Turmeric is an amazing herb or spice that has numerous health benefits. Below in this article, we will discuss its general information, nutritional facts, various uses and health benefits, side effects, etc.
What is Turmeric? – Indian Saffron or Golden Spice
Turmeric is scientifically known as Curcuma longa which is one of the main spice in the Indian-Asian foods. From ancient turmeric is praised by many to be the most powerful herb on the planet at fighting and potentially reversing disease.
Turmeric has a warm and bitter taste and a chemical compound named curcumin which makes its yellow color. We generally use turmeric as curry powder while cooking and to flavor various foods like butter, mustards, and cheeses. Due to turmeric’s potential benefits on skin various beauty care products and process also done with it.
Turmeric – Health Benefits and Uses
Turmeric has several chemical compounds which are called curcuminoids. Out of them, curcumin is the responsible and potential one which makes turmeric a functional food that has numerous health benefits beyond our basic nutrition. Also, the nutrients and vitamins found in turmeric provides essential things to our body and helps in the quality of our health.
From ancient times in Asian countries, turmeric always used in various purposes (e.g food additive spice, ayurvedic medicine, other traditional forms of medicines, etc) for their good health. These reasons make turmeric called as Indian Saffron or the Golden Spice and also keeps top of the list as one of the most frequently mentioned medicinal herbs in all of science. Without further delay lets discuss turmeric curcumin benefits –
Turmeric Fights with Inflammation
Turmeric has highly anti-inflammatory property due to its chemical compound curcumin. Inflammation process is incredibly important for your healthy life as it helps to fight against foreign invaders and also to repair damages. Without this essential inflammation process, pathogens like bacteria could easily take over our body and slowly kills us.
Short-term inflammation is beneficial but there are many diseases can be developed due to low-level but chronic inflammation. Heart disease, metabolic syndrome, Alzheimer’s, cancer and various degenerative conditions. According to doctors inflammation is an extremely complicated thing or process. It is a silent killer as it makes our body fertile for diseases.
Turmeric includes curcumin which blocks NF-kB (Nuclear Factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells), a molecule that enters into the nuclei of body cells and plays a major role in developing many chronic diseases through promoting and activating those genes which are related to inflammation.
I. Ulcerative Colitis
It is a bowel disease caused due to inflammation. Some research tells that taking turmeric (i.e. curcumin) daily along with conventional treatments can reduce symptoms. It also reduces the possibility of the recurrence of ulcerative colitis and taking turmeric extract as an enema might also help people with this condition.
II. Radiation Treatment
In the case of people with head and neck cancer, radiation treatment can cause inflammation in the mouth and/or esophagus. Some study suggests that swishing a turmeric solution in the mouth may help in that situation.
III. Anterior Uveitis
It is an eye inflammation which might be helped with taking curcumin, a chemical found in turmeric and improves symptoms of long-term inflammation in the middle layer of the eye.
IV. Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE)
Due to inflammation the immune system of our body mistakenly attacks healthy tissues of the kidneys, skin, brain, joints, blood cells, heart, lungs, and many other organs. Taking turmeric by mouth daily can maintains blood pressure level and improve above organ related functions and control this autoimmune process.
V. Crohn’s Disease
It is a bowel disease mainly caused due to inflammation. Taking turmeric-curcumin, on a daily basis some days can reduce symptoms of Crohn’s disease (i.e. bowel movements, diarrhea, and stomach pain).
Improves Digestion and Gastrointestinal Disorders
From ancient time turmeric has used in daily eaten food and ayurvedic medicine as a digestive healing agent. Nowadays western medicine also has begun to study on turmeric’s benefits on Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and digestive efficiency (i.e. gut inflammation and gut permeability).
We frequently use turmeric in various recipes as a spice with curry powder for its deliciousness to food. But turmeric contains curcumin which plays a major role in digesting that food. Its dietary fiber content, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric can contribute to smooth digestive processes.
Turmeric is recommended for patients suffering from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and even more serious Crohn’s like diseases as it lowers the risk of bleeding in the bowels, developing ulcers and effectively eliminates irritation throughout the gut.
Serve as Detoxifying Agent & Keeps Liver Strong
Turmeric and its active organic compounds are also known for antioxidant abilities and this is so powerful that it may protect your liver from being damaged by toxins. This protection property is highly beneficial for those who take long-term strong drugs for diabetes or other health conditions.
Turmeric’s detoxifying ability is very strong and by stimulating the lymphatic system it efficiently removes toxins from our body and alleviates some of the effects of dangerous carcinogens. This process takes boosts due to turmeric’s powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents.
Every day, we are infected with xenobiotics (i.e. environmental and dietary toxins). These chemical substances and not generally present in the human body and considered as foreign particles. These may increase amounts of inflammation and a higher risk of cancer.
Thus serving as ideal detoxifying agent turmeric is a powerful solution for improving the liver’s overall health through reducing the levels of toxicity and liver ailments such as cirrhosis and fatty liver disease.
May Treat and Protects from Certain Cancers
Cancer is an evil disease in which body cells are divided premature and uncontrolled in manner and prohibited cells to function its own works. A study conducted on mice by the researchers tells turmeric extract and curcumin has a potential protective effect on colon, stomach, pancreatic, prostate, breast, bowel, skin cancer and multiple myeloma.
