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Turmeric, also known as curcuma longa, is a very common herb. Often referred to as the “Queen of Spices,” its main characteristics are a pepper-like aroma, sharp taste and golden color.
People across the globe use this herb in their cooking. According to the Journal of the American Chemical Society, turmeric contains a wide range of antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, anticarcinogenic, antimutagenic and anti-inflammatory properties.
It is also loaded with many healthy nutrients such as protein, dietary fiber, niacin, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, potassium, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium and zinc.
Due to all these factors, turmeric is often used to treat a wide variety of health problems.
- Promoting your immune system*
- Helping you maintain your healthy digestive system*
- Supporting your healthy bones, joints, and overall skeletal system*
- Helping you maintain cholesterol levels that are already within the normal range*
- Promoting your healthy blood and liver functions*
- Helping neutralize substances that can cause cellular stress*
- Maintaining your cells' integrity when threatened by occasional environmental stressors*
- Providing the antioxidants you need to help support your cells against excessive oxidation and free radicals*
- Turmeric is also recognized as an adaptogen -- helping to support your body against stress and providing immune system support.*
Supplement Facts: Serving Size: 1 Capsule
Amount Per Serving
Turmeric 95% extract - 750 mg
Bioperine® - 5 mg
Bioperine® is a registered trademark of the Sabinsa Corporation
Turmeric (Curcuma longa), the bright yellow of the spice rainbow, is a powerful medicine that has long been used in the Chinese and Indian systems
of medicine as an anti-inflammatory agent to treat a wide variety of conditions, including flatulence, jaundice, menstrual difficulties, bloody urine,
hemorrhage, toothache, bruises, chest pain, and colic.
A Potent, Yet Safe Anti-Inflammatory
The volatile oil fraction of turmeric has demonstrated significant anti-inflammatory activity in a variety of experimental models. Even more potent than
its volatile oil is the yellow or orange pigment of turmeric, which is called curcumin. Curcumin is thought to be the primary pharmacological
agent in turmeric. In numerous studies, curcumin's anti-inflammatory effects have been shown to be comparable to the potent drugs hydrocortisone and
phenylbutazone as well as over-the-counter anti-inflammatory agents such as Motrin. Unlike the drugs, which are associated with significant toxic effects
(ulcer formation, decreased white blood cell count, intestinal bleeding), curcumin produces no toxicity.
An Effective Treatment for Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Curcumin may provide an inexpensive, well-tolerated, and effective treatment for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) such as Crohn's and ulcerative colitis,
recent research suggests. In this study, mice given an inflammatory agent that normally induces colitis were protected when curcumin was added to their
diet five days beforehand. The mice receiving curcumin not only lost much less weight than the control animals, but when researchers checked their
intestinal cell function, all the signs typical of colitis (mucosal ulceration, thickening of the intestinal wall, and the infiltration of inflammatory
cells)were all much reduced. While the researchers are not yet sure exactly how curcumin achieves its protective effects, they think its benefits are the
result of not only antioxidant activity, but also inhibition of a major cellular inflammatory agent called NF kappa-B. Plus, an important part of the good
news reported in this study is the fact that although curcumin has been found to be safe at very large doses, this component of turmeric was effective at a
concentration as low as 0.25 per cent—an amount easily supplied by simply enjoying turmeric in flavorful curries.
Relief for Rheumatoid Arthritis
Clinical studies have substantiated that curcumin also exerts very powerful antioxidant effects. As an antioxidant, curcumin is able to neutralize free
radicals, chemicals that can travel through the body and cause great amounts of damage to healthy cells and cell membranes. This is important in many
diseases, such as arthritis, where free radicals are responsible for the painful joint inflammation and eventual damage to the joints. Turmeric's
combination of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects explains why many people with joint disease find relief when they use the spice regularly. In a
recent study of patients with rheumatoid arthritis, curcumin was compared to phenylbutazone and produced comparable improvements in shortened duration of
morning stiffness, lengthened walking time, and reduced joint swelling.
