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Turmeric: Nature’s Powerful Anti-Inflammatory Root

May 18, 2010 by  

Turmeric: Nature’s Powerful Anti-Inflammatory Root

Some of the best Indian food I’ve ever tasted was cooked in London. I always knew that the British loved Indian cuisine and that they once held governance over India. What I didn’t know was that curry was introduced to Indian cuisine by the Brits. (Just a little fun fact to chew on.)

In countries like India where traditional cultures are thousands of years old, there are deep traditions of cooking daily meals with medicinal roots and herbs. These herbs act as preventive measures for sustaining good health, and prevention is the cornerstone of India’s traditional Ayurvedic medicine.

Turmeric is one such medicinal root that has made its way into a vast number of Indian recipes. Aside from your standard chicken or goat curries, there is a whole list of Indian dishes that contain flavorful thermogenic ingredients like cardamom, coriander, ginger, cloves, chili and turmeric. Not only are the recipes tasty, the ones containing turmeric are especially healthful.

Research by Sarker and his colleagues notes turmeric’s powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor and antioxidant properties. Moreover, the United States National Library of Medicine (NLM) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have this to say: “Laboratory and animal research has demonstrated anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-cancer properties of turmeric and its constituent curcumin.”

It is true that inflammation is a natural response your body has to potentially damaging stimuli. Catch a cold or sprain an ankle and the immune system kicks in and produces swelling to guard while healing takes place. But often the body does not know how or when to stop the inflammation and this causes too much fibrin in the tissues that can lead to pain and stiffness. If left untreated, it can become a chronic health issue.

Unlike aspirin or ibuprophen, turmeric’s curcumin reduces inflammation naturally, without damaging the liver or kidneys. It has been found especially helpful in treating conditions like arthritis, sports injuries, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, tendonitis and various autoimmune diseases. Some research even suggests that curcumin may also help those suffering asthma, inflammatory bowel disease and yes, even cancer.

Since turmeric’s curcumin component is an anti-inflammatory as well as an antioxident agent, it has been used for treating wounds, digestive disorders, liver issues, arthritis and in the prevention of cancer. Statistics also show that Asian children experience less incidence of leukemia than their Western counterparts and it seems a diet rich in turmeric may be the reason why.

Recent studies show that rats that were prone to multiple sclerosis developed very few if any symptoms after being given curcumin. The journal Science reported in their April 23, 2004, issue that curcumin has countered the genetic damage that leads to the lung disorder cystic fibrosis in mice test subjects. It was also shown that curcumin protects against alcohol’s damaging affects on the liver as well as harmonizing the stomach and digestion.

Thousands of scientific articles on the efficacy of curcumin are found within the NIH and NLM’s PubMed MEDLINE database. These show curcumin to be effective in the treatment of inflammation, wounds, cancer, heart disease and as a preventive measure against arthritis, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), neurological diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, type-2 diabetes, cataracts, cystic fibrosis, scleroderma and many others.

As if that list were too small, as reported in the Journal of Alternative & Complementary Therapies, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service lists nearly 80 biologic activities associated with curcumin, from anti-HIV to anti-ulcerogenic actions.

My advice: Everyone enjoy Indian food containing turmeric at least once a week as a symptomatic and preventive measure.

—Dr. Mark Wiley

References:
Cronin, J.R. "Curcumin: Old spice is a new medicine." Journal of Alternative & Complementary Therapies: Feb. 2003, pp. 34-38.

Egan, M.E., et al. “Curcumin, a Major Constituent of Turmeric, Corrects Cystic Fibrosis Defects.” Science, 23 April 2004 304: 600-602 [DOI: 10.1126/science.1093941] (in Reports)

National Institutes of Health. MedlinePlus Herbs and Supplements: "Turmeric (Curcuma longa Linn.) and Curcumin," US Department of Health and Human Services; Natural Standard Research Collaboration: 2008 ed.: www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/natural/patient-turmeric.html

Sarker, S.D., et al. "Bioactivity of Turmeric," Turmeric: The genus Curcuma; Medicinal and Aromatic Plants—Industrial Profiles, edited by Ravindran, P.N., et al. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press, 2007.

