Natural remedies to numerous health issues are beginning to have more preference among people. Indeed, the side effects of chemical-based drugs to cure health conditions are many. As you treat one problem, the drugs leave you with other ones.
Turmeric is one of the many natural ways to cure and prevent numerous forms of health challenges. It comes with many health benefits while having no harmful side effects whatsoever. Although, there are mild side effects to it; they are mostly caused by humans. On its own, turmeric is very safe to use.
In this article, there is a lot of information about turmeric which I hope you will learn. Read on to know more about the incredible things turmeric has to offer you.
- 1 What Is Turmeric?
- 2 Health Benefits Of Turmeric
- 3 Turmeric Side Effects and Caution
- 4 Turmeric Supplements
- 5 Where To Buy Turmeric?
What Is Turmeric?
Turmeric is a bright yellow aromatic powder derived from a plant in the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. Turmeric formerly served as a fabric dye, but these days, its use include flavoring and coloring in meals.
Rhizomatous herbaceous perennial (turmeric) is native to the Southeast Asia and the Indian subcontinent. It requires a substantial amount of annual rainfall to flourish.
Curcumin: Turmeric’s Secret Weapon
Curcumin is the secret behind turmeric. Curcumin, by weight, makes up to 3% of this ancient spice. With numerous and profound studies, it has been proven to have many health benefits.
It is what makes turmeric useful to our health. Turmeric is known for its age-long use; it is also safe for use. Unlike most medications, turmeric barely has any side effects and, if it does, it is very mild and almost not there at all.
There are beliefs that curcumin is capable of stopping the enzyme that transforms environmental toxins into carcinogens. It is due to this belief that turmeric has long been perceived as the body’s protectant against the effects that come with the use of tobacco, either smoking or chewing.
Also, curcumin may relieve inflammation in the digestive system, enhance fats and sugars digestion and eliminate gum problems when used in the mouth.
All benefits derived from turmeric are mostly as a result of its curcuminoids content. Curcumin, the most common curcuminoid, can now be found in the form of supplements.
Are Turmeric and Curcumin the Same?
It’s a two-way thing because the answer is both positive and negative. Indeed, turmeric contains curcumin. However, it is only up to 3% of its weight. Along with this are other useful compounds in turmeric. Therefore, curcumin is a compound found in turmeric.
Isolated curcumin is derived from turmeric root and is often used as a remedy since it is more effective than turmeric powder.
Turmeric in Ancient Medicine
According to some studies, turmeric goes way back, as far back as 10,000 years. In Fact, there is every possibility that turmeric has been serving as an ancient medicine long before then.
Turmeric is regarded as a “warming spice” in Ayurvedic medicine and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). For Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric may be for a long or short-term prescription. Also, it may slightly increase or decrease, it all depends on the classification of Ayurvedic dosha you are placed.
Most times, turmeric serves as a recommendation to those having stagnation of the blood and Qi. These issues lead to other conditions like menstrual pain, bleeding disorders, liver cirrhosis, enlargement of the liver or spleen, and traumatic injury. Also, for illnesses like seizures, epilepsy mania or derangement, some Chinese medicine doctors will recommend the use of turmeric.
Jaundice or gallstones are also ailments turmeric is prescribed for in Chinese medicine, because of its ability to dry and cool “damp heat.”
A lot of people in the modern days claim that curcumin and turmeric are not as beneficial as they have been said to be. The reason they give is that turmeric absorption is quite low when eaten. However, the truth is that incorporation of turmeric will vary depending on what you take along with it. Thus, the benefits of this great plant are significant.
Turmeric in Ayurveda, Chinese and Modern Medicine
Golden spice (turmeric), has for centuries been used as a spice and known to have a wide range of medical properties. Issues related to menstruation and digestion saw solutions through the use of turmeric. Also, turmeric has over the years served as an energy booster and warm dispeller from the stomach.
Furthermore, turmeric serves as an antibacterial agent in south Asian countries. It is used to treat bruises, cuts, and burns. In India, turmeric helps as part of the ingredients in antibacterial lotions, beauty creams, sunscreens and are also eaten in various forms for blood purification, which as a result, will serve as a remedy to different skin conditions.
