Have you heard about the amazing benefits of turmeric? Not only is turmeric a major ingredient in Indian curries, evidence is accumulating that it’s a promising disease-preventive agent as well, probably due largely to its anti-inflammatory action.
One comprehensive study of turmeric was published in 2008 by James A. Duke, Phd. in the July 2008 issue of the American Botanical Council publication HerbClip. After reviewing 700 studies, Duke concluded that turmeric appears to outperform many pharmaceuticals in its effectiveness against several chronic, debilitating diseases, and with virtually no adverse side effects. Here are some of the diseases that turmeric has been found to help prevent or alleviate:
- Alzheimer’s disease: Duke found more than 50 studies on turmeric’s effects on Alzheimer’s disease. The reports indicate that extracts of turmeric contain a number of natural agents that block the formation of beta-amyloid, the substance responsible for the plaques that slowly obstruct cerebral function in Alzheimer’s disease.
- Arthritis: Turmeric contains more than two dozen anti-inflammatory compounds, including six different COX-2-inhibitors (the COX-2 enzyme promotes pain, swelling and inflammation; inhibitors selectively block that enzyme). By itself, writes Duke, curcumin – the component in turmeric most often cited for its healthful effects – is a multifaceted anti-inflammatory agent, and studies of the efficacy of curcumin have demonstrated positive changes in arthritic symptoms.
- Cancer: Duke found more than 200 citations for turmeric and cancer and more than 700 for curcumin and cancer. He noted that curcumin and/or turmeric were effective in animal models in prevention and/or treatment of colon cancer, mammary cancer, prostate cancer, esophageal cancer, and oral cancer. Duke said that the effectiveness of the herb against these cancers compared favorably with that reported for pharmaceuticals.
How can you get more turmeric into your diet? One way is by drinking turmeric tea. Another great way is to make these turmeric bombs. There are also extracts in tablet and capsule form available in health food stores. Or you can simply indulge in more curried dishes. However you do it, adding turmeric to your diet is a fantastic way to move toward optimal health.