8 Impressive Health Benefits of Turmeric

by Dr. Edward Group DC, NP, DACBN, DCBCN, DABFM Published on , Last Updated on

turmeric-powder

Turmeric, or Curcuma longa, is an ancient spice popular in India and Asia as far back as 2,000 BC. The spice belongs in the ginger family and has been highly prized in the culinary traditions of these cultures. Turmeric imparts a vibrant yellowish hue to curry dishes, and the spice is also used as a natural dyeing agent for cloths. In Persia, turmeric comes from the word saffron and is closely related to the spice.

The main phytochemicals that give turmeric its most impressive and wide-ranging health benefits are curcuminoids. Amazingly, over 9,000 medical and clinical research studies have been conducted on this amazing spice and curcumin in recent years, with most noting significant benefits.

There are 3 primary phytochemicals in the curcuminoid family that produce the health benefits: diferuloylmethane (or curcumin, the primary curcuminoid responsible for turmeric’s vibrant yellowish color), demethoxycurcumin, and bisdemethoxycurcumin. In addition to these three chemicals, turmerone is another of the potent volatile oils found in the root.

Research has proven these curcuminoids exert powerful health-promoting effects via 160 mechanisms and pathways in the body such as antioxidant, neuroprotective, immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory, epigenetic, and adaptogenic properties. [1] [2]

8 Health Benefits of Turmeric

Turmeric provides an abundance of antioxidants capable of supporting cellular health, but what does that mean for you? Here are some of the most well-researched benefits of turmeric.

1. Promotes Balanced Mood

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study in the Journal of Affective Disorders showed noticeable and promising results with turmeric for supporting a balanced mood. Two groups were studied over 8 weeks. The first group received curcumin daily, while the other received placebo. After 8 weeks, the depression and anxiety score tests completed by all of the participants showed significant symptom improvements compared to placebo. Could turmeric be a potential new option for stabilizing mood? [3]

2. Helps Wounds Heal

Cut your finger? A study in the Sept 2014 issue of Life Sciences found that turmeric (curcumin) has beneficial properties that appear to speed the wound healing process. These modes of action include the modulation of redness and welling and oxidation. As new studies come to light showing turmeric’s ability to potentiate the body’s natural healing processes and outcome, the possible breadth of applications could be enormous. [4]

An exciting study in the Oct 2006 issue of Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry demonstrated the efficacy of a topical turmeric application for wounds in rats. The results showed that turmeric increased collagen synthesis rates, improved wound contraction, and increased tissue strength and cell proliferation around the wound. Turmeric also showed antioxidant properties that helped the healing process. [5]

3. Aches and Discomfort

An impressive study completed and published in the March 2014 issue of the Journal of Clinical Interventions in Aging looked at the effect of turmeric on knee osteoarthritis pain and function. In the 4-week study, two groups were randomized and divided; one group received turmeric extract, while the other group received the daily upper limit dose of ibuprofen.

Results showed that the turmeric group experienced discomfort relief just as much as the ibuprofen group. The turmeric group, however, seemed to enjoy more relief from joint stiffness. Those taking turmeric reported significantly less side effects than those taking NSAIDs. [6] A double-blind, placebo-controlled study in the December 2011 issue of Surgical Endoscopy looked at turmeric supplementation on postoperative discomfort and fatigue in patients who had gallbladder surgery. Patients taking turmeric experienced significantly less pain and fatigue (per pain scale log assessments) at intervals of 3 weeks, as compared to placebo. [7]

4. Encourages Balanced Blood Sugar

A novel investigative study published in the Nov 2014 issue of The Journal of Endocrinology looked at the effects of curcumin on the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas called Beta cells (or B-cells) and Islet cells, in relation to type-2 diabetes. Researchers treated B-cell lines and human Islet cells with preparations of turmeric and reported a number of positive benefits. [8]

5. Soothes Irritated Tissue

Turmeric has been shown in studies to be valuable in helping the body modulate and buffer excess irritation. The swelling response is a healthy and natural mechanism the body uses to usher soothing compounds in acute times of crises or repair. It’s believed that most people in today’s toxic, stress-laden environment are under constant inflammatory conditions, and a growing number of experts believe it to be the origin of many diseases.

