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Turmeric Leaves
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Turmeric Leaves and Roots

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The medicinal herb Turmeric as an alternative herbal remedy to regulate menstruation - Known for its warm, bitter taste and golden color, turmeric is commonly used in fabric dyes and foods such as curry powders, mustards, and cheeses. It should not be confused with Javanese turmeric.Common Names--turmeric, turmeric root, Indian saffron

Latin Names--Curcuma longa

article source: verbatim from wikipedia

India and Pakistan are significant producers of turmeric which has regional names based on language and country. The name appears to derive from the Latin, terra merita (merited earth) or turmeryte, possibly related to saffron. As turmeric is a natural botanical compound, it is not patentable.

Turmeric has been used in India for thousands of years and is a major part of Ayurvedic medicine. It was first used as a dye and then later for its possible medicinal properties.

Turmeric grows wild in the forests of South and Southeast Asia. It is one of the key ingredients in many Asian dishes. Indian traditional medicine, called Ayurveda, has recommended turmeric in food for its potential medicinal value, which is a topic of active research. Its use as a coloring agent is not of primary value in South Asian cuisine. In Vietnam, turmeric powder is used to color, and enhance the flavors of, certain dishes, such as bánh xèo, bánh khọt and mì quảng. The powder is also used in many other Vietnamese stir fried and soup dishes. In Indonesia, the turmeric leaves are used for Minangese or Padangese curry base of Sumatra, such as rendang, sate padang and many other varieties. Although most turmeric that is used is in the form of rhizome powder, in some regions (especially in Maharashtra, Goa, Konkan and Kanara), turmeric leaves are used to wrap and cook food. This use of turmeric leaves usually takes place in areas where turmeric is grown locally, since the leaves used are freshly picked. Turmeric leaves impart a distinctive flavor. In recipes outside South Asia, turmeric is sometimes used as an agent to impart a rich, custard-like yellow color. It is used in canned beverages and baked products, dairy products, ice cream, yogurt, yellow cakes, orange juice, biscuits, popcorn color, sweets, cake icings, cereals, sauces, gelatins, etc. It is a significant ingredient in most commercial curry powders. Turmeric is mostly used in savory dishes, but is used in some sweet dishes, such as the cake Sfouf. In India, turmeric plant leaf is used to prepare special sweet dishes, patoleo, by layering rice flour and coconut-jaggery mixture on the leaf, and then closing and steaming it in a special copper steamer (goa). Although typically used in its dried, powdered form, turmeric is also used fresh, like ginger. It has numerous uses in Far Eastern recipes, such as pickle made from fresh turmeric that contains large chunks of soft turmeric. Turmeric is widely used as a spice in South Asian and Middle Eastern cooking. Many Persian dishes use turmeric as a starter ingredient. Almost all Iranian fried dishes consist of oil, onions, and turmeric followed by any other ingredients that are to be included. In Nepal, turmeric is widely grown and extensively used in many vegetable and meat dishes for its color as well as for its potential value in traditional medicine. In South Africa, turmeric is used to give boiled white rice a golden color. In medieval Europe, turmeric became known as Indian saffron because it was widely used as an alternative to the far more expensive saffron spice.

Phytochemicals found in turmeric have been investigated in preliminary research for their potential effects on diseases,[9] such as cancer, Alzheimer's disease, arthritis, diabetes and other clinical disorders. As an example of such basic research, turmeric reduced the severity of pancreatitis-associated lung injury in mice.

According to one report, research activity into curcumin and turmeric is increasing. The U.S. National Institutes of Health currently has registered 71 clinical trials completed or underway to study use of dietary curcumin for a variety of clinical disorders (dated September 2012).

Some research shows compounds in turmeric to have anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties; however, curcumin is not one of them.[21] In another preliminary research example, curcumin is being studied for whether it alters the response to chemotherapy in patients with advanced bowel cancer, as found in a laboratory study.

Turmeric makes a poor fabric dye, as it is not very light fast. However, turmeric is commonly used in Indian and Bangladeshi clothing, such as saris and Buddhist monks' robes.[24]Turmeric (coded as E100 when used as a food additive, indicating how it is used as a food coloring since it normally gives food slightly yellow color) is used to protect food products from sunlight. The oleoresin is used for oil-containing products. The curcumin/polysorbate solution or curcumin powder dissolved in alcohol is used for water-containing products. Over-coloring, such as in pickles, relishes, and mustard, is sometimes used to compensate for fading. In combination with annatto (E160b), turmeric has been used to color cheeses, yogurt, dry mixes, salad dressings, winter butter and margarine. Turmeric is also used to give a yellow color to some prepared mustards, canned chicken broths and other foods (often as a much cheaper replacement for saffron).

Turmeric has also been used in India as a method for hair removal and skin treatment.[26] It is usually made into a paste with yogurt or milk, applied to the desired area and allowed to dry. After it dries it is rubbed off taking some hair with it. This process is repeated many times and ultimately prevents future hair from growing in that area

Turmeric is considered highly auspicious in India and has been used extensively in various Indian ceremonies for millennia. Even today it is used in every part of India during wedding ceremonies and religious ceremonies. It is used in Pujas to make a form of Lord Ganesha. Ganesha, the remover of obstacles, is invoked at the beginning of almost any ceremony and a form of Ganesha for this purpose is made by mixing turmeric with water and forming it into a cone-like shape. Gaye holud (literally "yellow on the body") is a ceremony observed mostly in the region of Bengal (comprising Bangladesh and Indian West Bengal). The gaye holud takes place one or two days prior to the religious and legal Bengali wedding ceremonies. The turmeric paste is applied by friends to the bodies of the couple. This is said to soften the skin, but also colors them with the distinctive yellow hue that gives its name to this ceremony. It may be a joint event for the bride and groom's families, or it may consist of separate events for the bride's family and the groom's family. During the south Indian festival Pongal, a whole turmeric plant with fresh rhizomes is offered as a thanksgiving offering to Surya, the Sun god. Also, the fresh plant sometimes is tied around the sacred Pongal pot in which an offering of pongal is prepared.

In southern India, as a part of the marriage ritual, dried turmeric tuber tied with string is used to replace the Mangalsutra temporarily or permanently. The Hindu Marriage act recognizes this custom. Thali necklace is the equivalent of marriage rings of west. In western and coastal India, during weddings of the Marathi and Konkani people turmeric tubers are tied with strings by the couple to their wrists during a ceremony called Kankanabandhana.

Modern Neopagans list it with the quality of fire, and it is used for power and purification rites. Friedrich Ratzel in The History of Mankind reported in 1896 that in Micronesia the preparation of turmeric powder for embellishment of body, clothing and utensils had a highly ceremonial character.[28] He quotes an example of the roots being ground by four to six women in special public buildings and then allowed to stand in water. The following morning, three young coconuts and three old soma nuts are offered by a priestess with prayer, after which the dye which has settled down in the water is collected, baked into cakes in coconut molds, wrapped in banana leaves, and hung up in the huts till required for use.

Turmeric contains up to 5% essential oils and up to 5%[dubious – discuss] curcumin, a polyphenol. Curcumin is the active substance of turmeric and curcumin is known as C.I. 75300, or Natural Yellow 3. The systematic chemical name is (1E,6E)-1,7-bis(4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenyl)-1,6-heptadiene-3,5-dione.

It can exist at least in two tautomeric forms, keto and enol. The keto form is preferred in solid phase and the enol form in solution. Curcumin is a pH indicator. In acidic solutions (pH <7.4) it turns yellow, whereas in basic (pH > 8.6) solutions it turns bright red.

What Turmeric Is Used For

  • In traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurvedic medicine, turmeric has been used as an herbal remedy to aid digestion and liver function, relieve arthritis pain, and regulate menstruation.
  • Turmeric has also been applied directly to the skin for eczema and wound healing.
  • Today, turmeric is used for conditions such as heartburn, stomach ulcers, and gallstones. It is also used to reduce inflammation, as well as to prevent and treat cancer.

How Turmeric Is Used

  • Turmeric's finger-like underground stems (rhizomes) are dried and taken by mouth as a powder or in capsules, teas, or liquid extracts. Turmeric can also be made into a paste and used on the skin.

Herbal Remedy Products with Turmeric as part of the ingredients

  • EcoSlim™ : Herbal supplement for healthy weight and balanced metabolism

Uses: Supports energy levels and balance in the stomach and digestive system*

    • Supports healthy efforts*
    • Helps maintain existing healthy weight and efficient metabolism*
    • Supports break down of dietary fats in the digestive system*
    • Supports balanced sugar levels for balanced mood*
    • Reduces the desire for ‘comfort’ eating*

What the Science Says about Turmeric

  • There is little reliable evidence to support the use of turmeric for any health condition because few clinical trials have been conducted. *Preliminary findings from animal and laboratory studies suggest that a chemical found in turmeric--called curcumin--may have anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties, but these findings have not been confirmed in people.
  • NCCAM-funded investigators are studying the active chemicals in turmeric and their effects--particularly anti-inflammatory effects--in people to better understand how turmeric might be used for health purposes.

News About Turmeric

How curry spice helped a dying woman beat cancer: Sufferer, 67, turned to kitchen cupboard staple turmeric after five years of failed treatment

By Lois Rogers (The Daily Mail)
• Dieneke Ferguson was diagnosed with the blood cancer myeloma in 2007 and underwent three rounds of chemotherapy as well as four stem cell transplants
• She tried Curcumin, a component of turmeric, and five years on, her cancer cell count is negligible, with her recovery featuring in the British Medical Journal
• Curcumin has been linked to a host of benefits, including for heart disease

After five years of living with cancer and the ravages of side-effects from repeated unsuccessful treatment, Dieneke Ferguson thought she was finally losing the battle. She had a serious relapse and there seemed little hope.

Dieneke had been diagnosed with the blood cancer myeloma in 2007 and had undergone three rounds of chemotherapy as well as four stem cell transplants.

‘I have been on all sorts of toxic drugs and the side-effects were terrifying,’ she says. ‘At one point I lost my memory for three days, and in 2008 two of the vertebrae in my spine collapsed so I couldn’t walk. They injected some kind of concrete into my spine to keep it stable.’

Yet, despite all this, ‘nothing worked: there was just too much cancer — all my options were exhausted, and there was nothing else I could do,’ she says.

Then Dieneke started a new treatment — not another high-tech, expensive drug, but a remedy based on something many of us have in our kitchen cupboards. Where all others had failed, this one worked, and five years on, Dieneke’s cancer cell count is negligible.

The treatment? Curcumin, which is a key component of the spice turmeric. Dieneke’s recovery was so extraordinary that it recently made the pages of the eminent British Medical Journal as a one-off case report of how a natural ingredient was somehow keeping cancer at bay.

‘When you review her chart, there’s no alternative explanation [for her recovery] other than we’re seeing a response to curcumin,’ Jamie Cavenagh, professor of blood diseases at London’s Barts Hospital and co-author of the report, said.

Dieneke is still taking 8g of curcumin in tablet form daily — the equivalent of about two teaspoonfuls of pure powdered curcumin. As kitchen turmeric contains 2 per cent curcumin, it would be physically impossible to eat enough of the curry spice to get the same dose of curcumin.

She first came across the remedy via an internet support group and decided to try it because, as she says: ‘I had nothing to lose’.

‘I told my oncologist I was taking it and he was very interested, especially when it apparently made such a difference,’ says Dieneke, 67, who lives in North London and runs Hidden Art, a not-for-profit business helping artists market their work.

Every year about 5,500 people in the UK are diagnosed with myeloma. It occurs when the white blood cells produced in the bone marrow multiply uncontrollably and stop producing the normal antibodies needed to fight infection. The process causes bone damage, intense pain, fatigue and nerve damage.

It can be checked by drugs, but is incurable. Most people who develop it do not live beyond five years of diagnosis. Dieneke is convinced curcumin could help some of them. ‘The problem is that the medical profession can’t recommend it,’ she says.

For although it is widely used in Eastern medicine, and has been studied for its anti-inflammatory and antiseptic effects, for curcumin to be widely prescribed it must be tested in large-scale trials.

These cost millions, and the investment could never be repaid as there is no money to be made from sales of a natural compound that cannot be patented.

And yet there is good evidence ‘the biological activity’ of curcumin is ‘real’, according to Julie Ryan, a cancer specialist at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York. She told the journal Nature chemically modified forms may be more effective at reaching tissues, as the raw form interacts with various proteins so works differently from many drugs.

Curcumin has been linked to a host of benefits, including for heart disease, infection, depression and dementia. A U.S. review of evidence for skin conditions, such as acne and psoriasis found ‘there is early evidence that turmeric/curcumin products and supplements, both oral and topical, may provide therapeutic benefits for skin health’.

A 2016 review, published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, found there is scientific evidence to support the use of turmeric extract in treating arthritis. However, the researchers called for larger, more rigorous studies to confirm this.

One of those convinced by curcumin’s potential is Angus Dalgleish, a professor of cancer at St George’s Hospital in South London, who has researched its effect on his patients. ‘Curcumin is a strong anti-inflammatory agent and chronic inflammation is the precursor of 99 per cent of all cancers,’ he says.

‘Taking regular anti-inflammatory agents such as aspirin is known to reduce risk of colon cancer by around 30 per cent and have an impact on the incidence of others, too, but lack of funding for research has prevented most from benefiting from curcumin.’

However, Karen Brown, a professor of translational cancer research at the University of Leicester, has recently got funding for a small trial. She is about to publish results from a study expected to show promising results of curcumin treatment for patients with advanced bowel cancer.

‘There were only 28 people in this study, but the conclusions are strong enough to make us want to do bigger trials,’ she says.

It clearly doesn’t work for everyone, but it can work for some people, adds Professor Cavenagh.

‘A lot of my patients take curcumin at different stages of their treatment. I don’t object to it. Dieneke’s is the best response I have observed and it is clear-cut because we had stopped all other treatment. I have not seen such a convincing response before.’

Maggie Lai, senior research and clinical information specialist at the charity Myeloma UK, also helped with the BMJ report. She cautioned against raising hope for a miracle cure for cancer: ‘Curcumin seems to work for some people and not others, but we don’t know how it works and this was only a one-off case.’

One of the main problems for researchers, says Professor Brown, is finding a curcumin product that contains a standardised dose, and a formulation with an ingredient that modifies curcumin molecules to improve their absorption.

She believes an Italian curcumin product, marketed here as Turmeric+, containing soy lecithin, which studies have shown is 29 times better absorbed in the bloodstream, could resolve these difficulties. She hopes to get funding for trials using this formulation. It costs £20 for a 28-day supply.

Adam Cleevely, managing director of FutureYou, which has the distribution rights to Turmeric+, says the company is in talks with universities, including Leicester, to get more human research studies set up.

Dieneke uses a product from an Indian company called Sabinsa, made from three forms of curcumin molecules and which has been recommended by patient forums.

‘However, the tablets are expensive — £50 for ten days — but provide a form of curcumin that’s better absorbed by the body. If it was available on the NHS it would be much cheaper,’ she says.

The Spice that Could Help Boost Memory in Just One Hour

By Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook (PhD, DNM)

Now there’s one more reason to enjoy your favorite curry dish. Turmeric, a spice commonly found in many Indian curry dishes, has been found to improve memory and cognition in as little as one hour.

In an exciting study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, the effects of one of turmeric’s active ingredients known as curcumin was tested on sixty healthy adults aged sixty to eighty-five to determine whether the spice has any short- or long-term memory or cognitive effects.

Conducted at the Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne, Australia, researches assessed the mental effects of curcumin supplementation after one hour, three hours and four weeks. They conducted multiple tests to determine whether the participants had any mood, cognitive or blood marker effects that might indicate curcumin’s immediate or long-term effects. In just one hour after taking the supplement the participants showed significant performance improvement on memory and attention tasks compared to the placebo group.

The participants had many impressive results after four weeks of treatment with curcumin as well. The scientists indicated that working memory, energy levels, calmness and contentedness (as measures of mood) and even fatigue induced by psychological stress were significantly improved following the long-term treatment with the supplement. Participants also had lower cholesterol levels after taking the curcumin supplement.

Even Alzheimer’s patients with severe symptoms, including dementia, irritability, agitation, anxiety and apathy, showed excellent therapeutic results when taking curcumin in a study published in the Japanese medical journal Ayu. When participants took 764 mg of turmeric with a standardized amount of 100 mg/day of curcumin for twelve weeks, they “started recovering from these symptoms without any adverse reaction in the clinical symptom and laboratory data.” After three months of treatment the patients’ symptoms and their reliance on caregivers significantly decreased. After one year of treatment two of the patients recognized their family members when they were unable to do so at the outset of the study. In one of the cases the person had a 17 percent improvement on their Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score.

The study results were achieved using a brand of curcumin called Longvida; however there are many other excellent brands. Ideally choose a standardized extract of curcumin. Follow package directions. Consult your physician prior to taking curcumin. I recommend 400 mg of curcumin three times daily for people suffering from brain disorders, working with a physician.

6 Life-Changing Benefits Of Turmeric That Will Seriously Blow Your Mind

By Imani Brammer

Turmeric is one of those spices you should always aim to include when it comes to seasoning your food.

A little dabble goes a long way, especially if you use it consistently in your day-to-day life.

What makes it so special is that the spice contains curcumin, which is responsible for most of turmeric's mystical properties.

Though turmeric contains only 2 to 6 percent curcumin, the benefits of that one ingredient go a seriously long way.

Here's a taste of just a few of those benefits to get you started on the path to ultimate wellness.

1. It Helps With Inflammation

Though short-term inflammation of the body is nothing to worry about, chronic inflammation can lead to serious conditions such as heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer's disease.

Actually, studies show that, in India, diagnoses of Alzheimer's disease are pretty low, and it appears to be due to turmeric's major role in the Indian diet.

2. It Improves Brain Function

Again, it all comes down to that curcumin.

Curcumin helps to improve working memory, as well as attention span and mood in elderly adults.

According to a 2014 study, 60 healthy adults showed significantly improved performance on attention and working memory tasks only one hour after receiving a single dose of 400 mg of curcumin, compared with those who received a placebo.

This stuff is pure magic, baby.

3. It Improves Blood Flow

Damn, curcumin is doing a whole lot for turmeric, as it also plays a role in unclogging arteries and improving blood circulation.

This is because curcumin reduces plaque buildup in the arteries, which means it stops blood clots from forming.

Seriously, what can't turmeric do?!

4. It Helps To Prevent And Treat Cancer

Apparently, curcumin can help stop cancer cells from dividing.

What type of sorcery is this?

It's been shown to help the body rid itself of damaged cells, a process also known as programmed cell death. Curcumin can kill damaged cells while still leaving other cells healthy and intact, unlike chemotherapy.

