The amazing health benefits of turmeric

Aside from the holistic health community, Western medical practitioners have only recently come on board in recognizing the benefits of turmeric.

By Amy EvansFri, Jan 27 2012 at 5:20 PM EST
Turmeric, an orange-colored spice imported from India, is part the ginger family and has been a staple in Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian cooking for thousands of years.
In addition, ayurvedic and Chinese medicines utilize turmeric to clear infections and inflammations on the inside and outside of the body. But beyond the holistic health community, Western medical practitioners have only recently come on board in recognizing the benefits of turmeric.
Blocking cancer
Doctors at UCLA recently found that curcumin, the main component in turmeric, appeared to block an enzyme that promotes the growth of head and neck cancer.
In that study, 21 subjects with head and neck cancers chewed two tablets containing 1,000 milligrams of curcumin.  An independent lab in Maryland evaluated the results and found that the cancer-promoting enzymes in the patients’ mouths were inhibited by the curcumin and thus prevented from advancing the spread of the malignant cells.
Powerful antioxidant
The University of Maryland’s Medical Center also states that turmeric’s powerful antioxidant properties fight cancer-causing free radicals, reducing or preventing some of the damage they can cause.
While more research is necessary, early studies have indicated that curcumin may help prevent or treat several types of cancer including prostate, skin and colon.
Potent anti-inflammatory
Dr. Randy J. Horwitz, the medical director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine and an assistant professor of clinical medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson, wrote a paper for the American Academy of Pain Management in which he discussed the health benefits of turmeric.
“Turmeric is one of the most potent natural anti-inflammatories available,” Horwitz states in the paper.
He went on to cite a 2006 University of Arizona study that examined the effect of turmeric on rats with injected rheumatoid arthritis. According to Horwitz, pretreatment with turmeric completely inhibited the onset of rheumatoid arthritis in the rats. In addition, the study found that using turmeric for pre-existing rheumatoid arthritis resulted in a significant reduction of symptoms.
“Raw is best”
Natalie Kling, a Los Angeles-based nutritionist, says she first learned about the benefits of turmeric while getting her degree from the Natural Healing Institute of Neuropathy. “As an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antiseptic, it’s a very powerful plant,” she says.
Kling recommends it to clients for joint pain and says that when taken as a supplement, it helps quickly. She advises adding turmeric to food whenever possible and offers these easy tips. “Raw is best,” she said. “Sprinkling it on vegetables or mixing it into dressings is quick and effective.”
If you do cook it, make sure to use a small amount of healthy fat like healthy coconut oil to maximize flavor.  Kling also recommends rubbing turmeric on meat and putting it into curries and soups.
“It’s inexpensive, mild in taste, and benefits every system in the body,” Kling says. “Adding this powerful plant to your diet is one of the best things you can do for long term health.”

Turmeric root extract health benefit, side effects, supplement dosage, and medical uses by Ray Sahelian, M.D. What is the right dosage?Turmeric is a plant (Curcuma longa), native to South India and Indonesia that has many health benefits. The root been used from antiquity as a condiment in Asian cooking such as curries, as a textile dye, and medically as an aromatic stimulant. It is a common ingredient in Indian food, such as curry powder, and yellow mustard. An extract from turmeric root called curcumin has become quite popular with articles in major magazines and newspapers due to its various health benefits. Pure turmeric powder has a curcumin concentration of 3 percent by weight, however there are other beneficial substances in the powder. Extracts with a higher concentration of curcumin are available. There are estimates that people in India consume about 2 grams of turmeric a day which provides roughly 100 mg of curcumin. Some scientists think that the regular ingestion of this spice is partly to be credited for the reduced rate of Alzheimer’s disease in India.Extensive scientific research on curcumin and turmeric has demonstrated their potent antioxidant properties. Through their various mechanisms, this spice supports colon health, exerts neuroprotective activity and help maintain a healthy cardiovascular system.

Benefit of turmeric root extract

In lab tests, the active ingredient in turmeric, called curcumin, can enhance the cancer-fighting power of treatment with TRAIL, a naturally occurring molecule that helps kill cancer cells. TRAIL stands for tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand. In an experiment with human prostate cancer cells in a laboratory dish, the combination treatment killed off two to three times more cells than either treatment alone.
Curcumin may block the progression of multiple sclerosis.
   May benefit children against leukemia. Curcumin inhibits the multiplication of leukemia cells in laboratory studies and seems to protect against damage caused by cigarette smoke and eating certain processed foods.

Alzheimer’s disease

Scientists found that curcumin was able to reduce deposits of beta-amyloid proteins in the brains of elderly lab mice that ate curcumin as part of their diets. Furthermore, when the researchers added low doses of curcumin to human beta-amyloid proteins in a test tube, the compound kept the proteins from aggregating and blocked the formation of the amyloid fibers that make up Alzheimer’s plaques.