This happens as curcumin may able to inhibit the growth of new blood vessels in tumors (angiogenesis), development and spread of cancer (metastasis)at the molecular level, reduce the number of lesions which also sometimes turn to cancerous and break through chemo-resistance in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), an aggressive form of pancreatic cancer.
Curcumin can be used in making drugs but before it, more study and research is needed as all those studies related to turmeric’s anticancer effects have conducted on animals. At this stage of research one cannot tell for sure, but curcumin’s ability to make changes on the molecular level that looks promising to prevent and perhaps even treat cancer one day.
Helps in Arthritis and Reduces Pain
Turmeric’s curcumin has powerful anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing characteristics. If taken internally or topical use can be very helpful for the reduction of arthritic pain, gout, and muscle pain following exercise or injury. It also reduces age-related disorders like atherosclerosis.
Use of arthritis drug diclofenac sodium (an NSAID) may develop a risk factor for leaky gut and heart disease. Some study says curcumin’s use may provide better benefits for rheumatoid arthritis patients without developing that much risk factor.
Curcumin is also accepted through various scientific communities due to its ability to relieve pain and act as a natural painkiller in many different types of disease-pains like –
- Arthritis or joint pain (Various)
- Burning sensation and Healing the Wounds
- Orofacial pain (dental-related pain mainly in jaws, mouth, face, etc)
- Post-operative pain
- Sciatic nerve and Neuropathic pain caused by constrictive injury
Arthritis is a common disorder in Western countries and characterized by joint inflammation. It is of several different types but most of which developed due to inflammation in the joints. Many studies show that curcumin available in turmeric can help us to fight against and reduce much of arthritis symptoms.
Turmeric Keeps Heart Healthy
A high amount of Vitamin B6 and curcumin found in turmeric that inhibits the production of negative by-product homocysteine. This by-product damages cell walls and may cause many complications for the heart patient. In today’s scenario heart disease is one of the main cause of much percentage of human death. The reason behind heart complications is a complex thing.
Curcumin can directly balance cholesterol levels in the blood by eliminating excess LDL (bad) cholesterol from the arteries and blood vessels. This elimination can help in the prevention of atherosclerosis. A study found that like atorvastatin curcumin is also capable of reducing oxidative stress and inflammation in the treatment of high cholesterol in humans.
Also, turmeric can line up blood vessels by improving the function of the endothelium. We all know that endothelial dysfunction is one of the main cause of heart disease and develops the inability of your endothelium. This inability makes failure to regulate blood clotting, blood pressure, and various other factors. Again more study needed to surely prove but we can consider till now that turmeric may help to keep cardiovascular health well.
Rich in Antioxidants
Due to Curcumin present in turmeric, it is a very good antioxidant agent and provides numerous medicinal and cosmetic benefits. Some study by researchers shows the potential benefits of antioxidant agent and oxygen radical activity of curcumin. Curcumin protects our body through neutralizing and eliminating free radicals and also stimulates our own antioxidant enzymes.
Oxidative damage is a very bad and effective mechanism for aging and many other diseases. It involves free radicals which are highly reactive molecules with unpaired electrons and react with important organic substances, such as proteins, fatty acids, etc.
Turmeric has the ability to boost up our brain functions like concentration, memory retention power, analytical ability. Turmeric can also protect from the amyloid plaque build-up and long-term oxidative stress.
In earlier days it thought that neurons weren’t able to divide and multiply after early childhood. Nowadays modern medical science believes that neurons are also capable of forming new connections, multiply and increase its number but in certain areas of our brain.
Turmeric’s curcumin agent can increase the level of neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which is a type of brain-derived growth hormone. It keeps functioning of our brain, protects our brain from various disorders including depression and Alzheimer’s disease or even reversing many brain diseases.
Prevents From Depression and Anxiety
Some study on animals as well as on humans reveals that turmeric is effective for stress reduction. This result is due to its curcumin content which impacts neurotransmitter function through the brain-derived neurotrophic factor.
Like Prozac patients suffering from anxiety, stress, mood swings and depression find turmeric effective. Curcumin is a truly versatile substance and maintains hormonal balance in the body which makes it a powerful alternative to pharmaceutical routes that has dangerous or addictive side effects.
Turmeric boosts our metabolism rate and burn more calories and thus promotes weight loss. It reduces bad cholesterol (LDL), fat mass and also detoxify the liver which makes our body to reduce weight. Some study shows that curcumin in turmeric can reduce proliferation (growth) of fat cells, its anti-inflammatory effect prevents inflammation related to obesity, in the pancreas, muscles, fat cells.
Heavy Uses in Skin Care Products
We all know that turmeric is a very useful golden spice in beauty care products, especially for the skin and proven effective in treating multiple skin conditions. It’s antiseptic, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties clear scars, pigmentation, make our skin flawless and glowing, heal cuts, burns and skin irritation.
It also can reduce pimples in a significant amount by protecting against pimple-causing bacteria and reducing the oil secretion by the sebaceous glands. Turmeric fights against aging-related skin problems like wrinkles. So we can see turmeric is very efficient to keep our skin healthy in many ways and has both culinary as well as traditional cosmetic uses.