5. It Improves Heart Health

Actually, turmeric is said to improve heart health just as much as exercise. How 'bout dat, fam?!

According to GreenMedInfo, turmeric reduces post-bypass heart risk by 56 percent.

Not only that, but the effects it has on heart health are similar to the effects that aerobic exercise has on heart health, and it improves vascular function in post-menopausal women.

6. It Fights Depression

Curcumin can possibly be just as effective as an antidepressant.

Its work with depression is related to its anti-inflammatory properties because people with depression have greater inflammation and oxidative stress, which can affect all major organs in the body, including the brain, according to Psychiatry Advisor.

So, basically, turmeric can save your life in more ways than one. Be sure to pick this baby up on your next grocery run.

7 Ways Turmeric Can Help Your Belly Issues

By Marissa Laliberte

The earthy spice used in curry can help relieve heartburn, gas, and more, as Britt Brandon explains in 'Turmeric for Health: 100 Amazing and Unexpected Uses for Turmeric.'

Relieve heartburn

More than 60 million Americans have heartburn at least once a month. If you keep experiencing it, despite avoiding alcohol, caffeine, fatty foods, and cigarettes, look to turmeric for a natural remedy. A study in the journal Systematic Reviews found that volunteers who ate a teaspoon of the spice twice a day aided esophagus and colon function, helping them recover from indigestion faster. “The potent compounds in turmeric also relieve the underlying issues of acid and bile overproduction, thereby promoting benefits to the body instead of painful conditions and helping to produce good bacteria, minimize bad bacteria, and improve the colon’s ability to absorb beneficial nutrients,” writes Britt Brandon in Turmeric for Health.

Aid digestion

Digestion is a complicated process that involves the mouth salivating, the esophagus muscles moving food, and the gallbladder releasing bile to break down food. “Because there are so many organs and functions involved in digestion, the process can easily be disrupted, especially if you don’t get enough of the vitamins and minerals that are necessary to support those organs and their functions,” writes Brandon. Instead of immediately committing to major dietary changes to get all the vitamins and minerals you need, start by adding a tablespoon of turmeric to your food every day. Its vitamins, minerals, anti-inflammatory compounds, antioxidants, and fiber will help acid production, muscle movement, and nutrient absorption to keep things moving like they should.

Reduce stomach pain

Chronic stomach pain could be from a serious medical condition, so check with your doctor if the pain is constant. But if you, like millions of Americans, get mild stomach pain every now and then, your diet or lifestyle maybe to blame. In those cases, the anti-inflammatory and antibacterial compounds in turmeric can help alleviate pain that comes from fattening or spicy foods, alcohol, or lack of exercise.

Ease diarrhea

Medications, food poisoning, allergies, viruses, and food intolerance can all lead to sudden, potentially embarrassing bouts of diarrhea. Consuming a teaspoon of powdered turmeric up to three times a day, paired with drinking more fluids and washing your hands often, can offer relief when you have a loose stool. The magnesium and potassium in the spice help you fight dehydration and rebalance your fluids, while other vitamins and chemicals improve digestion and immunity.

Make you less gassy

Not only is gas embarrassing and unpleasant, but you could end up bloated when there’s air stuck in the digestive tract. “For fast flatulence relief, turmeric can be used as an effective, all-natural remedy that’s not only able to treat the symptoms of gas but the underlying issues as well,” writes Brandon. Compounds in turmeric aid digestion and help your body stop overproducing the acids that cause flatulence. Try stirring a tablespoon of turmeric into an eight-ounce glass of juice when you have gas, and fix these unexpected sources of gassiness.

Relieve irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a treatable condition that causes abdominal pain, bloating, gas, cramping, and more. Turmeric acts as a natural remedy, with the help of vitamins, minerals, and other chemicals that reduce inflammation, reduce abnormal muscle movements, and soothe digestive issues. Add a tablespoon of the spice to your food every day to find some relief.

Reduce nausea

Nausea can be hard to treat because it can come from so many different conditions, including dehydration, infections, and stress. “Natural remedies are a great option because they are gentle but effective,” writes Brandon. A chemical in turmeric called curcumin can help fight the inflammation, bacteria, and viruses behind your queasiness. Plus, turmeric's phytochemicals, vitamins, and minerals combine to make antioxidants that support healthy brain chemistry, which can ease mental causes of nausea like stress and anxiety.

6 Top Reasons to Eat Turmeric Every Day

By Diana Herrington

If you had to choose just one spice in the world to increase your well being and help you live a long healthy life, a good choice would be turmeric.

There are over 1,000 published animal and human studies, demonstrating the possible effects of turmeric and its most active ingredient, curcumin, on your health. Here are just a few.

6 Top Reasons to Eat Turmeric Every Day

1. Natural Anti-Inflammatory Properties:

Inflammation has been linked to major diseases such as Alzheimer’s, arthritis, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, and signs of aging so anything that can effectively reduce inflammation can profoundly affect your health.

Turmeric has been shown to be more effective than anti-inflammatory drugs. Curcumin targets multiple steps in the inflammatory pathway at the molecular level. It is considered one of the Top 12 Anti-inflammatory Foods in the world.

Inflammation is usually associated with pain. I personally know several individuals who relieved their joint paint just by taking one teaspoon a day of turmeric.

2. Helps to Prevent Cancer and Stop Cancer Growth

“No cancer has been found, to my knowledge, which is not affected by curcumin,” says Bharat Aggarwal, Ph.D., professor in the Department of Experimental Therapeutics. “The reason curcumin is so effective against cancer is that it hits not just a single target or cell signaling pathway but dozens of targets implicated in cancer.”

Curcumin has been shown to slow pancreatic cancer, plus many other forms through various molecular pathways.

3. Lowers cholesterol:

Heart disease continues to be one of the major killers of our time. Studies show that curcumin induces changes in expression of genes involved in cholesterol homeostasis.

4. Prevents Alzheimer’s disease:

Population studies demonstrate that Alzheimer’s disease is 4.4 lower amongst Indian Asians as compared to people of western origin who do not consume turmeric regularly.

Curcumin may help clear the amyloid plaques found in Alzheimer’s disease and is able to cross the blood brain barrier with it’s anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.

5. Fights Depression

Curcumin has shown promise in treating depression naturally. In a controlled study, cucumin was shown to produce benefits equal to the drug Prozac.

6. Improved Liver Function for Detoxing and Cleansing the Body

There are two main steps of detoxification within the liver. Phase one and phase two. When phase two is not efficient and a lot of toxins are coming into the body, this is believed to be the cause of increased environmental sensitivities and drug intolerances common to chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia patients.

Curcumin stimulates phase two detoxification, so it may help a wide range of individuals.

Turmeric versus Curcumin.

Most of the controlled studies on turmeric have used standardized extracts of curcumin, its most active ingredient. Curcumin though, is not the only active ingredient. The Ayurvedic and Chinese health systems have used turmeric in its whole forms for thousands of years with excellent results.

In the west where we think “more is always better” and “stronger is better.” Extracts of curcumin have been the favored approach until recently when turmeric’s wider range of health benefits has become better known.

At Real Food For Life, we always strive for wholeness. We think it’s wonderful that you don’t have to eat turmeric in a concentrated or medicinal form. You can buy it in any grocery store and it is very inexpensive.

Use Turmeric Every Day

To take the traditional recommended amount, which is about 1 teaspoon per day, would cost you less than $10.00 for a whole year! That one teaspoon per day could change your life.

We use turmeric in many of our seasonal 2-5-30 Healthy Diets to help with detoxing and digestion.

7 Ways Turmeric Tea Benefits Your Health

By Ana Gotter (Medically Reviewed by Debra Rose Wilson, PhD, MSN, RN, IBCLC, AHN-BC, CHT)
Turmeric tea benefits

Turmeric is a bright yellow-orange spice commonly used in curries and sauces. It comes from the turmeric root. The spice has been used for its medicinal, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties for thousands of years.

Turmeric tea is one popular form of consuming turmeric. It has a unique but subtle flavor. The tea is also great way to reap the following health benefits of turmeric.

Eases arthritis symptoms

1. Eases arthritis symptoms

Turmeric tea’s strong anti-inflammatory properties can help ease inflammation and swelling in people with arthritis. This reduces painful symptoms. One study found that an active compound in turmeric, called curcumin, was effective in reducing pain in patients with osteoarthritis.

Helps prevent Alzheimer’s

2. Helps prevent Alzheimer’s disease

While research is still searching for what exactly causes Alzheimer’s disease, it seems as though the curcumin found in turmeric may help prevent it. Turmeric’s antioxidants prevent damage that can lead to Alzheimer’s. Even more importantly, some research shows that turmeric can reduce the synaptic marker loss and the accumulation of amyloids linked to Alzheimer’s development.

May prevent cancer

3. Helps prevent cancer

Turmeric tea’s many medicinal properties, including antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, could contribute to cancer prevention. The National Cancer Institute has recognized curcumin as an effective anticarcinogen, or substance that helps prevent cancer.

Maintains ulcerative colitis remission

4. Maintains ulcerative colitis remission

Ulcerative colitis (UC) is a chronic condition that causes ulcers in the lower end of the gastrointestinal tract. Turmeric could help maintain remission from symptoms. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, a study found that UC patients in remission had significantly lower relapse rates if they consumed turmeric.

Boosts the immune system

5. Boosts the immune system

The medicinal properties in turmeric may be able to boost the immune system, even in people with immune disorders. One study theorized that turmeric can moderate the immune system.

Lowers cholesterol

6. Lowers cholesterol

Lowering LDL (or “bad”) cholesterol can help reduce your risk of developing some serious conditions, including heart disease and stroke. There is evidence that turmeric is effective at doing just that. For example, a 2008 study that found that a low dose of curcumin was associated with reduced LDL and total cholesterol levels.

Can help treat uveitis

7. Can help treat uveitis

Uveitis is an inflammation of the iris. Some early research has indicated that curcumin found in turmeric may actually be as effective of a treatment as corticosteroids, but without the side effects.

How to make turmeric tea

To make turmeric tea at home, follow these steps:

• Boil 3 to 4 cups of water on the stove.
• Add 2 teaspoons of turmeric and stir.
• Simmer for about 5 to 10 minutes.
• Strain the tea into another container.
• Add in honey, fresh squeezed lemon or orange juice, and milk to taste.
Potential risks and complications

Turmeric is generally safe as long as you consume it in moderation. You should check with your doctor about drinking turmeric tea if you have had:

• inflammation of the gallbladder or gallbladder stones
• obstruction of bile passages
• stomach ulcers
• diabetes (turmeric supplements may lower blood sugar)

Taking too much turmeric may cause side effects, however. These include:

• increased stomach acidity, which can cause ulcers
• a blood-thinning effect

Because turmeric may thin your blood, you should stop drinking turmeric tea two weeks before surgery. Do not take turmeric tea if you are on blood thinners, either.

Who should drink turmeric tea?

Turmeric tea is considered safe for most people to drink. It can relieve pain and inflammation without the side effects that even over-the-counter medications like NSAIDs can cause, such as internal bleeding, ulcers, and reduced white blood cell count.

Almost anyone can benefit from drinking turmeric tea, especially because it can boost the immune system and act as an anticancer agent. People with pain caused by inflammation can perhaps benefit the most. People who have diabetes or who take blood thinners should talk to their doctors before trying any turmeric supplement, however.

Superfood focus: Healthy properties give turmeric a golden touch

By Emily Price

The term "superfood" is increasingly controversial, with certain ingredients taking on near-mythological qualities as their purported list of health benefits continues to grow.

While it is certainly worth approaching the idea with a degree of common sense and caution, there are undoubtedly some foods – super or otherwise – that really do us good.

What is turmeric?

The vibrant yellow-orange spice is related to the ginger family and derived from turmeric root, which is found at the stem of the curcuma longa plant.

Turmeric has a vaguely peppery, slightly astringent, ultimately warming taste. It is commonly used in Indian and South Asian cooking to add colour and flavour. While in the past it has been dismissed as the poor man’s alternative to saffron, its increased popularity as a healthy ingredient means turmeric can now confidently claim a prominent role in any discerning spice rack.

Health benefits

That is not to say that its health-giving properties are newly discovered. In many eastern cultures, turmeric has long been revered for its medicinal properties, and it plays an important role in Ayurvedic medicine.

Yet it is only relatively recently that these health benefits have made their way into the mainstream, helped along by foodies and Instargrammers on the lookout for the next hot trend.

So does this unassuming spice live up to the hype? In short, yes. The benefits are primarily due to curcumin, the active compound in turmeric that is not only responsible for its bright hue, but also a powerful antioxidant with anti-inflammatory and antibacterial qualities.

In the most basic of terms, this means that consuming turmeric can help with a number of ailments, including indigestion, and reduce swelling and ease inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.

There is also research to suggest that turmeric can help to fight Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and guard against heart disease.

How to use it

Many of us probably already have a half-empty jar of turmeric lurking in our kitchen cupboards. We might also be familiar with adding it to our spice mixes destined for curries, stirring it into tagines and using it to flavour rice dishes.

If you want to increase your turmeric-infused cooking repertoire further, there are plenty of options. To fully embrace the ingredient in all its trendy glory, forget about the idea that the "flat white" coffee is the hippest hot drink of the moment – golden milk (also known as a turmeric latte or turmeric tea) is where it is at.

To make your own, heat a cup of water or milk (you can use regular cow’s milk, or almond, soy or coconut) with half a teaspoon ground turmeric, quarter of a teaspoon of ground black pepper, a cinnamon stick and half a teaspoon of coconut oil. Bring the mixture almost to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Strain and serve.

Other easy ways to get more turmeric in your diet include: adding it to hummus (stir a sprinkling into shop-bought or homemade varieties); dredging cubes of halloumi in the spice before frying or grilling; adding it to breadcrumbs intended for coating meat or fish; and experimenting with turmeric and coconut popcorn (pop the corn in coconut oil, then sprinkle with turmeric and plenty of black pepper while still warm).

Top tips

Fresh turmeric root is difficult to find in the UAE, but if you do buy some, use it in a similar way to ginger: finely grate and add to marinades, slice into matchsticks and stir through dressings and dipping sauces or pop in the blender when you’re preparing your morning juice.

Research suggests that when turmeric and black pepper are consumed together, the body’s ability to absorb the all- important curcumin increases significantly. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that these two ingredients taste rather good together, too. Be warned, though, that turmeric does have an uncanny ability to indelibly mark just about any and every surface it comes into contact with – from hands and clothes to kitchen surfaces – so use it with care and wear gloves.

Benefits of Turmeric Tincture

(San Francisco Gate)

You may be familiar with turmeric as a culinary spice, used in Indian curry dishes to give them flavor and bright yellow color. Made by grinding the dried root of a plant (Curcuma longa), turmeric contains a biologically active compound called curcumin and has been part of traditional Indian, or Ayurvedic, medicine for centuries. Turmeric supplements are available in several forms, including as an alcohol extract called a tincture. Modern research supports its use to keep your body healthy and help you avoid illness.

Anti-inflammatory Benefits

The main component in turmeric, curcumin, has anti-inflammatory properties that help prevent or reduce inflammation. The University of Maryland Medical Center reports that curcumin reduces the levels of two enzymes in the body that cause inflammatory disorders, such as ulcerative colitis, irritable bowel syndrome and arthritis. A study published in the August 2009 issue of the "Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine" found that subjects with knee arthritis who took turmeric extract for six weeks had relief of pain equal to that of subjects who took ibuprofen, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug. A review published in the January 2009 issue of the "International Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology" summarized findings on curcumin from turmeric and concluded that it has strong potential as a treatment for many different inflammatory diseases.

Antioxidant Properties

Turmeric tincture might also help protect your body from cancer by acting as a strong antioxidant that helps the body rid itself of free radicals. These unstable molecules form in your organs and cells during digestion or when you're exposed to toxins, such as cigarette smoke. Over time, free radicals can damage cellular membranes and DNA, raising your risk of cancer. Experts at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center indicate that turmeric may protect you from carcinogens by boosting uptake of vitamin D in the gastrointestinal tract -- vitamin D helps protect your intestinal cells from these dangerous chemicals. Laboratory research such as that published in the June 2008 issue of "Experimental Molecular Pathology" suggests that curcumin from turmeric also causes cultured cancer cells to die via a process called apoptosis, another way it might help prevent cancer.

Digestive Benefits

Curcumin found in turmeric tincture might also help prevent or relieve indigestion and generally improve the function of your liver. In Germany, Commission E, the governmental agency that approves prescription of herbal remedies, recommends turmeric for relief of digestive problems. A laboratory study published in the August 2008 issue of "Fundamentals of Clinical Pharmacology" found that laboratory animals fed curcumin supplements had significantly less liver damage after experimentally induced bile duct obstruction and recovered more quickly than animals not given the supplement. Another study published in the December 2013 issue of the "Korean Journal of Parasitology" found that animals exposed to a liver parasite and fed a turmeric supplement had less liver damage than an identically treated group not dosed with turmeric. These promising laboratory studies still need confirmation in clinical trials with human subjects.

The Supplement

Turmeric tincture is available as a liquid from health food stores, generally supplied in a bottle with a dropper. Although no minimum effective dose has been established, a common dose of a tincture, diluted 1:2 with water, is 15 to 30 drops up to four times each day. The supplement is generally considered safe and without side effects, but it might cause gastric upset when taken in large amounts. Don't combine turmeric tincture with diabetes drugs or blood-thinning medications or with medicines that reduce stomach acid. Discuss turmeric tincture with your doctor to decide if it might be helpful for you.

Does Turmeric Reduce Blood Sugar?

By Janet Renee

Alternative medicine systems such as Ayurveda and traditional Chinese medicine value a variety of herbs and spices for possessing proposed medicinal benefits. Both these ancient traditions use turmeric to treat a number of conditions. Scientists have shown interest in the potential blood sugar-lowering properties of turmeric and one of its active substances, curcumin. Most studies have looked at the effects of curcumin on animal models. Although few promising human studies exist, talk to your doctor before taking turmeric for therapeutic purposes. Side effects and drug interactions are possible.

Promising Data for Type 2 Diabetics

Researchers in China conducted a placebo-controlled trial on humans after discovering that curcuminoid compounds lowered glucose in diabetic rats. The human study involved 100 overweight and obese Type 2 diabetics who took either 300 milligrams of curcuminoids daily for 12 weeks or placebo. Researchers found curcuminoid supplementation significantly reduces fasting glucose and insulin resistance. The study was published in "Molecular Nutrition and Food Research" in September 2013.

