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Turmeric And Health (Free Full Report!)
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Turmeric And Health – Introduction
Turmeric is a natural plant product that has a very long history of medicinal use, dating back nearly 4,000 years to the Vedic culture in India, where it was also utilized (and still widely used) in cooking as a culinary spice. Also known as the “Indian saffron”, turmeric is unrelated to saffron, being a rhizome (root) whereas saffron is derived from flowers. Grown throughout India, other parts of Asia, and Central America, turmeric is related to ginger. It is also valued in South Asia as a component in religious ceremonies.
Turmeric is one of the spices used in Ayurvedic medicine to address many conditions including breathing problems, rheumatism, pain, and fatigue. Ayurveda is a holistic medicine that uses mainly plant-based formulations for various ailments. However the past thirty years have seen the emergence of turmeric as a “superfood” recognized by modern science.
Thousands of publications dealing with turmeric have been published since the late 1990’s. These publications are in vitro studies with turmeric, animal studies, and studies carried out on humans that addressed the safety and efficacy of turmeric. Modern science has isolated more than a hundred components from turmeric. The most popular and well-known active compound is curcumin, a powerful antioxidant.  Antioxidants scavenge molecules in the body known as free radicals and can help prevent some of the damage they cause in the cell membranes.
Before we discuss recent studies on how turmeric could be helpful in many medical conditions, it is important to delve into turmeric’s role in traditional medicine.
Turmeric’s Importance in Folk / Traditional Medicine
Turmeric is an important aspect of ancient Indian medicine and culture. Ayurvedic medicine has long recognized turmeric as a medical herb for many health issues including infections, dysentery, arthritis, fever, and digestive diseases. Ayurvedic practices highlight the many medical properties of turmeric, observed over countless centuries; including reliving gas, dispelling worms, improving digestion, and regulating menstruation. Ayurvedic medicine also has documented turmeric as beneficial for asthma, allergy, rheumatism, diabetic wounds, runny nose, cough, and sinusitis. In many parts of South Asia, turmeric has found applications as antiseptic for cuts, burns, bruises and as an antibacterial agent. Women in India apply turmeric paste to remove superfluous hair and to make their skin glow. Pakistanis and Afghans cleanse their wounds by applying turmeric.
Ancient Chinese doctors highly regarded turmeric for liver and gallbladder problems, menstrual disorders and chest congestion. Chinese medicine considers turmeric as an herb that invigorates the blood. The plant is also used for pain, abscesses, ulcers, and abdominal masses. It has long been used as a drug for improving blood circulation since the Tang Dynasty. Its Chinese name is Jiang Huang. According to the medical book “Compendium Materia Medica” by Li Shizhen, turmeric is one of the most commonly used Chinese herbs because of its impressive medicinal properties.  The plant grows in the wilderness of China where it is also cultivated in places such as Jiangxi, Fujian, Taiwan, Guangdong, Guangxi, Sichuan, and Yunnan.
In Unani or Perso-Arabic traditional medicine, turmeric is used to expel phlegm and to open blood vessels to improve blood circulation. Turmeric is incorporated into foods to reduce gas and bloating and improve digestion. It is also helpful in the stimulation of bile production in the liver and excretion of the bile via gallbladder. When mixed with milk, turmeric is used for intestinal disorders and sore throats. The ancient Hawaiians used the herb for sinus infection, ear infections, and gastrointestinal disorders.
Health Properties of Turmeric
The pharmacological activities of turmeric are now well-documented. Several data in the literature indicate the great variety of biological mechanisms of the herbal plant including anti-inflammatory, anti-human immunodeficiency virus, anti-bacteria, anti-oxidant effects, and nematocidal activities. The herb’s biological actions are mainly attributed to curcumin which also exhibits anti-parasitic, antispasmodic, and anti-carcinogen effects. Curcumin is also responsible for turmeric’s vibrant yellow color. Some investigations have shown the anti-rheumatic activity of curcumin which was also effective as a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug without the side effects. The volatile compounds in turmeric have been shown to be very immunosuppressive, neutralizing harmful free radicals. They are also more anti-oxidant than vitamin E. 
Research suggests that turmeric maybe helpful for addressing various medical conditions. Traditionally, turmeric is used for both prevention and therapy of ailments or diseases. Now, modern studies have revealed the various biological mechanisms offered by turmeric. This section presents scientific bases of turmeric’s healing and preventive properties which have been recorded and practiced in traditional medicine.
• Diabetes Preventative In Animal Studies
A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry revealed that ingestion of turmeric oleoresin could inhibit the development of increased blood glucose and abdominal fat mass in diabetic rats. The study found out that the oleoresin was more effective in diabetic animals than using the essential oil of the plant alone. 
