Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Turmeric: The Gold Standard for Health

A daily dose of turmeric in your diet could be the key to keeping inflammatory diseases and conditions at bay, as well as shrinking tumors and preventing dementia and heart disease.

With its distinct, bright sun color and pungent taste, turmeric is a cornerstone of Indian culinary and medicinal history. 

For thousands of years, turmeric has been used to dye Buddhist monk’s robes bright yellow and to provide brilliant orange-gold hues to foods such as India’s iconic curries.

Turmeric has also been used in India as “golden bullet” to treat a host of diseases and conditions. Used both internally and applied topically as a paste, turmeric’s antioxidant qualities make it one of nature's most versatile food-medicines. 

Turmeric is used to treat a host of maladies such as: osteoarthritis, eczema, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, autoimmune disease, poor circulation, atherosclerosis, sexually transmitted diseases, salmonella, urinary tract infections and other related diseases.


The Latin name for turmeric is curcuma longa, from kurkum, the Arabic name for the plant. 
Botanically speaking, turmeric is a rhizome (the modified subterranean part of a plant’s stem). Turmeric belongs to the same family as ginger, another rhizome with significant medicinal attributes.

Turmeric’s main ingredient is the polyphenol curcumin. Polyphenols are plant-based antioxidant chemicals abundant in micronutrients that prevent degenerative diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. Cancer researchers are closely evaluating curcumin for its ability to shrink tumors in cancer patients, particularly for prostate cancer

Other researchers are studying turmeric for its potential to slow the degenerative effects of Alzheimer’s disease by inhibiting the formation of amyloid plaque in the brain. 

In 2012, researchers from Michigan State University found that curcumin may be beneficial for people with Parkinson’s disease.    

Curcumin also inhibits the body’s production of prostaglandins, powerful enzymes that cause the pain and swelling associated with arthritis, menstrual cramps and all other conditions related to inflammation. 


According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, the following are recommended doses of turmeric for adults:

Cut root: 1.5 - 3 g per day
Dried, powdered root: 1 - 3 g per day
Standardized powder (curcumin): 400 - 600 mg, 3 times per day
Fluid extract (1:1) 30 - 90 drops a day
Tincture (1:2): 15 - 30 drops, 4 times per day

NOTE: because of its blood thinning properties, turmeric should be used with caution if you are taking blood thinners such as Plavix, Coumadin or even aspirin. People with bleeding ulcers or acid reflux should also exercise caution in taking turmeric.

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