Turmeric (botanical name Curcuma longa) is a yellow spice that is a staple of Indian cuisine. If you’ve had Indian curry and loved the taste, turmeric had a big part to play in it. Turmeric is much more than a culinary delight. It is beneficial to health in several ways. Here are 5 properties of turmeric that medical science has discovered so far.
#1 Anti-cancer Properties
Turmeric is rich in a compound known as curcumin, which is one of the main compounds that gives turmeric its characteristic yellow color. UCLA researchers have found that curcumin blocks an enzyme related to the growth of head and neck cancer. When 21 head and neck cancer patients consumed two 1000-milligram tablets of curcumin, it was found to inhibit the spread of the enzyme in the patients’ mouths.
#2 Combats Alzheimer’s Disease
A study published in 2008 lists the many properties of curcumin that help it combat Alzheimer’s disease, and concludes that the compound shows great promise as a treatment for Alzheimer’s. The study notes that Indian food is rich in turmeric, and hypothesizes that this might explain why the prevalence of Alzheimer’s in people aged between 70 and 79 years is 4.4 times less in India than in the United States.
#3 Prevents Colds and Blocked Noses
Isha Foundation lists a turmeric-based mixture as an anti-phlegm health benefit of turmeric. If your nostrils tend to get blocked often or you regularly suffer from colds, roughly crush 10 pepper corns and soak them overnight in two spoons of honey mixed with turmeric. Consume this mixture in the morning and make sure to chew upon the crushed pepper. This should help bring down the amount of phlegm in the body.
#4 Reduces Pain From Arthritis
Researchers in Italy found that osteoarthritis patients consuming a special formulation of turmeric for 90 days reported 58% less pain and stiffness. The patients were able to reduce their dependence on painkillers by 63%.
#5 Solid Gold!
A literature survey of research efforts on turmeric published in the Advanced Experimental Medical Biology journal refers to turmeric as solid gold for its “antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anticancer activities,” which thus have potential against “various malignant diseases, diabetes, allergies, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and other chronic illnesses.” Referring to curcumin, the paper calls it the ideal “spice for life”.
Various kinds of extracts of curcumin are available in the market today. However, consumption of curcumin as an isolate is preferable only in cases of specific health issues or illnesses. For general health, curcumin is best consumed in the form of turmeric, as nature provides it. Besides, turmeric makes food taste great too!