Turmeric, a cousin to ginger, is a well known spice. It is a staple in India and Indian cuisine, where over 90% of the world's turmeric originates. The turmeric plant contains many healthy compounds, however the compound most studied for its health benefits is curcumin. Curcumin, which gives turmeric its golden color, is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory.
Dr. Bharat Aggarwal, perhaps the world's foremost expert on turmeric, discovered curcumin and its many health benefits, particularly its effectiveness against cancer. He oversees, conducts and analyzes studies at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston Texas. According to Aggarwal, “no cancer has been found, to my knowledge, which is not affected by curcumin.”
Dr. Aggarwal's book, Healing Spices, is a must read for the most current research not only on turmeric but the healing power of 50 different spices.
What distinguishes curcumin is its ability to reduce inflammation.
The list of diseases that curcumin helps is long and growing as we learn more about the relationship between systemic inflammation and ill-health. Inflammation is a symptom of virtually every disease process — some examples of common disorders that involve inflammation include: arthritis, infections, allergies, asthma, hypertension, cancer, eczema, psoriasis, gingivitis, ulcerative colitis, multiple sclerosis, dementia and diabetes.
It's important to note, turmeric spice does not contain enough curcumin to supply the therapeutic dose used in clinical studies to treat disease. If treating an inflammatory condition, Jim LaValle, RPh, ND, suggests supplemental curcumin, 100 to 300 mg standardized extract three times a day with meals. Supplement should be standardized to contain 95% curcuminoids per dose.
The best-absorbed and researched curcumin supplement is Meriva®, curcumin phytosome from Thorne Research.
For the rest of us, who are otherwise healthy, turmeric can be used liberally in our daily diet. It is not toxic, even in high doses. You don't need to save your turmeric for curry, it is a really easy spice to use and lends not only beautiful color but a pleasing taste as well. Sprinkle it on everything from scrambled eggs to sauteed veggies.
10 Health Benefits of Turmeric
1. Promotes healthy skin.
2. Provides immune system support.
3. Aids skeletal system and joint health.
4. Encourages healthy liver function.
5. Helps maintain healthy cells and supports against free radicals.
6. Aids the digestive system.
7. Supports a healthy blood and circulatory system.
8. Assists the nervous system response to stress.
9. Promotes a healthy female reproductive system.
10. Helps maintain blood sugar levels.
For me to make any kind of qualified statement I need evidence. I can be very confident when I make statements on what turmeric does. I have no doubt about turmeric, and with over 5,000 publications behind it I am confident that turmeric can help prevent and even treat many diseases. ~Dr. Bharat Aggarwal