To many people, turmeric is that herb that gives curries their bright yellow colour and that wonderful aromatic flavour we all know. But it may surprise you to learn that there are many more benefits to consuming turmeric than just the delicious dishes it makes, which is why it has been used for over 4,000 years to treat many different ailments and diseases.
Turmeric and its active ingredient, curcumin which gives it the yellow tint, has been the topic of many studies—in fact, it is arguably the world’s most-studied herb! The findings of these studies may help explain why turmeric is such a hot herb in the health world right now.
While the benefits of using this wonder herb are innumerable, we’ve come up with a list of ten top reasons you should start incorporating turmeric in your diet today!
Next time you sustain a cut, scrape or burn, consider applying turmeric to the area, rather than a chemical-laden antibacterial cream—it is, after all, nature’s antiseptic, and is used in this way all over India. Generally, turmeric powder can be applied directly to the wound, or mixed with other ingredients such as olive oil, tea tree oil, wheat germ oil, aloe, arnica, slippery elm or thyme oil. Turmeric has also been shown to have analgesic properties, which can help to relieve the pain caused by the injury sustained.
9. Can act as a detoxifier for the liver:
A range of studies have shown that turmeric can help to clean and detoxify the liver, as well as delaying liver damage that can be the cause of cirrhosis. Additionally, a 2013 study demonstrated that turmeric has the ability to protect the cells of the liver from infection from hepatitis C.
8. Can help with healthy skin:
Turmeric can speed-up the healing of wounds, by helping new skin cells to form, and repair damaged skin. Its anti-inflammatory properties mean that it can be used to treat inflammatory skin conditions, including psoriasis.
For centuries, the Chinese have been using turmeric to treat depression, without the litany of side-effects that many prescription anti-depressants can cause. This has been backed-up by recent studies which have shown that turmeric may, in fact, be more effective than many anti-depressant drugs available, including Prozac.
6. Acts as an anti-inflammatory:
Turmeric helps to reduce inflammation, and, consequently, has been shown to be as effective (but better for you and without the side-effects) as anti-inflammatory drugs. Many diseases are the result of some sort of inflammation in the body, and therefore, turmeric can relieve the symptoms of a range of ailments, including multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease (IBS), and oesteo and rheumatoid arthritis. (In fact, a 2012 study demonstrated that it actually OUTPERFORMED a common rheumatoid arthritis drug!)
5. Helps fight colds and flus:
Due to its anti-bacterial and anti-vital properties, turmeric can both help prevent colds, flus and other infections, as well as reduce their length and severity if they are contracted.
4. Can aid in weight loss:
The curcumin in turmeric stimulates the gallbladder to produce bile, which, in turn, helps the body to digest fat. This may aid in digestion and assist with maintaining a consistent weight. Additionally, studies have demonstrated that turmeric can help treat or even prevent indigestion, along with gas and bloated feelings that can accompany it.
3. Protects against heart attacks and strokes:
Turmeric has been shown to assist in lowering levels of LDL (‘bad’ cholesterol) in the blood vessels. This can help to stop plaque build-up in the arteries which are the cause of strokes and heart attacks.
2. Alzheimer’s disease:
Curcumin contains strong anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which may help to break down plaques in the brain’s blood vessels which can be the cause of Alzheimer’s disease. Clear, unclogged blood vessels means more oxygen is able to travel to the brain, and allow it to function more effectively. In India, the rate of Alzheimer’s disease in those aged between 70 and 79 is less than 25% of those of the same age in the USA. This is largely attributed to their high intake of turmeric.
The cancer rates in India, arguably the world’s biggest consumer of turmeric, are far lower than those in Western countries, according to the World Health Organisation. Why is this the case? Part of the reason may lie in turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties. This means that it inhibits the growth of blood vessels in tumours, thereby slowing or preventing the cancer growth. In fact, studies conducted on the herb have demonstrated that it can help treat a number of cancers, including colon, prostate, breast, pancreatic and skin cancers, as well as childhood leukaemia, melanoma and multiple myeloma. Additionally, it has been shown to prevent existing cancers from metastasising. Furthermore, turmeric has been proven to enhance the effectiveness of chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments on cancers, as well as reducing their negative side-effects.
Let’s get this wonderful turmeric into our body?
Turmeric is an easy herb to add to your diet. It can be used in a range of dishes, adding both flavour and colour. Turmeric powder can be found at most supermarkets (however, to find organic turmeric powder, usually a trip to the health food shop is in order), but even better, is fresh turmeric root, available at many fruit and veggie shops. Similar to ginger in appearance, it can be grated into dishes. Many find taking turmeric supplements to be beneficial, particularly if you’re not a big curry eater. One of the best quality, yet most reasonably-priced turmeric supplements available is Aussie Herb Shop’s turmeric tincture, made from the finest organic turmeric. Placing 60 drops (two droppers-full) of this tincture in a glass of water 2 to 4 times daily can provide you with many of the benefits described above, or in the case of a health crisis, the dosage can be increased to aid your body’s healing process.
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