Help for Cystic Fibrosis Sufferers
Curcumin, the major constituent of turmeric that gives the spice its yellow color, can correct the most common expression of the genetic defect that is
responsible for cystic fibrosis, suggests an animal study published in the Science (April 2004). Cystic fibrosis, a fatal disease that attacks the
lungs with a thick mucus, causing life-threatening infections, afflicts about 30,000 American children and young adults, who rarely survive beyond 30 years
of age. The mucus also damages the pancreas, thus interfering with the body's ability to digest and absorb nutrients.
Researchers now know that cystic fibrosis is caused by mutations in the gene that encodes for a protein (the transmembrane conductance regulator or CFTR).
The CTFR protein is responsible for traveling to the cell's surface and creating channels through which chloride ions can leave the cell. When the protein
is abnormally shaped because of a faulty gene, this cannot happen, so chloride builds up in the cells, which in turn, leads to mucus production.
The most common mutation, which is called DeltaF508, results in the production of a misfolded protein. When mice with this DeltaF508 defect were given
curcumin in doses that, on a weight-per-weight basis, would be well-tolerated by humans, curcumin corrected this defect, resulting in a DeltaF508 protein
with normal appearance and function. In addition, the Yale scientists studying curcumin have shown that it can inhibit the release of calcium, thus
allowing mutated CTFR to exit cells via the calcium channels, which also helps stop the chloride-driven build up of mucus. Specialists in the treatment of
cystic fibrosis caution, however, that patients should not self-medicate with dietary supplements containing curcumin, until the correct doses are known
and any adverse interactions identified with the numerous prescription drugs taken by cystic fibrosis sufferers.
Curcumin's antioxidant actions enable it to protect the colon cells from free radicals that can damage cellular DNA—a significant benefit particularly in
the colon where cell turnover is quite rapid, occuring approximately every three days. Because of their frequent replication, mutations in the DNA of colon
cells can result in the formation of cancerous cells much more quickly. Curcumin also helps the body to destroy mutated cancer cells, so they cannot spread
through the body and cause more harm. A primary way in which curcumin does so is by enhancing liver function. Additionally, other suggested mechanisms by
which it may protect against cancer development include inhibiting the synthesis of a protein thought to be instrumental in tumor formation and preventing
the development of additional blood supply necessary for cancer cell growth.
Inhibits Cancer Cell Growth and Metastases
Epidemiological studies have linked the frequent use of turmeric to lower rates of breast, prostate, lung and colon cancer; laboratory experiments have
shown curcumin can prevent tumors from forming; and research conducted at the University of Texas suggests that even when breast cancer is already present,
curcumin can help slow the spread of breast cancer cells to the lungs in mice.
In this study, published in Biochemical Pharmacology (September 2005), human breast cancer cells were injected into mice, and the resulting tumors
removed to simulate a mastectomy.
The mice were then divided into four groups. One group received no further treatment and served as a control. A second group was given the cancer drug
paclitaxel (Taxol); the third got curcumin, and the fourth was given both Taxol and curcumin.
After five weeks, only half the mice in the curcumin-only group and just 22% of those in the curcumin plus Taxol group had evidence of breast cancer that
had spread to the lungs.
But 75% of the mice that got Taxol alone and 95% of the control group developed lung tumours.
How did curcumin help? "Curcumin acts against transcription factors, which are like a master switch," said lead researcher, Bharat Aggarwal. "Transcription
factors regulate all the genes needed for tumors to form. When we turn them off, we shut down some genes that are involved in the growth and invasion of
In another laboratory study of human non-Hodgkin's lymphoma cells published in Biochemical Pharmacology (September 2005), University of Texas
researchers showed that curcumin inhibits the activation of NF-kappaB, a regulatory molecule that signals genes to produce a slew of inflammatory molecules
(including TNF, COX-2 and IL-6) that promote cancer cell growth. In addition, curcumin was found to suppress cancer cell proliferation and to induce cell
cycle arrest and apoptosis (cell suicide) in the lung cancer cells. Early phase I clinical trials at the University of Texas are now also looking into
curcumin's chemopreventive and therapeutic properties against multiple myeloma and pancreatic cancer, and other research groups are investigating
curcumin's ability to prevent oral cancer.
