Turmeric: The Science Behind The Health Claims

Monday, 10 October 2016  |  Admin

Turmeric seems to be all over the media at the moment - with people making turmeric lattes, golden paste and talking about its many health benefits.

The yellow-gold coloured member of the ginger plant family is known mostly for being a key ingredient in Indian cooking, but it's now gaining traction in the Western world for its healing properties. We wholeheartedly believe in the power of turmeric - and we're probably a bit biased because we sell it, but we decided to look at the science behind the health claims.                

Ten reported health benefits of turmeric

   1) Reduces inflammation

   2) Helps prevent Alzheimer's disease 

   3) Prevents some forms of cancer

   4) Improves digestion; reduces flatulence and bloating

   5) Supports a healthy brain and heart

   6) Boosts the immune system

   7) Strengthens the liver

   8) Improves skin and reduces effects of aging 

   9) Cleanses the body

  10) Empowers the spirit

Inflammation and Curcumin 

Chronic inflammation is believed to be the root of many Western diseases: heart disease, cancer, arthritis, Alzheimer's and various degenerative conditions. This is where turmeric can help as it contains a compound called curcumin with strong anti-inflammatory properties. Not only is curcumin an anti-inflammatory, it is a very strong anti-oxidant and has been much studied for its healing potential. Randy J Horwitz, in his study of natural approaches to rheumatologic and arthritic conditions concluded, “turmeric is one of the most potent natural anti-inflammatories available”. As previously mentioned, chronic inflammation is said to be the root of arthritis and many other diseases, so this is promising. 

Alzheimer's Disease 

Alzheimer's disease is the most common neurodegenerative disease in the world and a leading cause of dementia. Shrikant Mishra and Kalpana Palanivelu carried out a study that looked at the effect of curcumin on Alzheimer's disease. They concluded that curcumin could lead to a promising treatment for Alzheimer's. Dr Weils, in his study of elderly villagers in India, found that they have one of the lowest rates of Alzheimer’s, which could be attributed to the turmeric they put in their food everyday. 

Cancer and turmeric 

Curcumin is believed to be particularly effective in preventing breast, lung and colon cancer, amongst others. Nutritionist Jonny Bowden, in his book “The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth”, said there are at least thirty studies that show curcumin may have the capacity to stop cells becoming cancerous or even destroy them outright. Doctors at UCLA found that curcumin appeared to block an enzyme that promotes the growth of head and neck cancer. Many believe Turmeric to be the most potent ‘anti-tumour’ food you can consume. 

Turmeric Vs Pharmaceuticals 

James A. Duke, Phd., in the October, 2007 issue of Alternative & Complementary Therapies reviewed some 700 studies and concluded that turmeric appears to outperform many pharmaceuticals in its effects against several chronic, debilitating diseases, and does so with virtually no adverse side effects. 

Turmeric in Ayurvedic Medicine

Indian and Chinese health systems, such as Ayurveda, have used turmeric as a medicine for many diseases and conditions for centuries: aches, pains, wounds, sprains, liver disorders and those affecting the skin, pulmonary and gastrointestinal systems. They consider it to be the ultimate holistic remedy that has the potential to improve the functioning of not just individual areas of the body but the entire system. 

Turmeric and the BBC

The BBC recently carried out an experiment on Turmeric and cancer that featured on their programme 'Trust Me I'm A Doctor'. The study consisted of three groups of volunteers that consumed turmeric in different ways. The first group took a supplement, the second group added the same amount of turmeric as the first group to food and the third group was given a dummy pill or placebo. They found substantial improvements to the health status of those who consumed the turmeric by adding it to their food, and concluded by stating "the results suggest that eating small amounts of turmeric regularly may have a positive impact on your health".  See the BBC article here. 

StayFreshOrganics' organic turmeric powder

We know that many of our customers have used our organic turmeric powder to improve their health with successful results. Please see the reviews on this website and our Amazon listings. It might not be entirely scientific, but perhaps their testimonials are all the proof we need. A lot of research has been carried out, this is just a small snapshot, and we encourage people to have a look for themselves. We'll also add any significant future developments. Thanks for reading!                                                                                                     

References:

Shrikant Mishra and Kalpana Palanivelu, The Effect of Curcumin (Turmeric) On Alzheimer's Disease: An Overview, Ann Indian Acad Neural, 2008 Jan-Mar; 11 (1): 13-19

Hortwitz RJ, Phd, Nonpharmacologic Approaches to Rheumatologic Conditions, The Pain Practioner, 46, 2011

Duke, J.A, Phd, Alternative & Complementary Therapies, 2007 

Bowden, J. The 150 Healthiest Foods on Earth. Gloucester, MA: Fair Winds Press, 2007

LoTempio, M.M., Veena, M.S., Steele, H.L., Ramamurthy, B., Ramalingam, T.S., Cohen, A.N., Chakrabarti, R., Srivatsan, E.S., Wang, M.B.  Curcumin suppresses growth of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, Clin Cancer Res 11: 6994-7002, 2005.

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