Maybe you’re in the same boat as so many others who experience chronic discomfort and pain. No matter what type of ailment you’re experiencing, there’s a natural solution. This is great news, considering the side effects associated with RX drugs.
One of the most potent natural remedies that’s changing lives is tumeric (turmeric). A culinary staple that’s native to South Asia, this yellow colored root is known to treat ailments ranging from arthritis to heart disease and so much more.
1. Medicinal properties
The powerful chemical that gives this plant its yellowish color, curcumin, has promising medicinal properties. Such illnesses it can treat are, but not limited to, digestive issues, ulcers, IBS, liver problems and much more. According to one study, Curcuma longa (the plant’s scientific name) was found to have antioxidant properties and the ability to eliminate porcine pancreas derived lipase (1).
Another study found that a powerful chemical in the plant, curcumin, is a keto-enol moiety with promising electrostatic potential. This means it has strong therapeutic value to treat a number of diseases.(2).
2. Increases The Body’s Antioxidant Capacity
Oxidation is a double-edged sword. It’s the body’s way of eradicating dangerous free radicals. On the other pole, oxidative stress is one of the leading causes of life-threatening illnesses, such as cancer. As seen in the porcine lipase study above, turmeric’s antioxidant capacity shows its potential for therapeutic use.
Furthermore, it earns praise after findings in a study on the effects of nutraceuticals on cardiovascular health (3).
According to the study, cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of morbidity and mortality. Along with other plants researched, it was found to reduce CVD risk factors because of its anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
3. Helps Prevents Various Forms Of Cancer
Studies have proven curcumin’s effectiveness when it comes to types of cancer. According to one NIH study, curcumin has inhibitory effects on certain viruses and carcinomas (4). It can inhibit head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) and foster apoptosis in HPV cells.
Another study found that chemicals in the South Asian spice, due to their anti-inflammatory properties, can reduce cancer and other diseases (5). This is because inflammation plays a role in cancer developing.
These findings bring hope to those suffering from the ineffectiveness, high cost and negative side effects of pharmaceuticals.
4. Helps Prevent Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer’s disease is characterized by degenerating brain function. Symptoms may begin with memory loss. Gradually, all functions governed by the brain begin to shut down. According to WebMD, the number of Alzheimer’s cases is expected to triple to 14 million by the year 2060 (6).
No pharmaceutical treatment is capable of slowing or reversing the illness; there are only drugs that minimize the symptoms. Therefore, many professionals are turning to natural alternatives. Authors Tang and Taghibiglou concluded that curcumin is more efficacious at treating Alzheimer’s than current pharmaceutical treatments (7).
A separate study found that preclinical and in vitro studies support the potential of curcuminoids in treating the disease (8).
For a more in-depth look at how to use tumeric to help with Alzheimer’s, check out this article.
5. Eases Arthritis Symptoms
The inflammation of the joints, also known as arthritis, is one of the most common illnesses that develop with age. Symptoms include immobility, pain, stiffness and swelling.
An NIH study observed the ability of chemicals in the curcuma zedoaria roscoe (zedoary) plant to fight inflammation. The plant is in the curcuma family and thus contains curcumin. It was found that the polyphenol can inhibit pre-inflammatory protein expression (9).
A separate study found the chemical to be effective against diseases associated with aging, such as Alzheimer’s (10).
6. Treats Depression
The term depression is thrown around like it’s an everyday thing and warrants no real concern. However, if you’ve ever experienced real depression, it’s nothing to overlook. It has a way of affecting every aspect of your life. In so many cases, things slowly fall apart.
Currently there are a plethora of drugs formulated for depression. However, they are accompanied by their own side-effects. Some include daytime sleepiness, insomnia, weight gain, impotence and suicidal tendencies. Studies have found curcumin to be a possible treatment for depression.
A study was conducted involving 377 patients who were treated with both curcumin and placebo (11). Significant anti-depression and anti-anxiety effects resulted from treatment with curcumin. To add, no adverse side-effects were noted.
7. Delays The Aging Process
Aging is thought to be an inescapable process. Furthermore, we generally associate getting old with feeling worse. However, aging occurs as an effect to one’s lifestyle and environment. It’s a common observation that our diets play a large role in how fast we age and mortality.
Furthermore, getting old comes with more medications. However, these medications come with so many side-effects that they have a huge impact on how we age. AARP lists some drugs that older adults should use with caution because of their side-effects (12).
