Turmeric is one of the oldest spices known. It has been used for over 5,000 years in Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic Medicine. This spice is used to help with swelling, pain, digestion, cholesterol, blood sugar and more. It is beneficial for the heart, brain, skin, joints and other organs. This could truly be the most powerful herb on the planet.
Anybody that has eaten Indian curry has tried turmeric. This plant comes from India and other Southeast Asian countries. The spice comes from the roots of the Curcuma longa plant, which is a member of the ginger family.
How to Use Turmeric
It is safe to take daily doses of turmeric that range between 500 to 2,000 milligrams, which is higher than what you would get from eating this spice in your food. However, the natural turmeric spice contains 3% of curcumin, while the extract contains 95%. Most “turmeric supplements” typically have 1,900 to 2,375 milligrams of curcumin. You can break your consumption of curcumin into two or three times per day.
Fermented turmeric supplements help improve the absorption process. Some supplements include supporting ingredients such as milk thistle, dandelion, peppermint and ashwagandha. Turmeric is known as the “golden spice” and it has an earthy, musky, even peppery kick. This is interesting because many turmeric supplements include black pepper because it contains piperine for greater bioavailability, up to 2,000%!
Turmeric essential oil (of good quality) can be diluted in water or other liquids such a juice or smoothie. One drop is enough!
You can grow turmeric at home or purchase the roots which are actually rhizomes for cooking and medicinal use. Most people prefer to buy the dried yellow powder since manipulating this spice will surely leave your hands yellow for a few days if you do not wear gloves. It is easier to incorporate this spice into your diet than you may think. Add it to soups, rice, stews, or eggs.
A great recipe to try is golden milk which is done by adding one teaspoon of the spice to 12 ounces of water and bringing it to a boil. Remove from heat and add 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper and ground ginger. Another alternative to the water is coconut milk or regular milk. Other ingredients you can add include ghee, vanilla, cinnamon, maple syrup and powdered ashwagandha.
Risks of Turmeric
This spice is safe for pregnant women in food, but it is not recommended to be taken medicinally because it stimulates the uterus promoting menstrual periods, which can cause complications. It is not known if it is safe for lactating women to take this supplement.
Higher doses of this spice can cause potential side effects such as increased menstrual flow, increased risk of bleeding, increased liver function test, hyperactive gallbladder contractions, low blood pressure, diarrhea and nausea. Stop its use and contact your doctor if you have any of these symptoms.
This spice contains several chemical compounds which are known as curcuminoids, which are types of polyphenols. Curcumin is the most active substance and it is known for having anticancer, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Turmeric has manganese, iron, potassium, magnesium and vitamin b6.
Inflammation means disease in the body. Controlling inflammation is essential for wellbeing. Short term and acute inflammation is an alert for your body to fight invaders, such as bacteria. However, many people live with chronic inflammation which is usually caused by eating sugar, alcohol and processed foods.
Curcumin is one of the most effective anti-inflammatory compounds in the world according to a study. Chronic inflammation can cause neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Curcumin can reverse existing amyloid pathology and associated neurotoxicity, thus helping prevent or treat Alzheimer’s symptoms. Chronic inflammation can also cause cancer and heart disease.
Turmeric may help treat several forms of cancer including pancreatic cancer, breast cancer, bowel cancer, stomach cancer, skin cancer cells and prostate cancer. Curcumin may even be able to treat pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), which is an aggressive form of pancreatic cancer that is resistant to chemotherapy. It can also kill tumor cells.
Arthritis and Joint Health
Another health benefit of turmeric’s anti-inflammatory and pain reducing properties is its ability to treat patients with rheumatoid arthritis. It is as effective or more than the arthritis drug diclofenac sodium (an NSAID). A high dose of about 1000 mg/day of curcumin is necessary for this treatment. It can also help cure osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease. This spice also helps promote mobility and overall joint health if taken as a preventative measure.