Turmeric and Onions May Help Prevent Colon Cancer
Curcumin, a phytonutrient found in the curry spice turmeric, and quercitin, an antioxidant in onions, reduce both the size and number of precancerous
lesions in the human intestinal tract, shows research published in the August 2006 issue of Clinical Gasteroenterology and Hepatology.
Five patients with an inherited form of precancerous polyps in the lower bowel known as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP) were treated with regular
doses of curcumin and quercetin over an average of six months. The average number of polyps dropped 60.4%, and the average size of the polyps that did
develop dropped by 50.9%.
FAP runs in families and is characterized by the development of hundreds of polyps (colorectal adenomas) and, eventually, colon cancer. Recently,
nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs such as aspirin, ibuprofen) have been used to treat some patients with this condition, but these drugs often
produce significant side effects, including gastrointestinal ulcerations and bleeding, according to lead researcher Francis M. Giardiello, M.D., at the
Division of Gastroenterology, Johns Hopkins University.
Previous observational studies in populations that consume large amounts of curry, as well as animal research, have strongly suggested that curcumin, one
of the main ingredients in Asian curries, might be effective in preventing and/or treating cancer in the lower intestine. Similarly, quercetin, an
anti-oxidant flavonoid found in a variety of foods including onions, green tea and red wine, has been shown to inhibit growth of colon cancer cell lines in
humans and abnormal colorectal cells in animals.
In this study, a decrease in polyp number was observed in four of five patients at three months and four of four patients at six months.
Each patient received curcumin (480 mg) and quercetin (20 mg) orally 3 times a day for 6 months. Although the amount of quercetin was similar to what many
people consume daily, the curcumin consumed was more than would be provided in a typical diet because turmeric only contains on average 3-5 % curcumin by
While simply consuming curry and onions may not have as dramatic an effect as was produced in this study, this research clearly demonstrates that liberal
use of turmeric and onions can play a protective role against the development of colorectal cancer. And turmeric doesn't have to only be used in curries.
This spice is delicious on healthy sautéed apples, and healthy steamed cauliflower and/or green beans and onions. Or, for a flavor-rich, low-calorie dip,
try adding some turmeric and dried onion to creamy yogurt.
Turmeric Teams Up with Cauliflower to Halt Prostate Cancer
Prostate cancer—the second leading cause of cancer death in American men with 500,000 new cases appearing each year—is a rare occurrence among men in
India, whose low risk is attributed to a diet rich in brassica family vegetables and the curry spice, turmeric.
Scientists tested turmeric, a concentrated source of the phytonutrient curcumin, along with phenethyl isothiocyanates, a phytochemical abundant in
cruciferous vegetables including cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, kohlrabi and turnips.
When tested singly, both phenethyl isothiocyanate and curcumin greatly retarded the growth of human prostate cancer cells implanted in immune-deficient
mice. In mice with well-established prostate cancer tumors, neither phenethyl isothiocyanate nor curcumin by itself had a protective effect, but when
combined, they significantly reduced both tumor growth and the ability of the prostate cancer cells to spread (metastasize) in the test animals.
The researchers believe the combination of cruciferous vegetables and curcumin could be an effective therapy not only to prevent prostate cancer, but to
inhibit the spread of established prostate cancers. Best of all, this combination—cauliflower spiced with turmeric—is absolutely delicious! For protection
against prostate cancer, cut cauliflower florets in quarters and let sit for 5-10 minutes; this allows time for the production of phenethyl
isothiocyanates, which form when cruciferous vegetables are cut, but stops when they are heated. Then sprinkle with turmeric, and saute on medium heat in a
few tablespoons of vegetable or chicken broth for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and top with olive oil, sea salt and pepper to taste.
Reduce Risk of Childhood Leukemia
Research presented at a recent conference on childhood leukemia, held in London, provides evidence that eating foods spiced with turmeric could reduce the
risk of developing childhood leukemia. The incidence of this cancer has risen dramatically during the 20th century, mainly in children under age five,
among whom the risk has increased by more than 50% cent since 1950 alone. Modern environmental and lifestyle factors are thought to play a major role in
Childhood leukemia is much lower in Asia than Western countries, which may be due to differences in diet, one of which, the frequent use of turmeric, has
been investigated in a series of studies over the last 20 years by Prof. Moolky Nagabhushan from the Loyola University Medical Centre, Chicago, IL.