For instance, muscle relaxers can lead to confusion and higher rate of falls and injuries. NSAIDS can cause ulcers, digestive bleeding, high blood pressure and more. The list goes on.
The good thing about curcumin is that studies have found it to be effective at preventing age related diseases (13). Side-effects are virtually non-existent.
8. Powerful Anti-Inflammatory
As mentioned above, curcumin fights inflammation. Although inflammation is the body’s way of protecting itself, it’s also the cause for illnesses. An NCBI article explains that inflammation is an immune system response, and chemicals like histamines are produced as a result (14). They widen the blood vessels to send more blood to heal affected areas.
Additionally, inflammation is associated with more mucus, which helps the body flush out unwanted toxins and pathogens. However, inflammation causes pain and even causes the body to attack its own cells. It can also give rise to cancer and cardiovascular diseases. Curcumin has been found to prevent and suppress inflammation in the body (15).
9. Improves Brain Function
Tumeric’s polyphenolic-hydrophobic constituents are therapeutic without having toxic effects. They can be used to effectively treat brain disorders, as shown in one study (16). Another study observed turmeric’s function as an anticonvulsive medication (17). It was found to both inhibit and reverse convulsive behavior in test subjects. This feature provides a safe alternative for those suffering from seizures.
As mentioned earlier, it’s also beneficial for depression and Alzheimer’s, which are both results of brain dysfunction.
10. Decreases Chances Of Heart Disease
Based on CDC facts, heart disease is the cause of one in four deaths and is the leading cause of death (18). Curcumin has been shown to prevent heart failure, according to one study (19). The study found one form of curcumin, theracumin, to be more bioavailable than in its natural state. This offers a natural alternative with virtually no side-effects.
Another study found it to be highly effective at protecting against cardiovascular related diseases, such as high blood pressure, stroke and atherosclerosis (20).
If you’ve experienced any of the illnesses above with minimal relief, then it’s worth giving this natural alternative a try. Turmeric (turmeric) just might be the panacea for a number of common ailments. Studies show it to be effective in treating and preventing numerous diseases. It has been proven to be worth its weight in gold.
11. Boosts the Body’s Immunity
This herb contains curcumin, a substance that is proven to have an anti-metastatic effect. Research shows that due to these effects it may work as an effective chemotherapeutic agent for colorectal cancer, and possibly other forms of cancer. Studies have revealed that it may prevent tumor growth and reduce the risk of cancer spreading in the body. (21)
The curcumin in this herb may have immunomodulatory and medicinal effects, according to one study. (22) This means that it may help to alter the functioning or response of the immune system. This may be done via stimulating the formation of antibodies to enhance a person’s immunity.
12. Helps to Relieve Pain
Effective treatment of chronic neuropathic pain is often challenging. Current drugs are often not effective for many patients. This herb has been studied and the conclusions were that it may have antioxidant, anti-apoptotic, calcium inhibitory, anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects. (23) This may make this herb a suitable choice for those who do not find relief from nerve pain with traditional medications.
For injured and damaged tissue to heal, and for the associated pain to dissipate, the area must have adequate blood flow. Promoting greater blood circulation is the key to this. One study showed that the primary bioactive ingredients in this herb, including curcumins and their derivatives, have been shown to help enhance blood circulation. (24)
13. Improves Liver Function
When someone has heart failure, they are at risk for liver failure due to heart failure potentially reducing blood flow to the liver. This may lead to scarring on the liver. The curcumin in this spice may help with the left ventricular diastolic function that can become impaired when someone has heart failure. Some studies performed on rats have also shown that this substance may protect against the development of heart disease. (25)
To potentially aid in the treatment of liver disease, the curcumin has to be highly bioavailable. Some scientists have tested curcumin-encapsulated exosomes to increase the bioavailability. (26) This allows for the therapeutic effects of the substance without the immune stimulation and possible toxic effects.
14. Aids with Digestion
The digestive process can modify plant activity. Because of this, one study used a type of in vitro gastrointestinal digestion process. As part of the research, they used an STC-1 cell line. This study looked at extracts of this plant and green tea, and their effects on CCK and GPL-1 secretion. (27) With the satiety of plant extracts, the digestion process used decreased for turmeric and increased for green tea.