May Halt Prediabetes

Insulin resistance occurs when your body fails to respond properly to insulin, resulting in elevated blood sugar. This is commonly called prediabetes because it increases the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. Researchers in Thailand conducted a promising randomized, placebo-controlled study, which they published in the November 2012 edition of the journal "Diabetes Care." The study involved 240 participants with prediabetes who took curcumin extract for nine months or placebo. At the conclusion of the study, none of the participants who took curcumin developed diabetes, whereas 16 percent of the placebo group did.

Mechanisms of Action

The "Molecular Nutrition and Food Research" study concluded that curcuminoids reduced blood sugar partially due to their effect of decreasing free fatty acids, or FFAs. A review published in the 2003 issue of the journal "Experimental and Clinical Endocrinology and Diabetes" explained the relationship between FFAs and high blood sugar. Elevated FFAs interfere with your cell's ability to take in glucose. This action significantly contributes to insulin resistance, according to the review. When your cells are resistant to insulin -- a blood sugar-lowering hormone -- blood glucose levels remain elevated.

Side Effects and Possible Interactions

The vast majority of studies have used curcumin. Both turmeric and curcumin are available as supplements. Because this spice lowers blood sugar, it may increase the effects of diabetes medications, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. This effect can cause hypoglycemia, which is when your blood sugar is too low. Turmeric and curcumin may interact with blood-thinning medication, increasing bleeding risk. Turmeric and curcumin stimulate bile production, which may cause problems if you have gallstones or bile obstruction.

Does Turmeric Really Help You Lose Fat?

By Maia Appleby

Turmeric is often touted as a fat-burning food additive. Although it's no wonder spice, there may be some truth to this claim. Turmeric contains curcumin, a yellow, plant-based pigment that's also an essential component of curry powder. Curcumin works as an anti-inflammatory agent, and it may assist your body in metabolizing fat, potentially promoting weight loss.

Curcumin in Mice

Turmeric gets its yellow pigmentation from curcumin, a plant-based compound that may suppress the growth of fat tissue. Researchers from Tufts University, who published a study in "Journal of Nutrition" in 2009, fed mice a high-fat diet supplemented with curcumin for 12 weeks. Although the mice didn't take in more or less food than usual, the researchers noted, they gained less weight and had lower adiposity, or fat mass.

Preventing Obesity

The Tufts University researchers also tested curcumin directly on adipose tissue and found that it significantly lowered serum cholesterol and proteins that play a role in fat production. Curcumin, they said, may speed up fat metabolism and have an overall lowering effect on body fat and total weight. The researchers concluded that dietary curcumin, as found in turmeric, may benefit people trying to lose or maintain weight.

Reducing Inflammation

Turmeric may also reduce symptoms linked to obesity, according to the authors of a study published in "Annual Review of Nutrition" in 2010. Because obesity is a pro-inflammatory condition, they say, the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory mechanisms in curcumin may ward off weight gain. Curcumin directly interacts with cells to reduce inflammation and, in the process, may reverse insulin resistance, hyperglycemia and other symptoms that often accompany obesity.

Intake Recommendations

Although no official recommendations exist regarding turmeric dosage, the average intake amount in India is between 2 and 2.5 grams, or about 60 to 200 milligrams of curcumin per day from food, according to MedlinePlus. In most studies, subjects have taken 450 milligrams to 3 grams daily. Consult your physician if you plan to supplement your diet with this nutrient. Large doses may cause side effects including stomach ache, heartburn, gallbladder problems, hair loss and impaired immune function.

What are the Benefits of Turmeric for Strokes?

(San Francisco Gate)

Spices aren't just good for adding flavor to your food; some of them, including turmeric, may have health benefits as well. Turmeric, a yellow spice commonly found in Indian food and used to enhance the yellow color of mustard, may have anti-inflammatory benefits and may help treat gas and arthritis. This spice may also help prevent and treat strokes.

Stroke Prevention

Taking turmeric may help limit your risk for strokes by lowering your cholesterol, limiting any clogging of your arteries and thinning your blood, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. However, more studies using people are needed to verify that these effects happen in people as well as in animals. Turmeric may also help relax your blood vessels, which widens them and allows for blood to flow more easily, potentially lowering your blood pressure, according to a study using rats published in the "Journal of Medicinal Food" in January 2012.

Limiting Stroke Damage

If you have a stroke, the curcumin found in turmeric may help limit the damage that sometimes occurs when the blood and oxygen return to your brain tissues after the stroke, according to a study published in "Microcirculation" in August 2013. This damage is called a repurfusion injury.

Type of Supplement

While regular turmeric and turmeric supplements may be helpful in preventing strokes, the turmeric you buy to season your food may not be the best type to take if you want to prevent a repurfusion injury. Regular turmeric doesn't cross the blood-brain barrier very well and thus won't have the same brain-protective properties as specialized supplements designed to better cross the blood-brain barrier, notes an article published in "Expert Opinion on Investigational Drugs" in January 2011.

Safety Considerations

Speak with your doctor before taking turmeric supplements; they can potentially cause adverse effects when taken in high amounts. Many people can take up to 10 grams per day of curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, without adverse effects. However, high doses can cause an increased risk of kidney stones, ulcers and upset stomach. Turmeric can interact with diabetes medications, blood thinners and antacids, potentially increasing the effects of these medications. Pregnant women and people with gastroesophageal reflux disease or gallbladder problems should avoid taking turmeric supplements.

Why you should eat more turmeric


Turmeric, this ancient Indian spice may have multiple health benefits.

Over the centuries, the root-like stem of the Curcuma longa plant has been used to make yellow dyes and spike food with some tasty zing. But an ever-growing mountain of evidence shows that boldly coloured turmeric with its earthy, bitter-gingery taste may offer a plethora of potential health benefits.

Multiple studies – most originating in India, Europe and Australia – show that turmeric, and especially its colour-rich constituent of curcumin, can help prevent or treat a wide spectrum of cancers, inflammatory conditions, autoimmune problems, neurological ailments including Alzheimer's disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and diabetes neuropathy, among other metabolic diseases.

Interest in turmeric and curcumin began decades ago when researchers began asking why India has some of the lowest rates of colorectal, prostate and lung cancer in the world, compared with the United States, whose rates are up to 13 times higher. They traced India's advantages largely to its diet staple of curry powder, which is a combination of spices, with turmeric as a main ingredient.


A recent review published in the journal Molecules said studies to date "suggest that chronic inflammation, oxidative stress and most chronic diseases are closely linked, and that antioxidant properties of curcumin can play a key role in the prevention and treatment of chronic inflammation diseases."

An M.D. Anderson Cancer Centre review of curcumin research, in the journal Phytotherapy Research in 2014, found that it regulates inflammation that "plays a major role in most chronic illnesses, including neurodegenerative, cardiovascular, pulmonary, metabolic, autoimmune and neoplastic diseases."

Yet another M.D. Anderson study found that curcumin exhibits "antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anticancer activities," all bolstering its "potential against various malignant diseases, diabetes, allergies, arthritis, Alzheimer's disease and other chronic illnesses."

There are no guarantees that turmeric or its active ingredient of curcumin will work for everyone. Researchers also caution that they may delay but not prevent, or slow down but not stop, a medical condition.

The Curcuma longa plant is a member of the ginger family. Curcumin makes up 3.4 per cent of the turmeric root-stem or rhizome but provides its colour and many of its health benefits. Curcumin is available only as a supplement or by eating turmeric spice.

Don't confuse curcumin with cumin, which is a spicy seed or spice powder made from the seed and another common ingredient in curry with its own healthful properties. Cumin is unrelated to turmeric or the similar-sounding curcumin.

Curry has gained popularity in a lot of Western kitchens, with turmeric (often used as a substitute for curry) also showing a slow but steady rise in use.

The cascade of research about the healthful qualities of turmeric, curcumin and curry haven't been lost on two Pittsburgh researchers.


Dr Joseph Maroon, the noted University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre neurosurgeon, says he uses curcumin supplements as part of his health regimen as an ultra-marathon runner. He also recommends the use of curcumin and fish oil to his patients with pain and inflammation from degenerative conditions of the spine, neck and lower back. He said 17,000 Americans die each year from over-the-counter, non-steroidal pain medications.

He was lead author of a 2006 study, Natural anti-inflammatory agents for pain relief in athletes, that concludes that "Curcumin's therapeutic effects are considered comparable to pharmaceutical nonsteroidal medications ... but with a major difference in that this compound is relatively nontoxic and free of side-effects."

Maroon said his patients "would much rather have a natural approach to reducing inflammation and pain than a prescription of nonsteroidal pain killers and their potential risks. There is no question about the benefits. I take it every day and use curry in my cooking, although I tolerate capsules better than the curry."

He recommends people consume a 500 to 1,000 milligram supplement of curcumin a day, with daily doses not exceeding 2,000 milligrams. A teaspoon of turmeric contains about 200 milligrams of curcumin. Some health advocates recommend consuming turmeric rather than a curcumin supplement because other compounds in turmeric offer their own health advantages.

Curcumin influences 700 genes, including ones that inhibit activation of the COX 2 gene, which produces an enzyme by the same name that causes pain and inflammation, Maroon said.

"It's similar to drugs but with none of the side-effects of drugs," he said. While studies have found no notable side-effects, possible drug interactions should be discussed with one's physician. Ingesting black pepper and ginger along with the curcumin improve the biological breakdown of turmeric compounds so they can be absorbed into the blood.

PubMed.com, a research database maintained by the National Institutes of Health, lists 7,728 studies involving curcumin and another 3,205 studies involving turmeric, with the large majority focused on their effectiveness against multiple medical conditions.

"There is a lot of research. But still, much of American research says there's evidence, but no proof of direct benefits, of turmeric or curcumin," Maroon said. "But I've yet to read a negative study on curcumin or that it was not effective."


Human clinical trials, necessary to prove the spice's direct health benefits, are few because such trials are expensive and natural compounds can't be patented. That helps explain why some researchers are working to identify the spice's precise biological mechanisms that could be synthesised, emboldened and patented, then sold as prescribed treatments for multiple medical conditions.

Debasish Bandyopadhyay, a research assistant professor at University of Texas Pan-American, is working to synthesise the properties in curcumin because, he said, "curcumin has everything".

"In all diseases and almost all cancers it shows very good effects," he said. "The negative effect is its viability" – the fact its healthful compounds aren't readily broken down and absorbed into the blood.

"We have synthesised compounds that are anti-cancerous (in laboratory studies)," but these must be tested in expensive human clinical trials. The alternative is to consume curcumin along with ginger root, chili extract and black pepper to help make it more easily absorbed by the body, and realise the synergistic effects it has with other spices, he said.

A research instructor at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute at the Hillman Cancer Centre said studies including his own show "strong evidence toward the therapeutic potential of curcumin, while identifying the plethora of biological targets and intricate mechanisms of action that characterise curcumin as a potential drug for numerous ailments."

"They can kill tumour cells but not normal cells," said Raghvendra M. Srivastava, whose study years ago explained how curcumin enhanced T cells in the immune system. Studies also have shown that it blocks various inflammatory pathways, with inflammation playing an important role in most cancers. There are even potential benefits, he said, for people with multiple sclerosis.

Bottom line, he said, "Consuming more curcumin is a benefit."

What Is In Turmeric That Makes it Beneficial?

(San Francisco Gate)

Besides giving foods a yellow color, turmeric may also provide health benefits due to the curcumin it contains. This spice has been used for over 4,000 years as a traditional medicine for treating wounds, skin disease, liver problems and digestive diseases in countries including India, China and Indonesia.

Active Ingredient

Curcumin is an antioxidant that exhibits cancer-preventing and anti-inflammatory activity, according to an article published in "Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences" in June 2008. As an antioxidant, it prevents cell damage from substances called free radicals. However, while it may be beneficial for treating or preventing numerous health problems, much of the research on its use is still in the preliminary stages using test tubes and animals rather than people, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center.

Potential Health Benefits

Curcumin may be beneficial for the prevention or treatment of clogged arteries, arthritis, pancreatic and colon cancer, ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, high cholesterol and psoriasis, according to an article published in "Biochemical Pharmacology" in February 2008. It may also help prevent diseases resulting from inflammation, including heart disease, lung disease and neurodegenerative conditions like Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases due to its anti-inflammatory effects, notes an article published in "The International Journal of Biochemistry & Cell Biology" in January 2009. Curcumin can bind to metals like iron and copper as well, notes the 2008 "Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences" article, helping to rid excess metals in the body.


While curcumin is safe even in relatively high amounts of up to 12 grams per day for as long as three months for most people, check with your doctor before using more than the amounts of turmeric typically found in food. It can cause ulcers and upset stomach, lower blood sugar levels and increase the risk for gallstones in those who are susceptible to them if taken in high doses for a long time. Curcumin may interfere with chemotherapy medications due to its antioxidant activity and can interact with medications including blood thinners, diabetes medicines and antacids, increasing the risk for adverse effects.

Adding Turmeric to Your Diet

Turmeric has an earthy taste and goes well with spicy foods, which is why it is often used in curries. Make a rice pilaf with turmeric, basmati rice, cashews, raisins and coconut milk or try your hand at chicken tikka masala, which contains chicken marinated in yogurt and spices topped with a spicy tomato cream sauce containing turmeric. You can also sprinkle turmeric on omelets, broiled open-faced cheese sandwiches, soups, rice pilafs and sauteed green leafy vegetables to add flavor to these dishes and boost your turmeric intake.

The Health Benefits of Turmeric Powder

By Tracey Roizman (DC)

Turmeric, a spice made from the rhizome of an East Indian herb, lends distinctive bright yellow color and a slightly bitter flavor to curry dishes. Turmeric has also been used in traditional ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years for a variety of purported health benefits. Considerable numbers of scientific studies have proven turmeric, and its active constituent curcumin, to be helpful for treating and preventing a variety of ailments.


Turmeric may improve digestion by stimulating bile production and reducing bloating and gas, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. A study published in the December 2002 issue of the journal "Nahrung" found that turmeric also increased activity of digestive enzymes, such as lipase, which digests fats; chymotrypsin, which digests proteins; and amylase, which digests carbohydrates. In the laboratory animal study, a combination of turmeric, red chili, black pepper, cumin and onion nearly doubled the secretion of bile and increased lipase activity by 40 percent and chymotrypsin activity by 77 percent.


Curcumin may help protect against some forms of cancer, notably colon and other gastrointestinal tract cancers, according to the Linus Pauling Institute. A study published in the October 2012 issue of the journal "BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine" found that curcumin inhibited esophageal cancer cells and cancer stem cells -- cells that give rise to new tumors. Curcumin also showed significant potential as a natural therapy in the treatment of lung cancer by promoting early cell death in lung cancer cells in a tissue culture study published in the October 2012 issue of the journal "Free Radical Biology and Medicine."

Alzheimer's Disease Prevention

Turmeric may help prevent formation of plaques in the brain that are associated with Alzheimer's disease, according to a study that appeared in the March 2012 issue of the journal "PLoS One." In the study, researchers found that several structural aspects of curcumin lend it the properties necessary to prevent aggregation of proteins into tangled masses seen in Alzheimer's disease. Additionally, curcumin has the ability to pass through the selective barrier that keeps unwanted substances from entering the brain.

Kidney Health

Some kidney complications associated with diabetes may be prevented or lessened by turmeric, according to a study published in the August 2012 issue of the "Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry." The laboratory animal study demonstrated that doses of 100 milligrams per kilogram of body weight of curcumin per day for eight weeks prevented accumulation of fat deposits in the kidney that lead to impaired kidney function. Curcumin also increased activity of a kidney compound that promotes proper filtration. Researchers concluded that curcumin shows promise as a natural means of preventing kidney damage in diabetes.

Get instant relief from muscle cramps with turmeric and alum

By Bhavyajyoti Chilukoti

Muscle cramps can be effectively treated naturally, here's how.

Muscle cramps are quite common during the winter season or when you are actively involved in the sports. The excruciating pain and swelling associated with it takes a toll on your health. Although pain relievers in the form of sprays or medications are available in the market, these might not provide relief in the long-term. This is where natural remedies that are quick in action, safe and easily available in the household come into play. One such effective home remedy to relieve muscle cramps is a mixture or turmeric and alum.

What makes this mixture effective against muscle cramps?

Turmeric is one of nature’s most powerful healers (antiseptic) that is widely used as a pain reliever. And alum is well-known for its soothing and blood thinning property. A mixture of these two commonly available ingredients when applied over the affected area helps relieve muscle cramps naturally.

How to use this mixture?

A mixture of turmeric and alum is a quick and effective way to combat muscle cramps quickly and without any side-effects. Here is how you can prepare this mixture.

1. Add a pinch of turmeric powder and few drops of water (preferably over a rough surface) 2. Mix these ingredients and rub a small piece of alum (available in the market) into the mixture, in such a way that a thick paste is formed. (The mixture should be light in colour as compared to the original colour of turmeric powder) 4. Apply this paste over the affected area (remember not to massage the area with this paste) and leave it to dry. 5. Do this at least twice a day for two days to get rid of pain and swelling associated with muscle cramps.

Try turmeric for quick relief from a sore throat

By Bhavyajyoti Chilukoti

Turmeric – The staple spice found in every Indian household is packed with myriad medicinal properties. The presence of wide range of vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber and proteins makes it a powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, expectorant, antifungal, antiseptic, carminative and anti-carcinogenic agent — just perfect to relieve that annoying sore throat.

Here’s how it works:

Turmeric is composed of three key compounds namely curcumin, desmethoxycurcumin and bis-desmethoxycurcumin, which are collectively termed as curcuminoids. Apart from that the root also has several essential oils, that impart it it’s healing properties. Turmeric works against a sore throat by inhibiting inflammation and provides relief symptoms like burning, itching (or that scratchy feeling), pain and swelling within the throat.

Here’s how it works:

Turmeric is composed of three key compounds namely curcumin, desmethoxycurcumin and bis-desmethoxycurcumin, which are collectively termed as curcuminoids. Apart from that the root also has several essential oils, that impart it it’s healing properties. Turmeric works against a sore throat by inhibiting inflammation and provides relief symptoms like burning, itching (or that scratchy feeling), pain and swelling within the throat.

