Turmeric Benefits...

...This is probably the only herb you will need for all health problems

Suppose your vessel crashed on a remote deserted island, far away from commercial routes. And to make things worse, you could salvage only one herb for all possible health and dietary needs. What would that herb be?

I don't know how many of us, western people, are aware of the incredible turmeric benefits. And even if we have heard of turmeric, we still don't use it accordingly.

Let's just say that Ayurveda medicine (traditional medicine native to India) has used turmeric for thousands of years to purify the blood, heal skin diseases, regulate the female reproductive system and purify the uterus and breastmilk.

It reduces fevers, diarrhea, urinary disorders, insanity, poisoning, cough, and lactation problems in general.

"Turmeric benefits act as an analgesic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anti-allergic, antioxidant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, appetizer, astringent, cardiovascular, carminative, cholagogue, digestive, diuretic, stimulant, and vulnerary (heals wounds).

It is used to treat external ulcers that respond to nothing else. Turmeric is used to remove mucus in the throat, watery discharges like leucorrhea, and any pus in the eyes, ears, or in wounds, etc." ("Turmeric: The Ayurvedic Spice of Life" - Prasahnti de Jager)

What does turmeric look like?

Turmeric rhizome resembles the shape and properties of the ginger root, which in fact is related. Because of its color, turmeric is labeled and sold as saffron (the world's most expensive spice), although they don't even have the same taste.

Unfortunately, if you don't live in India or China, you probably haven't seen a turmeric root, but only turmeric root powder.

The rhizome contains various substances such as volatile essences, mainly resin and curcumin - the active ingredient of turmeric.

What is best - Turmeric or Curcumin?

Many of the healing of benefits of turmeric have been attributed to curcumin, a group of antioxidant compounds found in the rhizome.

Although curcumin is available as a standardized extract, the whole herb may be more beneficial than the curcumin extract: Only very small amounts of curcumin are absorbed into the bloodstream. Turmeric as a whole herb stays in the digestive tract longer than curcumin, releasing antioxidant curcumin along with other beneficial substances.

On the other hand, curcumin appears to have a more rapid and dramatic effect, and may be the better choice as a therapeutic (rather than a preventative) preparation.

There are simple ways to increase curcumin bioavailability

One of the reasons, only small amounts of curcumin are absorbed into the bloodstream, is that curcumin is inactivated in the acidic stomach environment. The rest is absorbed when it reaches the small intestine. So the scientists looked for methods to improve the bioavailability of curcumin.

A recent finding found that curcumin absorption is enhanced in the presence of piperine (a constituent of black pepper). Another one found that dissolving turmeric in fat during cooking is likely an effective method to improve absorption. Another study reported that the bioavailability of curcumin is enhanced with heat.

In fact, ayurvedic medicine has already answered this problem. For example, for hemorrhage and wound healing it is recommended a glass of hot milk (HEAT) with turmeric (Haldi) and clarified butter (Ghee) (FAT) with which it has an important affinity.

Another example is a simple recipe to treat diarrhea and dysentery of an acute GI infection. Take 10 grams of turmeric in a cup of yogurt (another form of fat).

It appears that Asian people live with the saying "let food be your medicine" in mind. They use turmeric every day in their dishes as a true spice for life.

A quick review of the turmeric benefits

Blood purifier

Turmeric is very rich in essential oils (4%) which improve blood flow by thinning the blood. It also stimulates production of red blood cells, thus preventing cardio-vascular accidents (thrombosis, heart) and helps to heal hematoma.

Cancer killing ability

Curcumin works at the cellular level, controlling cell activities. It seems to have a 6th sense which helps to distinguish between healthy cells and bad ones and destroys the lather.

Actually, studies showed curcumin in turmeric activates a gene called p53, which deactivates cancer cells. Be careful though and don't use turmeric in excess if you have congestive heart failure, because this gene also deactivates damaged cells in the heart.

Also, antioxidant substances in turmeric (curcumin especially) have anti-cancer action which prevents the evolution of blood cancer and malignant tumor formation, particularly prostate cancer.

Curcumin stops the appearance of other types of cancer such as stomach cancer, breast cancer or lung cancer, and it also protects the skin, preventing cancerous tumors.

Alzheimer's disease

Turmeric is beneficial especially for elderly people because it stimulates the immune system and protects against Alzheimer's disease.