• Repels Mosquitoes
The oil of turmeric was found effective as a repellent against day and night biting mosquitoes, according to a study reported in the Journal of Vector Ecology. The study posits the potential of the essential oil as an alternative to deet, which is the most common chemical repellent available. 
• Neurodegenerative Diseases
A Thai study conducted in 2009 confirmed the anti-inflammatory activity of a compound present in turmeric. The researchers forwarded the therapeutic value of turmeric for neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s. 
• Reduces the Severity of Radiation Dermatitis in Cancer Patients
A study published in Radiation Research discovered the effectiveness of curcumin in lowering the redness and pain caused by radiotherapy in breast cancer patients. Analysis showed that curcumin could reduce radiation dermatitis at the end of radiotherapy. 
• Decreases Myocardial Infarction Associated with Coronary Artery Bypass Grafting
Thai researchers published a study in the American Journal of Cardiology that highlighted the cardioprotective effects of curcuminoids. The study demonstrated the anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory effects of the turmeric compound. 
• Agent for Wound Healing
The Journal of Trauma reported in a 2009 study that proposed the importance of turmeric’s active component curcumin as a wound healing agent. This pharmacologic property was linked by the study to the curcumin’s anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. 
• Respiratory Diseases
According to a Chinese study, inhalation of volatile oil of turmeric is significantly active in relieving cough and relieving asthma. 
• Cerebral Stroke
A study carried out by researchers from India showed the neuroprotective activity of turmeric oil against cerebral stroke. This biological activity was associated by the study with the turmeric’s antioxidant activities. The study also stressed the value of turmeric oil for other disorders associated with oxidative stress. 
• Inhibits Parainfluenza Virus
The antiviral effects of a zedoary turmeric oil in the respiratory tract was proven by a study published in the Journal of Chinese Medicinal Materials. The spray obviously inhibited the parainfluenza virus II as well as had slight preventive effect against respiratory syncytial virus and adenoviruses 3 and 7. 
• Inhibits Growth of Histamine-Producing Bacteria
Turmeric also has strong antimicrobial properties, according to a study first reported in the Journal of Environmental Biology. The study assessed how garlic, turmeric, and ginger extracts could inhibit the growth of the bacteria. Among these natural preservatives, turmeric and garlic showed more antibacterial actions. 
• Rheumatoid Arthritis
Translational studies identified turmeric extract’s mechanism of action against rheumatoid arthritis. One study that appeared in the journal Arthritis & Rheumatology affirmed the efficacy of turmeric extract in arthritis and illustrated a mechanism of action. The study proposed further clinical evaluation of turmeric dietary supplements for potential treatment of RA. 
• Reduces Onset of Skin Tumor
The relation between topical application of turmeric and reduced multiplicity and onset of skin tumors was found by a study published in the journal Nutrition and Cancer. The efficacy of turmeric against these tumors was compared with three other nutraceuticals including sugar beet roots, cucumber fruits, and New Zealand spinach leaves. 
• Depression (Endocrine and Neurochemical Regulation)
The aqueous extracts of turmeric were used by a 2002 study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology to determine of turmeric could demonstrate antidepressant effects in mice. The extracts reversed swim stress-induce increases in the animal subjects and regulated their neurochemical and neuroendocrine systems. 
• Stimulates Bile Flow and Bile Acid Secretion
In 2002, researchers from India found that three spice mixes which include coriander, turmeric, red chili, black pepper, and cumin could help the digestive system in the stimulation of pancreatic digestive enzymes and produce an elevated level of bile acids which facilitate intestinal absorption and transport of lipids, nutrients, and vitamins. 
• Reduces the Urinary Excretion of Mutagens in Smokers
A 1992 study published in the journal Mutagenesis indicated the effectiveness of dietary turmeric as an anti-mutagen which could be useful in chemoprevention. The antimutagenic effects of turmeric were examined in sixteen smokers. 
• Useful for Peptic Ulcers
A study reported in the Southeast Asian Journal of Tropical Medicine and Public Health used capsule-filled turmeric to address symptoms associated with peptic ulcer. After two weeks of treatment, the patients’ abdominal pain and discomfort subsided. 
• Increases Bowel Motility and Concentration of Breath Hydrogen
A Japanese study used turmeric in curry to investigate if the spice could shorten small-bowel transit time and activate hydrogen-producing bacterial flora in the colon. The results posited the importance of dietary turmeric to the activation of bowel motility and carbohydrate colonic fermentation. 
• Management of Uveitis or Inflammation of the Middle Layer of the Eye
The therapeutic role of curcumin and its efficacy against chronic anterior uveitis were confirmed in a 1999 study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research. The patients involved in the study experienced improvement in their vision after two weeks of treatment with oral administration of curcumin. 