Tips to use turmeric to relieve a sore throat:

• Gargle: This method actually works by coating your throat with a layer of haldi, and helps to wash out bacteria and other material that could be causing your sore throat. With time, the symptoms usually clear up and help bring relief. To use this remedy, take about half cup of warm water; add around half a spoon of salt and one-fourth spoon of turmeric powder to the water. Use this mixture to gargle first thing in the morning. Avoid drinking or eating anything for around 30 minutes after you gargle for effective results.
• Haldi doodh: One of the best and most widely used turmeric remedy to treat cough, cold and a sore throat, haldi doodh helps by bringing the anti-inflammatory action of turmeric with the plethora of health benefits of milk together. To use this remedy, take half a spoon of turmeric and coarsely grounded black pepper and add it to a glass of boiling milk. Drink this mixture twice in a day (in the morning and evening) to find relief from a sore throat.
• Turmeric tea: The warm water combined with honey and lemon juice makes a great remedy for a sore throat. When turmeric is added to the mix, it only adds to the potency of this decoction. To use this remedy, add one tablespoon of turmeric powder to 4 cups of boiling water and let it boil for few more minutes. Strain (if required) and mix with lemon juice and honey. Drink the tea when it is still warm to find quick relief from a sore throat.
• Soup: This remedy utilises the anti bacterial and anti inflammatory properties of ingredients like ginger, pepper, tulsi, honey and garlic. Known as kashayam this remedy has been a staple remedy for a sore throat for centuries. Here is how you can use it. Adding some ginger, pepper, tulsi leaves, honey and garlic along with turmeric to some water, and allow it to boil for 20 minutes (or till the water reduces to half its original quantity). Strain and drink the fluid to get relief from sore throat and prevent the onset of a cough.

Tip: Try drinking hot or slightly warm liquids as the heat helps dislodging mucus present around the throat and reduces inflammation in the throat — providing quick relief.

How Turmeric Benefits Knee Joints

(Business Mirror)

TURMERIC benefits in relieving the inflammation associated with chronic knee pain and other conditions. This post from The Alternative Daily highlights turmeric as an effective natural alternative.

Knee pain is not uncommon these days. And for many of us, it’s very frustrating, as it can limit our mobility and thereby limit the experiences we’re able to enjoy. Often, we turn to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or other pharmaceutical painkillers to reduce knee pain. It’s important to know, however, that painkillers — even the ones that we can purchase easily at the drugstore — aren’t always completely benign.

For example, a Lancet review deemed ibuprofen, as the banned drug Vioxx, toxic to the heart. And if you take a NSAID, you may be up to three times more likely to develop gastrointestinal side effects. But there are natural alternatives. One of the most effective is turmeric.

Turmeric is a culinary spice often used in Indian cooking. It contains curcumin, a polyphenol that gives turmeric its golden color. It is believed to have hundreds of health benefits.

Turmeric vs. ibuprofen for knee pain

One study specifically examined the efficacy of turmeric as compared to ibuprofen in treating knee pain. The study included 109 participants who all had primary knee osteoarthritis. The participants were split into two groups, one of which received ibuprofen and the other turmeric, every day for six weeks. The researchers measured the patients’ pain levels while walking on level ground and up and down stairs.

At the end of six weeks, both groups demonstrated improvements, though the participants in the turmeric group reported less pain on the stairs. They also performed better while walking. The patients also reported a higher rate of satisfaction with their treatment and experienced fewer negative effects.

20 Health Benefits of Turmeric

(Health Diaries)

Over the years, researchers have been learning more and more about the health benefits of turmeric and its active component, curcumin. It’s been eight years since we first published the 20 Health Benefits of Turmeric and I decided that it’s time for an update with links to the latest studies.

Turmeric has been used for over 2500 years in India. The health benefits of turmeric have been slowly revealing themselves over the centuries. Long known for its anti-inflammatory properties, recent research has revealed that it can be helpful in the treatment of many different health conditions from cancer to Alzheimer’s disease.

One thing to take note of is that research has found that consuming black pepper with curcumin increases its bioavailability.

20 Health Benefits of Turmeric


One of the biggest health benefits of turmeric is in the prevention and treatment of cancer. Research has found that curcumin induces cell death in medulloblastoma, a pediatric brain tumor. Other studies have found that it may induce cell death in glioblastomas, an aggressive type of brain tumor that is resistant to chemo and radiation.


One study found that turmeric, when combined with cruciferous vegetables, may prevent prostate cancer and stop or slow the growth of existing prostate cancer.


A study found that curcumin caused melanoma cells to commit suicide. Topical curcumin has shown promise in fighting squamous cell carcinoma.


Curcumin was found to have an inhibitory effect on WT1 gene expression in childhood leukemia cells. A study on Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML) at the University of Palermo in Italy found that mice treated with curcumin developed smaller tumors than the control group.


A French study published in 2014 in Cancer Biology & Therapy found that several different multiple myeloma cell lines were sensitive to curcumin. The study authors concluded that the results indicate more clinical trials are worth doing on curcumin and multiple myeloma. MD Anderson Cancer Research Center at the University of Texas has been studying the effects of curcumin on multiple myeloma for several years. For an interesting anecdotal story of a woman with multiple myeloma who has been keeping her cancer at bay for years using MD Anderson’s curcumin protocol, check out Margaret’s Corner.


Multiple studies have found that one of the most exciting health benefits of turmeric is the prevention of metastasis, the spread of cancer from the primary site to other areas of the body.


Cachexia is one of the biggest hurdles for many cancer patients with solid tumors. It causes weight loss and muscle wasting even when large amounts of food are ingested. A Chinese study found that patients with colorectal cancer who were given oral curcumin while waiting to undergo surgery experienced weight gain. The same study also found that curcumin induced cancer cell death in patients with colorectal cancer.


Researchers at UCLA found that curcumin enhances the effects of cisplatin, a chemotherapy used in the treatment of many different cancers. Cisplatin and curcumin together worked better at suppressing tumors than cisplatin alone. In addition, a study published in the Nutrition and Cancer journal found that curcumin not only makes cancer cells more susceptible to chemo but it also protects healthy cells from the toxic effects of chemo.


One of the most exciting turmeric benefits is in the realm of brain health. It has long been noted that elderly people in India have low rates of Alzheimer’s disease. One reason may be that they consume a lot of turmeric in their diets. A study found that curcumin may prevent or slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by removing amyloyd plaque buildup in the brain.


A study at the UC San Diego found that curcumin may be able to treat some types of retinitis pigmentosa, a degenerative group of eye diseases that can lead to blindness. Another study found that it may be helpful in the treatment of macular degeneration.


Research has found that curcumin may be a powerful tool in the fight against obesity and its related symptoms. Curcumin reduces leptin resistance, lowers insulin resistance, reverses hyperglycemia, reduces inflammation, and activates fat burning gene signals.


Curcumin is a natural painkiller and cox-2 inhibitor. One study compared curcumin to ibuprofen for pain relief in knee osteoarthritis patients and found that the curcumin worked just as well as ibuprofen. Several studies have found that curcumin has potent anti-inflammatory properties. According to the Arthritis Foundation, several studies have found turmeric to be effective at reducing joint inflammation and pain, with one of the studies even finding curcumin to be better at reducing pain and swelling in patients with rheumatoid arthritis than diclofenac, an NSAID that is commonly prescribed for people with RA.


Is your liver taxed to the limit? One of the health benefits of turmeric that is believed to be a natural liver detoxifier. One study found that it may protect against alcohol-induced liver damage as well as damage caused by a high fat diet.


Curcumin crosses the blood-brain barrier and is a known neuroprotective agent. Several studies have found that curcumin may be beneficial in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. According to Michigan State University researchers, curcumin can prevent clumping of a protein that leads to Parkinson’s.


Curcumin has shown promise in slowing the progression of multiple sclerosis. A study at Vanderbilt University found that curcumin prevented the onset of an autoimmune disease in mice that is similiar to MS in humans. In fact, the study authors said that MS is a rare disease in India and China, where turmeric is consumed on a regular basis.

PSORIASIS HELP Oral curcumin has been shown to be effective against psoriasis. The National Psoriasis Foundation recommends turmeric as a natural remedy for psoriasis.


An Indian study found that curcumin may be an effective treatment for people with major depression. The study compared people who were taking Prozac, curcumin, or Prozac and curcumin together. The group who took Prozac and curcumin together had the best results, while those taking either Prozac or curcumin had very similar results indicating that curcumin may work just as well as Prozac.


Curcumin has been found to stop the growth of H. pylori (helicobacter pylori), a bacterium that is found in the stomach and other parts of the body. If left untreated, it can lead to stomach ulcers and stomach cancer.


Curcumin may protect against the effects of sleep deprivation. A study found that it prevented anxiety, oxidative damage, and other impairment in mice deprived of sleep for 72 hours.


Several studies have found that curcumin has antibacterial properties and is useful in disinfecting cuts and burns.

Turmeric can be taken in powder or capsule form. Capsules are usually sold in 250-500 mg increments.

Once you start using turmeric on a regular basis, it’s fun to find new ways to use it in recipes. My favorite way to use it is to add a pinch of it to egg salad. It adds a nice flavor and gives the egg salad a rich yellow hue.

Contraindications: Turmeric should not be used by people with gallstones or bile obstruction. Though turmeric is often used by pregnant women, it is important to consult with a doctor before doing so as turmeric can be a uterine stimulant.

Ready to enjoy the health benefits of turmeric? Check out our 7 Best Turmeric Supplements and our 6 Best Turmeric Powder Brands to help you decide which ones are right for you.

Turmeric and Exercise: a Magic Combination for Heart Health

By Dr. Michael Greger

The endothelium is the inner lining of our blood vessels. Laid end-to-end, endothelial cells from a single human would wrap more than four times around the world. And it’s not just an inert layer; it’s highly metabolically active. I’ve talked about how sensitive our endothelium is to oxidation and inflammation. If we don’t take care of it, endothelial dysfunction may set us up for heart disease or a stroke. Are we ready to heed our endothelium’s early warning signal?

If it’s all about oxidation and inflammation, then fruits and vegetables should help. And indeed they do. Each daily serving of fruits or vegetables was associated with a 6 percent improvement in endothelial function. These fruit- and vegetable-associated improvements in endothelial function are in contrast to several negative vitamin C pill studies that failed to show a benefit. It can be concluded that the positive findings of the fruit and vegetable study are not just because of any one nutrient in fruits and veggies. Rather than searching for the single magic bullet micronutrient, a more practical approach is likely to consider whole foods. Increasing fruit and vegetable consumption is likely to have numerous benefits due to synergistic effects of all the wonderful things in plants.

Exercise helps our endothelial cells, too, but what type of exercise helps best? Patients were randomized into four groups: aerobic exercise (cycling for an hour a day), resistance training (using weights and elastic bands), both, or neither. The aerobic group kicked butt. The resistance group kicked butt. The aerobic and resistance group kicked butt, too. The only group who didn’t kick butt was the group who sat on their butts. Our endothelium doesn’t care if we’re on a bike or lifting weights, as long as we’re getting physical activity regularly. If we stop exercising, our endothelial function plummets.

Antioxidant pills don’t help, but drug companies aren’t going to give up that easy. They’re currently looking into anti-inflammatory pills. After all, there’s only so much you can make selling salad. For those who prefer plants to pills, one of the most anti-inflammatory foods is the spice turmeric. Researchers in Japan recently compared the endothelial benefits of exercise to that of curcumin, the yellow pigment in turmeric and curry powder. About a teaspoon a day’s worth of turmeric for eight weeks was compared to 30 to 60 minutes of aerobic exercise a day.

Which group improved their endothelial function more? The group who did neither experienced no benefit, but both the exercise and the curcumin groups significantly boosted their endothelial function. The researchers reported: “The magnitude of the improvement achieved by curcumin treatment was comparable to that obtained with exercise. Therefore, regular ingestion of curcumin could be a preventive measure against cardiovascular disease” at least in postmenopausal women, who were the subjects of this study. “Furthermore, [their] results suggest that curcumin may be a potential alternative treatment for patients who are unable to exercise.”

Ideally we’d both eat curcumin and exercise. One study looked at central arterial hemodynamics. Basically, if our endothelium is impaired, our arteries stiffen, making it harder for our heart to pump. Compared to placebo, we can drop down the pressure with turmeric curcumin or exercise. However, if we combine both, then we really start rocking and rolling, as you can see in the chart about 4 minutes into my video below. The researchers conclude that these findings suggest that regular endurance exercise combined with daily curcumin ingestion may reduce the pressure against which our hearts have to fight more than one or the other. We want both healthy eating and exertion for our endothelium.

In health,
Michael Greger, M.D.

Pomegranates, turmeric and red grapes: the key to long life?

By Ann Robinson

Cells keep the body healthy by devouring toxic waste to fight off everything from wrinkles to dementia. Could certain foods help?

Autophagy literally means “self-devouring” – something our cells are doing constantly, breaking down damage and toxic waste products – and Japanese cell biologist Yoshinori Ohsumi has just been awarded the Nobel prize in medicine for his work in uncovering the complex mechanisms that underpin this remarkable internal recycling system. So how does autophagy keep us healthy? Why might dysfunctional autophagy contribute to diabetes, dementia, leukaemia and Parkinson’s disease? And will our new understanding lead to any cures?

The process of autophagy involves gathering up cellular junk and waste, sealing it in the cellular equivalent of a bin bag and transporting it to the cellular rubbish bin, called the lysosome, where enzymes break down the contents. “I often call autophagy the recycling van that delivers the rubbish to the recycling centre,” says Professor Katja Simon, of the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology in Oxford. It plays a key role in health, disease and ageing, she says: “It is very important to degrade toxic waste for the survival of the cell, and a cell without autophagy cannot survive. But it has also been shown that it is important in disease development, such as in Parkinson’s disease, which is characterised by the accumulation of protein aggregates in neuronal cells. Furthermore, autophagy levels fall in the ageing process. The characteristics of old age, such as wrinkles, hearing loss or cancer, are actually due to falling autophagy levels and the accumulation of toxic wastes in the cells.”

Simon’s work is particularly focused on red and white blood cells and disorders such as leukaemia, in which autophagy doesn’t work properly. She is delighted that Ohsumi has been awarded the Nobel prize. “In the 1960s, he used an electron microscope to see structures and no one knew what they were. He discovered the molecules involved in the process.” Ohsumi’s lab mainly works with yeasts, and has uncovered key genes involved in autophagy. The science has come a long way since the 60s and researchers such as Simon can now measure autophagy by tracking the flow of labelled molecules associated with the process.

Mopping up damaged mitochondria – the powerhouses of cells that release energy – seems to be especially important in preventing diabetes and obesity. When this particular form of autophagy, called mitophagy, doesn’t work properly, toxic chemicals build up that cause further mitochondrial damage. This vicious cycle damages cells in the pancreas that produce insulin, and diabetes can set in. A drug that can fix diabetes and obesity by sorting out disordered mitophagy is an attractive idea, but we’re not there yet.

Another key role of autophagy is found in its link in proteins. In the body proteins are folded into 3D shapes. Aberrant proteins that aren’t folded up properly can form large clumps, or protein aggregates, that can be cleared by autophagy. When autophagy fails, the aggregates damage nerve function. This process is thought to contribute to the changes seen in Parkinson’s disease, including tremors, slow and stiff movement, loss of smell and dizziness. The abnormal accumulation of proteins in the brain may be the common thread in different forms of dementia that cause debilitating loss of memory, language, judgment and cognitive and social functioning.

If scientists can stimulate autophagy, they could effectively stave off or even reverse the effects of ageing. As Simon says, it’s not about making people live for ever, but about finding ways to stay healthy as we live out our lives. Studies on mice have found that stimulation of autophagy removes accumulated misfolded proteins, broken mitochondria and damaged DNA in hearts with age-related changes. But translating this lab work into effective treatments for humans is still a way off.

“Autophagy declines during ageing and this has a major impact in our cells, since they accumulate toxic deposits,” says Ioannis Nezis, an associate professor at the University of Warwick. “This is especially harmful for neurons, since neurons do not divide, and the same cell keeps accumulating garbage. If we understand how autophagy is normally induced to selectively recognise and recycle these toxic deposits, we will be able to find compounds that can activate autophagy and keep its levels steady during the course of a lifetime and therefore avoid the accumulation of cellular garbage. These can be chemical drugs, or natural dietary compounds that can be used as supplements.”

So what can we eat to keep us autophaging efficiently? Nezis says lots of natural compounds have been tested in fruit flies, mice and test tubes, but we still don’t know for certain what works in humans and what amounts are needed. Pomegranates, turmeric, red grapes and red wine look hopeful, but Nezis says you may need litres of wine and kilos of grapes to get the required effect. Supplements containing distilled concentrates of the active molecules may prove more palatable.

Simon points out that cells switch on autophagy in response to starvation. Calorie restriction, such as intermittent fasting in the 5:2 diet or during Ramadan, may help us to live long and healthy lives. It is possible that reducing our calorie intake to 70% of what we have been used to eating will boost our autophagy and help to prevent a wide range of disease. Exercise also promotes more autophagy, as experiments that get mice to run on mini treadmills has shown.

Advice to feast on fruit, veg and red wine is hardly new. But thanks to this year’s Nobel prize-winner, our understanding of the science that underpins it is developing all the time. The next step will be drugs, supplements and interventions that could stave off the ravages of ageing and a host of debilitating diseases. We are not there yet, but we are one step closer.

Could turmeric really boost your health?

(BBC News)

Bold health claims have been made for the power of turmeric. Is there anything in them, asks Michael Mosley.

Turmeric is a spice which in its raw form looks a bit like ginger root, but when it's ground down you get a distinctive yellowy orange powder that's very popular in South Asian cuisine. Until recently the place you would most likely encounter turmeric would be in chicken tikka masala, one of Britain's most popular dishes.

These days, thanks to claims that it can improve everything from allergies to depression, it's become incredibly trendy, not just cooked and sprinkled on food but added to drinks like tea. Turmeric latte anyone?

Now I'm usually very cynical about such claims, but in the case of turmeric I thought there could be something to it. There are at least 200 different compounds in turmeric, but there's one that scientists are particularly interested in. It gives this spice its colour. It's called curcumin.

Thousands of scientific papers have been published looking at turmeric and curcumin in the laboratory - some with promising results. But they've mainly been done in mice, using unrealistically high doses. There have been few experiments done in the real world, on humans.

This is exactly the sort of situation where we on Trust Me like to make a difference. So we tracked down leading researchers from across the country and with their help recruited nearly 100 volunteers from the North East to do a novel experiment. Few of our volunteers ate foods containing turmeric on a regular basis.

Then we divided them into three groups.

We asked one group to consume a teaspoon of turmeric every day for six weeks, ideally mixed in with their food. Another group were asked to swallow a supplement containing the same amount of turmeric, and a third group were given a placebo, or dummy pill.

The volunteers who were asked to consume a teaspoon of turmeric a day were ingenious about what they added it to, mixing it with warm milk or adding it to yoghurt. Not everyone was enthusiastic about the taste, with comments ranging from "awful" to "very strong and lingering".

