If you can name a spice or herb that’s better at fighting and reversing disease than turmeric curcumin, we’re all ears. If you’re coming up blank, don’t worry, we understand why. It has surpassed garlic, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg as the top medicinal spice, and for good reason.
You might have looked up photos of turmeric and seen its resemblance to ginger. Curcuma longa is an herb native to India and other Southeast Asian countries. Turmeric is derived from the rhizome of the plant’s dried root, which is ground into the vibrant yellow color we’re all familiar with since this is what gives curry its distinct color.
Curcuminoids are the chemical compounds found in the plant, while its active form is called curcumin. The plant can only thrive in specific environments and temperatures, so you can’t exactly find it everywhere! But due to the growing demand for this amazing herb, the health industry has found ways to export it globally.
There are over 10,000 peer-reviewed studies on the benefits of turmeric curcumin, and among the most notable observations is that it can actually perform equally, (some claim even better) as pharmaceutical medications.
A quick rundown of its benefits shows that turmeric can reduce inflammation, boost the skin’s health, promote better cognitive function while also helping fight depression and anxiety, reduce pain, heal wounds, ease menstrual problems, and encourage the digestive tract to perform better.
You’ve probably seen turmeric tea or curcumin supplements in the health section of your grocery. Here’s why you should grab a pack or two next time.
Skin Care Boost
If you’re suffering from acne or even the occasional breakout during your time of the month, you’ll be glad to know that turmeric, with its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, can hinder the growth of pimple-causing bacteria and control oil production.
It’s also rich in antioxidants, so when used on the skin, it can help fight and reserve the damage caused by sun exposure and skin aging. It can also reduce the appearance of acne scars and dark spots, and speed up the healing process of any skin irritation, as well as calm rosacea.
There are already topical products on the market that feature turmeric as their main ingredient. If you’re into DIY masks, you can try recreating the Turmeric Face Mask from Live About and see its skin benefits for yourself!
When we think of inflammation, we generally think this is bad. But emerging research is saying that acute inflammation an actually beneficial to the body. It helps your entire system fight invaders like bacteria, which can easily take over our body and pose health threats.
A study published by Oncogene looked into the effectiveness of aspirin and ibuprofen and found them to be the least effective. In contrast, those with curcumin in the ingredients were cited among the most effective anti-inflammatories.
Some studies have even gone as far as to say that turmeric offers the same benefits as pharmaceutical drugs, and the best part is that it does the job without the side effects.
Inflammation also plays a role in repairing damage to the body. However, chronic, or long-term inflammation, has a connection with chronic diseases like metabolic syndrome, ulcerative colitis, degenerative health conditions, Alzheimer’s, and even cancer.
When you consider how turmeric works, one simple reason it’s a great aid in preventing and reversing disease is that it fights inflammation.
Arthritis and Joint Health
In Western countries, several forms of arthritis persist, the most common involving inflammation in the joints. You might have seen several ads and health products promising turmeric curcumin will help with arthritis, and while you might be used to these false promises, these claims about turmeric are actually true.
Patients with rheumatoid arthritis were given turmeric supplements and were asked to compare its benefits to prescription anti-inflammatory drugs. In the end, the study concluded that curcumin served these patients better than the drugs they were taking.
When people look into the reversal of diseases, one of the most tackled diseases in correlation to curcumin is cancer. For instance, Cancer Research UK has cited that curcumin possesses anticancer effects and can kill and prevent cancer cells from growing and spreading.
And it’s not just good for one type of cancer. In fact, across all studies, it’s been shown to have positive effects for patients with colorectal cancer, stomach cancer, breast cancer, and skin cancer.
The disease is often characterized as having uncontrolled production and growth of the cancer cells, which makes it hard to treat. Curcumin, being an anti-inflammatory agent for the body, can target these cells at a molecular level.
Research and trials have proven that it can slow down the growth of blood vessels in the tumors, reduce the spread of the disease, and overall help the body kill these cancerous cells. Animal tests can also attest to this, with studies concluding that turmeric curcumin can stop the growth of tumors in animals.
Okay, but what about cancer prevention? Cancer Prevention Research tells the story of a study wherein 44 men with existing colon lesions participated. When these lesions increase or worsen, it can lead to cancer, especially if left untreated. The study found that giving patients four grams of curcumin daily for a month reduced these lesions by 40%.
Improved Brain Function and Lower Risk of Cognitive Decline
Our neurons have the capacity to form new connections in the brain, as well as an increase in number. This is caused by the Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), the absence or decrease of which is linked to Alzheimer’s, and depression.
Curcumin increases the amount of BDNF in the brain, and as a result, can improve the cases of cognitive decline by reversing, delaying, or preventing it. Results of animal studies also open the discussion on curcumin’s ability to improve overall brain function and memory.
Weight Management and Obesity
Turmeric curcumin has the capacity to speed up the body’s metabolism rate, which can help the body burn more calories in a shorter span of time. In terms of obesity, a study found that the anti-inflammatory functions of curcumin combat the inflammation that comes with obesity.
It can also improve other symptoms that typically cause weight gain, such as detoxing the liver to avoid buildup of toxins. When harmful substances aren’t eliminated from the body and instead stored in the liver, this interferes with the body’s overall function and lead to weight gain.