What is Turmeric?

Turmeric is a spice that comes from the root of the Indian turmeric plant. It is a member of the ginger family. It is the principle ingredient in curry dishes that gives the iconic yellow color to those dishes. It is also what gives many types of mustard, butters, and cheeses their yellow color.

What Are The Health Benefits Of Turmeric?

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Turmeric has been documented to having been used for at least 4000 years. Not only has it been used for cooking, but many cultures have used it for medicinal purposes. Some of its health benefits include treating digestive and liver problems, skin diseases, wounds, and acting as an anti-inflammatory.

In addition to its many health benefits, one of the main components of turmeric, curcumin, is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants help prevent and fight off free radicals from attacking the body’s cells and causing damage. Curcumin has also been used to prevent blood clotting, strokes, and heart attacks.

One of the other effects of curcumin is to increase stomach acids and bile production. Many physicians believe that this helps in the digestive process.

How Do Turmeric Supplements work?

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People with ulcerative colitis have also seen benefits from curcumin. In a double-blind clinical study, those people who took curcumin along with their regular prescribed treatment medication saw a much lower relapse rate.

The most popular use of turmeric has been for inflammation. Studies have shown that curcumin produces the same results as cortisone or rheumatoid arthritis medications. It is the lack of side effects that is making curcumin a higher demanded alternative than its prescription counterparts.

A newer use of curcumin is to prevent and treat cancer patients. Animal testing and studies have been showing that cancers such as prostate, colon, skin, and breast cancer have seen positive results curcumin treatments because of its antioxidant powers.

Studies have shown that curcumin inhibits malignant tumor cell growth and prohibits the spread of these dangerous cells in the body. One study has even shown that tumors can be reduced as much as 81%. More studies are still needed and it is recommended that a physician is consulted before using it to treat cancer.

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The reason for consulting a physician is that, although the USDA considers turmeric as safe to consume, turmeric may have adverse effects when taken with certain medications or when used under high concentration for long periods of time. People that are already on blood thinners, diabetic medications, or heart medications are especially at risk for adverse side effects because of its blood thinning properties. Turmeric tends to lower blood sugar levels and can lead to hypoglycemic shock. Even using turmeric with aspirin should be avoided. Known medications that can have adverse side effects with turmeric include Zantac, Pepcid, Nexium, Prevacid, and Tagament.

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