Over time, turmeric has helped with curing chronic medical conditions such as arthritis, allergy, asthma, liver disorders, sinusitis and diabetic wounds. Apart from these, its uses also are in treating illnesses as minor as cold, cough, and runny nose.
In TCM and Ayurveda for instance, the expectation is that turmeric is taken with beneficial fats such as coconut oil as well as with black pepper. It is proven scientifically that consumption of turmeric with good fats and black pepper increase the body’s ability to absorb the nutrients in turmeric (curcumin). Black pepper (Piperine) reduces inflammation that leads to the rapid breakdown of turmeric in the body, while the introduction of fat also helps because turmeric is fat-soluble. I guess these make more sense to you now.
The spice is also used to purify the blood and improve blood circulation. Still, on Ayurveda and Chinese practices, Turmeric served as a primary treatment for stomach illnesses. For this reason, it is mostly added to foods to reduce gas and to aid digestion. For intestinal disorders, colds and sore throats, turmeric and milk or just water are used.
Nutritional Analysis of Turmeric
Turmeric Contains a substantial amount of nutritional benefits. It has high vitamins and minerals such as ascorbic acid, riboflavin, niacin, calcium, thiamine, sodium, iron, phosphorus, and potassium. Also, it is rich in α-linolenic acid and ω-3 fatty acid. It contains a minimal amount of fiber, sugars, and protein.
Although turmeric has over 100 compounds, curcuminoid is the most essential of them all. Curcuminoid is stable and suitable for formulating drugs. It is a powerful antioxidant with potent anti-inflammatory effects.
Health Benefits Of Turmeric
1. Turmeric Contains Bioactive Compounds: For thousands of years in India, turmeric served not only as a spice but also as a medicinal herb. In curry, turmeric is what gives that yellow color.
In recent scientific research, it is now clear that turmeric has compounds of medicinal properties and they are known as curcuminoids with curcumin being the most important.
Although, the content of curcumin is about 3% by weight (not high), still, it is the primary component in turmeric. It serves as an antioxidant and also offers potent anti-inflammatory effects.
2. Features a Natural Anti-Inflammatory Compound (Curcumin): Inflammation is essential in fighting against invaders in our body. It helps to mend damages in our bodies.
Also, it protects us from pathogens like bacteria that can cause severe harms to us. Acute Inflammation has benefits to offer. However, it becomes a big problem once it becomes chronic.
Curcumin has strong anti-inflammatory powers to fight chronic inflammation and also prevent it. Chronic inflammation plays notable roles in serious diseases such as cancer, Alzheimer’s, heart disease, metabolic syndrome and some other chronic western diseases.
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3. Increases The Body’s Antioxidant Capacity: Antioxidants protect our body from free radicals that are harmful to us. With curcumin being a significant component of turmeric, it can neutralize free radicals and as well, protect our bodies from them.
Oxidative damage has also been said to be one of the factors behind aging and other diseases. Using turmeric means you will be getting curcumin; hence, enough antioxidants to slow down aging and protect you against many age-related diseases.
Curcumin boosts the body’s antioxidant, giving the body the ability to fight against free radicals vigorously.
4. Curcumin is Good for the Brain: Curcumin can multiply the brain levels of BDNF. With this, many age-related diseases and brain diseases may get delays or even reversals.
Furthermore, curcumin may make you smarter by improving your memory.
Reduction of several neurodegenerative conditions is part of what studies say curcumin can do. Thanks to Its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory powers which may lower inflammation, cellular damage, and amyloid deposits or plaques.
Other age-related protein changes that have to do with neurodegeneration could also be prevented or slowed down with curcumin.
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5. Lowers the Risks of Heart Disease: Curcumin may be helpful in reversing the processes that lead to heart disease. Curcumin may improve endothelium function to help reduce the risk of heart disease since endothelial dysfunction is a significant cause of heart disease.
Inflammation and oxidation-reduction are essential for the heart health, and Curcumin offers those.
6. Prevents and may Treat Cancer: Cancer is known to happen due to uncontrolled growth of cells. Some of the numerous forms of cancer are affected by curcumin supplementation. It can halt the growth and development of cancer as well as its spread at the molecular level.
Curcumin can reduce angiogenesis, metastasis, and can as well, contribute to the death of cancerous cells.
