Turmeric has been used for over 2500 years in India, and was traditionally called "Indian saffron" because of its deep yellow-orange color. It has been used as a condiment, healing remedy and textile dye. The medicinal properties of this spice have been slowly revealing themselves over the centuries. Long known for its anti-inflammatory properties, recent research has revealed that turmeric is a natural wonder, proving beneficial in the treatment of many different health conditions from cancer to Alzheimer's disease. The most popular uses include (in no particular order), flatulence, jaundice, menstrual difficulties, bloody urine, hemorrhage, toothache, bruises, chest pain, and colic.
Turmeric has a peppery, warm and bitter flavor and a mild fragrance slightly reminiscent of orange and ginger, and while it is best known as one of the ingredients used to make curry, it also gives ballpark mustard its bright yellow color. The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin. It comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant and has a tough brown skin and a deep orange flesh.
1. Turmeric is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent useful in disinfecting cuts and burns.
2. When combined with cauliflower (and other cruciferous vegetables), it has shown to prevent prostate cancer and stop the growth of existing prostate cancer.
3. Studies show it has prevented breast cancer from spreading to the lungs in mice.
4. It may prevent melanoma and cause existing melanoma cells to die off.
5. It reduces the risk of childhood leukemia.
6. Turmeric is a natural liver de-toxifier.
7. May prevent and slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease by removing amyloid plaque buildup in the brain.
8. It may prevent metastases from occurring in many different forms of cancer.
9. It is a potent natural anti-inflammatory that works as well just like an anti-inflammatory drug, but without the side effects.
10. Has shown promise in slowing the progression of multiple sclerosis in mice.
11. Is a natural painkiller and cox-2 inhibitor.
12. May aid in fat metabolism and help in weight management.
13. Has long been used in Chinese medicine as a treatment for depression.
14. Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it is a natural treatment for arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
15. Boosts the effects of chemo drug paclitaxel and reduces its side effects.
16. May decrease the chances of pancreatic cancer.
17. Studies are ongoing in the positive effects of turmeric on multiple myeloma.
18. Has been shown to stop the growth of new blood vessels in tumors.
19. Speeds up wound healing and assists in remodeling of damaged skin.
20. May help in the treatment of psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions.
Turmeric can be taken in powder or pill form. It is available in pill form in most health food stores, usually in 250-500mg capsules. A great note to take into consideration is that turmeric is not a commonly allergenic food and is not known to contain measurable amounts of oxalates or purines. Also, turmeric is an excellent source of both iron and manganese, and is also a good source of vitamin B6, dietary fiber and potassium.
Turmeric should not be used by people with gallstones or bile obstruction. Though turmeric is often used by pregnant women, it is important to consult with a doctor before doing so as turmeric can be a uterine stimulant.
Be careful when using turmeric since its deep color can easily stain. To avoid a lasting stain, quickly wash any area with which it has made contact with soap and water. To prevent staining your hands, you might consider wearing kitchen gloves while handling turmeric.
✧ Add turmeric to egg salad to give it an even bolder yellow color.
✧ Mix brown rice with raisins and cashews and season with turmeric, cumin and coriander.
✧ Although turmeric is generally a staple ingredient in curry powder, some people like to add a little extra of this spice when preparing curries. And turmeric doesn't have to only be used in curries. This spice is delicious on healthy baked or sautéed apples, and healthy steamed cauliflower and/or green beans and onions. For a creamy, flavor-rich, low-calorie dip, try mixing some turmeric and dried onion with a little omega-3-rich mayonnaise, salt and pepper. Serve with raw cauliflower, celery, sweet pepper, jicama and broccoli florets.
✧ Turmeric is a great spice to complement recipes that feature lentils or other protein sources such as lean meats.
✧ Give salad dressings an orange-yellow hue by adding some turmeric powder to them.
✧ For an especially delicious way to add more turmeric to your healthy way of eating, cut cauliflower florets in half and sauté with a generous spoonful of turmeric for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and toss with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste.
✧ Be sure to choose turmeric rather than prepared curry blends. Recent research indicates the amount of turmeric (and therefore curcumin) in curry blends is often minimal.
Resources: naturalnews.com, bewellbuzz.com, mnn.com, mercola.com