & Miyazawa, T. (2001) Dietary curcuminoids prevent high-fat diet-induced lipid accumulation in rat liver and epididymal adipose tissue. The American Society for Nutritional Sciences, 131, 2932-2935.
Ejaz A, Wu, D, Kwan P, and Meydani M. Journal of Nutrition. May 2009; 139 (5): 1042-1048. Curcumin Inhibits Adipogenesis in 3T3-L1 Adipocytes and Angiogenesis and Obesity in C57/BL Mice. 919-925.
Gilani, A., Shah, A., Ghayur, M., & Majeed, K. (2005) Pharmacological basis for the use of turmeric in gastrointestinal and respiratory disorders. Life Sciences, 76, 3089-3105.
Kundu, S., Biswas, T., Das, P., Kumar, S., & De, D. (2005) Turmeric (curcuma longa) rhizome paste and honey show similar wound healing potential: A preclinical study in rabbits. International Journal of Lower Extremity Wounds, 4, 205-213.
Kole, P., Jadhav, H., Thakurdesai, P., & Nagappa, A., (2005) Cosmetic potential of herbal extracts. CSIR, 4, 315-321.
Gur, S., Turgut-Balik, D., & Gur, N. (2006) Antimicrobial activities and some fatty acids of turmeric, ginger root and linseed used in the treatment of infectious diseases. World Journal of Agricultural Sciences, 2, 439-442.
James, A., (2007) The garden pharmacy: turmeric, the queen of COX-2 Inhibitors. Alternative and Complementary Therapies, 13, 229-234.
Nita, C. (2004) Safety and anti-inflammatory activity of curcumin: a component of turmeric (curcuma longa). The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, 9, 161-168.
Mishra, S., & Palanivelu, K. (2008) The effect of curcumin (turmeric) on Alzheimer’s disease: An overview. Ann Indian Acad Neurol., 11, 13-19.
Aggarwal, B., & Shishodia, S. (2006) Suppression of the nuclear factor-kB activation pathway by spice-derived phytochemicals: reasoning for seasoning. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, 1030, 434-441.
Funk, J., Oyarzo, J., Frye, J., Chen, G., Lantz, R., Jolad, S., Solyom, A., & Timmermann, B. (2006) Turmeric extracts containing curcuminoids prevent experimental rheumatoid arthritis. Journal of Natural Products, 69, 351-355.
Ishita, C., Kaushik, B., Uday, B., & Ranajit, B. (2004) Turmeric and curcumin: biological actions and medicinal applications. Current Science, 87, 44-53.
Rao, D., Sekhara, N., Satyanarayana, M., & Srinivasan, M. (1970). The effect of curcumin on serum and liver cholesterol levels in the rat. Journal of Nutrition, 100, 1307-1315.
Chengxiu, L., Ling, L., Jun, L., & Nenghui, H. (1998) A study on effect of turmeric volatile oil on respiratory tract. China Journal of Chinese Materia Medica, 10.