By Andrew Van Vooren
Turmeric is a golden colored Asian herb that is used to provide the color in curries and other dishes that require it. It comes from the powdered root of a tropical plant related to ginger.
It has long been used in folk remedies for a variety of diseases, but studies have now shown that it is the ingredient, curcumin in turmeric that has great healing power. Over the years it has been found to have a beneficial affect on many diseases such as arthritis, due to its anti-inflammatory and pain-killing properties. But it can be used for many more conditions and is completely non-toxic, unlike many prescription medications.
It is of particular help in preventing and healing symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis – both acute and chronic, by blocking the inflammatory pathways. It also helps to prevent the formation of prostaglandin that is partly responsible for inflammation.
Studies have shown that turmeric is extremely helpful in preventing many kinds of cancer and tumors by inhibiting the growth of blood vessels in them. And it not only helps those who have dementia, but also helps to prevent this disease by preventing the amyloid protein plaques that cause dementia, from spreading. If used during chemotherapy, it not only enhances the effects of the drug Paclitaxel, but also helps to prevent severe side effects that the drug causes.
Scientific studies have shown that the curcumin molecule in turmeric inserts itself into living cells and causes them to become much more stable. This helps to prevent invasion and damage by free radicals and other enemies of health such as bacteria and viruses that destabilize cells and cause disease. So not only does this herb help to prevent disease, it helps to heal damage caused when disease does take hold.
In Chinese medicine, turmeric has traditionally been used to cure depression. It can also be used to help people lose weight as it speeds up the metabolism, and it detoxifies the liver. But that is not all. Trials at the University of Singapore have shown that those who ate turmeric even just occasionally were far less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those who rarely ate it.
Turmeric is used extensively for external application. It is often used as an ingredient in facial masks and skin care products. Adding a pinch of turmeric to your facial mask will help in removing blackheads and whiteheads. Turmeric has antibacterial and antiseptic properties, so a paste of turmeric made with sesame seed oil can be used as a home remedy to treat cuts and burns.
Since curcumin does not dissolve readily in water, its absorption into the human body is enhanced by cooking it in fats such as ghee (clarified butter) like the Indians have done for centuries. It can also be purchased in capsule form with one to two capsules being the prescribed dose. Experts suggest that one quarter of a teaspoonful daily will help a variety of ailments, but up to two tablespoons can be taken without harm. If mixed with warm milk, the curcumin will dissolve in the milk fats.