"Some of the known risk factors that contribute to the high incidence of childhood leukemia are the interaction of many lifestyle and environmental
factors. These include prenatal or postnatal exposure to radiation, benzene, environmental pollutants and alkylating chemotherapeutic drugs. Our studies
show that turmeric—and its colouring principle, curcumin—in the diet mitigate the effects of some of these risk factors."
Nagabhushan has shown that the curcumin in turmeric can:
inhibit the mutagenicity of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) (carcinogenic chemicals created by the burning of carbon based fuels including
inhibit radiation-induced chromosome damage
prevent the formation of harmful heterocyclic amines and nitroso compounds, which may result in the body when certain processed foods, such as
processed meat products that contain nitrosamines, are eaten
irreversibly inhibit the multiplication of leukemia cells in a cell culture
Improved Liver Function
In a recent rat study conducted to evaluate the effects of turmeric on the liver's ability to detoxify xenobiotic (toxic) chemicals, levels of two very
important liver detoxification enzymes (UDP glucuronyl transferase and glutathione-S-transferase) were significantly elevated in rats fed turmeric as
compared to controls. The researchers commented, "The results suggest that turmeric may increase detoxification systems in addition to its anti-oxidant
properties...Turmeric used widely as a spice would probably mitigate the effects of several dietary carcinogens."
Curcumin has been shown to prevent colon cancer in rodent studies. When researchers set up a study to analyze how curcumin works, they found that it
inhibits free radical damage of fats (such as those found in cell membranes and cholesterol), prevents the formation of the inflammatory chemical
cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), and induces the formation of a primary liver detoxification enzyme, glutathione S-transferase (GST) enzymes. When the rats were
given curcumin for 14 days, their livers' production of GST increased by 16%, and a marker of free radical damage called malondialdehyde decreased by 36%
when compared with controls. During this two week period, the researchers gave the rats a cancer-causing chemical called carbon tetrachloride. In the rats
not fed curcumin, markers of free radical damage to colon cells went up, but in the rats given turmeric, this increase was prevented by dietary curcumin.
Lastly, the researchers compared giving turmeric in the diet versus injecting curcumin into the rats' colons. They found injecting curcumin resulted in
more curcumin in the blood, but much less in the colon mucosa. They concluded, "The results show that curcumin mixed with the diet achieves drug levels in
the colon and liver sufficient to explain the pharmacological activities observed and suggest that this mode of administration may be preferable for the
chemoprevention of colon cancer."
Curcumin may be able to prevent the oxidation of cholesterol in the body. Since oxidized cholesterol is what damages blood vessels and builds up in the
plaques that can lead to heart attack or stroke, preventing the oxidation of new cholesterol may help to reduce the progression of atherosclerosis and
diabetic heart disease. In addition, turmeric is a good source of vitamin B6, which is needed to keep homocysteine levels from getting too high.
Homocysteine, an intermediate product of an important cellular process called methylation, is directly damaging to blood vessel walls. High levels of
homocysteine are considered a significant risk factor for blood vessel damage, atherosclerotic plaque build-up, and heart disease; while a high intake of
vitamin B6 is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.
In research published in the Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, when 10 healthy volunteers consumed 500 mg of curcumin per day for 7
days, not only did their blood levels of oxidized cholesterol drop by 33%, but their total cholesterol droped 11.63% , and their HDL (good cholesterol)
increased by 29%! (Soni KB, Kuttan R).
How Turmeric Lowers Cholesterol
Tumeric's cholesterol-lowering effects are the result of the curry spice's active constituent, curcumin, which research reveals is a messaging molecule
that communicates with genes in liver cells, directing them to increase the production of mRNA (messenger proteins) that direct the creation of receptors
for LDL (bad) cholesterol. With more LDL-receptors, liver cells are able to clear more LDL-cholesterol from the body.
