Medical Benefits of Turmeric
Turmeric is a perennial plant that produces dull yellow flowers and is a member of the ginger plant family. It has a warm bitter taste and is the main spice used in curry; it is also used to color certain foods, such as mustard, butter, and cheese.
Turmeric contains the chemical curcumin which decreases inflammation and is a solid antioxidant. Antioxidants protect the body from free radicals, because of these qualities, turmeric is often used as a nutritional supplement.
Short-term inflammation plays an important role in the body because the inflammation process fights harmful bacteria; however, long-term inflammation tends to attack the body's own tissue. Curcumin, found in turmeric, is a powerful anti-inflammatory and boosts antioxidants in the body. Reduced inflammation and proper oxidation in the body reduce the risk of both heart disease and Alzheimer's disease. Curcumin also reduces the risk of certain cancers. Additionally, curcumin is sometimes more beneficial than anti-inflammatory medications for those suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. Curcumin has also been proven to be an effective antidepressant.
Turmeric has proven to be an effective alternative treatment to reduce cholesterol, decrease arthritic pain, relieve itching caused by kidney disease, lower risk of heart attack after bypass surgery, and aid with issues surrounding inflammatory bowel disease. It also helps with heartburn, joint pain, Crohn’s disease, stomach bloating, fatigue, gallbladder disorders, headaches, bronchitis, lung infections, fibromyalgia, tuberculosis, sprains, swellings, hay fever, menstrual problems, and systemic lupus erythematosus. Turmeric has also been known to actually improve memory.
Turmeric supplements are usually safe and typically do not cause any significant side effects. Some people have reported abnormal heart rhythm, nausea, dizziness, and/or diarrhea. Turmeric is safe while pregnant and breastfeeding if consumed via food sources; however, if taken in a supplement form, it can stimulate the uterus and cause menstruation.
Turmeric warnings include, but are not limited to, worsened gallbladder problems if duct obstruction or gallstones are present, decreased blood clotting, decreased blood sugar, worsened effects of GERD, worsened hormone-sensitive conditions, lowered testosterone, and decreased absorption of iron. Turmeric supplements should not be taken with aspirin, copidogrel, ibuprofen, naproxen, heparin, warfarin, dalteparin, and diclofenac.
The therapeutic dosage of turmeric depends on the condition being treated. It is important to use a turmeric supplement with Piperine as it enhances curcumin absorption. As with any medication, vitamin, or herb supplement, a thorough evaluation should be performed by a health care professional before taking a turmeric supplement.