The poor bioavailability of curcumin also presents challenges in the realm of digestive health. However, when the bioavailability can be improved, this substance may help intestinal permeability, oxidative stress and inflammation in the digestive tract and the intestinal microbiota, according to one study. (28)
15. Prevents Fat Growth and Breaks Down Fat Cells
Some research has shown that this herb may have weight loss effects due to its bioactive ingredients. (29) It may help to alter certain enzyme activity to reduce the formation of fat. Other studies show that it may help to decrease lipids from building up in adipose tissues and fat cells.
Some research explored the antioxidant and anti-obesity capabilities of this plant. (30) It was shown that this plant may help to promote better fat breakdown by the pancreas. This activity could possibly make this herb a viable treatment for obesity.
16. Helps with Irritable Bowel Disease Treatment
The curcumin in this plant has been studied for its effects on irritable bowel disease. This condition is rooted in inflammation and this substance has anti-inflammatory effects. The anti-inflammatory action may aid in the treatment of this bowel condition, according to a study. (31)
A review of multiple studies looked at the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant actions of this herb. (32) While the studies were not very big, they mostly concluded that this substance may help to reduce the effects of this condition and its overall severity. It also tends to be well-tolerated by patients.
17. Relieves Cystic Fibrosis Symptoms
The ability of curcumin to alleviate inflammation may make it an ideal choice for cystic fibrosis symptoms. Significant inflammation plays a major role in this condition. It can result in coughing and difficulty breathing via inflaming the airways. Relieving the inflammation could help to reduce these symptoms, per a study. (33)
The cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator is a type of ion channel that has been heavily studied for cystic fibrosis. A study shows that curcumin may target this ion channel and modulate it to help reduce some of the symptoms of the condition. (34)
18. Helps to Lower Cholesterol
This herb has been well-studied for its effects on lipid levels in the body. One study provided participants with two grams of curcumin and three grams of ginger of each day. These were administered over four weeks. At the end of the study, the participants experienced a reduction in their blood cholesterol levels. (35)
To ensure that people can reap the full benefits of curcumin, its bioavailability has to be improved. One review looked at curcumin-encapsulated exosomes. (36) By delivering this substance in this manner, it is more bioavailable, making it achieve more significant concentrations in the blood.
19. Helps to Lower Blood Pressure
Renal hypoxia refers to reduced oxygen in the kidneys. The kidneys and heart are closely connected. When kidney diseases are present, the blood pressure can increase. A study shows that curcumin may help to reduce the increased blood pressure due to preventing renal hypoxia that occurs because of potassium dichromate. (37) The result was improved oxygen to the kidneys and potential protective effects.
Curcumin may help to improve blood circulation. When blood circulation is reduced, this may lead to high blood pressure. High blood pressure may also contribute to reduced circulation. Curcumin may benefit both issues, according to a study. (38)
20. Helps to Alleviate Stomach Cramps and Pain
Various studies have shown that curcumin is potentially beneficial for digestive function. (39) It may help to prevent various types of digestive upset, including stomach pain and stomach cramps. This is due to its possible positive effects on gut permeability and gut inflammation.
A study shows that curcumin has natural anti-inflammatory effects. (40) This may help to reduce the inflammation associated with various forms of bowel disease. By alleviating the inflammation, this may help to decrease the pain, cramps and other digestive symptoms.
It is easy to see why turmeric has grown in popularity so rapidly for various health needs. Talk to your doctor about incorporating this herb into your well-being regimen. This may help you to achieve a higher level of wellness.
21. Turmeric helps wounds heal more quickly.
Turmeric is a cooking spice, but the benefits of turmeric stretch far beyond the kitchen. Turmeric contains a natural chemical called curcumin. Curcumin has the propensity to heal skin wounds due to the compound’s ability to decrease inflammation. Furthermore, curcumin is a powerful antioxidant, which further aids in healing skin wounds. Although most experts are not certain why or how, curcumin also helps to change the way that the body responds to a wound. Each of these traits within curcumin do support the body’s ability to heal more quickly. (41)
22. Turmeric can aid in the process of regulating blood sugar.
Turmeric has even been touted as a natural supplement which can benefit diabetics. We’ve already discussed the idea that curcumin reduces inflammation. It also improves the ability of the body to use insulin. In time, the body’s increased insulin efficiency will lead to improved blood sugar levels. When blood sugar levels are consistent, those with pre-diabetes are less likely to develop the condition. Those with diabetes see many benefits. There is often a reduction in liver glucose and glycogen production as well as a suppression of the inflammation brought on by high blood sugar.
