Turmeric: Guide to 9 Substantial Benefits of Turmeric

Turmeric: Guide to 9 Substantial Benefits of Turmeric

Turmeric, or curcuma longa, is a perennial rhizomatous plant in the ginger family. It is native to southern Asia. It is gathered for its rhizomes or thick subterranean stem. These stems, or rhizomes, are either replanted or processed into a spice or supplement that has numerous health benefits.

As a spice, turmeric rhizomes are boiled for up to 45 minutes before being dried in an oven. After drying, it is ground into yellow-orange powder.

As a herb or dietary supplement, turmeric has been used for thousands of years. It is a major staple in Siddha medicine. In Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric is used to fight throat infections, colds, indigestion, and liver issues. It is also used to treat sores and cleanse wounds.

Turmeric has often been referred to as one of the most potent and important herbs on the planet. Over 6,000 peer-reviewed studies have been published on the health and healing benefits of turmeric.

One common thread that can be found when performing a meta-analysis of these studies is that turmeric often yields similar benefits to many common prescription medications. In fact, more than a few studies exist that reveal turmeric to be more potent than certain pharmaceuticals.

When digging into the research, we find that turmeric may have the potential to outperform prescription medications used for the following common ailments: [1]
  • Pain - Painkillers
  • Cancer - Chemotherapy
  • Depression (Prozac)
  • Inflammation
  • Cholesterol (Lipitor)
  • Bowel inflammation
  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes (Metformin)
  • Anti-coagulants (Aspirin)

9 Turmeric Benefits

#1 - Turmeric May Boost Mood

A study in the Journal of Affective Disorders revealed that turmeric may work to improve and balance mood. [2]

Over the course of 8 weeks, two groups were analyzed. One group received a placebo, while the second group was given curcumin (the primary turmeric ingredient) each day. At the end of the 8 week period, those supplementing with turmeric had noticeably higher test scores analyzing levels of anxiety and depression.

#2 - Turmeric and the Healing of Wounds

Turmeric may work to increase the rate at which wounds heal. [3] This includes the reduction of swelling, redness, and oxidation.

A study featured in a 2006 issue of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry found that rats were treated with turmeric experienced increased rates of collagen synthesis, an improvement in wound contraction, and heightened tissue strength. [4]

#3 - Turmeric and Pains, Aches and Discomfort

A 4-week study analyzing osteoarthritic knee pain found that turmeric provided discomfort equal to that of ibuprofen. It also revealed that turmeric provided superior relief from joint stiffness. [5]

It should be noted that of the 2 groups, the ibuprofen group received the upper required daily limit. So, turmeric yielded similar benefits to ingesting the maximum recommended daily amount of ibuprofen.

#4 - Turmeric and Blood Sugar

The Journal of Endocrinology treated human Islet cells and B-cell lines with turmeric. These are the insulin-producing cells found in the pancreas.

Findings revealed that turmeric yielded a number of potential positive benefits in the battle against diabetes and the regulation of blood sugar. [6]

#5 - Turmeric and Irritated, Inflamed Tissue

Several studies have found that turmeric is effective at regulating and buffering excessive tissue irritation. [7][8]

A 2007 issue of Advances of Experimental Medicine found that turmeric likely soothes irritation and inflammation through inhibition of enzymes including nitric oxide synthase (NOS), cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), and lipoxygenase (LOX). These enzymes ate noteworthy because of their ability to impact the inflammation process.

#6 - Turmeric and Joint Stiffness

A study published in 2012 tested the impact of turmeric on joint stiffness and discomfort. The first group used turmeric supplementation while the second received the medication diclofenac sodium.

Results were assessed via score sheets. Findings revealed that diclofenac sodium was inferior to turmeric, on every tested aspect. [9]

#7 - Turmeric and Cholesterol

Several prominent studies show that turmeric is an excellent tool in the battle against high cholesterol. Individuals supplementing with turmeric showed improvement not only in cholesterol levels, but their lipid panels also improved. [10]

A 2011 study published in Phytotherapy Research compared 3 groups. The first group was given a low dose of turmeric, the second a high dose, and the third was given only vitamin E.

Statistically significant results were found after a mere seven days. A low dose of turmeric was the winner. It was able to reduce triglycerides by 47% and serum cholesterol levels by 17%. [11]

#8 - Turmeric and Ulcers

Eastern cultures have used turmeric to treat digestive issues for a very long time. Researchers decided to test its true effectiveness. They studied turmeric's impact on preventing stomach ulcers.

Findings revealed that turmeric reduced ulcer formation in the stomach by a whopping 85%. [12]

#9 - Turmeric as an Antioxidant

Turmeric functions as a potent antioxidant. It is able to neutralize free radicals because of its chemical structure. [13][14]

But wait... There's more. Turmeric is also able to bolster the body's own antioxidant enzymes. [15]

1) "10 Turmeric Benefits: Superior to Medications?" Dr. Axe. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 July 2016.
2) Lopresti AL, Maes M. Curcumin for the treatment of major depression: a randomised, double-blind, placebo controlled study. J Affect Disord. 2014 Oct;167:368-75. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2014.06.001.
3) Akbik D, Ghadiri M, et al. Curcumin as a wound healing agent. Life Sci. 2014 Sep 6. pii: S0024-3205(14)00703-6. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2014.08.016.
4) Panchatcharam M, Miriyala S. Curcumin improves wound healing by modulating collagen and decreasing reactive oxygen species. Mol Cell Biochem. 2006 Oct;290(1-2):87-96.
5) Kuptniratsaikul V, Dajpratham P. Efficacy and safety of Curcuma domestica extracts compared with ibuprofen in patients with knee osteoarthritis: a multicenter study. Clin Interv Aging. 2014 Mar 20;9:451-8. doi: 10.2147/CIA.S58535.
6) Rouse M, Younès A. Resveratrol and curcumin enhance pancreatic ?-cell function by inhibiting phosphodiesterase activity. J Endocrinol. 2014 Nov;223(2):107-17. doi: 10.1530/JOE-14-0335.
7) Menon VP, Sudheer AR. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2007;595:105-25.
8) Chainani-Wu N. Safety and anti-inflammatory activity of curcumin: a component of tumeric. J Altern Complement Med. 2003 Feb;9(1):161-8.
9) Chandran B1, Goel A. A randomized, pilot study to assess the efficacy and safety of curcumin in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis. Phytother Res. 2012 Nov;26(11):1719-25. doi: 10.1002/ptr.4639.
10) Pungcharoenkul K, Thongnopnua P. Effect of different curcuminoid supplement dosages on total in vivo antioxidant capacity and cholesterol levels of healthy human subjects. Phytotherapy Research 2011 Nov; 25(11):1721?26.
11) Pungcharoenkul K, Thongnopnua P. Effect of different curcuminoid supplement dosages on total in vivo antioxidant capacity and cholesterol levels of healthy human subjects. Phytotherapy Research 2011 Nov; 25(11):1721?26.
12) Liju VB, Jeena K. Gastroprotective activity of essential oils from turmeric and ginger. J Basic Clin Physiol Pharmacol. 2014 Apr 21.
13) "Antioxidant and Anti-inflammatory Properties of Curcumin. - PubMed - NCBI."National Center for Biotechnology Information. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 July 2016.
14) http://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/ol000173t
15) "Detoxification and Antioxidant Effects of Curcumin in Rats Experimentally Exposed to Mercury - Agarwal - 2010 - Journal of Applied Toxicology." Wiley Online Library. N.p., n.d. Web. 29 July 2016.
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