Its ability to treat cancer in human is yet to be thoroughly tested. However, various studies show that it can reduce cancerous cells growth when tested in laboratory animals. Still, evidence shows that curcumin helps prevent cancer from occurring, especially cancers that occur in the digestive system.
The effects of curcumin on reversing various types of cancer is one of the most in-depth and most researched topics by scientists. These studies reveal that it may prevent a cancer cell from growing and may also kill cancer cells. Thus, curcumin has anticancer effects.
The types of cancer it works best for are breast cancer, stomach cancer, bowel cancer, and skin cancer cells.
7. Helpful with Arthritis: Arthritis is one problem we cannot do away with, especially in the western world. Most of it is due to inflammation of the joints. The good thing is that curcumin has anti-inflammatory properties; hence, there are high chances that it may help with this condition. Several studies have also proven the effects curcumin has on arthritis since it improvements were noted in some cases.
8. Aids in Detoxification: Turmeric can detoxify our bodies. We face exposure to xenobiotics (environmental and dietary toxins). These substances are harmful to us as they are naturally not present in our bodies. Hence, they are mostly related to increased inflammation and the risk of getting cancer.
Xenobiotics detoxification mostly happens inside the liver, and it occurs in Phases I and II. But, due to our way of life, a large number of people especially those in the Western world face excessive exposure to these toxins to the point of straining the liver which leads it to reduce in functionality. Turmeric is one of the numerous plant foods that help the body through maintaining its natural detoxification rhythms for proper operation of the liver.
9. May Regulate Cholesterol: Most drugs that are of traditionally use for cholesterol may burn off the fats, but they do not address the source of the problem itself. Still, they cause harm to the liver, kidney, and other serious side effects.
Curcumin and fish oil have become natural alternatives to these deadly drugs. According to research by Drugs in R & D, curcumin can equally reduce oxidative stress and inflammation just as the traditional drugs like atorvastatin will treat high cholesterol for you.
10. Reduces Depression Symptoms: Some investigation have also been carried out to examine how turmeric helps with depression, these studies have therefore proven that it does help reduce the symptoms of depression in laboratory animals. We can relate this to the impacts curcumin has on neurotransmitter function via BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor).
During Phytotherapy research, curcumin test on 60 volunteers suffering from a major depressive disorder, reveals that patients tolerate curcumin very well. Also, curcumin’s was found to be useful as fluoxetine as far as depression management is concerned, this was by a six weeks mark.
In other words, curcumin is active and safe for the treatment of mild depression.
11. Boosts Skin Health: With its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, turmeric stands out for its effectiveness in treating various forms of skin conditions. It increases the glow and luster of the skin. Other benefits of turmeric on the skin are that it reduces acne and acne scarring by calming the pores, it speeds up wound healing process, and it also controls psoriasis flares.
A study even suggests that paste made out of turmeric may heal scabies by 97 percent within a period of 3 to 15 days.
12. Reduces arthritis symptoms: Taking turmeric tea may help reduce symptoms of arthritis. Curcumin has anti-inflammatory properties which make this possible.
13. Boosts immune function: Curcumin helps to enhance the immune function with antiviral, antioxidant, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, properties.
Also, Curcumin serves as an immune modulator to help with immune cell regulation to function against cancer.
14. Helps manage irritable bowel syndrome(IBS): In traditional medicines, curcumin served as a treatment for different forms of digestive conditions. Curcumin may also be useful in reducing pains that come with IBS.
15. Prevents and manages liver conditions and gallstones: With various studies, curcumin can protect you against liver damage. As a benefit for the liver and gallbladder, curcumin allows for an increase in the digestive fluid bike production. Still, it protects the liver cells from chemicals associated with bile to keep the liver from witnessing any damage.
16. Prevents and manages diabetes: Thousands of years ago, turmeric was used for diabetes. Even with recent studies, it has been found to have anti-diabetes properties.
17. Treats and manages lung conditions: Researchers guess that curcumin may lower the symptoms of acute lung condition because of its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.
A 2017 medical review also states that curcumin may treat lung cancer or injury, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and pulmonary and cystic fibrosis.
Turmeric Side Effects and Caution
Although, turmeric and curcumin are safe as they do not have serious side effects. Still, when taken in large quantities as supplements, some people may encounter some side effects.