Jeffrey R. Matthews

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  • Jayaprakash

    Curry was not introduced by Brits. May be they start calling our curry instead of kuttaan. They invaded and changed names according to their likes. Also the intention was to ditch the morals of wealthy culture.

    • Peter

      About 40 years ago I started collecting curry recipes. I thought perhaps I would accumulate myself a few dozen good recipes. At last count, from India, the Far East, Middle East, Near East, Caribbean and elsewhere, I have in excess of 3000 different recipes! The range from very mild to O.M.G.!!!!!!!!! and very tasty to you’ll have to shoot me before I try it again. It’s been an experience!

      • Richard Pawley

        You should put the best of these in a book or booklet or on a DVD. I wouldn’t pay much for it but I’d surely pay something, to have really good receipes. I’ve known how healthy tumeric has been for years but don’t care for it that much so I’ve never gotten around to doing what you have done. If you do a really good job you might find a publisher who would do it for you.

    • Priscilla in WA

      Thank you for setting the record straight.

    • Dr. Mark Wiley

      Hmmm… the general history indicates that curry was developed by the British to “mimic” the savory/spicy foods/sauces they encountered in India. The idea of a “curry powder” rather than the individual masala dishes, etc. Well, who knows for sure? Here is an interesting link I found :)

      http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/7-15-2004-56629.asp

  • Mike In MI

    Turmeric (curcumin, not just “cumin”) has a great quality in its anti-cancer activity which is called “apoptosis”. Apoptosis is a program set up in the cell’s nucleus which turns on a process that causes the cell to commit suicide. Don’t worry, it only turns this program on if the cell’s chemical functions become damaged in ways that make it sick enough to turn cancerous. Otherwise, healthy cells pull turmeric from the blood for their normal nutritional needs.

    This makes it a wonderful cancer prevention food. A cell that kills itself can’t become immortalized or turn into a cell glob run by itself as an island (a tumor) surrounded by the rest of the normal body cells (which don’t or can’t attack and kill tumor cells). Tumor cells are like librals in that they live among normal cells as globs of protoplasm that don’t contribute anything to the total coordinated activities of the whole organism’s society of cells. If they do produce anything they make way too much of it or make wastes and wierd stuff which troubles the body by disorganizing it. Like liberals they use up lots of nutrients, chemicals and choke important spaces in the body. Ultimately, they grow, spread, disorganize and ultimately kill the host organism. The body constantly has seemingly normal cells mutate into tumorous cells. Anywhere in it they can pop up – just like liberals. So, you need to regularly use herbs like turmeric for their preventive benefit.

    Back to turmeric. The body has trouble getting it from the gut into the blood. So, you can get around that by eating or drinking half a teaspoon of ginger twice a week. Among ginger’s great number of benefits is it greatly helps the body pull food and nutrients from the gut into the blood. Not many foods are known to do that. Ginger also acts as the perfect NSAID in that it balances the cells in one of their basic chemical reactions that occur in inflammatory processes. No man made NSAID does this. Instead, NSAIDs push the reaction one way (which unbalances it) or the other way (which also unbalances it). Thus, man-made NSAIDs are very dangerous, but you don’t feel the damage until too late.

    Several other spices which initiate cellular apoptosis are basil, rosemary, allspice, cayenne pepper, ginger and garlic. Others are being reported as studies are completed. For cancers that may be caused by viruses oregano or oregano oil afford some protection. Another good, proven product with anti-viral action is d-Lenolate by East Park Labs.

    Keep your eyes open and remember “apoptosis”. Bob is giving Dr. Wiley and all of us a huge opportunity to gather info we may need if the government, through the FDA or FTC, shut off our access to supplements and valid information.

    God bless you all. God wants you to be healthy. Why else would He have designed into your cells such a great ability? This could not have been set up by evolutionary processes. No simple organism would have in its make up a reason to kill itself. Seems reasonable to me.