But what effect was eating turmeric having on them? We decided to try and find out using a novel test developed at University College, London, by Prof Martin Widschwendter and his team.

Prof Widschwendter is not particularly interested in turmeric but he is interested in how cancers start. His team have been comparing tissue samples taken from women with breast cancer and from women without it and they've found a change that happens to the DNA of cells well before they become cancerous.

The change is in the "packaging" of the genes. It's called DNA methylation. It's a bit like a dimmer switch that can turn the activity of the gene up or down.

The exciting thing is that if it is detected in time this change can, potentially, be reversed, before the cell turns cancerous. DNA methylation may explain why, for instance, your risk of developing lung cancer drops dramatically once you give up smoking. It could be that the unhealthy methylation of genes, caused by tobacco smoke, stops or reverses once you quit.

So we asked Prof Widschwendter whether testing the DNA methylation patterns of our volunteers' blood cells at the start and end of the experiment would reveal any change in their risk of cancer and other diseases, like allergies. It was something that had not been done before.

• Perennial herbaceous plant native to South Asia
• Spice is gathered from the plants rhizomes (roots)
• As well as being used in Indian food, turmeric is used in traditional medicine and as a dyeing agent
Turmeric recipes from BBC Food

Fortunately he was very enthusiastic. "We were delighted," he said, "to be involved in this study, because it is a proof of principle study that opens entirely new windows of opportunity to really look into how we can predict preventive measures, particularly for cancer."

So what, if anything, happened?

When I asked him that, he pulled out his laptop and slowly began to speak.

"We didn't find any changes in the group taking the placebo," he told me. That was not surprising.

"The supplement group also didn't also show any difference," he went on.

That was surprising and somewhat disappointing.

"But the group who mixed turmeric powder into their food," he continued, "there we saw quite substantial changes. It was really exciting, to be honest. We found one particular gene which showed the biggest difference. And what's interesting is that we know this particular gene is involved in three specific diseases: depression, asthma and eczema, and cancer. This is a really striking finding."

It certainly is. But why did we see changes only in those eating turmeric, not in those taking the same amount as a supplement?

Dr Kirsten Brandt, who is a senior lecturer at Newcastle University and who helped run the experiment, thinks it may have something to do with the way the turmeric was consumed.

"It could be," she told me, "that adding fat or heating it up makes the active ingredients more soluble, which would make it easier for us to absorb the turmeric. It certainly gives us something, to work on, to try to find out exactly what's happening."

She also told me, because our volunteers all tried consuming their turmeric in different ways, that we can be confident it was the turmeric that was making the difference and not some other ingredient used to make, say, chicken tikka masala.

There is a lot more research that needs to be done, including repeating the experiment to see if these findings can be confirmed. But in light of what we've discovered will I be consuming more of the stuff? Probably. It helps that I like the taste and I've already begun experimenting with things like adding it with a touch of chilli to an omelette.

Apparently Turmeric Really Does Cure Everything

By Lisa Ryan

Turmeric, the spice of the moment, can easily be spotted in a subway rider’s water bottle or sprinkled on a dish at a restaurant. A distinctive shade of yellow-orange, turmeric is said to reduce inflammation and improve allergies and depression, but until now most scientific research into the spice has been done on mice, using “unrealistically high doses,” according to Michael Mosley of the BBC’s Trust Me, I’m a Doctor.

Mosley set out to figure out the actual benefits of turmeric through real-world experiments. He found that the spice has a positive effect on genes that cause certain diseases.

Nearly 100 volunteers were divided into three groups for the experiment. In the first group, participants consumed a teaspoon of turmeric every day for six weeks, “ideally mixed in with their food.” The second group took a turmeric supplement, while the third group was given a placebo. Next, scientists at University College London, analyzed the results through DNA tests.

The scientists found that, of course, those taking the placebo had no changes to their genes. Neither did the group taking the turmeric supplements. However, participants who mixed turmeric powder with their food were seen to have positive changes to their health.

“We found one gene which showed the biggest difference. And what’s interesting is that we know this particular gene is involved in three specific diseases: depression, asthma and eczema, and cancer,” Dr. Martin Widschwendter, of University College London, told Mosley. “This is a really striking finding.”

Adding turmeric to food may have more of an effect than ingesting the spice through a supplement because adding fat or heating it up could potentially make the “active ingredients more soluble,” Dr. Kristen Brandt of Newcastle University added. Mosley noted that additional research should be completed to confirm the findings of his study.

Can’t wait to start adding turmeric to everything I cook.

Turmeric: the cheapest superfood you'll ever buy

By Sarah Wilson

The thing with turmeric is that it beats inflammation. Stacks of recent studies are showing how effective it is in bringing down swelling in the cells. If you have auto-immune disease of any sort: turmeric is your friend.

This relative of ginger (hence its knobbly appearance) is popping up in every hipster café worth its Himalayan rock salt. Turmeric lattes (golden milk, if you're extra hip) are pervasive on Instagram. Beauty gurus have even created DIY turmeric face masks. (I don't recommend this unless you want to look like a Simpson!)

But it's not just the bright yellow hue that makes turmeric so sensational. Well, it is... and it isn't. The colour comes from a chemical called curcumin, which is pretty unique to turmeric. This is the stuff that has scientists excited (and me staining every surface in my kitchen yellow!).

Curcumin has powerful anti-inflammatory properties, which makes it a boon for us inflamed, overworked folks. There's evidence to show it can also calm conditions like psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. Whenever I'm feeling achy or puffy, I increase the turmeric in my diet.

Studies have also shown that it has a beneficial effect on the liver. It's a blood purifier. It also normalises your sugar levels and is very beneficial for diabetes patients.

Turmeric could be the cheapest superfood you'll ever buy (while I reckon it's worth its weight in gold, thankfully the supermarkets haven't caught on and it's still about two bucks a pop). Preliminary studies have shown that curcumin has incredible potential to fight cancer and Alzheimer's disease.

But the best thing about turmeric? It's a great excuse to eat fat (not that we need another one). The body absorbs it best if you eat it with fats, so add some ghee or coconut oil to your next yellow curry. Also, studies have shown that pepper increases its bioavailability. Thankfully we all love a crack of pepper!

And... research has shown that turmeric is better absorbed when fermented (I can vouch that it's more delicious this way, too). Which sounds pretty witchy and involved, but is really as simple as filling a jar with blended turmeric root, pepper, and enough whey or brine to cover it. Nature will do the rest.

Perhaps, try this: simmer your milk of choice with a teaspoon of turmeric, a sprinkle of black pepper and a good dollop of coconut oil. Voila, homemade golden milk without the hipster café price point!

• Chai Golden Milk

Serves 1

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 10 minutes

- Ingredients

½ cup water

1 cm fresh turmeric, grated (you can also use ½ teaspoon ground turmeric

½ teaspoon cinnamon

¼ teaspoon cardamom

1 cm fresh ginger, grated (you can also use ½ teaspoon ground ginger)

¼ teaspoon vanilla powder

½ teaspoon rice malt syrup

1 pinch black pepper

½ cup milk of choice

- Method

Add all ingredients except milk to a small pot on a medium heat.

Bring to a gentle simmer for 5-10 minutes.

Add milk and simmer for another minute, then take the pot off the heat and strain the liquid through a sieve and straight into a mug. Serve hot.

- Some delicious upgrades

Add a pinch of chilli powder for an extra spicy kick.

Let the mixture cool completely and blend with half a banana and some ice for a delicious smoothie.

Add one teaspoon of raw cacao for a chocolate version.

Why you should eat turmeric

By Christina Larmer

If you're cooking a curry this evening, you might want to sprinkle in some extra turmeric. Research is showing what countries such as India and Sri Lanka have long known - that this yellow spice has more benefits than boosting food flavour. Used for more than 4000 years to treat a variety of ailments, curcumin - the active ingredient in turmeric - could potentially ward off dementia and prevent cancer.

According to the World Alzheimer's Report 2009, 3.6 per cent of South Asians over the age of 60 suffer from dementia, compared with 6.4 per cent of Australasians and 7.2 per cent of Western Europeans. Similarly, the World Health Organization says that cancer rates in India are considerably lower than those in more developed countries such as the US.

But is it turmeric that's having this effect? Cancer researcher Ralph W. Moss believes so. He says turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory, it inhibits the growth of new blood vessels in tumours and it's a powerful antioxidant.But before you start gulping it by the spoonful, Aloysa Hourigan, Nutrition Australia senior nutritionist, says it's not that simple. "Curcumin is just one antioxidant, and it might have some function, but I don't think there's one super thing that's going to fix everything.

Also, a lot of the studies have been done on animals and test tubes, so from a western medicine point of view the evidence is not strong enough. But it's been used in Chinese and Indian medicine for a long time, so it may well have some benefit." While more testing is needed, here are seven potential health reasons to start sprinkling away.

1. Wards off Alzheimer's disease

Researchers believe that curcumin's antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties may be strong enough to break down the amyloid plaques in the brain that contribute to Alzheimer's disease. "If the blood vessels remain less clogged, then certain parts of the brain might be fed more easily with oxygen and that would keep the brain functioning better," explains Hourigan. The Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at the University of California is currently planning clinical human trials.

2. Helps to prevent cancer

In his book, The 150 Healthiest Foods On Earth (Fair Winds), nutritionist Jonny Bowden says there are at least 30 studies showing that curcumin may have an anti-tumour effect, "either reducing the number or size of tumours or the percentage of animals who developed them".

While more human research is needed, he points to a 2006 study showing that curcumin inhibited the growth of human colon cancer. A New Jersey study found that, when combined with vegetables such as broccoli and cauliflower, it may help treat and prevent prostate cancer.

There are also indications that it may help to prevent breast, skin and pancreatic cancer, childhood leukaemia and multiple myeloma. "While no-one is claiming that turmeric cures cancer, there is plenty of reason to believe it is a useful adjunct to a healthy diet," says Bowden.

3. Reduces the risk of heart attacks and strokes

Curcumin also has a positive effect on cholesterol, says Bowden, and animal studies have shown that it may help lower cholesterol and prevent the build-up of LDL ("bad" cholesterol) in the blood vessels. It could therefore stop the build-up of plaque (atherosclerosis) that can block arteries and cause heart attacks and strokes.

4. Combats inflammatory diseases

Turmeric's natural anti-inflammatory qualities mean it may work as well as some anti-inflammatory medications, without the side effects. Early research shows it may help with inflammation of the eye (uveitis), inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis) and multiple sclerosis.

One study, using a formula which contained turmeric, showed it reduced the pain and disability associated with osteoarthritis, but it hasn't been studied on its own yet.

5.Fights colds and flu

Preliminary studies show that turmeric may help reduce the severity of bacterial and viral infections.

6. Helps indigestion and weight loss

Curcumin stimulates the gallbladder and produces bile. Because bile helps digest fat, experts believe this improves digestion and may help control weight. At least one study found it treats indigestion, reducing symptoms of bloating and gas.

7. Assists diabetes sufferers

Turmeric may improve glucose control or insulin activity; in animal research it was shown to cause blood sugar levels to drop. If you add turmeric to your diet, Hourigan suggests monitoring your blood sugars. When combined with diabetes medication, it may cause levels to drop too low, resulting in hypoglycaemia.

How do i take it?

Nutrition Australia says turmeric can easily be added to your diet. "We encourage people to use a range of herbs and spices as they're good sources of antioxidants, which may have protective effects for health," says Hourigan. Turmeric's roots and bulbs are generally boiled and dried to form powder. You can also grate it like ginger or take a supplement (powdered capsules, fluid extract or drops). Adults can take about one to three grams of the dried powdered root per day.

Turmeric Benefits

By Nasser Khan

In this the 21st instalment of the continuing series, Food for Thought/ Grow & Eat Local, we focus on turmeric, Curcuma longa, a herbaceous perennial plant belonging to the ginger family, Zingiberaceae.

Here in Trinidad, turmeric is referred to as hardi which is a distortion of the word haldi, derived from the Sanskrit haridra. It is also erroneously labelled and sold as saffron which is a totally different spice obtained from the stamens of the crocus flower. Like saffron, turmeric also yields a bright yellow colour to food, hence it being locally referred to as saffron.

Food for Thought/Grow and Eat Local seeks to inform about the 149 crops that are grown in T&T (not counting the varieties within many of them). These crops are depicted on two charts with a photo of each crop in alpha order giving the local and scientific names and were sponsored by First Citizens. The model has been duplicated in Barbados, St Lucia and St Vincent, and efforts are underway to do so in Jamaica and Guyana. Copies have been distributed to all schools and libraries. For information regarding their availability: email fruitstt@live.com

Here in T&T, we tend to gravitate towards fruits and foods that are not local. Estimates are that our food import bill is near TT$5 billion annually, about 85 per cent of our food intake, most of it processed and high in artificial additives and sugar and salt.

Did you know that in the 1960s the Macqueripe/Tucker Valley was once lush with citrus and banana fields producing more than enough to supply the nation? In other fertile areas of the country other crops were prolific. Oil centricity, industrialisation and non-agricultural business have essentially put paid significantly to the agricultural sector.

It is critical that we as a nation engage and support the resurrection and revival of local food production (eg in schools) and consumption. As a country, we must place greater emphasis on food sovereignty as a matter of urgent attention.

Turmeric is widely cultivated throughout the tropics. It has been used in Asia for thousands of years and is a major part of Siddha medicine. It was first used as a dye, and then later for its medicinal properties and for cosmetic purposes.

In the 13th century, Marco Polo wrote of this spice, marvelling at a vegetable that exhibited qualities so similar to saffron. Turmeric is considered holy and has been used in various Hindu ceremonies for centuries where it remains popular in India for wedding and religious ceremonies. Like in India, these traditions have taken ‘root’ in T&T and turmeric is also used in Hindu religious ceremonies including wedding ceremonies.

Like ginger, turmeric plants are harvested for their rhizomes (underground stems). When not used fresh, the rhizomes are boiled for about 30–45 minutes and then dried in hot ovens, after which they are ground into a deep-orange-yellow powder commonly used as a spice in Asian cuisines and as a main component of curries. It is also used for dyeing and to impart colour to certain food preparations.

One active ingredient found in turmeric is curcumin, which has a distinctly earthy, slightly bitter, slightly hot peppery flavour and a mustardy smell. Turmeric rhizomes are used as a bright yellow-orange culinary spice. The rhizomes can be cured for use as a spice by boiling and steaming. They can also be boiled in water, dried, peeled and then ground.

Turmeric is an important yellow food dye and is added to many Indian dishes including curries. Turmeric is a main ingredient of curry powder and ground rhizomes are used to make turmeric oil that is used in the industrial production of flavouring for curries.

In Grenada, the traditional “oil down” (made with breadfruit) has a yellow finished colour obtained from the use of turmeric. Powdered turmeric is also available from Grenada.

It is a very easy plant to grow at home, one clump is sufficient to provide the home with fresh haldi. It is an upright perennial herbaceous plant that reaches up to one metre tall and produces highly branched, yellow to orange, cylindrical, aromatic rhizomes. Turmeric only reproduces via its rhizomes. Turmeric is ready for harvesting seven to ten months after planting, when the lower leaves turn yellow.

Harvesting is carried out by digging up the rhizomes. Leafy tops are then cut off and the roots and adhering earth are removed. Rhizomes are then washed. Turmeric requires temperatures between 20 and 30 °C (68 and 86 °F) and a considerable amount of annual rainfall to thrive.

Another indicator of when the rhizome is ready for harvest is the appearance of these rhizomes above the soil level. Once these rhizomes are harvested some are retained for replanting as a future crop. It is recommended that rhizomes be air dried before planting. If planting in the ground, dig deep and aerated soil well, add manure and prepare a mound.

Plant unbruised rhizomes about 15-30 cm apart and at least five cm below soil level. If planting in a large pot, use well drained soil. Unlike its cousin ginger, turmeric prefers to be grown in full sunshine and must be well watered.

In Ayurvedic practices, turmeric has been used to treat a variety of internal disorders, such as indigestion, throat infections, common colds, or liver ailments, as well as topically to cleanse wounds or treat skin sores. Basic research shows extracts from turmeric may have antifungal and antibacterial properties.

Turmeric is under study for its potential to affect human diseases, including kidney and cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, cancer, irritable bowel disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, and other clinical disorders.

Externally, the dried rhizome has been applied to fresh wounds and insect stings and to help the healing process in chickenpox and smallpox. Inhalation of turmeric smoke is reputed to relieve hiccups. Turmeric rhizomes have also been mixed with other plants to produce traditional remedies for a range of conditions including tonsillitis, headaches, wounds, snake bites, stings, sprains and fractured bones.

Turmeric is not widely used in Western medicine, but has been investigated as a treatment for some conditions. Studies show that the rhizomes contain compounds that may have therapeutic effects, which appear to support some of its uses in traditional medicine. Here in Trinidad, turmeric tea (made from fresh grated turmeric rhizomes) is drunk to assist with the healing of internal wounds while a paste can be applied to the skin for the healing of external wounds.

Commercial cosmetics containing turmeric are now widely available in Trinidad from face washes to toothpaste. Turmeric paper, also called curcuma paper or in German literature Curcumapapier is paper steeped in a tincture of turmeric and allowed to dry. It is used in chemical analysis as an indicator for acidity and alkalinity.

India is the world’s largest producer, consumer and exporter of turmeric.

Can Turmeric Cure Our National Inflammation?

By Jessica Pressler

Not long ago on the subway I saw a youngish, well-dressed woman drinking what looked like urine from a Poland Spring bottle. Watching as she unself-consciously tipped the deep gold liquid into her mouth, I thought: How about that, New Yorkers are still into freaky shit.

Then I realized it was probably not pee after all, but some kind of concoction containing turmeric, the superroot of the moment.

You might have noticed the starry rise of turmeric, which ranks as one of the most-searched foods by Google Trends this year, and has since become ubiquitous. There it is, at every trendy eatery: Sqirl in L.A., El Rey in New York. It’s hanging out in Karlie Kloss’s muffins, Shailene Woodley’s bone broth, and Gwyneth Paltrow’s lattes.

To people from India, where Ayurvedic medicine has made use of turmeric for thousands of years, the sudden sexiness of this stubby cousin of ginger, which looks from the outside not unlike the hairy, gnarled fingers of the grandmas traditionally fond of dispensing it, is amusing and maybe a little gratifying. “My mom is so vindicated,” one Indian friend told me. “She’s always sending us photos of upsold turmeric beverages in trendy cafés.”