Liver and bile secretion

Turmeric increases the secretion of bile, promotes bilification, and may prevent cholelithiasis. Ayurveda uses turmeric to treat diseases of the liver and to relieve inflammation.

"If you drink more alcohol than your body can handle, you may want take a lot of Turmeric to help your liver overcome the consequences of your habit. Traditionally about 5 grams of Turmeric is taken with a glass of whey, morning and evening, for a month to activate and rebuild a liver." ~ "Turmeric: The Ayurvedic Spice of Life" - Prasahnti de Jager.

Cholesterol

Turmeric protects against LDL "bad" cholesterol, and plays an important role in reducing total blood cholesterol. This way, you will prevent degenerative diseases of the arteries.

Digestion

Turmeric has a tonic action on the digestive system and stimulates appetite. It protects the stomach lining, prevents and heals stomach upset and stomach ulcers. It is also a great carminative, able to calm an upset digestive system by getting rid of gas and distention.

Take turmeric in capsules to balance an upset digestion, or take a small spoonful of Turmeric and stir it in a cup of yoghurt right after lunch.

Natural cold remedy and respiratory relief

Turmeric is true help for cold, throat irritation or decongesting sinuses.

Mix half a teaspoon of turmeric powder with 30 ml of hot milk. Drink this mixture once or twice a day.

As it has antibiotic and anti-bacterial properties, "turmeric is a very good choice for bronchitis and other pulmonary infections, especially when taken with fresh garlic. Fry a tablespoon of Turmeric in ghee (clarified butter) with a little cumin and add a few cloves of minced garlic after taking it off the heat. Yes, this food is good medicine." ~ "Turmeric: The Ayurvedic Spice of Life" - Prasahnti de Jager

Anti-inflammatory turmeric benefits

Curcumin is a potent anti-inflammatory. It reduces pain and swelling in all body.

Turmeric is a strong analgesic and you can use it to treat pain caused by arthritis, rheumatism, tendinitis or menstruation. A volatile oil in the spice is as effective in relieving pain, under laboratory conditions, as equal amounts of steroids.

Take a quarter of a teaspoon of turmeric mixed with a glass of water daily as an anti-inflammatory treatment.

Antibacterial action

Turmeric is used successfully in cosmetics, in various masks for oily skin, because of its antibacterial and cleansing action.

Be careful though with the amount used and the time you keep it on the skin, because it can leave behind hard to remove yellow stains.

First aid

For any trauma this rhizome is an herb of choice as it accelerates the healing of and minimizes the damage from any trauma.

"In trauma, a tall glass of hot milk with two spoons each of Haldi (turmeric) and Ghee (clarified butter) takes care of everything" ~ "Turmeric: The Ayurvedic Spice of Life" - Prasahnti de Jager

Its antibacterial effect makes it ideal for wound care. Simply put a little turmeric powder on the wound.

If you cut your finger in the kitchen, there is a quick and "dirty" trick you can use. Simply put some turmeric powder in a cup and press your finger. The bleeding will stop and the wound will heal better.

It is good to know that...

To optimize the curative action of turmeric, you should know that turmeric is not water soluble, but fat soluble, so it is recommended to mix this spice with oil in food preparation.

The combination of turmeric with cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli) and pepper increases the effects in tumor development. Moreover, the combination with piperine in pepper tremendously increases intestinal absorption of curcumin.

If you're going to try to make turmeric juice, your juicer will probably be dyed yellow forever. Wash your kitchen utensils so they don't get permanently yellow. Also sunlight exposure can help break the color. This also means that you shouldn't keep turmeric powder in direct sunlight.

Side effects of turmeric

Some sources warn against turmeric use by people with liver diseases. It can also alter liver laboratory values and clotting factor.

Precautions

* Pregnant women should not take large doses of turmeric because it is a mild uterine stimulant and there is a chance of over stimulation. It is very advisable for any pregnant woman who would like to use Turmeric to see a qualified practitioner first.

* If you are currently taking blood thinners (including Aspirin), you should consult your doctor before taking Turmeric, since it is an anti-platelet (prevents blood clots)

* Patients with bile stones should avoid curcumin.

I will finish this article returning to the question on the first paragraph. What is the only herb that you would salvage from your sinking ship for all possible health and dietary needs?

First aid, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, liver and lungs protector, cancer killing abilities are just a few of turmeric benefits that makes me choose Turmeric as the most versatile healing herb.

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