Turmeric contains about 2 percent of oxalate and when consumed in large quantities may contribute to kidney stone for those who already are liable to have it. Furthermore, commercial turmeric powders are sometimes adulterated and not pure. They add cheap and toxic ingredients in other to boost its quantity.
Such fillers they use are wheat, rye flour, cassava starch or barley. Therefore, eating such turmeric may expose those who have celiac disease or gluten intolerance to adverse reactions.
Additionally, when turmeric dilutes with flour, they may add questionable food colorants to the mixture to boost its color and make it appear like pure turmeric. In India for instance, metanil yellow (acid yellow 36), is commonly used in coloring turmeric. High consumption of this food colorant has been studied in animals to have the likelihood of causing neurological damage and cancer as well.
Even though metanil yellow is yet to undergo studies in humans as to the toxic effects it may have, it is illegal to use in Europe and United States.
In some turmeric powders, lead and heavy metal may be present in high quantities. They are harmful to the nervous system.
However, pure turmeric is free from these harmful effects.
Just like turmeric, curcumin supplements are safe with no harmful effects whether taken in high or low quantity. However, higher doses of curcumin in a minimal amount of people may cause mild side effects. Some of these effects could be:
Digestive issues: Mild digestive problems such as acid reflux, bloating, diarrhea and flatulence may occur if users exceed daily doses of 1,000 mg.
Headaches and nausea: Also in a small number of people, headache and nausea may occur if they take 450 mg or higher doses of the supplement.
Skin rash: There are reports of skin rash in people who took up to 8,000 mg or more of curcumin. However, it is an infrequent occurrence.
Currently, no evidence points that there are any severe side effects when lower amounts of curcumin are taken over short periods of time. Long-term effects of curcumin on humans are still unknown.
How Much Is Too Much?
Officially, there are no recommendations on the maximum or minimum level of turmeric to be taken. But, the rule is to stick with the dosage recommendation that comes on supplement labels.
Meanwhile, according to JECFA, (Joint FAO/WHO Expert Committee on Food Additives), 1.4mg per pound (3 mg/kg) of body weight daily, this means that someone with 178pound should go for 239 mg daily.
In another review, 3,600 – 8,000 mg daily intake of curcumin is said to have no serious side effects. Also in another study, 12,000 mg single doses were shown to be well tolerated.
How to Ensure Turmeric Quality
As stated above, some turmeric powders have cheap fillers in them which you will not find to their labels. Without chemical analysis, identifying these fillers may be very difficult. With this, it is better you look out for a supplement with certification by a reputable agency.
US Department of Agriculture (USDA), is such reputable agency you may look out for its certification when choosing a turmeric supplement.
Third-party certification is highly necessary when you want to take turmeric or curcumin supplements. The US Pharmacopeial Convention (USP), Informed Choice and NSF International are also companies whose seal you should look out for on the packaging of the product you want to buy. You can also visit their websites where you will find a list of certified supplements.
Although adding turmeric to your meals alongside healthy fats and black pepper is a great way to enjoy the benefits of turmeric, the powder only contains 3% absorbable curcumin. Therefore, using turmeric supplements is a way of getting enough curcumin since some supplements have up to 95 percent curcuminoids in them.
When buying a turmeric supplement, that which has black pepper in it is very good to get maximum absorption. Also, a fermented turmeric pill is part of what you may want to consider, this allows for adequate absorption.
With fermentation, tetrahydracurcuminoids (THC) increases. THC is quite useful in the body, which are especially potent in the body.
Another critical thing to look out for is turmeric supplement that has no GMOs, and that is made purely from organic turmeric.
Curcumin or turmeric supplements have no special instructions on when you can take them. They cause no drowsiness nor stimulant effects. So, when to take your supplement is your choice to make.
Turmeric essential oil is also available. You can use this alongside your turmeric food. It is vital to go for quality oil especially if plan having it for internal use. It is necessary always to dilute the oil with water or other liquids.
Also Read: When To Take Turmeric Pills And Capsules?
Where To Buy Turmeric?
You can get turmeric by ordering from online stores. Turmeric may be sold as it is, freshly and whole and it may also come plainly as a powder. Also, it may be in the form of capsules of sold as essential oils. The choice is yours. You can order these can online, or you can purchase from supermarkets around you.
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