Hi Moms and Dads,
How’s your Tumeric knowledge? I am only asking because I, as of late, have become a bit Tumeric-obsessed. I cook with it. I sprinkle it on foods (cooked and raw). I drink it (relax, we will talk about that further down).
Turmeric is often used by people as a substitute for a lot of pharmaceutical drugs (check with your Doctor, this is all anecdotal): Drugs for inflammation, chemo drugs, aspirin, pain killers and opioids, diabetes drugs, cholesterol medications, steroids and even anti-depressants.
There is research that suggests that Turmeric can relieve symptoms of vascular thrombosis. This is a condition that can lead to Embolism, which has been known to kill people. Turmeric is an anti-thrombotic or anti-coagulant agent which helps relieve clotting.
Turmeric has been linked to improving symptoms caused from depression. Odd that a spice would be capable of this, right? Maybe not so much….the journal of Phytotherapy Research conducted a study using 60 volunteers who were diagnosed with major depressive disorder. The study revealed that Turmeric is more effective than Prozac at relieving symptoms of depression. (1)
A European Journal of Pharmacology study showed that Turmeric activated a natural opioid reaction in the body, making it a potential painkiller substitute. (2)
One important note, you should always include black pepper, piperine, when you eat Turmeric so that it helps the liver absorb it. Here’s a great study on the matter if you need further explanation.
What Is Turmeric?
It’s a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. It is known as one of the world’s healthiest foods. It’s a spice many enjoy in Indian inspired dishes.
But did you know it is also super healthy? Let’s have a look at some research into the goodness of this amazingly powerful spice.
Curcumin is the natural compound found in turmeric. It is known to greatly reduce inflammation. An inflamed body is an unhealthy body.
Tumeric is known to help protect the brain from cognitive issues, such as Alzheimer’s and even dementia. Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) is a growth hormone linked to brain disorders. Curcumin has been shown to reduce or even delay these effects. (source)
Tumeric is said to slow (or stop) the growth of cancer. According to Cancer Research UK, one study showed that turmeric could stop precancerous cells from becoming full-blown cancer. Additionally, specific cancers have been shown to be much lower in countries which consume a lot of turmeric. Here’s some additional research posted from the same linked source.
A number of laboratory studies on cancer cells have shown that curcumin does have anticancer effects. It seems to be able to kill cancer cells and prevent more from growing. It has the best effects on breast cancer, bowel cancer, stomach cancer and skin cancer cells.
A 2007 American study that combined curcumin with chemotherapy to treat bowel cancer cells in a laboratory showed that the combined treatment killed more cancer cells than the chemotherapy alone.
A 2007 American study in mice seemed to show that curcumin helped to stop the spread of breast cancer cells to other parts of the body.
Doctors think that curcumin stays in the digestive system and is absorbed by the cells in the bowel. To find out more, a small study in the UK looked at how curcumin is absorbed from the human gut into liver cells. This study looked at how much of the curcumin is absorbed into both cancer cells and normal cells. This was a very small study of people with bowel cancer that had spread to the liver. They were given curcumin for 7 days before surgery.
Try it in water
I know that this is going to sound pretty gross, but it isn’t as bad as it sounds. I do this a few times a week, actually. Clearly, it doesn’t taste like fruit punch! But, it does improve my health and a little odd taste isn’t going to get in my way. It doesn’t taste, “bad,” however, which surprised me.
Tumeric could improve your digestion by reducing inflammation inside of your digestive track. A study at the University of Maryland’s Medical Center turmeric might be a good solution for indigestion and ulcerative colitis.
Indigestion or Dyspepsia
Curcumin stimulates the gallbladder to produce bile, which some people think may help improve digestion. The German Commission E, which determines which herbs can be safely prescribed in Germany, has approved turmeric for digestive problems. And one double-blind, placebo-controlled study found that turmeric reduced symptoms of bloating and gas in people suffering from indigestion.
Turmeric may help people with ulcerative colitis stay in remission. Ulcerative colitis is a chronic disease of the digestive tract where symptoms tend to come and go. In one double-blind, placebo-controlled study, people whose ulcerative colitis was in remission took either curcumin or placebo, along with conventional medical treatment, for 6 months. Those who took curcumin had a significantly lower relapse rate than those who took placebo.
I am not going to lie, I am a simpleton. I don’t do anything super extravagant. However, here are the things I do do.
- I sprinkle it on my eggs after they are cooked. (usually, I pepper a little during the cooking process as well, but I aim to ingest a good amount of raw).
- I put it on all of my meats, such as chicken, pork and steak. I’ve had it on tofu, as well. I particularly enjoy mixing it with Cayenne pepper. Again, I put a little on for cooking process and more on following the cooking process.
- I love using it in the Intant pot on practically anything I cook in there! It traps the flavor and makes anything I cook have that slight Indian flavor!
Turmeric Side Effects
Some people do experience certain side effects from Turmeric, which is why it is always important to check with a medical professional before using.
- Increased risk of bleeding
- Increased liver function tests
- Hyperactive gallbladder contractions
- Hypotension (lowered blood pressure)
- Uterine contractions in pregnant women
- Increased menstrual flow
- Sanmukhani J, et al. Efficacy and Safety of Curcumin in Major Depressive Disorder: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Phytother Res 2013; [Epub ahead of print].
- Banafshe HR, et al. Effect of curcumin on diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain: Possible involvement of opioid system. Eur J Pharmacol 2013; [Epub ahead of print].