It’s also kind of confusing: Why now, after thousands of years, has turmeric become an “It” root? Partly, it comes with the overall trend toward clean eating, which has also swallowed Ayurvedic practices like juice fasting and “swishing” with coconut oil. “People are much more interested in simplifying what goes into their bodies, including what goes onto their skin,” says Roberta Weiss, a developer for Kiehl’s who created the company’s Turmeric and Cranberry Seed Brightening Mask, which came out last year. “They’re realizing the ancient ways of doing things have a lot of validity.”

To a layperson, the actual benefits of turmeric can be a little hard to discern: Ayurvedists use it to cure everything, from scrapes and burns to constipation and conjunctivitis — “It’s essentially to Indians what Windex is to the Big Fat Greeks,” says my friend — and this same attitude has taken root (sorry) in the West, where turmeric is currently being touted as not just an energy supplement and skin brightener but a potential weapon against Alzheimer’s and cancer. Scientists aren’t definitive on all that, but they do agree on one thing: curcumin, the chemical turmeric produces, is a powerful anti-inflammatory. And inflammation is a hot topic (sorry again) in wellness circles. “There’s this idea where if you have free-floating inflammation you are much more vulnerable to all sorts of things from heart disease to skin aging,” says Jean Godfrey June, the beauty director of Goop. Until recently, she points out, “The culture in skin care, and in medicine I think, has been to attack and fight. But now people are realizing that harsh treatment makes inflammation worse, and that soothing your system is more important.”

This, if anything, explains the popularity of turmeric in America in 2016: We are, as a nation, nothing if not terribly inflamed, vulnerable, desperately in need of soothing but all too prone to harsh overcorrection. Can we resist the impulses that have gotten us into trouble before, and change our behavior before inflammation takes us down for good?

As a journalist, I’m skeptical that turmeric will be able to quell our national inflammation. But because action begins with the individual — and because people at the Cut look like they have a lot of fun cataloging diets and stuff and I want in — I’ve agreed to spend seven days seeing if this developing-world root can soothe my first-world problems.

Day One

I pop by the New York Ayurveda & Panchakarma Center after work to see the manager, Nisha Saini, who’s been turning New Yorkers onto turmeric since Gwyneth was dating Brad. Like the recipe I’ve pinned from Goop, she suggests mixing the fresh juiced or grated root with a sweetener for easier drinking, along with a fat like coconut oil and some pepper, which works to boost the body’s absorbency of the curcumin. “After a week, you will notice a difference, definitely,” she says. “Your gut will feel very clear. But turmeric is very strong,” she warns. “I don’t recommend more than half a teaspoon of fresh turmeric to anybody.” In my head I know this is good advice, but I’m an American, and more is more. Twenty minutes later I’m at Apna Bazar in Jackson Heights, where a woman in an on-trend turmeric-colored sari is ringing up a massive bag of the roots for me, along with a huge bag of powder and a small tube of skin cleanser called Vita Turmeric. That’s right: I am doing this thing. I am going to be motherfucking soothed.

After the protracted negotiations required to put our toddler to bed, my husband flicks on a cable drama in which a crazed but handsome serial killer begins committing murders solely to spite the detective investigating him. But I don’t say, “Seriously? This plotline? Again?” because I know that I will soon float away on a cloud of Turmeric Calm. This Zen briefly falters in the kitchen, which I realize I’ve forgotten to procure the almond milk, coconut sugar, and sea salt the Goop latte requires, but I coolly improvise with a half a bottle of coconut water, a pinch of Morton’s and the last drops of honey from an old bear. With the pepper on top, it looks gross but is surprisingly tasty, and as I drink it I feel tender toward millennials for finding a way to make sweet caloric beverages into a healthy choice. It’s working already!


I’m supposed to go on TV to talk about Ivanka Trump, and thus spend the day feeling nervous and running through various pissed-off arguments in my head. Then it’s canceled, which leaves me free to meet a young lady writer I know who has told me she wants to discuss this Really Crazy Situation she’s in. We meet at a bar in midtown, where I drink two glasses of wine and eat approximately six fried olives with she tells me the story, which I can’t get into except to say it involves a Much Older Man, His Girlfriend, and His Antiquities, and is indeed really freaking crazy, in addition to being also sad and enraging in a way that makes my stomach hurt. This feeling is exacerbated when I get a New York Times alert saying that Trump is “tied” with Hillary Clinton, and then on the way home accidentally read an article in which an idiot pop star says she has “never voted and has no desire to.” Fortunately, I have a cure at hand: I stumble into my kitchen and cobble together a version of the Sqirl tonic, and although I am forced to use one of our toddler’s juice boxes as a base and have failed to make a batch of cardamom ghee, holy shit, it is delicious! Is this my new side hustle, since as we all know, journalism is screwed? Alas no: It’s already the full-time job of Daniel Sullivan, whose company Temple Turmeric, which he founded in 2009 after a stint working on an organic farm in Maui, was “first in the bottled turmeric beverage space,” he tells me later. The company, which now produces seven types of turmeric elixirs, is next planning on “leveraging the apple-cider-vinegar trend,” he will go on to say, and is also “playing in probiotic and in the shot category.” Yeah, even the hippies these days are aggressive.

Day Three

The subway is running late which means my babysitter is too, so the toddler and I head to the coffee shop down the street for breakfast. The babysitter has just texted to say that she’s around the corner when a work phone call comes through unexpectedly early. I pick up, thinking she’ll walk in any second, at the exact instant the toddler announces with extreme urgency, “I have to POOP!” Feigning a service interruption, I hang up and attend to business, phone buzzing in my pocket. When I finally call back, several minutes later, I’m pretty sure the person on the other end can hear the denouement, as my son excitedly informs the babysitter and rest of the customers: “I POOPED in the muffin shop!” Later that day it will become clear exactly how precious and endearing this moment is when 84 people, 11 of them children, are killed by a truck-driving lunatic in Nice. That night, I get a horrible case of heartburn, related to the news or the olives, and remember that earlier that day, when all those people were alive and having fun, I’d bought a packet of Gaia TurmericBoost! powder at LifeThyme in the West Village. I dump it in a mug of hot water and sip it while unhealthily scrolling through the news on Twitter. Soon I realize that while the news remains terrible, the heartburn is totally gone.

Day Four

Find out that after seven months of back and forth with my insurance provider, Aetna has denied a claim for a D&C I had after a miscarriage, sans explanation. Crack open a bottle of Gratitude’s limited-edition Turmeric Kombucha, then promptly spill it all over myself while tipping it over to read the inspirational saying encircling the logo: You will never be as young as you are today. There’s now a large yellow stain above my left boob. Try to feel Gratitude.

Day Five

It’s the end of the week, and feeling in need of extra soothing I sign up for a yoga class at a new place, settling in behind a guy with a blond topknot and a shirt that says, “Sky’s Out, Thigh’s Out.” Normally, I might roll my eyes but I’m still feeling magnanimous toward millennials — after all, it’s harder than ever to be young — and I find it kind of endearing that this generation can’t yet see their future fashion regrets the way a person who wore Beetlejuice tights throughout the ‘90s can. By the end of class this feeling has faded, however, due to the instructors constant exhortations of “Make today your best day ever!” in between turning out the lights and letting us figure out what to do ourselves, like we aren’t taking a class for a reason. “Is today your day to do something amazing?” she chirps, as we lie in savasana. Jesus, lady. It’s Friday. Let’s just get through the day. On the way to dinner with my husband and his work friends, I stop at Juice Press and ask them to throw a teaspoon of turmeric in my water, just to calm down. “Does it work?” the girl behind the counter asks curiously. I don’t really know, I tell her, but I’m hopeful.

Day Six

Weirdly not hung-over, despite having spent the evening with people from an industry that treats drinking as a social sport, like golf or something. Turmeric! Gotta go back and tell the girl at Juice Press.

Day Seven

Wake up to the news of police officers being shot in Baton Rouge. Tomorrow, the Republican National Convention begins. After seven days, as Nisha at the Ayurveda Center predicted, my gut feels clear. Unfortunately, it’s also sending me a clear message: There is not enough turmeric in the world.

Top 10 Benefits of Turmeric: Paint Your Kitchen Gold

By Alyson Lundstrom and Marisa Randles (Blissful Carrot)

Turmeric is known as the golden spice of India, which is a tropical plant in the ginger family, known for its intense bright orange and yellow hues. If you have only casually had turmeric as an occasional curry spice, your life is about to change!

1. It a potent natural drug – and is known to be able to replace up to 14 prescription drugs! It has been known to help treat certain mental illnesses, including depression- 1000mg of turmeric has a similar equivalence to taking prozac.

2. In Ayurvedic & Traditional Chinese Medicine, turmeric is considered a digestive bitter that stimulates digestion. It improves the body’s ability to digest fats, and can be incorporated into almost any meal to aid in digestive issues, or to help resolve tummy issues such as gas & bloating.

3. Try applying turmeric topically to your next cut, bruise or scrape for its powerful antibacterial superpowers. You can make it into a paste by adding water, or even a little honey, and applying to affected area, or also take internally.

4. Turmeric has been found to fight various fungus, including yeast overgrowth such as Candidiasis, as well as other fungal strains. Yeasts & fungus make their homes in weakened immune systems, so taking 1-3grams of turmeric daily will ensure your body can fight these off.

5. There is no better known natural and easier treatment to lower blood sugar than adding turmeric to your diet. It is literally 400x more potent than opposing diabetes drugs.

6. It is a great natural anti-inflammatory — it fights chronic inflammation in the tissues, and has been proven to be especially helpful to people suffering with arthritis and other painful joint issues. It also provides a systemic natural stress reliever, as many health issues are a direct result of too much inflammation in the body.

7. Along with fighting chronic inflammation, turmeric has been known to ward off other chronic diseases, including cancer due to its high free radical fighting antioxidant nature. The key ingredient, curcumin, has been proven to actually kill cancer cells, without having any adverse affect on the body’s normal cells. It is very effective at removing free radicals as well as preventing development of future free radicals in the body. It is also known to help with toxic mercury poisoning or subchronic TCDD exposure.

8. Turmeric is a great support for overall brain function, including neurotrophic factors that boost learning and memory, making turmeric a good supporting supplement for Alzheimer’s, and has even been known to reverse symptoms of memory loss.

9. Taking turmeric helps support vascular function, and effectively reduces the risk of heart disease and heart attacks.

10. It works as a great natural food (or non-food) dye! Some of our walls in Blissful Carrot are stained with turmeric 🙂 Artificial food dyes contain many cancer causing contaminants and behavioural irritants.

Try to incorporate turmeric into your daily regimen, through smoothies, soups, baked goods, curries, rice dishes, salad dressings, tea, juices, or as a supplement. Pair it with black pepper and increase your body’s ability to absorb turmeric by 2000%!

Turmeric - Nature's wonder drug! The healthiest herbs & spices revealed

By Dr Michael Greger (For The Daily Mail)
• Herbs and spices have more antioxidants than any other food group
• Can help prevent the initial triggering of mutations in your DNA
• Taking a moment to spice up your life can have far-reaching consequences

Ounce for ounce, herbs and spices have more antioxidants than any other food group.

This means they can help prevent the initial triggering of mutations in your DNA that could lead to cancer or other diseases.

So taking a moment to spice up your life can have far-reaching consequences. And the truly amazing properties of turmeric make it something we should sprinkle on our food every single day.


What if someone could invent a magic pill that protected us from some of the worst diseases on the planet? Imagine the joy of the pharmaceutical companies - and what they'd charge us to buy it. Well, I have news that Big Pharma doesn't particularly want to hear. The ingredients for that pill are probably already right there on your kitchen shelves: in a packet or bottle labelled turmeric.

Since the turn of the century, more than 50 clinical trials have tested curcumin - the pigment in turmeric that gives it that bright yellow colour - against a variety of diseases.

These show that the spice may play a significant role in preventing or treating lung disease, brain disease and a variety of cancers - including multiple myeloma, colon cancer and pancreatic cancer.

Curcumin has also been shown to help speed recovery after surgery and effectively treat rheumatoid arthritis better than the leading drug of choice. It may also be effective in treating osteoarthritis and other inflammatory conditions, such as lupus and inflammatory bowel disease.

In the latest trial for ulcerative colitis, a randomised, double-blind study found more than 50 per cent of patients achieved remission within a month on curcumin - compared with none of the patients who received the placebo. And consuming turmeric with soya may offer a double benefit for osteoarthritis sufferers.

So how much do you eat - and how do you eat it?

Turmeric is potent stuff. If I gave you an eighth of a teaspoon of turmeric to eat once a day for a week, then exposed your blood to an oxidising (bad) chemical, the number of cells with DNA damage could be cut in half. All because you had a little bit of turmeric onboard.

Because this spice can have such powerful drug-like effects, I'd advise everyone - including pregnant women - to take just a quarter of a teaspoon a day.

Ultrasound studies show that even this small amount causes the gallbladder to contract, squeezing out half its contents. In doing this, it may help to stop gallstones from forming. But be warned: if you already have a gallstone, that turmeric-induced squeeze could be painful.

And here's a good tip. Try to have your quarter-teaspoon with black pepper.

About five per cent of black pepper is composed of a compound called piperine. And one of the things this does is to prevent your liver from actively working to get rid of the curcumin you've just eaten.

Even the tiniest pinch of pepper can significantly boost curcumin levels in your blood.

You can buy turmeric from any supermarket - or get it raw from Asian shops and grate a quarter of an inch of the root into your food. There's evidence to suggest raw turmeric may have greater anti-inflammatory effects, while cooked turmeric offers better DNA protection.

I find that turmeric of any kind goes particularly well with brown rice, lentil dishes and roasted cauliflower.

But wouldn't it be easier to take a curcumin supplement?

No - because curcumin is not equivalent to turmeric - it's just one of its ingredients. The few studies that have compared turmeric with curcumin have suggested turmeric may work even better.

Against breast cancer, for instance, curcumin kicked butt, but turmeric kicked even more butt. The same was true against pancreatic cancer, colon cancer, multiple myeloma, chronic myeloid leukaemia and others.


Studies show that about 20 sprigs of coriander eaten daily for two months reduced inflammation levels in arthritis sufferers. The same dose also cut uric acid levels in half, suggesting that eating lots of coriander may be useful for people suffering from gout.


What happens if you rub capsaicin - the burning part of hot peppers - inside your nostrils? As medical students recruited for a trial discovered, it makes you sneeze and causes a burning pain (level eight or nine on a scale of 10).

But, as the days went on, each application of capsaicin hurt less. By day five, it hardly hurt, and their noses were no longer running.

What was probably happening is the pain fibres in their noses - the nerves that carry pain sensation - had exhausted their stores of pain neurotransmitter. Meanwhile, the nerves had to make more neurotransmitter from scratch, which takes a couple of weeks.

So how can this be exploited for medical purposes?

Well, there's a type of headache called 'cluster headache', described as one of the worst pains humans can experience. So researchers decided to try the daily capsaicin experiment with people who suffered from these headaches.

By day five, half the patients were apparently completely cured.

Capsaicin is also useful for treating irritable bowel syndrome: enteric-coated capsules of red-pepper powder were able to decrease significantly the intensity of abdominal pain and bloating.

And people with chronic indigestion found their stomach pains and nausea improved after a month of taking about one and a half teaspoons of cayenne pepper a day.


Scientists conducted a double-blind clinical trial to measure how well ginger treated migraine headaches compared with sumatriptan, one of the top-selling drugs in the world.

Amazingly, they found one-eighth of a teaspoon of powdered ginger worked as fast and as well as the drug. The same applied when ginger was pitted against ibuprofen.

Ginger also helps with menstrual cramps, which plague up to 90 per cent of younger women.

Just one-eighth of a teaspoon of powdered ginger, three times a day, was found to drop pain levels from an eight to a six on a scale of 1-10. In the second month, the levels dropped to three.

And if you start taking ginger a week before your period, you may experience a beneficial change in your premenstrual mood.

Ginger also reduces nausea during motion sickness, pregnancy, chemotherapy, radiation, and after surgery. (The maximum daily dose of fresh ginger for pregnant women is 20g)


Oregano is such an antioxidant-rich herb that researchers decided to see if it could reduce the DNA-damaging effects of radiation.

For their tests, they used radioactive iodine, which leaves patients so radioactive that they're advised not to kiss anyone. To their surprise, they found chromosome damage - which can cause further cancers - was reduced by 70 per cent if the patient ate oregano.


IN LAB studies, marjoram appears significantly to inhibit the spread of breast cancer cells.

For another scientific trial, women with polycystic ovary syndrome were instructed to drink two cups of marjoram tea on an empty stomach every day for a month. At the end of the study, researchers noted that the tea had a beneficial effect on the women's hormone levels.


Researchers at Pennsylvania State University compared the effects of a high-fat chicken meal with and without a mixture of nine herbs and spices.

The people who ate added spice experienced a doubling of the antioxidant power in their bloodstreams, compared with the spice-free group. But that wasn't all.

The spice group ended up with 30 per cent less fat in their blood and improved insulin sensitivity. So if you must eat fried chicken, have it with spices.


Someone weighing about 11 stone should probably eat no more than 5 tablespoons of raw poppy seeds at a time.

And too much nutmeg can also be a problem - a toxic dose is just two to three teaspoons.

I'd always assumed no one would ever come close to that amount, until a married couple were hospitalised after eating pasta. The husband had accidentally added 4 tsp of nutmeg to the meal while cooking.

Another spice to be wary of is cinnamon. Most of the stuff we buy is the 'cassia' type, which contains a compound called coumarin.

Even a quarter of a teaspoon a few times a week may be too much for small children. And a daily teaspoon would exceed the upper safety limit for adults.

The more expensive Ceylon cinnamon, on the other hand, is both inoffensive and packed with antioxidants.

Daily Recommendation: ¼ tsp of turmeric, and any other (salt-free) herbs and spices you enjoy!

6 Health Benefits Of Turmeric

By Sarah Klein

It’s a quintessential spice in curry, a relative of ginger and one of the healthiest ways to add flavor — and color! — to a home-cooked meal.

Turmeric has been used to relieve everything from liver problems to depression to ringworm in folk medicine, but, like many alternative therapies, there’s not always much research to back up the ancient wisdom.

But that doesn’t mean turmeric’s powers are to be discredited altogether. Here, a look at what we do know about this powerful seasoning.

Turmeric can tame heartburn and an upset stomach. In a small 1989 study, supplements made from the turmeric plant were found to be more effective at curbing heartburn and indigestion symptoms than a placebo, possibly because of the plant’s known powers to fight inflammation, Everyday Health reported.

A compound in turmeric may ward off heart attacks...