Email testimonial – I began taking 1 gram of tumeric curcumin several years ago for possible Alzheimer’s prevention. Both my father and& father-in-law have it. Recently, I came across several articles about the anti-inflammatory properties being tested for arthritis as well, and decided to increase my dose to 2 gms per day. I had been experiencing arthritic pain in my thumb and hip for over a year, and was concerned about the NSAIDs I was taking at increasing doses and frequency…as well as the very limited relief I was getting. I was already taking 1500mg glucosamine 1200mg / chondroitin / MSM daily. After a week or two at the 2 gm dose, my arthritis pain is virtually gone and I haven’t taken any other NSAIDs.


Increase in plasma concentrations of geranylgeranoic Acid after turmeric tablet intake by healthy volunteers.
J Clin Biochem Nutr. 2010.
Geranylgeranoic acid (GGA) is one of the most potent cancer-preventive acyclic retinoids. GGA has been shown to induce cell death in human hepatoma-derived HuH-7 cells. We have recently reported the natural occurrence of GGA and its related compounds in several medicinal herbs such as turmeric, basil, rosehip, cinnamon and others. In the present study, we performed oral administration of turmeric tablets to healthy volunteers in order to investigate bioavailability of natural GGA. With healthy volunteers, plasma GGA was detected prior to the tablet intake and its concentrations were increased at 2 h after its intake and maintained at higher level until 4 h, suggesting an efficient bioavailability of preformed GGA in the turmeric tablets through oral administration. These results indicated that GGA in the turmeric tablet was absorbed as an intact form from intestinal mucosa.

Bharat Aggarwal of the Department of Experimental Therapeutics at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, says. “What’s exciting about this agent is that it seems to have both chemopreventive and therapeutic properties. Bharat Aggarwal injected mice with human breast cancer cells — a batch of cells grown from a patient whose cancer had spread to the lungs. The resulting tumors were allowed to grow, and then surgically removed, to simulate a mastectomy. Then the mice either got no additional treatment; curcumin alone; the cancer drug paclitaxel, which is sold under the brand name Taxol; or curcumin plus Taxol. Half the mice in the curcumin -only group and 22 percent of those in the curcumin plus Taxol group had evidence of breast cancer that had spread to the lungs. But 75 percent of animals that got Taxol alone and 95 percent of those that got no treatment developed lung tumors. Earlier studies suggest that people who eat diets rich in turmeric have lower rates of breast cancer, prostate cancer, lung cancer and colon cancer. His team would like to try giving turmeric to women with a high risk of breast cancer — such as those who have a mother or sister with the disease. No drug company is likely to develop a natural product that cannot be patented, he said. “There are no companies behind it so our only source of funding is either the National Institutes of Health or the Department of Defense,” he said. This study was funded by the U.S. Department of Defense’s Breast Cancer Research Program.

Skin cancer

Curcumin interferes with melanoma cells. Tests in laboratory dishes show that it made melanoma skin cancer cells more likely to self-destruct in a process known as apoptosis. The same research team has found that turmeric helped stop the spread of breast cancer tumor cells to the lungs of mice. The turmeric suppressed two proteins that tumor cells use to keep themselves immortal. People who eat plenty of turmeric have lower rates of some cancers.

Heart health

Protective effects of Curcuma longa on ischemia-reperfusion induced myocardial injuries and their mechanisms.
Life Sci. 2004.
Wistar rats were divided into three groups and received saline orally (sham, control I/R group) and Turmeric 100 mg/kg respectively for one month. On the 31st day, rats of the control I/R and turmeric treated groups were subjected to 45 min of occlusion of the LAD coronary artery and were thereafter reperfused for 1 h. I/R resulted in significant cardiac necrosis, depression in left ventricular function, decline in antioxidant status and elevation in lipid perodixation in the control I/R group as compared to sham control. Myocardial infarction produced after I/R was significantly reduced in the turmeric treated group. Cardioprotective effect of turmeric likely results from the suppression of oxidative stress and correlates with the improved ventricular function.

Irritable bowel syndrome

Turmeric extract may improve irritable bowel syndrome symptomology in otherwise healthy adults: a pilot study.
J Altern Complement Med. 2004.
Five hundred volunteers were screened for IBS using the Rome II criteria. Two hundred and seven suitable volunteers were randomized. One or two tablets of a standardized turmeric extract taken daily for 8 weeks. Approximately two thirds of all subjects reported an improvement in symptoms after treatment, and there was a favorable shift in self-reported bowel pattern.


Oral Supplementation of Turmeric Decreases Proteinuria, Hematuria, and Systolic Blood Pressure in Patients Suffering from Relapsing or Refractory Lupus Nephritis: A Randomized and Placebo-controlled Study. J Renal Nutr. 2011.

