Turmeric is a bright yellow colored spice, acquired from a tropical plant “Curcuma Longa”, originating from the ginger family.
It is most common for the region of southwest India and Indonesia, where it is considered to be a sacred spice and is deeply associated with the culture of the Indian people.
Every Indian consumes 2 grams of turmeric each day.
Recently, turmeric has become a rather popular spice and has had a significant increase in consumption in Japan as well as in the West.
The Anti-inflammatory Effects of Turmeric
Studies have shown that turmeric has the strongest anti-inflammatory effect in the plant world. Curcumin (the main ingredient in turmeric) inhibits (stops) the enzyme activity of COX-2 (cyclooxygenase), which is responsible for the creation of molecules that cause inflammation.
We know how inflammation comes in the same package with a large number of diseases, starting from inflammatory conditions of the skin (psoriasis, dermatitis), joint inflammation, autoimmune diseases (allergy, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, collagen…), mucosa damage of the gastrointestinal tract where it can cause ulcers, polyps, and later carcinoma.
The effect of turmeric is very important in light of the latest results as a good substitute for synthetic anti-inflammatory agents (corticosteroids) that cause serious and permanent side effects.
Turmeric is one of the most thoroughly researched plants today. Its medicinal properties and components (especially curcumine) has been the subject of more than 5,600 published reviews and biomedical research. In fact, in the five-year research project on the “sacred plant” scientists discovered more than 600 potential preventive and therapeutic applications, as well as 175 different beneficial physiological effects.
Given the number and the density of studies carried out on this important spice, it is not surprising that a growing number of studies have found that turmeric is more useful than a variety of conventional drugs, including:
• Lipitor / atorvastatin (cholesterol drug): a 2008 survey published in the R & D journal for drugs revealed that a standardized preparation of the curcuminoids from turmeric worked better than Lipitor on endothelial dysfunction, underlying pathology of the blood vessels that drives atherosclerosis, reducing inflammation and oxidative stress in patients with type 2 diabetes.
• Corticosteroids (steroid drugs): A study published back in 1999 in the Phytotherapy Research journal has shown that the primary polyphenol in turmeric, saffron pigment known as curcumina, had a better impact than steroids on the management of chronic anterior uveitis, an inflammatory eye disease.
• Prozac / Fluoxetine & Imipramine (antidepressant): A study published in 2011 in the Acta Pharmaceutica Polonie journal revealed that turmeric worked better compared to both drugs in reducing depressive behavior in animals.
• Aspirin (blood thinner): In vitro and ex vivo studies, published in 1986 in the Arzneimittelforschung journal found that turmeric has anti-platelet and prostacyclin modulating effect in relation to aspirin, which means that it can be used in patients prone to vascular thrombosis and in anti- -arthritis therapy.
• Anti-inflammatory drugs: A study published in 2004 in the Oncogene journal, found that turmeric (same as resveratrol) was more effective than aspirin, ibuprofen, sulindac, phenylbutazone, Naproxen, Indomethacin, diclofenac, dexamethasone, celecoxib, and Tamoxifen.
• Oxaliplatin (chemotherapeutic drugs): In 2007 the International Cancer Journal showed that turmeric could be compared with oxaliplatin as an anti proliferative drug in colorectal cell lines.
• Metformin (diabetes drug): The Biochemistry and Biophysical journal back in 2009 published a study that examined how turmeric can be valuable in the treatment of diabetes. They found that it activates AMPK (which increases glucose uptake) and suppresses gluconeogenic gene expression (which suppresses the formation of glucose liver) in hematoma cells. Interestingly, they found that turmeric is from 500 times to 100,000 times (in the form known as tetrahydrocurcuminoids (THC)) more potent than metformin in activating AMPK and its further targeted acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC).
Another way that turmeric and its constituent parts reveal their extraordinary healing properties was shown in the study on drugs for resistant and multi-drug resistant tumors.
54 studies found that turmeric may cause the death of cancer cells or weaken the resistant cancer cell lines with conventional treatment.
Given the strong footprint from turmeric (curcumine) research, and also having been used as food and medicine in a wide range of cultures, for thousands of years, a strong argument can be made for the use of turmeric as an alternative medicine or a catalyst for the treatment of cancer.
Use organic (non-irradiated) turmeric, in lower culinary doses on a daily basis, but never use greater doses later in life given the fact it may be the basis for a serious illness.