  • s c

    So what is the problem in getting turmeric ‘into’ a body? Is anyone trying to solve this situation? It seems strange that something that has potential to help with the effects of inflammation (instead of relying on NSAIDs) hasn’t yet been ‘perfected.’

    • Mike In MI

      s c – Chemistry laws, over growth of bad gut bacteria (often because of oral anti-botics – candida), aging, parasites and abnormal digestive processes can inhibit bio-availability of nutrients that are eaten but just get passed out without being absorbed. The gut can be more of a straight pipe than a digestive system. There is lots of info around about why these problems may exist. Another very common cause results when a woman, for whatever reasons, refuses to or can not breast-feed an infant (most baby formulas are bad for babies). If she won’t or can’t nurse the baby the intestines never fully mature and can’t do their job adequately.

      The Life Extension Foundation has a preparation they have developed and sell which significantly increases bio-availability. Find out about it at lef.org. It’s a great, quality organization with tremendous information resources, products, services and strength in their actions against enemies of good nutrition. From what I have read of your writing here you wold appreciate what they present.

      • Malformed Mel

        I was not breast fed my mom had inverted nipples. I was raised on similac. Are you saying my intestine never finished forming? could this be the cause of food allergies? Do you have a link to info confirming the intestine problem?

    • Richard Pawley

      I woke up this morning with some pain in my lower back and a bit of a headache. I took six Tart Cherry capsules that I obtained where I buy most of my supplements (www.vitacost.com). The government says cherry farmers can’t advertise that tart cherries are anti-inflammatory but I have just told you. I believe we need to learn all we can about health and nutrition while we are still able to do so, as we will not be able to count on either after 2014. Still we can change things if enough Americans vote intelligently this November.

  • Angie Patruno

    Is it safe to take a turmeric supplement and how much? My husband has asthma and Iam borderline diabetic and we both have high blood presure
    Looking forward to your reply
    Thank You
    Angie

    • Mike In MI

      Angie -
      Read my response to “s c” above. Your health would benefit from turmeric and a whole host of easily available spices. Both of your problems you two are afflicted by are most commonly caused, in our society, by foods pushed at us. The FDA is not to be trusted for they allow products to get in the stores that destroy health. So, we need to take responsibility and get serious to find good sources of health information and products. Most of all elect government representaties who are not in bed with the drug and Big Agricultural conglomerates. Most of the ready to eat, prepackaged foods they sell have big “shelf-lives” and will give you a short “self life”. The liberal government is easily a leader in the health problems rampaging through our culture that conventional medical doctors can’t or won’t fix.

      Bad diet promotes development of chronic inflammatory processes throughout the body leading to “auto-immune” conditions like asthma, diabetes and cardiovascular problems of many sorts. A good place to buy appropriate herbs and spices that I have found in my area is Gordon Foods from their bulk spice rack. Buying bulk makes the costs reasonable for good products. You may, if Gordon’s isn’t around you, have to find other sources that have reasonable prices. Just find them and tell others.

      Start eating loads of DARK green veggies and colorful fruits like blue berries, raspberries, etc. – stuff like that. Start supplementing your diet with GOOD vitamin/mineral preparations. Don’t go by the government’ recommendations about how much to take – those numbers are subsistence levels only, not “healthy” levels. One of the best things for both of you will be to take 4,000 or 5,000 IU per day of Vitamin D3 and 2,000 to 8,000 mg. of Vitamin C. Beans like black beans, pinto beans and kidney beans in any form will help immensely to surmount your afflictions. This is just starters – learn everything you can.

      • katrina loughlean

        Hi Mike,
        Just read your reply. A lot of it is good, but the blame game that auto-immunity is caused by a bad diet, etc. is just silly. I have a genetic code that has caused mine. And I am vegetarian and very careful concerning exercise, etc. I do believe that not all people can be lumped into this category. Thanks for listening…
        (A sixty year old lady in Canada – Kat)

  • KatKat

    Ginger is good for tooth aches.
    My experience with turmeric is it makes me sleepy, so I eat it before bed only.