Curcumin, the compound in turmeric responsible for that bright hue, is behind a whole host of the health benefits attributed to the spice. A 2012 study examined one perk of curcumin in particular: the ability of the extract to prevent heart attacks among bypass patients. The study followed 121 patients who had bypass surgery between 2009 and 2011. Three days before surgery through five days after, half of the patients took curcumin capsules, while the other half took placebo pills. During their post-bypass hospital stays, more people in the placebo group experienced a heart attack (30 percent) compared with those in the curcumin group (13 percent), Reuters reported. While not a substitute for medication, the researchers pointed out, the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin may contribute to as much as a 65 percent lower chance of heart attack among bypass patients.

... Delay diabetes...

Among people with prediabetes, curcumin capsules were found to delay the onset of Type 2 diabetes in a 2012 study. Over nine months, study participants were given either curcumin supplements or placebo capsules. Just over 16 percent of people taking the placebo pill were diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes by the end of the study, while no one taking curcumin was. Again, researchers chalk these results up to the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant powers of the compound.

... And even fight cancer.

While studies in humans are still in very early stages, lab and animal studies have shown promising effects of curcumin in the fight against cancer. Curcumin “interferes with several important molecular pathways involved in cancer development, growth and spread,” according to the American Cancer Society, even killing cancer cells in the lab setting and shrinking tumors and boosting the effects of chemotherapy in animals.

Another compound in turmeric may protect the brain.

Aromatic turmerone or ar-turmerone is not as well-studied as curcumin, but it also likely plays a part in the turmeric puzzle. In a recent study, researchers found ar-turmerone promotes repair to stems cells in the brain. The study examined the effects of the compound in rats on a type of stem cell that is also found in adult brains. These stem cells are involved in recovery from neurodegenerative diseases like stroke and Alzheimer’s. The compound could potentially be used in the treatment of these diseases in the future, the findings suggest.

The new study builds upon a larger body of research suggesting curcumin may improve overall memory in Alzheimer’s patients, due to a wide range of possible pathways, according to a 2008 review.

Turmeric may curb joint pain.

Curcumin has been definitively deemed to carry anti-inflammatory powers, although its exact pathways still aren’t completely understood. However, that knowledge has led to a number of studies examining the benefits of turmeric to people with joint pain or arthritis. One of the most promising found that turmeric extract supplements worked just as well as ibuprofen in patients with knee osteoarthritis.

A few words of caution.

The FDA doesn’t regulate dietary supplements the same way it regulates food or conventional medication, so not every supplement is created equal. Also, certain supplements, including those made from turmeric, can interact with other medications. Turmeric may slow blood clotting, for example, so people taking drugs with the same effect, like anticoagulants, should be cautious about taking turmeric supplements, according to the National Institutes of Health. And of course, it’s always a good idea to talk to your doctor before starting any kind of supplements.

Why You Should Be Adding Turmeric To More Than Just Your Morning Latte

By Polina Frantsena

If you haven’t been hiding under a mossy boulder, you’ve probably heard of turmeric and its amazing health benefits. If you did just come out from said boulder, that’s OK. You look great. We should totally grab a coffee sometime. Shall I catch you up on turmeric?

You’ve probably seen turmeric powder sold in stores. But what is turmeric exactly? Turmeric is a plant from the ginger family. It has an earthy, warm, bitter taste and is bright orange in color. Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine has long been using turmeric for its healing benefits.

Curcumin, one of the main active ingredients in turmeric, has been shown to help reduce inflammation. Early lab studies indicate that curcumin might inhibit growth of certain tumors, protect from skin disease, help with stomach ulcers, high cholesterol, upset stomach, viral infections, diabetes and even Alzheimer’s disease and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.

A study done by researchers from the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health’s (CAMH) Campbell Family Mental Health Research Institute in Toronto, Canada, suggests that depression may be the brain’s reaction to inflammation. Now more than ever health advisors are recommending practicing low inflammation diets. This is where turmeric and its large array of healing properties take the spotlight.

Turmeric can be found as a spice in most grocery stores. I recommend spending a few extra dollars on the organic kind. Recently health stores like Whole Foods started caring raw turmeric, which contains even more beneficial properties because it contains natural oils. There are many turmeric supplements, from capsules to powders, that are meant to be added to smoothies.

The possibilities of incorporating turmeric into your diet are endless, and with that I could see how you might be a little overwhelmed.

Have no worries, I have compiled five easy ways in which you can add turmeric to your life without breaking the bank or your kitchen. I mean I know curries are great, but this girl doesn’t have time to whip one up every day.

1. Coffee and Turmeric

Don’t be surprised! Sprinkling a pinch of turmeric into your morning coffee tastes great. Its warm, orange-ginger aroma goes perfectly with a hot cup of joe. Add some almond milk and a sprinkle of cinnamon (which lowers blood sugar and fights infections) and enjoy a little extra boost in your morning routine.

2. Smoothies With Turmeric And Maca

Smoothies are my favorite go-to for a blast of nutrients when I’m on the go. I add either 1/4 teaspoon of grated turmeric or a dash of powdered turmeric to the smoothie along with maca root powder (an Incan superfood that provides energy, balance and vitality).


1 cup almond milk
1 banana
1 kiwi (peeled)
1 cup baby spinach
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 teaspoon maca root powder

3. Turmeric Lemonade

This refreshing drink packed with vitamins and flavors combines turmeric with a spice that boosts its amazing properties and promotes its absorption: black pepper. Black pepper is composed of an active ingredient called piperine. When we usually consume turmeric, our liver metabolizes it and makes it water-soluble, which flushes it out of our system with only a portion of it going into our blood stream. Piperine inhibits this process and allows for maximum turmeric absorption.


1/2 teaspoon turmeric (peeled and grated)
Juice from 2 oranges
Juice from 1/2 lemon
Pinch of freshly ground black pepper
1 cup filtered water (or 1/2 sparkling water, 1/2 filtered water)

Directions Squeeze juice from 2 oranges and ½ into a glass. Add a dash of freshly ground black pepper. Top off with either 1 cup of water, or for extra oomph ½ cup filtered water and ½ cup sparkling mineral water.

4. Turmeric Eggs And Rice

This is my version of healthy fried rice. When I was growing up my mom used to always scramble some eggs into my pasta or rice, and I love the way it holds the dish together. Adding turmeric to this meal makes it have a warm glowing color, and it feels like my belly is getting a hug from all the nutritional benefits.


1.5 cups brown rice (or sprouted tri-color blend) cooked according to package directions.
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 tomato
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon organic turmeric powder
Pinch of chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tablespoon olive oil

Directions Heat olive oil in a pan over medium-high heat. Add onion, cook until translucent and just starting to brown. Add tomato and cook for 1 more minute. Add rice, eggs, turmeric powder, chili powder, salt and pepper. Mix well and cook for 4 minutes or until egg is fully cooked through.

5. Turmeric Toothpaste

What?! You heard me right. The newest craze is making your own toothpastes and deodorants. This intriguing homemade toothpaste claims to help with receding gums and gum inflammation and also whitens teeth. I was skeptical at first because in my experience turmeric can stain anything it touches. I tried this out, and my teeth felt extremely smooth and sparkly. I bet if I made this a daily routine I would start noticing effects there too. I’m a converted believer! It did make my toothbrush yellow, but that came out after I washed it with soap. If the corners of your lips have turmeric residue wash with warm water and soap. It’s worth it, I promise. Here is the recipe.

I bet if I made this a daily routine I would start noticing effects there too. It did make my toothbrush yellow, but that came out after I washed it with soap. If the corners of your lips have turmeric residue, wash with warm water and soap. It’s worth it. I promise.


2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/4 teaspoon turmeric powder

Directions Mix the ingredients together and brush you teeth, allowing the paste to sit for 1-2 minutes after you’re done brushing. Rinse and follow with brushing with your regular toothpaste.

Turmeric has been around for centuries, and has been known in the health community for a while, but I think it’s making its mainstream media debut now, and you are the first to know.

Turmeric: 5 things you didn’t know about the superfood


Using food as medicine is as old as time, but such so-called folk remedies often get a bad rap from the medical establishment. Turmeric, the yellow root commonly used as a spice in curry dishes, has one of the most extensive histories of all food medicines, and modern science is beginning to recognize its worth.

It’s most commonly used as a colorant, a spice and a preservative, but turmeric could have much more profound applications. It’s considered a rhizome, like ginger, and also like ginger, has international culinary and folk healing appeal.

Turmeric has been used to treat everything from pain to parasites, and researchers are finding even more potential uses. And with it readily found in spice aisles and produce departments alike, turmeric is an easy addition to your daily diet. Here’s what you may not know about this ancient spice and remedy.

1. It’s old— very old

It may be trendy now, but turmeric is far from new. It’s been used in food and as medicine for at least 4,000 years, first in India and other parts of Asia, and later in Africa and the Caribbean. Researchers in India recently identified mineral remnants of turmeric and ginger on the cooking pots and teeth of ancient Indus River remains, suggesting a curry-like dish may have been eaten in one of the first urban civilizations.

Curcumin, the active component in turmeric, is credited with its numerous health benefits but was not identified until 1910. As science has begun to uncover the many potential benefits, this already common root has only become more popular.

2. It has science on its side

“Turmeric is one of the greatest, beneficial medicinal plants in the entire world,” said ethnobotonist, author and “Medicine Hunter” Chris Kilham. “It’s also one of the most researched medicinal plants in history.”

As of January 2015, there are nearly 5,000 studies and articles on curcumin or turmeric listed in the National Institutes of Health PubMed database, which is considered one of the top directories for medical research. Of course, not all of these studies prove definitive health benefits of curcumin in humans, but many offer compelling evidence that the root offers far more than just the beautiful yellow hue so commonly found in curry dishes and mustard.

3. It has many potential benefits

Researchers are testing the effects of turmeric on everything from achy joints to blood sugar management and finding various promising results. Among its benefits, it has anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-parasitic, wound-healing and anti-malarial properties.

In human studies, the most promising results have been found in curcumin’s application in inflammatory disorders, irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis, eye and skin conditions, neurological disorders, certain types of cancer, diabetic neuropathy and pain.

One recent study, published in the journal Stem Cell Research & Therapy, linked turmeric extract to the growth of stem cells in the brains of live rats, potentially paving the way for new treatments of degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease in humans.

4. It has positive side effects

While extremely high doses of turmeric or curcumin supplements have led to occasional diarrhea and temporary nausea, and daily doses of 300 milligrams of curcumin could impact the effectiveness of talinolol, a blood pressure medication, the side effects of taking turmeric and curcumin at normal doses and rates remain nearly all positive. This is in sharp contrast to many pharmaceuticals.

“Let’s say you take ibuprofen for pain,” said Kilham, who takes a curcumin supplement for pain when injured in the field. “There is a cascade— a downward cascade of negative consequences.” For ibuprofen, that cascade may include kidney failure, or increased risk for heart attack and stroke if you take too much. For other drugs, the risks and side effects differ. These things “aren’t what you asked for,” Kilham pointed out. You sought pain relief, but these possible side effects are along for the ride.

“When you take turmeric for pain, however, you get this upward cascade of benefits you didn’t necessarily ask for,” such as anti-inflammatory effects and antioxidants, he said.

5. Getting more is easy

Adding turmeric and its potential benefits to your life is pretty simple: Include it in your cooking. The flavor is mild, and it goes well in many dishes, so don’t be afraid to add a lot. The few tablespoons found in most curries doesn’t really deliver much curcumin, which accounts for only 2 to 5 percent of the plant.

You can find it in more health food stores, and it can be chopped and easily added to vegetable dishes or smoothies. However, one shortcoming of curcumin is its poor bioavailability, meaning your body doesn’t easily absorb it. Research indicates adding a little fat (like olive or coconut oil) and black pepper could slow down how fast you metabolize it and enhance absorption.

Another option: purchasing a curcumin supplement. More of these supplements are on the market, but do your research to ensure you’re getting a high-quality product.

With a history that reaches back across the ages and a growing body of research suggesting its many health benefits, turmeric likely deserves a place at your table.

Golden Milk! Can a Turmeric Latte Be Any Good?

By Pradeep Aradhya

I was an American dreaming Indian fellow just out to get a fun morning cup-a-joe while on vacation. A Yelp search and a short drive later I walked in to the intriguing looking White Heron Tea Shop that promised an interesting variety of wholesome organic coffees and teas. Immediately one item listed on the board caught my eye — “Golden Milk.”

What started as somewhat hipster ego based curiosity ended up in a hot cup of turmeric and almond milk atavism that evoked everything from half-forgotten filial bonds to near self-pity and loathing for having sold my soul to consumerism.

Indeed it was a concoction of turmeric and almond milk that made up this, “Golden Milk!” Don’t run away screaming. This strange yellow turmeric has been used in Ayurveda and Chinese medicine for centuries! Current scientific research clearly acknowledges its therapeutic POTENTIAL.

In fact, the University of Mississippi Medical Center and the nation of India went to patent war over turmeric and the exclusive right to sell and distribute it! Turmeric is native to India and a patent like this initially awarded to the university was biopiracy according to two professors from Harvard Business School!. Here is a discussion on the patent system and the case with turmeric and India and why the USPTO cancelled the patent!

Atrocious as a turmeric latte might sound, I did not drink it out of curiosity alone. It brought back memories of childhood nights where I was coughing too much to sleep and my father or grandfather only compounded my misery by forcing me to drink this same concoction. To my young taste buds it was sheer torture going down and I hated every tiny sip.

And yet on that vacation day, I could not stop grinning in satisfaction as I downed the entire cup while the turmeric first gently burned and then soothed my throat. After a couple of sips I actually started to enjoy the rich full mouth and throat experience! And while I drank it I missed my father, my grandfather, their gentle coaxing as they made me drink it, my heritage, the non-individualistic culture I had grown up in and the incredibly vibrant colors, tastes and smells of India!

Even back then I knew the witch’s brew was not the shamanic machinations of my grandfather and that turmeric had well known Ayurvedic and health significance. However, rediscovering Golden Milk made me investigate and learn.

Turns out turmeric is a much used Ayurvedic herb. Please see previous and ongoing medical research about turmeric or read Lisa Gallant’s article “Turmeric — The Golden Goddess” from the Ayurveda College for a list of benefits and health claims made by Ayurveda practitioners. Here is a short excerpt and some parts of it can be linked to research:

“Within the cornucopia of medicinal plants, few possess such a wide spectrum of qualities and medicinal uses as turmeric. For countless centuries, many different cultures have used this wonderful, versatile herb to treat a myriad of diseases and ailments. The most well known medicinal action of turmeric is its use as a powerful anti-inflammatory, the effectiveness of which is comparable to pharmaceutical medicines. However, it also acts as an alterative, analgesic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anti-allergic, anti-oxidant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, astringent, carminative, cholagogue, digestive, diuretic, stimulant, and vulnerary. Modern science is beginning to recognize and understand the amazing healing qualities of turmeric and much research is currently being conducted.
Turmeric has been proven effective in treating some of the most intense ailments afflicting the world today including: Arthritis, Cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease, Diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis, Atherosclerosis, HIV/AIDS, Sexually Transmitted Diseases (Hepatitis-C, Genital Herpes) , Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Indigestion, Inflammation, Acne, Urinary Tract Infections, Kidney Infections, Gallstones, Anemia, Hemorrhoids, Liver Disease, Leprosy, Amenorrhea, Edema, Bronchitis, Common Cold, Headaches, Conjunctivitis, Bursitis, food poisoning, parasites, fever, diarrhea, poor circulation, lower back and abdominal pain. It can also be used as a mosquito repellent, wound healer, and immediate cure for scorpion stings. Turmeric helps balance the female reproductive and lactation systems, and in men it purifies and improves the health of semen. It is used to treat external ulcers that would not respond to other treatment. Due to its vast array of medicinal purposes and versatility, turmeric is one of the most important herbs in any natural medicine cabinet.”

I nursed my Golden Milk and the sappy memories it addled while valiantly wrestling with my lachrymal glands for the better part of an hour. Then I took a picture and sent it to all of my family who had suffered it in their childhoods! While unsure if I was spreading misery or joy I definitely did not want to go it alone! Every single one of them had a similar reaction starting from remembering dreading the remedy as a kid to missing it and having it tug at heart strings.

Golden Milk may never be quite so loaded an experience for you. Nevertheless I am glad to be able to share it with you. In view of big pharma’s grip on us, a need for holistic living and an eco friendly all natural future for mankind, I thought it worthy of being raised up and perhaps celebrated!

I wish you some Golden Milk and perhaps an Ayurvedic Atavism in your future! Maybe you will merely enjoy the soothing afterburn of its taste or maybe you will feel the spirit of centuries of Ayurveda slowly make its golden way into your veins!

My thanks to Jonathan Blakesly and Pia of the White Heron Tea Shop in Portsmouth NH for bringing Golden Milk back into my life!

Turn to Turmeric for beauty

(Xpose, tv3)

Turmeric isn't just full of flavour, it's rich in properties beneficial for your hair and skin.

If you're a fan of Indian food, you may be familiar with Turmeric, also known as Haldi, one of the country's most widely used spices. A part of the ginger family, Turmeric adds flavour and a deep yellow-orange colour to many dishes, mostly in curries and mustards. But for centuries it has also served as a main ingredient in medicine and beauty, mainly for skin and hair. Because of its anti-inflammatory power and numerous antioxidants, there are many uses for Turmeric in your beauty routine that can greatly improve your complexion.

Turmeric is greatly effective in keeping acne away, thanks to its antiseptic and antibacterial properties. It fights pimples and breakouts and reduces the oil secretion in your glands, thus preventing super oily skin. A simple scrub will do the trick, by adding a few drops of water and lemon juice to the Turmeric powder. Apply the paste to the affected areas and leave on for about 15 minutes then gently wash away with lukewarm water.

Turmeric is also an exfoliating agent, which means it can provide great relief to ageing skin. In fact, Indian brides and grooms have been incorporating a Haldi ceremony on the big day, since it makes your skin glow. By mixing the Turmeric with equal amounts of besan (gram/chickpea flour) and raw milk or water, you'll be left with a paste to put generously and evenly on the skin. Allow it to dry, and rinse with lukewarm water. If you're using the paste on your face, scrub gently in a circular motion to exfoliate properly.

You can also use that same paste to help lighten stretch marks and even out the skin tone. If you want to change the mixture up a bit, use rose water or yogurt instead of the raw milk or water to give the paste a different feel.

If you still have that paste left over, it can surprisingly be used to inhibit hair growth, thanks to a property called curcumin found in Turmeric. Curcumin can stop the activity of a growth agent which causes death of hair follicles resulting in hair loss. Reducing hair growth won't happen overnight, and it usually takes about a month of consistent use to notice results.