• Vitiligo (Skin Disorder)
The anti-oxidant property of curcumin poses the value of turmeric as a therapeutic option for the management of vitiligo which causes white patches on the skin on different parts of the body. One study
Turmeric Side Effects / Contraindications
The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to addressing various diseases and ailments. Herbs could also trigger side effects due to interaction with other herbs, supplements, or medications. Before incorporating turmeric as part of your alternative and complementary medicine options, the herb should be taken with care under the supervision of a doctor. While the amounts of turmeric found in foods are generally regarded as safe, larger amounts of the spice could have adverse consequences such as stomach upset and ulcers. It is imperative to take turmeric and curcumin supplements at the recommended doses. Do not take turmeric if you have gallstones or obstruction of the bile passages. Again, consult a doctor first before taking new herbs or supplements – especially if on medications.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women are advised not to take turmeric supplements. Those who have diabetes should also consult their doctors before ingesting turmeric supplements. Low blood sugar is one of the side effects of combining medications with diabetes. If you are undergoing surgery, stop taking turmeric at least two weeks before the procedure. The anti-coagulant effect of turmeric may increase bleeding time in surgery.
Other side effects of turmeric are outlined below:
• Turmeric could worsen gallbladder problems, so using turmeric for people with gallstones is not recommended. The spice could add to this load and increase the risk of developing kidney stones.
• Another side effect of taking turmeric is slow blood clotting which results in increased risk of bruising and bleeding in people with bleeding disorders.
• A stomach disorder called gastrointestinal reflux disease is another possible negative effect of taking turmeric.
• Turmeric might also reduce sperm movement when taken by mouth by men who could suffer from infertility.
• People with iron deficiency should be cautious when taking turmeric. High amounts of turmeric might prevent the absorption of iron in their body.
• Some people might also experience an allergy to turmeric and other members of the ginger family.
• The high oxalate content of turmeric could cause gout which is a form of arthritis.
• Turmeric may interact with some medications. For example, ivermectin and turmeric are contraindicated.
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 Menon VP and Sudheer AR. 2007. Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17569207
 Li Shizen. Compendium of Materia Medica (Bencao Gangmu) 6 vols. https://www.amazon.com/Compendium-Materia-Medica-Bencao-Gangmu/dp/7119032607
 Gupta SC et al. January 2013. The AAPS Journal. Therapeutic roles of curcumin: lessons learned from clinical trials. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23143785
 Honda S et al. November 2006. Effects of ingested turmeric oleoresin on glucose and lipid metabolisms in obese diabetic mice: a DNA microarray study. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17117790
 Tawatsin A et al. June 2001. Repellency of volatile oils from plants against three mosquito vectors. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11469188
 Thampithak A et al. September 22, 2009. Neuroscience Letters. Transcriptional regulation of iNOS and COX-2 by a novel compound from Curcuma comosa in lipopolysaccharide-induced microglial activation. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19583997
 Ryan JL et al. July 2013. Curcumin for radiation dermatitis: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of thirty breast cancer patients. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23745991
 Wongcharoen W et al. July 2012. Effects of curcuminoids on frequency of acute myocardial infarction after coronary artery bypass grafting. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22481014
 Phan TT et al. November 2001. Protective effects of curcumin against oxidative damage on skin cells in vitro: its implication for wound healing. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11706342
 Li C et al. October 1998. Effect of turmeric volatile oil on the respiratory tract. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11599365
 Rathore P et al. September 2008. Neurochemistry Research. Curcuma oil: reduces early accumulation of oxidative product and is anti-apoptogenic in transient focal ischemia in rat brain. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17955367
 Huang YD et al. March 2007. Study on the preparation of zedoary turmeric oil spray and its anti-virus effects. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17634047
 Paramasivam S et al. April 2007. Effect of natural preservatives on the growth of histamine producing bacteria. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17915763
 Funk JL et al. November 2006. Efficacy and mechanism of action of turmeric supplements in the treatment of experimental arthritis. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/art.22180
 Villasenor IM et al. 2002. Comparative potencies of nutraceuticals in chemically induced skin tumor prevention. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12672643
 Yu ZF et al. November 2002. Antidepressant activity of aqueous extracts of Curcuma longa in mice. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12413724
 Platel K et al. December 2002. Digestive stimulant action of three Indian spice mixes in experimental rats. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12577586
 Polasa K et al. March 1992. Effect of turmeric on urinary mutagens in smokers. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1579064
 Prucksunand C et al. March 2001. Phase II clinical trial on effect of the long turmeric (Curcuma longa Linn) on healing of peptic ulcer. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11485087
 Shimouchi A et al. August 2009. Digestive Diseases and Sciences. Effect of dietary turmeric on breath hydrogen. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19034660
 Lal B et al. June 1999. Efficacy of curcumin in the management of chronic anterior uveitis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10404539/
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