The spice turmeric has a long-established history as a natural medicine with tremendous disease prevention and treatment potential.
Turmeric and Cancer
Turmeric may prevent and treat (possibly by reprogramming cancer cell death) certain types of cancer including cancers of the colon, pancreas, skin, mouth and vulva, as well as ulcerating breast cancer. It may also prevent type 2 diabetes, possibly by decreasing fats in the blood.
While population studies can’t prove a correlation between dietary turmeric and decreased cancer risk, it’s well known that the prevalence of cancer is significantly lower among populations that consume the most turmeric, like India.
Turmeric has long been used to fight inflammation and may be able to improve endothelial function – the ability of our arteries to relax normally. Turmeric consumption may also be beneficial for those suffering from multiple myeloma, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and Alzheimer’s.
In one study, turmeric produced a dramatic reduction in pain and fatigue among patients recovering from gallstone surgery, leading researchers to suggest it as an alternative to synthesized anti-inflammatory medications.
Turmeric is affordable and readily available; in fact, it’s the third best-selling botanical dietary supplement. Yet clinical trials remain sporadic because natural foods or spices like turmeric cannot be turned into an intellectual property. Drug companies are not interested in its commercialization because they cannot profit from it. Turmeric is an active ingredient in numerous supplements, but the industry is poorly regulated and many of these supplements don’t contain the ingredients on the label.
While curcumin has been identified as an active ingredient in turmeric, it is only one of many active ingredients, and for this reason, those interested in diet supplementation should consume the whole herb, turmeric, rather than just curcumin.
Image Credit: Thanthima Limsakul © 123RF.com. This image has been modified.
Topic summary contributed by Dawn Handschuh
Popular Videos for Turmeric
All Videos for Turmeric
Best Supplements for Prostate Cancer
What would happen if you secretly gave cancer patients four of the healthiest foods?
Benefits of Turmeric Curcumin for Inflammatory Orbital Pseudotumor
From conjunctivitis, to uveitis, to a low-grade form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, there is something in the spice turmeric with dramatic anti-inflammatory effects.
Plants with Aspirin Aspirations
Should the active ingredient in aspirin be considered an essential vitamin?
Turmeric or Curcumin: Plants vs. Pills
Curcumin-free turmeric, from which the so-called active ingredient has been removed, may be as effective or even more potent.
Striking with the Root: Turmeric Curcumin & Ulcerative Colitis
A double-blind, placebo-controlled trial found a dramatic effect of the anti-inflammatory spice pigment, curcumin, against inflammatory bowel disease.
Fighting Lupus with Turmeric: Good as Gold
A quarter teaspoon of the spice turmeric put to the test for the treatment of uncontrollable lupus (SLE) nephritis in a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial.
Turmeric Curcumin for Prediabetes
A randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial on the use of the turmeric pigment curcumin to prevent diabetes in prediabetics is published with extraordinary results.
Speeding Recovery from Surgery with Turmeric
The anti-inflammatory effect of curcumin, the pigment in the spice turmeric, was put to the test to see if it could reduce postoperative pain and fatigue after surgery.
Heart of Gold: Turmeric vs. Exercise
Diet and exercise synergize to improve endothelial function, the ability of our arteries to relax normally.
Turmeric Curcumin, MGUS, & Multiple Myeloma
Which plant and animal foods are associated with the development of multiple myeloma, and what effect might the spice turmeric have on the progression of monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance?
Preventing Alzheimer’s Disease with Plants
If foods like berries and dark green leafy vegetables have been found protective against cognitive decline, why aren’t they recognized as such in many guidelines?
Turmeric Curcumin vs. Exercise for Artery Function
Those who sit most of the day and are unable to use a standing or treadmill desk, or take frequent breaks from sitting, should consider the regular ingestion of the spice turmeric to protect endothelial function.