Chronic pain affects 1.5 billion people world wide. That means that 1.5 Billion people in this world are in constant pain 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! Many people that suffer from chronic pain are looking for alternative treatments for many reasons. They have exhausted all options in the medical community, the side effects of the options available prove to be more pronounced than the actual condition, or they have made a personal choice not to pump chemicals in their body.
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.
Turmeric comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant and has a tough brown skin and a deep orange flesh. Both the ancient Chinese and Indian systems of medicine have recognized curcumin’s (Curcumin, which has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, is the most active constituent of turmeric) beneficial properties for thousands of years, and now modern research is showing it may be one of nature’s most powerful potential healers.
Most notably, curcumin is known for its potent anti-inflammatory properties. The compound has been shown to influence more than 700 genes, and it can inhibit both the activity and the synthesis of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX2) and 5-lipooxygenase (5-LOX), as well as other enzymes that have been implicated in inflammation.
One of the most comprehensive summaries of turmeric studies to date was published by the respected ethnobotanist James A. Duke, Phd., in the October, 2007 issue of Alternative & Complementary Therapies, and summarized in the July, 2008, issue of the American Botanical Council publication HerbClip.
Reviewing some 700 studies, Duke concluded that turmeric appears to outperform many pharmaceuticals in its effects against several chronic, debilitating diseases, and does so 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 in addressing 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 sixdifferent 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 in the handbookPhytochemicals: Mechanisms of Action, curcumin and/or turmeric were effective in animal models in prevention and/or treatment of colon cancer, mammary cancer, prostate cancer, murine hepatocarcinogenesis (liver cancer in rats), esophageal cancer, and oral cancer. Duke said that the effectiveness of the herb against these cancers compared favorably with that reported for pharmaceuticals.
“Natural anti-inflammatory herbs, including turmeric, ginger, and boswellia may work as well as aspirin and ibuprofen for treating osteoarthritis. Follow package directions and give it at least two months before deciding if it is working for you.” Dr. Weil
How to take Turmeric
Add this spice to your food! I love Turmeric in smoothies, eggs (Tofu or real eggs), Rice, roasted veggies, and soups.
Turmeric Golden Milk
Turmeric is capable of thinning the blood and should only be used under the supervision of a trained health practitioner. Do not combine them with medicines used for thinning the blood, such as coumadin or warfarin. If bleeding occurs while using these herbs, stop taking them immediately and seek medical attention.