Curcumin is 400 times more potent than metformin (a common diabetes drug) in activating the enzyme AMPK (AMP-activated protein kinase) according to a study. Tetrahydrocurcumin, a compound produced by fermenting curcumin, activates AMPK up to 100,000 more than metformin. Researchers are establishing how to use this enzyme for reserving diabetes by reducing insulin resistance.
Prediabetic people can stop the development of this condition by consuming curcumin supplements. Turmeric is beneficial for the metabolism since it maintains normal blood sugar levels in the body.
Diabetic neuropathy is one of the most common complications of diabetes which can damage the nerves. Curcumin can reduce diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain (which is usually found in legs, feet, arms and hands). Curcumin can also protect the kidneys of diabetic people who can suffer from kidney failure because of diabetic neuropathy.
This supplement can reduce oxidative stress which causes high cholesterol. Oxidative stress is caused by inflammation and high blood sugar. Reduce your sugar intake and supplement with turmeric to achieve a healthy cholesterol level. Studies show that curcumin is as effective as the pharmaceutical drug Lipitor. Curcumin can also raise good cholesterol (HDL) levels.
Turmeric supplements can help optimize your vitality. Powerful antioxidant properties found in the spice help fight excess free radicals in the body which damage your cells, eventually diminishing your health. Free radicals can cause serious disorders including cancers and neurodegenerative disorders.
Reduce Depression and Stress
Curcumin is very well tolerated by patients with depression. It can be added to pharmaceutical medicine treatments. Curcumin impacts neurotransmitter function through the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which is a protein found in the spinal cord. Depressed people have lower levels of BDNF and curcumin can boost them and reverse degradation. It can also boost neurotransmitters of dopamine and serotonin which are brain chemicals that make you happy.
As an adaptogen, it can help soothe the harmful effects of stress and boost your tolerance. Adaptogens can moderate the release of stress hormones from the adrenal glands, allowing you to adapt better to emotional and physical stress.
Curcumin can boost the BDNF brain protein, which is crucial for brain growth. This part of the brain helps form new neurons and connections, which you need especially as you get older. High BDNF levels create a better memory and good moods, while low BDNF levels can cause Alzheimer’s disease and depression.
This spice supports weight loss because curcumin helps reduce the growth of fat cells. Anti-inflammatory properties in curcumin help reduce the inflammatory process of obesity, therefore reducing fat from the body. Turmeric balances stress hormones helping to reduce fat since elevated stress produces sudden weight gain. An increase of stress hormones will cause fat to accumulate near the stomach because stomach cells are very sensitive to high cortisol, which is a steroid hormone that stimulates stress.
Ayurvedic medicine uses this spice to help with gut inflammation and to improve digestion. Curcumin can stimulate the gallbladder to produce bile which is necessary for breaking down the food. Curcumin can even help people with ulcerative colitis, which is an inflammatory disease of the bowel that often causes digestive tract sores.
Prevent Blood Clots and Cardiovascular Wellness
Curcumin may be an effective and preferable treatment for people who are prone to vascular thrombosis who need antiarthritic therapy. Studies show that curcumin can reduce instances of platelet aggregation, thus reducing the risk of blood clots forming.
Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the world because of stress and an unhealthy lifestyle.
Chronic inflammation causes heart attacks. Turmeric is a helpful preventative supplement because it improves the lining of blood vessels. If this is unwell then your blood pressure cannot be regulated resulting in heart disease and blood clotting.
The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of this herb are quite effective in treating many skin conditions. Use a homemade turmeric face mask (yogurt, honey and turmeric powder is the basic version. Other ingredients such as lemon and apple cider can be added as well) for general glow of the skin. If you haven’t used it before then it is best to test applying a dime-size amount to your forearm. Wait to see if you have any reactions before applying to your face.
Turmeric is beneficial for people who have acne and acne scarring, as well as psoriasis flares. Other conditions such as scabies can be treated with the application of a paste of this spice on the skin. It can also help with facial redness, pruritus, oral lichen planus, as well as skin cancer.
Oxidation and inflammation play an important role in the aging process. Curcumin is full of anti-aging components which can help if taken regularly.