Turmeric belongs to a ginger family and is very bright yellow-orange in colour. This spice is common in culinary use from India to Southeast Asia to Middle East. In India, it has been used in medicine for centuries to treat breathing problems.
Popular media classifies turmeric as super food that may ease depression, fight cancer and many more.
When it comes to depression, research results have been mixed with regards to treatment with turmeric. Turmeric consists of several ingredients and the best known is Curcumin, which may ease signs of depression and works well with common antidepressants.
Curcumin in turmeric helps fight inflammation and keeps blood sugar levels steady, so it may be useful to be added to a diet as a preventative measure in treating type 2 diabetes. One study followed participants over 9 months period and found that taking Curcumin supplement resulted in lower odds of developing diabetes. Lots of studies have been done on animals for these reasons but not many of these tests on people and research is still ongoing when it comes to diabetes.
Viral infections may be fought with turmeric tea. Next time when you have a cold, you may brew yourself a cup of turmeric tea as Curcumin in tea has been shown to fight off different types of viruses including the flu and herpes. However, turmeric consists of only 3% of Curcumin and Curcumin is its most potent ingredient. The human body does not absorb curcumin that well, but occasional cup of tea may help in combating viruses.
As per recent study that followed women through three of their menstrual cycles, curcumin supplements were useful in easing of PMS symptoms and menstrual cramps.
There have been mixed reviews when it comes to the turmeric’s abilities to lower high cholesterol. Some studies have found that turmeric can lower LDL, which is considered bad cholesterol where as some studies have found that it had no effect at all. In people that had bypass surgeries turmeric may be useful to prevent future heart attacks.
Some studies researched if Alzheimer’s disease can be prevented by eating turmeric due to its anti-inflammatory properties and people with Alzheimer’s Disease being in the state of constant bodily inflammation. While it makes sense to investigate this venue, so far research has not found anything to support this theory.
There have been some promising findings when it comes to fighting arthritis with turmeric as arthritis is also a form of chronic inflammation and in this situation ingesting turmeric may seem to work. It is suggested to eat turmeric along with black pepper in order to increase curcumin absorption in the body.
Lab and animal studies have shown that turmeric stops the growth of tumor cells. However, turmeric may interfere with use of chemotherapy drugs when it comes to cancer. Studies still do not have conclusive data when it comes to turmeric and its use on human body. More research is required in this field, but it certainly sounds promising.
Studies on rats have shown that turmeric can improve symptoms of IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), most commonly the abdominal pain. It has also been studied in treatment of diseases such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.
When it comes to headaches, there is no scientific proof that would support eating turmeric as a form of treatment. While ginger is a popular headache remedy and turmeric and ginger belong to the same plant family, it made sense to research turmeric in treatment of headaches as well. Unfortunately, there is no data to support use of turmeric in treatment of headaches.
As turmeric has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, some people created homemade facial masks to fight off acne and they have reported good results on the Internet. There is no research done that supports this claim though.
Curcumin, as you can see, has many medical properties and I really think we should keep exploring plants like these.