Multiple myeloma

Turmeric extract may be of benefit in multiple myeloma, a blood cancer, early lab research shows–suggesting yet another health benefit from this long-heralded substance. Adding curcumin to human cells with the blood cancer multiple myeloma, Dr. Bharat B. Aggarwal of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and his colleagues found, stopped the cells from replicating. And the cells that were left died.

Rheumatoid arthritis

Efficacy and mechanism of action of turmeric supplements in the treatment of experimental arthritis.
Arthritis Rheum. 2006.
A curcuminoid containing turmeric extract was administered intraperitoneally to female Lewis rats prior to or after the onset of streptococcal cell wall-induced arthritis. In vivo treatment prevented local activation of NF-kappaB and the subsequent expression of NF-kappaB-regulated genes mediating joint inflammation and destruction, including chemokines, cyclooxygenase 2, and RANKL. Consistent with these findings, inflammatory cell influx, joint levels of prostaglandin E(2), and periarticular osteoclast formation were inhibited by treatment.

Turmeric extracts containing curcuminoids prevent experimental rheumatoid arthritis.
J Nat Prod. 2006.

Turmeric side effects, adverse events, caution

Various cultures, particularly people living in India, have used turmeric powder for centuries or millennia. Turmeric supplements have been available much less time as medicinal drugs in Western countries. No major turmeric side effects have been reported in the medical literature. Taking too many turmeric capsules may increase body temperature. For long term use, one to three turmeric capsules a day should not present any major problems. Some people may be taking several turmeric curcumin capsules a day for the treatment of a particular medical condition as advised by their health care provider. Side effects of high dose turmeric curcumin use of several months or years is not clear. We also don’t know what kind of turmeric side effects would occur when high doses of this herb is combined with prescription medications. There is a possibility that high dose turmeric ingestion leads to high oxalic acid in the urine leading to kidney stones.

Effect of cinnamon and turmeric on urinary oxalate excretion, plasma lipids, and plasma glucose in healthy subjects
American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 2008.
High oxalate intake resulting from consuming supplemental doses of cinnamon and turmeric may increase risk of hyperoxaluria, a significant risk factor for urolithiasis. Eleven healthy subjects participated in an 8-week, randomly assigned, crossover study that involved the ingestion of supplemental doses of cinnamon and turmeric for 4-wk periods that provided 55 mg oxalate/d. Oxalate load tests, which entailed the ingestion of a 63-mg dose of oxalate from the test spices, were performed after each 4-wk experimental period and at the study onset with water only (control treatment). Compared with the cinnamon and control treatments, turmeric ingestion led to a significantly higher urinary oxalate excretion during the oxalate load tests. There were no significant changes in fasting plasma glucose or lipids in conjunction with the 4-wk periods of either cinnamon or turmeric supplementation. The percentage of oxalate that was water soluble differed markedly between cinnamon (6%) and turmeric (91%), which appeared to be the primary cause of the greater urinary oxalate excretion/oxalate absorption from turmeric. The consumption of supplemental doses of turmeric, but not cinnamon, can significantly increase urinary oxalate levels, thereby increasing risk of kidney stone formation in susceptible individuals.

I recently heard about tumeric being so healthy and worth being added to a daily food regimen. This sounded like a good idea to me. But on your site I read about it raising oxalic acid and increasing the risk for kidney stones. I am 30, male, and never had any kidney stones but also don’t want to risk anything. Now I ask myself is adding some tumeric to a daily shake just for the health benefits (cause I dont like the taste of it that much) worth it or would it rather be a risk?
it’s difficult to say without having seen full and comprehensive clinical trials for prolonged periods, but since there are many healthy spices and herbs, it is a good idea to alternate their use and thus not to rely on any particular one taken daily leading to potential adverse effects.

I take it in a powder form mixed with water when I get boils. My mom has started taking the capsule form and swears by it. I read the study done on correlation with kidney stones: “The consumption of supplemental doses of turmeric, but not cinnamon, can significantly increase urinary oxalate levels, thereby increasing risk of kidney stone formation in susceptible individuals.” I heard recently how calcium can help prevent the formation of stones. I wonder if I could mix the turmeric powder with milk when I take it and have less chance of kidney stones – I think they might run in my family. Alas, that brings us back to the traditional method of consumption of curries – mixed with yogurt! We westerners have so much catching up (or rather back tracking) to do. Thank you for the information you provide.
It is difficult to predict the effect of this supplement if combined with milk. I am not aware of any actual human studies with turmeric pills that led to the occurrence of kidney stones. I think if people drink enough water there should be no problems, except perhaps in those who are very susceptible to stone formation. I will await results of studies on this topic.

Turmeric is botanically known as Curcuma longa, derived from the old Arabic name for the kurkum. In some areas of the Far East, the fresh root is used and stored much like ginger. This Asian spice that makes French’s mustard and Hindu priests’ robes yellow is a promising potential weapon against several cancers, Alzheimer’s, cystic fibrosis, psoriasis and other diseases.

Available from : https://turmericaustralia.com.au/

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