Turmeric Health Benefits & Side Effects

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Turmeric, also known as curcuma longa, is a very common herb. Often referred to as the “Queen of Spices,” its main characteristics are a pepper-like aroma, sharp taste and golden color.People across the globe use this herb in their cooking.

According to the Journal of the American Chemical Society, turmeric contains a wide range of antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, anticarcinogenic, antimutagenic and anti-inflammatory properties.

turmeric-benefits

Turmeric (Curcuma longa), the bright yellow of the spice rainbow, is a powerful medicine that has long been used in the Chinese and Indian systems of medicine as an anti-inflammatory agent to treat a wide variety of conditions, including flatulence, jaundice, menstrual difficulties, bloody urine, hemorrhage, toothache, bruises, chest pain, and colic.

It is also loaded with many healthy nutrients such as protein, dietary fiber, niacin, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, potassium, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and zinc. Due to all these factors, turmeric is often used to treat a wide variety of health problems.

Here are the top 10 health benefits of turmeric.

1. Prevents Cancer

Turmeric can help prevent prostate cancer, stop the growth of existing prostate cancer and even destroy cancer cells. Multiple researchers have found that the active components in turmeric makes it one of the best protectors against radiation-induced tumors. It also has a preventive effect against tumor cells such as T-cell leukemia, colon carcinomas and breast carcinomas.

2.Relieves Arthritis

The anti-inflammatory properties in turmeric are great for treating both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. In addition, turmeric’s antioxidant property destroys free radicals in the body that damage body cells. It has been found that those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis who consume turmeric on a regular basis experience much relief from the moderate to mild joint pains as well as joint inflammation.

3. Controls Diabetes

Turmeric can be used in the treatment of diabetes by helping to moderate insulin levels. It also improves glucose control and increases the effect of medications used to treat diabetes. Another significant benefit is turmeric’s effectiveness in helping reduce insulin resistance, which may prevent the onset of Type-2 diabetes. However, when combined with strong medications, turmeric can cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). It is best to consult a healthcare professional before taking turmeric capsules.

4. Reduces Cholesterol Level

Research has proven that simply using turmeric as a food seasoning can reduce serum cholesterol levels. It is a known fact that high cholesterol can lead to other serious health problems. Maintaining a proper cholesterol level can prevent many cardiovascular diseases.

5. Immunity Booster

Turmeric contains a substance known as lipopolysaccharide, which helps stimulate the body’s immune system. Its antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal agents also help strengthen the immune system. A strong immune system lessens the chance of suffering from colds, flu and coughs. If you do get a cold, a cough or the flu, you can feel better sooner by mixing one teaspoon of turmeric powder in a glass of warm milk and drinking it once daily.

6. Heals Wound

Turmeric is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent and can be used as an effective disinfectant. If you have a cut or burn, you can sprinkle turmeric powder on the affected area to speed up the healing process. Turmeric also helps repair damaged skin and may be used to treat psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions.

7. Weight Management

Turmeric powder can be very helpful in maintaining an ideal body weight. A component present in turmeric helps increase the flow of bile, an important component in the breakdown of dietary fat. Those who wish to lose weight or treat obesity and other associated diseases can benefit from having one teaspoon of turmeric powder with every meal.

8. Prevents Alzheimer’s Disease

Brain inflammation is suspected to be one of the leading causes of cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. Turmeric supports overall brain health by aiding in the removal of plaque build-up in the brain and improving the flow of oxygen. This can also prevent or slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.

9. Improves Digestion

Many key components in turmeric stimulate the gallbladder to produce bile, which then improves digestion and reduces symptoms of bloating and gas. Also, turmeric is helpful in treating most forms of inflammatory bowel disease including ulcerative colitis. However it is important to bear in mind that people suffering from any kind of gallbladder disease should not take turmeric as a dietary supplement as it may worsen the condition. It is best to consume turmeric in raw form when suffering from a digestive problem.

10. Prevents Liver Disease

Turmeric is a kind of natural liver detoxifier. The liver detoxifies the blood through the production of enzymes and turmeric increases production of these vital enzymes. These vital enzymes break down and reduce toxins in the body. Turmeric also is believed to invigorate and improve blood circulation. All of these factors support good liver health.

Given the numerous health benefits of turmeric, adding this powerful herb to your diet is one of the best things you can do to improve the quality of your life. You can add turmeric in powder form to curries, stir fried dishes, smoothies, warm milk and even to spicy salad dressings. Turmeric can be taken in pill form also. However, turmeric should not be used by people with gallstones or bile obstruction.

11. Depression

Researchers from the Government Medical College (Bhavnagar, Gujarat, India) published the results of the first study this past April to evaluate curcumin’s ability to manage depression in a controlled setting. Taking 60 volunteers diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD) and diving the group to determine how patients treated by curcumin compared against fluoxetine (Prozac) and a combination of the two, it discovered that that the principal curcuminoid in turmeric is not only as effective as Prozac in managing depression, it doesn’t carry with it all the dangerous side effects as anti-depressive drugs do. According to the paper, “This study provides first clinical evidence that cur cumin may be used as an effective and safe modality for treatment in patients with MDD.” (11)

12. Skin and Aging

Turmeric has many healing properties for skin. It’s a natural anti-inflammatory so it reduces redness or other skin irritations. It’s antibacterial, so it’s great for blemishes, acne and skin balance. Turmeric is wonderful at improving the texture of the skin because it is an exfoliant but also rich in antioxidants. It’s a wonderful natural treatment inside and out!

13. Brain Health and Memory

It’s all in your head … literally. This vital organ is the fundamental keeper of everything you’re able to think, act or dream. By taking turmeric, you can improve the oxygen intake of the brain, which helps in all of the brain’s functions and processes. Turmeric is extremely healing for the brain and for increasing memory function. Not surprisingly, when your brain functions at its best, then you increase the uptake of hormones, such as seratonin and melatonin. So, by healing the basic functioning of the brain, you can also heal other mental illnesses.

Turmeric vs. Modern Medicine

Different pills and tablets on wooden spoons Turmeric curcumin is so effective at managing these health concerns that after examining the research, I found that turmeric
benefits go well beyond that of these 10 drugs:

  • Anti-inflammatories
  • Anti-depressants (Prozac)
  • Chemotherapy
  • Anti-coagulants (aspirin)
  • Pain killers
  • Diabetes drugs (Metformin)
  • Arthritis medications
  • Inflammatory bowel disease drugs
  • Cholesterol drugs (Lipitor)
  • Steroids

 

 

Turmeric Side Effects

While the pros of turmeric health benefits usually outweigh the cons, it’s important to know that there can be some side effects with turmeric. Some people report allergic reactions to turmeric, especially after skin exposure. Typically, this is experienced as a mild, itchy rash. In addition, high doses of turmeric have been observed to cause: (17)

  • Indigestion
  • Heart burn
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Liver problems
  • Increased risk of bleeding
  • Increased liver function tests
  • Hyperactive gallbladder contractions
  • Alopecia (hair loss)
  • Hypotension (lowered blood pressure)
  • Uterine contractions in pregnant women
  • Increased menstrual flow

People taking certain medications should also be careful when using turmeric in their food or supplementing with it. Turmeric may interfere with anti-coagulants like aspirin, clopidogrel and warfarin. It also can affect medications such as nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs. As with any herb or supplement, use as directed.

 

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