Speaking of hair, Turmeric has been proven to also get rid of dandruff and other scalp issues. Apply a mixture of the Turmeric and olive oil into your scalp prior to taking a shower. Leave in for 15 minutes then wash off with a natural shampoo. After a while, the Turmeric helps to provide nutrition to the hair follicles and increases circulation on your scalp.

So the big question - will all these scrubs and exfoliators leave a stain on your skin? Turmeric usually stains fabric and clothing, but on skin, the simple answer is no. However, there is a possibility that you will see a slight yellow-tint to your skin. After a few washes, it will go away, but if you need the yellow to disappear sooner, wipe the area with a few drops of a mild facial toner on a cotton ball and you'll be back to brand new.

Why turmeric is being touted as ‘nature’s wonder drug’

By Jeannie Solomon

I have a 62-year-old client who swears that turmeric is her secret weapon for relieving the pain and swelling in her arthritis-riddled knees.

solomon-jeannie-withnameEvery day she drinks four ounces of a tea she makes by simmering turmeric, cinnamon and ginger root in almond milk. Without it, she says her knees swell so much that she needs a cane to walk. With it, and specifically because of the turmeric, she says her knees feel young and she is able to work as a nurse.

People in India and China have been using turmeric for thousands of years, not only to flavor their food but also for its wonderful medicinal properties. And now, with some studies purportedly backing these claims, and the media reporting on it (London’s Daily Mail called it “nature’s wonder drug” in a recent headline), turmeric is creating quite a buzz.

In addition to relieving chronic pain and arthritis symptoms, turmeric reportedly is also a champion at: preventing wrinkles, improving cardiac health, bolstering brain activity and preventing Alzheimer’s. It’s little wonder that the world is beginning to recognize turmeric as a leading anti-aging super food.

A yellowish-brown powder ground from the root of a plant in the ginger family, turmeric is known in the United States mostly for giving American-style mustards their bright yellow coloring.

But what makes it so holistically powerful?

The principal element in turmeric’s healing power is curcumin, a chemical compound that is gaining popularity (especially in dietary supplements and cosmetics) for its reported antioxidant and antiseptic qualities. People feel that it is an invaluable tool for staving off the signs and symptoms of aging.

Curcumin also has great anti-inflammation properties and has been found to be highly effective in helping people manage pain and swelling. It’s used by those suffering from arthritis and joint pain, with some saying it’s even more powerful and effective than over-the-counter pain medications.

Curcumin also has been found to protect the brain against diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and assist the body in managing heart disease. Even more, preliminary studies have found that curcumin can inhibit cancer and tumor cell growth.

Beyond all that, turmeric is also one of the best sources of beta-carotene, an antioxidant that wards off free radical damage. A diet rich in antioxidants is highly recommended by dermatologists as an aid to keeping skin looking more youthful by preventing wrinkles and age spots.

Cooking with turmeric is a great way to take advantage of its “powers.” As a relative of the ginger plant, it blends well into curries, soups, stews and tea, and adds a wonderful peppery flavor when added to rice or even sprinkled on toast.

But just a dash goes a long way: It has a bitterness that can quickly overtake a dish when too much is used.

If cooking with turmeric seems too daunting, you can supplement your diet by taking a daily dose of curcumin in capsule form.

One note: As with all natural remedies, it may take a week or so of ingesting the item daily before results are felt. For the tea recipe alongside this column, two ounces twice a day is recommended.

And a word of caution: Contact your physician before you begin daily use of any new spice for medicinal purposes. Curcumin, and therefore turmeric, can act as a blood thinner and should be avoided if you already take prescription blood thinners.

Roasted Turmeric Cauliflower

1 medium head of cauliflower (3 cups florets)

1 tsp. turmeric

2 Tbs. olive oil

Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Pull off florets from cauliflower. Combine florets with the turmeric, olive oil and salt. Spread out cauliflower into a baking dish or cookie sheet. Bake for 25 minutes, until the cauliflower is tender and beginning to brown.

Turmeric Tea

2 cups almond milk (or milk of choice)

1 tsp. turmeric

1/4 tsp. black pepper

1/2 tsp. ground ginger (or 1-inch piece of fresh ginger root, sliced)

Cinnamon and/or honey, to taste

Leave out black pepper (which enhances the absorption of turmeric) if it hurts your stomach. In a saucepan, add all desired ingredients (except honey) and whisk to combine. Heat on medium until it starts to bubble. Turn heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes. If using ginger root, remove from liquid. If desired, add honey. Stir and drink warm.

3 Reasons to Include Turmeric in Your Diet

By Gary Kaplan

Native to southwest India, and known for its radiant golden color and unique taste, turmeric has been used as a culinary herb for thousands of years, and is found in abundance in many Indian dishes, especially curries. But it is its role as a healing herb that has caused scientists to take a closer look at this "miracle spice."

The magic of turmeric resides in the roots, specifically in the chemical compound called curcumin. Curcumin is a polyphenol – a chemical compound found in plants with antioxidant properties and myriad therapeutic attributes. In 2007, a study in Advances in Experimental Medicines and Biology, went so far as to state that, "Curcumin has been shown to exhibit antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and anticancer activities, and thus has a potential against various malignant diseases, diabetes, allergies, arthritis, Alzheimer's disease and other chronic illnesses."

No. 1: Defense Against Cognitive Decline

A 2008 study in the Annals of Indian Academy of Neurology explored curcumin's potential for use in the treatment for Alzheimer's disease. Some of the key points included:

Curcumin may help the macrophages, which play an important role in our immune system, clear the amyloid plaques found in Alzheimer's disease.

Curcumin has anti-proliferative actions on microglia. Microglia are immune cells of the central nervous system that become active in response to any number of stressors on the body. However, if the microglia have been stimulated to react too often, they become hyper-reactive, which can trigger system-wide inflammation that can be difficult to stop.

Curcumin has powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. "Overall, curcumin decreases the main chemical for inflammation and the transcription of inflammatory cytokines … The exposure to curcumin also impaired the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines (IL-1, IL-6 and TNF-)."

As chronic neuro-inflammation is considered one of the major factors in the development of Alzheimer's, it's possible too that curcumin may help in the treatment of other inflammatory disorders.

No. 2: Defense Against Cancer

According to the American Cancer Society, tests have shown that curcumin can kill cancer cells in laboratory dishes, and also slow the growth of the surviving cells. Furthermore, it has been found to reduce the development of several forms of cancer in lab animals, while also shrinking various animal tumors. A 2003 review – Anticancer Potential of Curcumin: Preclinical and Clinical Studies – in Anticancer Research concluded that, "…it is quite apparent that curcumin has tremendous potential for prevention and therapy of various cancers."

Another study on the role of curcumin in cancer therapy found that, "Research over the last few decades has shown that curcumin is a potent anti-inflammatory agent with strong therapeutic potential against a variety of cancers. Curcumin has been shown to suppress transformation, proliferation and metastasis of tumors," and called for additional and larger controlled studies to determine its full potential.

No. 3: Treatment of Osteoarthritis

Curcumin's anti-inflammatory properties also make it a strong candidate for treating inflammatory diseases such as osteoarthritis. A 2014 study in the Clinical Interventions in Aging found that curcumin extracts "were as effective as ibuprofen for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis."

How Should You Add Curcumin to Your Diet?

Supplementation. Curcumin is not a major component of American diets, so supplementation could be considered. Unfortunately, because curcumin is not easily absorbed in the bloodstream, its bioavailability is diminished. Bioavailability can be increased, however, by partnering the extract with another compound to enhance its absorption. At the Kaplan Center, our curcumin extract is attached to the well-absorbed phosphatidylcholine (a component of human cells) for this reason. Peperine, a compound found in black pepper, is another such example. Remember, supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, so make sure to purchase your supplement from a trusted source. And speak to your physician before you begin taking any supplement to rule out any possible interactions with other medications.

Eat more curry! Eating more curried dishes that are rich in turmeric spice as well as black pepper regularly can be a good source of curcumin.

Enjoy a cup of turmeric tea. End your day with a cup of turmeric tea with milk (curcumin is fat-soluble; therefore, combining it with milk will help make the curcumin more readily absorbed into the body).

Although studies on curcumin are still in their early stages, the research looks quite promising, and additional studies to establish its efficacy in humans are ongoing. What we do know is that, with very few side effects and powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer and antioxidant properties, plus a long history of medicinal use, curcumin can play an important role in maintaining the body's normal inflammatory response, while also supporting healing and relieving pain.

Lipstick and Lace: All hail turmeric

By Geshika Goberdan

We all cook with it, but turmeric has excellent beauty benefits too

MOST of us are familiar with turmeric and probably cook with it often. In fact, no curry is complete without it.

Not only is the popular root used to flavour your favourite dishes, it can also be used as an all round beauty treatment too.

According to naturalbeauty.com, the golden spice works wonders for anti aging, pigmentation, and reducing hair growth on your hands and face.

It is also known to reduce the look of stretch marks and wrinkles and soothes skin conditions like acne and eczema.

Most Hindu brides, and even grooms, use turmeric as part of their wedding celebrations to cleanse and beautify their skin before the big day.

To try it out, simply prepare a face mask, using fresh turmeric, gram flour and plain yoghurt to form a thick paste.

Apply it to your arms feet and face, let it dry and wash off in warm water. There will be an instant glow and your skin will immediately feel smoother and more supple.

7 ways turmeric can change your life

By Kavita Devgan

The list of the yellow-orange root’s ‘proven’ health benefits is only increasing day by day.

Turmeric is yellow-orange, bitter and powerful, and exactly what you need to stay super healthy and depression free.

Last week a lady from Belgium, now living in Delhi came whining about her recurring cough, congestion, and blinding headache. She was miserable. So along with my regular counselling I asked her to have turmeric milk (boil a cup of milk, to which 1/2 inch piece of turmeric has been added, add black pepper, strain and sip, or just warm up some milk, add 1/2tsp turmeric powder, a pinch of black pepper and sip) for three days just before sleeping.

As expected it helped her immensely - she slept better, her symptoms eased, and she came back to have a long chat with me about other benefits of turmeric; I also taught her the Hindi name for it: Haldi.

Turmeric has been our secret for a long time - India produces nearly 100 per cent of the world's turmeric, and consumes 90 per cent of the total amount produced - but it is being lapped up by the West too now, ever since it has become a researcher’s delight. Suddenly, it is the most studied food ingredient and the list of its “proven” benefits is only increasing day by day.

Some highlights

1. Clears congestion: Turmeric works as a tonic to relieve congestion and soothe headaches and cough. That’s why it has been a bedrock of ayurvedic remedies since ancient times and has helped umpteen people keep respiratory distress at bay.

2. Mind healer: Researchers have been studying the low Alzheimer’s disease incidence in India and high consumption of turmeric, and are becoming more and more confident of a connection there. The general consensus is that curcumin, a component of turmeric is the protective agent here. It improves memory, focus and cognition too by increasing the growth of new neurons and fighting various degenerative processes in the brain. Include it in breakfast itself - a pinch in the omelette, poha, upma is all you need.

3. Cancer slayer: Curcumin has proven effective in killing cancerous cells and there is some evidence that it may help prevent cancer from occurring in the first place too.

4. Heart’s friend: It reduces inflammation and oxidation of the blood. It also strengthens the endothelium (the lining of the blood vessels) thus helps regulate blood pressure and blood clotting.

5. Your happiness booster: Now a home-grown study seems to suggest that besides saving your mind turmeric also helps keep depression away. Scientists at the department of pharmacology of Government Medical College in Bhavnagar, Gujarat, compared the effects of turmeric and Prozac, one of the most heavily prescribed anti-depressants and found that curcumin provides a safe and effective alternative to ant-depressant medication minus its side effects. Turmeric actually helps lift levels of the neurochemicals: norepinephrine, dopamine and serotonin, which make us a little happier.

6. Stomach soother: Strengthens digestion by conserving intestinal flora, stabilises body metabolism, corrects both excesses and deficiencies of nutrients. If consumed along with high-protein foods, it assists in their digestion and prevents gastric troubles. Haldi chicken anyone!

7. Detox: Finally, turmeric is incredibly purifying. It is loaded with antioxidants and purifies the blood. It’s anti-fungal, anti-microbial and anti-bacterial. It boosts our immunity and ability to keep infections at bay. And also keep your skin acne, blemish free. My grandma used to vouch for it as a perfect remedy to keep cracked heels under control too. try it, no harm.

Max its benefits

Firstly, it is important to source pure turmeric, as organic as possible to ensure least impurities (like lead etc).

Secondly, the beneficial agents in turmeric are fat soluble, meaning you need some fat along with to effectively absorb and assimilate the benefits. Yes, that’s why it is so effective as part of Indian curries; having it with milk helps too.

Thirdly, pairing it with black pepper, which contains piperine, is a good idea as piperine enhances the absorption of curcumin (by a whopping 2,000 per cent according to some reports).

So go on make the most of this wonderful, slightly underrated elixir.

Ginger, turmeric tea tonic for the body

By Renee Kohlman (Saskatoon StarPhoenix)

It’s that time of year again. I’ll give you a hint. Cough, cough. Sneeze, sneeze.

If you are one of the lucky healthy ones, you want to quarantine yourself from the outside world. When that isn’t possible, and for most of us it isn’t, the best you can do is wash your hands (a lot) and hope for the best.

On a recent flight back from Toronto I was surrounded by a plane full of people coughing. One was behind me, two were in front of me. I thought for sure I’d come down with something horrific by the time I gathered my bags and hopped into a cab. But so far, so good. I like to think it’s because of this little concoction I drink daily — ginger and honey turmeric tea.

Ginger and turmeric are rhizomes belonging to the Zingiberaceae botanical family and both are terribly good for you. Ginger is wonderful for treating all sorts of digestive issues, plus it has powerful anti-inflammatory compounds that help reduce pain. When fresh ginger is simmered for tea it acts as a diaphoretic, warming you from the inside out and encouraging perspiration so you can sweat away all of those pesky germs. Plus, it tastes good.

Fresh turmeric looks like a distant cousin to ginger, except when you slice it in half you can see how lovely and deep orange it is. With an earthy brightness when it comes to flavour, it also packs powerful health benefits. Curcumin, the compound responsible for that bright yellow hue that loves to stain countertops and clothing, has strong antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antifungal and antiviral properties. It is also great for your heart and brain, and it can help with joint pain and arthritis. So basically, consuming turmeric on a regular basis is not a bad idea.

Fresh turmeric can be found occasionally at An An Market (115 20th St. West.) and bags of powdered turmeric are available at most grocery stores. I like to add it to curries and stir fries for extra punch, or else I will sprinkle it lightly on salads and blend it in smoothies. You can’t even tell it’s there.

My favourite way to get more turmeric in my life is to drink it in this tea. I like to make a double batch, then reheat it as I need it. Just bring a small pot of water to a boil, add the fun stuff: slices of fresh ginger, ground turmeric, half a cinnamon stick, a few whole cloves and peppercorns, and a pinch of salt.

Simmer it for just 10 minutes, then squeeze in juice from half a lemon. Strain it into a large mug if it’s just for you, or into 2 smaller mugs if you are sharing. Sweeten it with raw honey, which is great for soothing the throat and that incessant, nagging cough. The coconut oil may sound like a strange ingredient, but it helps move the turmeric throughout the body, not just the stomach. Same with the black pepper — adding something spicy to the turmeric helps increase its absorption into the body.

If turmeric is a new flavour for you, you may want to ease your way into it by just adding ½ tsp of it at first. The flavour does take some getting used to, but before you know it, you’ll be adding 1 tsp or maybe even more. It also loves to settle to the bottom of the mug, so you have to stir it around occasionally. I’ve adapted a “swirl and sip” method to drinking this tea, which I’m quite proud of, but there still is usually some turmeric left on the bottom of my cup. Just add a splash of hot water and sip the last bit like that. I hope this winter’s brew works the same magic on you as it does on me. To your health! Ginger and Honey Turmeric Tea

2 ½ cups water

1 inch piece fresh ginger root, sliced

1 tsp ground turmeric OR 1 inch piece fresh turmeric, sliced

half a cinnamon stick

3 whole cloves

3 whole peppercorns

pinch sea salt

juice of half a lemon

raw, unpasteurized honey to taste

¼ tsp coconut oil or olive oil

lemon slices, for garnish Instructions:

In a small saucepan, add the water and bring it to a boil. Stir in the ginger, turmeric, cinnamon stick, cloves, peppercorns and sea salt. Reduce heat and simmer the tea on medium-low for 10-12 minutes. Squeeze in the lemon juice. Strain the tea into 2 mugs (or 1 large mug). Add honey to taste. Stir in coconut oil. Garnish with a few lemon slices. Makes about 2 cups.

How Turmeric Helps Combat the Effects of Sitting

By Dr. Michael Greger

The average American spends most of their waking life sitting down, which is associated with an increased risk of death even among people who go to the gym after work and exercise regularly. Doing lots of sitting may double our risk of diabetes and heart disease while significantly shortening our lifespan, even at the highest levels of physical activity. Sitting six or more hours a day may increase mortality rates even among those running or swimming an hour a day, every day, seven days a week. Why though?

One factor may be endothelial dysfunction, the inability of the inner lining of our blood vessels to relax our arteries normally in response to blood flow. Just like our muscles atrophy if we don’t use them, when it comes to arterial function, it’s ‘use it or lose it’ as well. Increased blood flow promotes a healthy endothelium. The cells lining our arteries can actually sense the sheer force of the blood flowing past. That flow is what maintains the stability and integrity of the inner lining of our arteries. Without that constant tugging flow, it may help set us up for heart disease.

We actually have some data now suggesting that treadmill desks may improve the health of office workers without affecting work performance, and walking may be preferable to standing in terms of clearing fat from our bloodstream, which can play a role in endothelial dysfunction. What if our office can’t accommodate a standing or walking desk? Within an hour of sitting, blood starts pooling and blood flow starts to stagnate, so the more we can take breaks the better. Preliminary evidence from observational and interventional studies suggests that regular interruptions in sitting time can be beneficial. And it doesn’t have to be long. Breaks could be as short as one minute and not necessarily entail exercise, just something like taking out the trash during commercials may be beneficial.

I’ve talked about the effects of different diets on endothelial function foods in particular—nuts and green tea—are beneficial for endothelial health. Recently, researchers tried out curcumin, the yellow pigment in the spice turmeric.

They showed that regular ingestion of curcumin or up to an hour a day of aerobic exercise training significantly improved endothelial function. And the magnitude of improvement in endothelial function was the same. So does that mean we can just be a couch potato as long as we eat curried potatoes? No, the combination of curcumin and exercise may work even better than either alone.

In health, Michael Greger, M.D.

Photo Gallery of Turmeric