LDL-receptor mRNA increased sevenfold in liver cells treated with curcumin at a concentration of 10 microM, compared to untreated cells. (Liver cells were
found to tolerate curcumin at levels of up to 12. microM for 24 hours). (Peschel D, Koerting R, et al. J Nutr Biochem)
Help increase your liver's ability to clear LDL-cholesterol by relying on turmeric, not just for delicious fish, meat or lentil curries, but to spice up
healthy sautéed onions, potatoes and/or cauliflower; or as the key flavoring for a creamy vegetable dip. Just mix plain yogurt with a little omega-3-rich
mayonnaise and turmeric, salt and pepper to taste. Serve with raw cauliflower, celery, sweet pepper, jicama and broccoli florets. Be sure to choose
turmeric rather than prepared curry blends. Recent research indicates the amount of turmeric (and therefore curcumin) in curry blends is often
minimal.(Tayyem RF et al.,Nutr Cancer)
For the most curcumin, be sure to use turmeric rather curry powder—a study analyzing curcumin content in 28 spice products described as turmeric or curry
powders found that pure turmeric powder had the highest concentration of curcumin, averaging 3.14% by weight. The curry powder samples, with one exception,
contained very small amounts of curcumin. (Tayyem RF, Heath DD, et al. Nutr Cancer)
Protection against Alzheimer's Disease
Growing evidence suggests that turmeric may afford protection against neurodegenerative diseases. Epidemiological studies show that in elderly Indian
populations, among whose diet turmeric is a common spice, levels of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's are very low. Concurrently, experimental
research conducted recently found that curcumin does appear to slow the progression of Alzheimer's in mice. Preliminary studies in mice also suggest that
curcumin may block the progression of multiple sclerosis. While it is still unclear how it may afford protection against this degenerative condition, one
theory is that it may interrupt the production of IL-2, a protein that can play a key role in the destruction of myelin, the sheath that serves to protect
most nerves in the body.
A number of studies have suggested that curcumin, the biologically active constituent in turmeric, protects against Alzheimer's disease by turning on a
gene that codes for the production of antioxidant proteins. A study published in the Italian Journal of Biochemistry (December 2003) discussed
curcumin's role in the induction of the the heme oxygenase pathway, a protective system that, when triggered in brain tissue, causes the production of the
potent antioxidant bilirubin, which protects the brain against oxidative (free radical) injury. Such oxidation is thought to be a major factor in aging and
to be responsible for neurodegenerative disorders including dementias like Alzheimer's disease. Another study conducted jointly by an Italian and U.S. team
and presented at the American Physiological Society's 2004 annual conference in Washington, DC, confirmed that curcumin strongly induces expression of the
gene, called hemeoxygenase-1 (HO-1) in astrocytes from the hippocampal region of the brain.
Curcumin Crosses Blood-Brain Barrier, May Help Prevent Alzheimer's Disease
Research conducted at UCLA and published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry (December 2004), which has been confirmed by further research
published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (April 2006), provides insight into the mechanisms behind curcumin's protective
effects against Alzheimer's disease.
Alzheimer's disease results when a protein fragment called amyloid-B accumulates in brain cells, producing oxidative stress and inflammation, and forming
plaques between nerve cells (neurons) in the brain that disrupt brain function.
Amyloid is a general term for protein fragments that the body produces normally. Amyloid-B is a protein fragment snipped from another protein called
amyloid precursor protein (APP). In a healthy brain, these protein fragments are broken down and eliminated. In Alzheimer's disease, the fragments
accumulate, forming hard, insoluble plaques between brain cells.
The UCLA researchers first conducted test tube studies in which curcumin was shown to inhibit amyloid-B aggregation and to dissolve amyloid fibrils more
effectively than the anti-inflammatory drugs ibuprofen and naproxen. Then, using live mice, the researchers found that curcumin crosses the blood brain
barrier and binds to small amyloid-B species. Once bound to curcumin, the amyloid-B protein fragments can no longer clump together to form plaques.
Curcumin not only binds to amyloid-B, but also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, supplying additional protection to brain cells.
Turmeric Boosts Amyloid Plaque Clearance in Human Alzheimer's Patients
The most active ingredient in turmeric root, bisdemethoxycurcumin, boosts the activity of the immune system in Alzheimer's patients, helping them to clear
the amyloid beta plaques characteristic of the disease.