A 2012 study carried out by the American Diabetic Association found that taking six 250 mg capsules daily significantly improved a pre-diabetic’s chances of developing Type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, this natural supplement does not cause the side effects often associated with prescription diabetic medications such as metformin. (42)
23. Turmeric helps make skin look good by preventing pimples and clearing acne scars.
We already know that turmeric heals wounds more quickly, but you might not know that turmeric also helps to fight acne. Furthermore, some individuals use turmeric as the key ingredient in facial masks to fight scars that might result from acne. Again, the anti-inflammatory properties in curcumin give turmeric the ability to improve one’s skin. When taken as a supplement, turmeric has been found to kill a bacteria associated with certain types of acne, such as propionibacteria acnes. Turmeric is also shown to decrease the inflammation associated with acne, which can at least improve the appearance of acne in the user.
Turmeric has also been found to improve scars that are the result of hyperpigmentation. This means that dark acne scars could be improved with the use of turmeric. It should be noted that research on turmeric’s effect on pitted acne scars is not known. (43)
24. Turmeric can help prevent blood clots in the body
You might also be surprised to find that turmeric has some success in slowing the formation of blood clots. A 1999 study showed that turmeric can reduce the risk of clogged arteries, which can help to prevent strokes and some heart diseases. This study showed that turmeric keeps blood flowing by slowing down the aggregation of platelets in the blood.
Although this is great news, there must be a significant amount of turmeric absorbed in order for the blood clot inhibiting factor of turmeric to have a significant effect on the user.
One way that turmeric might also aid in preventing blood clots has to deal with the way that the herb affects collagen. When collagen is damaged, platelets often bind themselves to damaged collagen, which can eventually result in a clot. Curcumin regulates many factors within the platelets which lead to a clot, including the amount of calcium ions in platelets. (44)
25. Turmeric can help treat diabetes.
Again, we know that a 2012 study showed that those pre-diabetics who took 1,500 mg of turmeric per day were able to prevent the development of full-blown diabetes. We also know that turmeric improves the body’s production of insulin. Turmeric can fight insulin resistance by making cells more receptive to the presence of insulin. Furthermore, curcumin directly provides protection to the beta cells that produce insulin. Healthier beta cells mean improved insulin production and improved insulin absorption. (45)
26. Turmeric helps ease menstrual problems such as discomfort, cramping, bloating, and mood swings.
Another great health benefit of turmeric is the herb’s ability to provide some relief from premenstrual syndrome as well as cramps and other period discomfort. Again, the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric will aid in relieving the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome. Not only does turmeric help to prevent bloating and muscle cramps, turmeric also relieves pain due to headaches associated with PMS. Some research shows that turmeric can alleviate mood swings associated with PMS. (46)
27. Turmeric is antibacterial.
Just as turmeric has been shown to kill the bacteria that is associated with some types of acne, turmeric also kills many general bacteria as well. The antibacterial properties in curcumin also kill viruses and fungi. In fact, curcumin may also kill some parasites. (47)
28. Turmeric deters mosquitoes and other biting insects.
Recent research shows that turmeric might be a natural insect repellent. One study showed that essential oil made with turmeric not only prevented mosquito bites, but actually repelled the pests for up to nine hours. Many agricultural experts are touting turmeric as an organic pest repellent. Some others claim that turmeric is just as powerful as DEET at preventing mosquito bites. (48)
29. Turmeric has been known to aid in loosening stiff joints.
Those with arthritis and other chronic pain conditions such as fibromyalgia have found significant improvement in their stiff joints with the use of turmeric. Again, the anti-inflammatory properties of turmeric and curcumin are to credit here. Turmeric has been found to reduce the inflammation associated with arthritis. (49)
30. Turmeric helps maintain regular lipid levels.
Tumeric has also been proven to have a significant effect on improving the function of the liver. The spice prevents the production of cholesterol in the liver. Furthermore, the spice promotes the production of LDL (good) cholesterol which helps to rid the body of cholesterol. (50)
Tumeric has a great many beneficial properties. Tumeric can possibly prevent the development of type 2 diabetes, and it has been used to treat diabetes as well. The natural remedy can improve premenstrual syndrome and may prevent insect bites as well. There are so many wonderful benefits to taking this natural remedy. However, always check with a physician before beginning any treatment program.