  • http://ghynesite@yahoo.com Jerry Hynes

    I have been using tumeric for any bleeding wounds it stops the blood from running almost immediatly.. I keep it in my first aid kit,being a farmer i’m always getting into trouble.

    • Mike In MI

      jerry -
      Thanks for sharing that little tidbit of info. I’m like you. When I and my brother used to get chores to do together my Dad used to holler out to see if the work was getting done. He’d call to my brother and ask, “Is Mike bleeding yet?” If my brother answered, “No!” Dad would tell me to get to work because he knew I usually find some way to get red flowing. Thanks.

  • Ginny

    I’ve had a problem with candadis for years and have taken too much medication for yeast. It is in my system. I’ve eaten yogart, have tried diets to no avail. Inflamation is a big problem. Is tumertic a problem for blood clots?

  • Neel

    I love curry because it moves all infections and any wounds. It is also part of the Indian cusine and i loved this incredibale taste and we all can be very healty.
    (:

  • Neel

    Since turmeric’s curcumin component is an anti-inflammatory as well as an antioxident agent, it has been used for treating wounds, digestive disorders, liver issues, arthritis and in the prevention of cancer. Statistics also show that Asian children experience less incidence of leukemia than their Western counterparts and it seems a diet rich in turmeric may be the reason why.

    Recent studies show that rats that were prone to multiple sclerosis developed very few if any symptoms after being given curcumin. The journal Science reported in their April 23, 2004, issue that curcumin has countered the genetic damage that leads to the lung disorder cystic fibrosis in mice test subjects. It was also shown that curcumin protects against alcohol’s damaging affects on the liver as well as harmonizing the stomach and digestion.

    Thousands of scientific articles on the efficacy of curcumin are found within the NIH and NLM’s PubMed MEDLINE database. These show curcumin to be effective in the treatment of inflammation, wounds, cancer, heart disease and as a preventive measure against arthritis, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), neurological diseases, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple sclerosis, type-2 diabetes, cataracts, cystic fibrosis, scleroderma and many others.

    As if that list were too small, as reported in the Journal of Alternative & Complementary Therapies, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service lists nearly 80 biologic activities associated with curcumin, from anti-HIV to anti-ulcerogenic actions.It also is a spice you can find which has originated from india. All children need curry and it can remove a lot of infections from the kidney ect.We all should use this oppertunity and be healthy and be pure minded

  • http://None Lucille Murray

    Today is the first time I have googled the Livingston Letter
    and I am having a ball reading all the comments following the
    articles on Personal Liberty Digest.

    I used to log onto HSI Forum articles but deterorating eyesight made
    that more like torture than pleasure and I had never found any other
    health articles since that I could read easily. I think that
    yours are great and I have already learned a few things that
    I didn’t know from reading Mike of MI’s VG comment. Is he a
    medical professional or not? Very professionally written!

    I am an almost 89 year old widow living alone with a head full of
    worries, conjectures, ideas and what-not. I hope to clear
    out some of that fog while reading your material. Bye!

    • libertytrain

      Lucille, I enjoy them as well – you learn so much from the articles and the posts.

  • Star76@mail.com

    Latest Cancer Treatments – Comprehensive Immunotherapy Results For More Info: — leukemiacancer.info

  • Patrick Rover

    For a sore throat or mouth infection, teaspoon of Tumeric in a 1/2 glass milk, stir fast and well and drink immediately before the tumeric can settle. It will adhere to your mouth and throat and it has yet failed to either relieve or completely eliminate my slight throat infections. I have not fortunately had a serious throat infection since I found out about this, but I am sure it will not hurt. Patrick

    • Patrick Rover

      Just a footnote on my previous comment about using Tumeric as a anti biotic for throat and mouth discomfort. The Milk/Tumeric recipe was recommended to me by my American phyiscian of Indian descent. Patrick

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