In healthy patients, immune cells called macrophages, which engulf and destroy abnormal cells and suspected pathogens, efficiently clear amyloid beta, but
macrophage activity is suppressed in Alzheimer's patients.
Using blood samples from Alzheimer's patients, Drs. Milan Fiala and John Cashman have shown that bisdemethoxycurcumin boosts macrophage activity to normal
levels, helping to clear amyloid beta. Fiala and Cashman also observed that bisdemethoxycurcumin was more effective in promoting the clearance of amyloid
beta in some patients' blood than others, hinting at a genetic element. Further study revealed the genes involved are MGAT III and Toll-like receptors,
which are also responsible for a number of other key immune functions. Bisdemethoxycurcumin enhances the transcription of these genes, correcting the
immune defects seen in Alzheimer's patients.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2007 Jul 31;104(31):12849-54.
Reasons to Eat Turmeric/ Dr Weil
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a culinary spice that spans cultures - it is a major ingredient in Indian curries, and makes American mustard yellow.
But evidence is accumulating that this brightly colored relative of ginger is a promising disease-preventive agent as well, probably due largely to its
One of the most comprehensive summaries of turmeric
studies to date was published by the respected ethnobotanist James A. Duke, Phd., in the October, 2007 issue ofAlternative & Complementary Therapies, and summarized in the July, 2008, issue of the American Botanical Council publication HerbClip.
Reviewing some 700 studies, Duke concluded that turmeric appears to outperform many pharmaceuticals in its effects against several chronic, debilitating
diseases, and does so with virtually no adverse side effects. Here are some of the diseases that turmeric has been found to help prevent or alleviate:
Duke found more than 50 studies on turmeric's effects in addressing Alzheimer's disease. The reports indicate that extracts of
turmeric contain a number of natural agents that block the formation of beta-amyloid, the substance responsible for the plaques that slowly obstruct
cerebral function in Alzheimer's disease.
: Turmeric contains more than two dozen anti-inflammatory compounds, including sixdifferent COX-2-inhibitors (the COX-2 enzyme promotes pain, swelling
and inflammation; inhibitors selectively block that enzyme). By itself, writes Duke, curcumin - the component in turmeric most often cited for its
healthful effects - is a multifaceted anti-inflammatory agent, and studies of the efficacy of curcumin have demonstrated positive changes in arthritic
Duke found more than 200 citations for turmeric and cancer and more than 700 for curcumin and cancer. He noted that in the handbook Phytochemicals: Mechanisms of Action, curcumin and/or turmeric were effective in animal models in prevention and/or treatment of colon cancer,
mammary cancer, prostate cancer, murine hepatocarcinogenesis (liver cancer in rats), esophageal cancer, and oral cancer. Duke said that the
effectiveness of the herb against these cancers compared favorably with that reported for pharmaceuticals.
How can you get more turmeric into your diet? One way is via turmeric tea.
There are also extracts in tablet and capsule form available in health food stores; look for supercritical extracts in dosages of 400 to 600 mg, and take
three times daily or as directed on the product.
And, of course, one can simply indulge in more curried dishes, either in restaurants or at home. However you do it, adding turmeric to your diet is one of
the best moves toward optimal health you can make.
Dr Oz Cancer Prevention Clinic, Pt. 4 (Clip on Ovarian Cancer & Turmeric)
The Dr. Oz Show: 1 Minute to Better Health Turmeric
University of Maryland Medical Center
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) has been used for 4,000 years to treat a variety of conditions. Studies show that turmeric may help fight infections and
some cancers, reduce inflammation, and treat digestive problems, and it has gotten a lot of press lately.
But remember several facts when you hear news reports about turmeric. First, many studies have taken place in test tubes and animals, and turmeric may not
work as well in humans. Second, some studies have used an injectable form of curcumin, the active substance in turmeric. Finally, some of the studies show
Turmeric is widely used in cooking and gives Indian curry its flavor and yellow color. It is also used in mustard and to color butter and cheese. Turmeric
has been used in both Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine as an anti-inflammatory, to treat digestive and liver problems, skin diseases, and wounds.
Curcumin is also a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants scavenge molecules in the body known as free radicals, which damage cell membranes, tamper with DNA,
and even cause cell death. Antioxidants can fight free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause.
