From clearing infections to reducing inflammation, this spice has healing properties.
Turmeric, an orange-colored spice imported from India, is part the ginger family and has been a staple in Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian cooking for thousands of years.
In addition, ayurvedic and Chinese medicines utilise turmeric to clear infections and inflammations on the inside and outside of the body. But beyond the holistic health community, Western medical practitioners have only recently come on board in recognizing the health benefits of turmeric.
- Blocking cancer – Doctors at UCLA found that curcumin, the main component in turmeric, appeared to block an enzyme that promotes the growth of head and neck cancer.In that study, 21 subjects with head and neck cancers chewed two tablets containing 1,000 milligrams of curcumin. An independent lab in Maryland evaluated the results and found that the cancer-promoting enzymes in the patients’ mouths were inhibited by the curcumin and thus prevented from advancing the spread of the malignant cells.
- Powerful antioxidant – The University of Maryland’s Medical Center also states that turmeric’s powerful antioxidant properties fight cancer-causing free radicals, reducing or preventing some of the damage they can cause.While more research is necessary, early studies have indicated that curcumin may help prevent or treat several types of cancer including prostate, skin and colon.
- Osteoarthritis pain relief – Turmeric may also be helpful with another type of arthritis. Some research has shown that taking turmeric extract can ease the pain of osteoarthritis. In one study, reports WebMD, turmeric worked about as well as ibuprofen for relieving osteoarthritis pain.
- Indigestion and heartburn aid – Curcumin works with the gallbladder, stimulating it to make bile, which may help with digestion. In Germany, turmeric can be prescribed for digestive problems. Some research shows that turmeric may help upset stomach, bloating and gas. Turmeric may also help reduce the occurrence of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in people who are otherwise healthy.
- Heart disease – Studies have suggested curcumin may help prevent the buildup of plaque that can clog arteries and lead to heart attacks and strokes.
- Impact on diabetes – Early studies suggest that taking turmeric daily can cut down the number of people with prediabetes who develop diabetes.