Anybody who has spent any time on social media over the past several years has sen a lot of different alternative remedies floating around. Some are more questionable than others as far as any sort of science or peer-reviewed articles written about them. One of them that is making the rounds, however, that is backed by science is turmeric. This is the same turmeric you might have a jar of in your spice rack, and more research is revealing just how beneficial this superfood can be. Not only is it a powerful antioxidant, but its anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting benefits are too great to ignore.
WHAT IS TURMERIC?
Turmeric is the primary spice found in many Indian curries. It is a root that comes from the species of plant Curcurum Longa. The dried root is ground into a distinctive yellow powder, which gives most curry dishes their distinguishing color. The chemical compounds of turmeric are known as curcuminoids, with the active substance known as curcumin.
One of the major benefits seen with turmeric is improved overall gut health. The curcuminoids have shown to help the glands within the colon to regenerate and heal. For people who have issues with leaky gut or other colorectal health problems, turmeric may be part of the solution to help improve overall gut health. This includes helping to fight specific types of colorectal cancer.
CANCER TREATMENT AND PREVENTION
As previously mentioned, turmeric and its healing curcuminoids may have cancer-fighting benefits as well. A study published just a few days ago shows that curcumin inhibits tumor growth in colitis-associated colorectal cancer. Additionally, it suppressed inflammation levels in the colon and shows promising results in reducing tumor number and size in colitis-associated colorectal cancer. This is an extremely promising breakthrough in that it offers a natural approach to cancer prevention and treatment.
LIVER HEALTH AND HEALING
Additional scientific studies have shown an improvement in liver health and function in those with chemically-induced liver damage when consumed. Curcumin works to heal and repair the liver in several ways. It has been found that a curcumin-enriched diet in mice was not only well-tolerated (with a survival rate of 100%), but it also reduced sclerosing cholangitis, ductular proliferation, serum liver enzymes, and bile acid levels over 4 weeks of feeding. The entire study can be seen here, but the greatest takeaway is that curcumin consumption has a definite positive effect on liver health with no side effects.
NEUROLOGIC DISORDER PREVENTION
Alzheimer’s is an ugly disease. Almost all of us know somebody who has been touched by the disease in their lives. Alzheimer’s Disease is among the most common forms of dementia in elderly individuals. It is also the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. With such a staggering number of people who suffer from this disease, it is a widely studied medical condition which has yet to be cured. With that being said, curcumin has showed promising results in helping to prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s Disease. The study concludes that curcumin has protective effects and protects against synaptic toxicities in Alzheimer’s Disease neurons.
Additionally, there is also some promising evidence that curcuminoids are helpful in treating epilepsy. Turmeric oil has shown to provide anti-convulsant properties. These findings in research as recently as 2013 are a promising to epilepsy sufferers. Many anti-convulsant drugs have severe and uncomfortable side-effects in patients, but curcuminoids are extremely well-tolerated.
For those who suffer from osteoarthritis, mobility can be a major problem with quality of life deteriorating rapidly once symptoms set in. Regular prescription medications for treating the symptoms of osteoarthritis have proven to be fatal at times. Years ago, a popular prescribed prescription drug known as Celebrex was pulled as it was linked to fatal heart attacks. In fact, prescription NSAIDs have been shown to possibly DOUBLE the risk of fatal heart attacks in users! Turmeric, on the other hand, is a safe and effective way to reduce inflammation and provide relief from arthritis pain. The findings of a March 2018 study show curcuminoid formulations could be an effective addition to osteoarthritis knee treatment regimens. The addition of curcumin to treatment regimens of arthritis sufferers were “statistically more effective than placebo for pain relief and functional improvement.”
SKIN HEALTH AND WOUND TREATMENT
There is also some evidence to support improved skin health as well as improved wound healing with the addition of turmeric. For many, a topical paste of the spice is used to treat acne, unclog pores, increase “glow and luster” of the skin, and has additionally been shown to increase wound healing. It is believed the antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties as well as other curcuminoid compounds are helpful in treating many skin conditions. For wound healing, there did not seem to be a preference for means of using turmeric meaning there is an equal benefit for taking it internally as there is for applying it topically.
Turmeric is one of the most studied natural compounds. The health benefits of this golden spice are immeasurable and one would be remiss to simply brush off the evidence that supports the countless ways it can improve overall health and wellness. As many know that my quest to wellness has been an up and down journey with many obstacles along the way. For me, turmeric is a piece of my healing journey as a powerful cancer fighter and to help improve overall gut health. The remaining healing qualities of curcumin compounds are, of course, an added bonus in my overall health. What about you? What's your experience with turmeric?