In addition, curcumin lowers the levels of two enzymes in the body that cause inflammation. It also stops platelets from clumping together to form blood
Research suggests that turmeric may be helpful for the following conditions:
Indigestion or Dyspepsia
Curcumin stimulates the gallbladder to produce bile, which some people think may help improve digestion. The German Commission E, which determines which
herbs can be safely prescribed in Germany, has approved turmeric for digestive problems. And one double-blind, placebo-controlled study found that turmeric
reduced symptoms of bloating and gas in people suffering from indigestion.
Turmeric may help people with ulcerative colitis stay in remission. Ulcerative colitis is a chronic disease of the digestive tract where symptoms tend to
come and go. In one double-blind, placebo-controlled study, people whose ulcerative colitis was in remission took either curcumin or placebo, along with
conventional medical treatment, for 6 months. Those who took curcumin had a relapse rate much lower than those who took placebo.
Turmeric does not seem to help treat stomach ulcers. In fact, there is some evidence that it may increase stomach acid, making existing ulcers worse. (See
Because of its ability to reduce inflammation, researchers have wondered if turmeric may help relieve osteoarthritis pain. One study found that people
using an Ayurvedic formula of herbs and minerals with turmeric, winter cherry (Withinia somnifera), boswellia (Boswellia serrata), and
zinc had less pain and disability. But it’s impossible to know whether it was turmeric or one of the other supplements -- or all of them together -- that
Early studies suggested that turmeric may help prevent atherosclerosis, the buildup of plaque that can block arteries and lead to heart attack or stroke.
In animal studies, an extract of turmeric lowered cholesterol levels and kept LDL "bad" cholesterol from building up in blood vessels. Because it stops
platelets from clumping together, turmeric may also prevent blood clots from building up along the walls of arteries. But a double-blind,
placebo-controlled study found that taking curcumin, the active ingredient in turrmeric, at a dose of up to 4 g per day did not improve cholesterol levels.
There has been a great deal of research on turmeric's anti-cancer properties, but results are still very early. Evidence from test tube and animal studies
suggests that curcumin may help prevent or treat several types of cancers, including prostate, breast, skin, and colon cancer. Its preventive effects may
be because it is a strong antioxidant, protecting cells from damage. More research is needed. Cancer should be treated with conventional medications. Don’t
use alternative therapies alone to treat cancer. If you choose to use complementary therapies along with your cancer treatment, make sure you tell all your
Bacterial and Viral Infections
Test tube and animal studies suggest turmeric may kill bacteria and viruses. But researchers don’t know whether it would work in people.
A preliminary study suggests curcumin may help treat uveitis, an inflammation of the eye’s iris. In one study of 32 people with chronic anterior uveitis,
curcumin was effective as corticosteroids, the type of medication usually prescribed. More research is needed.
The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, can trigger side effects and may interact with
other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, you should take herbs with care, under the supervision of a health care provider.
Turmeric in food is considered safe.
Turmeric and curcumin supplements are considered safe when taken at the recommended doses. However, taking large amounts of turmeric for long periods of
time may cause stomach upset and, in extreme cases, ulcers. People who have gallstones or obstruction of the bile passages should talk to their doctor
before taking turmeric.
If you have diabetes, talk to your doctor before taking turmeric supplements. Turmeric may lower blood sugar levels, and when combined with medications for
diabetes could cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
Although it is safe to eat foods with turmeric, pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take turmeric supplements.
Because turmeric may act like a blood-thinner, you should stop taking it at least 2 weeks before surgery. Tell your doctor and surgeon that you have been
If you are being treated with any of the following medications, you should not use turmeric or curcumin in medicinal forms without first talking to your
health care provider.
-- Turmeric may make the effects of these drugs stronger, raising the risk of bleeding. Blood-thinners include warfarin (Coumadin), clopidogrel (Plavix),
and aspirin, among others.
Drugs that reduce stomach acid
-- Turmeric may interfere with the action of these drugs, increasing the production of stomach acid:
-- Turmeric may make the effects of these drugs stronger, increasing the risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
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Source: Turmeric | University of Maryland Medical Center
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