A review published in the 2007 issue of Advances of Experimental Medicine noted the soothing effect of turmeric is likely exerted through its ability to inhibit inflammatory enzymes including cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2), lipoxygenase (LOX), and nitric oxide synthase (NOS), among others. These three are particularly important enzymes that mediate and inform the inflammatory processes, though if poorly regulated can possibly lead to disease. Turmeric shows promise in helping the body adapt and regulate these enzymes. [9] [10]

6. Helps Stiff Joints

A randomized, pilot clinical study was published in the November 2012 issue of Phytotherapy Research. The goal of the study was to see the effectiveness and/or difference in the relief of active joint discomfort. One study group received the standard-of-care medication (diclofenac sodium), while the other received turmeric. Patients were given symptom score sheets (DAS/ACR) to assess results. Turmeric outperformed diclofenac sodium on all levels, including being relatively free from adverse side effects. [11]

7. Cholesterol Optimization

Turmeric’s ability to help the body regulate and balance cholesterol levels has been hypothesized and studied since the 1990s with varying levels of benefits. A couple of these studies show an impressive reduction in lipid profiles and cholesterol markers in turmeric-supplemented groups. One randomized, single-blind clinical study published in the November 2011 issue of Phytotherapy Research set out to investigate turmeric’s effect on cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

Group participants were given either turmeric (curcumin) in low or high doses, and a control group was given vitamin E only. After just seven days, the results proved statistically significant. Low-dose turmeric showed the most improvement as compared to the other two groups, with serum cholesterol levels being reduced by 17% and triglycerides being slashed a whopping 47%! [12]

Another study conducted a similar seven day trial. Results showed the turmeric (curcumin) supplemented participants had reduced serum cholesterol by 12%, reduced lipid peroxides (cholesterol byproduct marker) by 33%, and increased HDL cholesterol (the good kind) by an impressive 29%. Most importantly, these studies show that turmeric is consistently safe and has very low risk of side effect. [13]

8. Ulcers

India has long used turmeric in curry dishes as a taste and color enhancer. Another key reason turmeric has been used in so many cultural dishes in the East for millennia is because of its soothing properties on digestion. Researchers wanted to test the protective effects of turmeric on the lining of the stomach against acidic preparations (ethanol) used to induce stomach ulcers in test animals (representative of humans).

A preparation containing the essential oils from turmeric was administered prior to the ethanol and the results were impressive. Turmeric inhibited stomach ulcer formation by an impressive 85%. Lesions, tissue necrosis, and hemorrhaging were also greatly reduced. In addition, turmeric also appears to offer some impressive protection for stomach ailments. [14]

Supplementing with Turmeric

There are a lot of turmeric supplements on the market; some better than others. At minimum, make sure to only purchase organic products from reputable companies. Because turmeric is so popular, there’s no shortage of hucksters out there peddling low quality junk that’s produced under questionable circumstances. If you’re in the market for a turmeric supplement, we recently released a liquid turmeric extract that I’m really proud of. The initial feedback has been incredible.

I’d like to hear from people who’ve supplemented with turmeric. What’s it doing for you? Leave a comment below and share your experience.

References:

  1. Sahdeo Prasad and Bharat B. Aggarwal. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. Turmeric, the Golden Spice From Traditional Medicine to Modern Medicine. 2nd edition. Ch 13.
  2. Zhou H, Beevers CS, Huang S. The targets of curcumin. Curr Drug Target. 2011 Mar 1;12(3):332-47.
  3. Lopresti AL, Maes M. Curcumin for the treatment of major depression: a randomised, double-blind, placebo controlled study. J Affect Disord. 2014 Oct;167:368-75. doi: 10.1016/j.jad.2014.06.001.
  4. Akbik D, Ghadiri M, et al. Curcumin as a wound healing agent. Life Sci. 2014 Sep 6. pii: S0024-3205(14)00703-6. doi: 10.1016/j.lfs.2014.08.016.
  5. Panchatcharam M, Miriyala S. Curcumin improves wound healing by modulating collagen and decreasing reactive oxygen species. Mol Cell Biochem. 2006 Oct;290(1-2):87-96.
  6. Kuptniratsaikul V, Dajpratham P. Efficacy and safety of Curcuma domestica extracts compared with ibuprofen in patients with knee osteoarthritis: a multicenter study. Clin Interv Aging. 2014 Mar 20;9:451-8. doi: 10.2147/CIA.S58535.
  7. Agarwal KA et al. Efficacy of turmeric (curcumin) in pain and postoperative fatigue after laparoscopic cholecystectomy: a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study. 2011 Dec; 25(12):3805–10.
  8. Rouse M, Younès A. Resveratrol and curcumin enhance pancreatic β-cell function by inhibiting phosphodiesterase activity. J Endocrinol. 2014 Nov;223(2):107-17. doi: 10.1530/JOE-14-0335.
  9. Menon VP, Sudheer AR. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of curcumin. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2007;595:105-25.
  10. Chainani-Wu N. Safety and anti-inflammatory activity of curcumin: a component of tumeric. J Altern Complement Med. 2003 Feb;9(1):161-8.
  11. Chandran B1, Goel A. A randomized, pilot study to assess the efficacy and safety of curcumin in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis. Phytother Res. 2012 Nov;26(11):1719-25. doi: 10.1002/ptr.4639.
  12. Pungcharoenkul K, Thongnopnua P. Effect of different curcuminoid supplement dosages on total in vivo antioxidant capacity and cholesterol levels of healthy human subjects. Phytotherapy Research 2011 Nov; 25(11):1721–26.
  13. Soni KB, Kuttan R. Effect of oral curcumin administration on serum peroxides and cholesterol levels in human volunteers. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol. 1992 Oct;36(4):273-5.
  14. Liju VB, Jeena K. Gastroprotective activity of essential oils from turmeric and ginger. J Basic Clin Physiol Pharmacol. 2014 Apr 21.

†Results may vary. Information and statements made are for education purposes and are not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Global Healing Center does not dispense medical advice, prescribe, or diagnose illness. The views and nutritional advice expressed by Global Healing Center are not intended to be a substitute for conventional medical service. If you have a severe medical condition or health concern, see your physician.

  • dkshaw

    What would be a typical daily amount of turmeric ingested to achieve beneficial, measurable effects on general health? Anyone?

  • Man on the street

    I understand that there is a pill form for

  • Lucy

    Yes, there is. You can get it on Amazon.

  • zimmett

    I’ve been using Turmeric for about 2 years. I had pain in my knee and this stuff really works. I take 1 500mg tablet daily and I would not go with out it. I purchase it at Walmart for about $5 or $6 dollars.90capsules. It also works well for arthritis.

  • Sandra Benefield

    Been Taking Turmeric now for 2 years and it does seem to help with inflammation soreness in my fingers, I started taking 1000 MG because i heard it was a cancer protecting agent & have been on it since

  • http://ow.ly/NThtW Gayle Davis

    This is great information! Using turmeric for inflammation, aches and pains really appeals to me. I am just beginning to get those inflammation issues that we sometimes get as we age. Adding a turmeric supplement and more turmeric into my diet every day has helped to significantly reduce inflammation in my hands and fingers.

    I’ll admit, I had a hard time believing that turmeric’s anti-inflammatory benefits were more than just hype. But one I began taking it, it was amazing how quickly it started to change how I felt. Know I am telling everyone I know that turmeric is one of the best natural anti-inflammatories available to us.

  • Bella

    Has helped me so much with psorasis. That and a anti-inflammatory diet. Wow! My skin is healing! Try it!

  • Betty Evoy Perkins

    I have arthritis in my knees, hands, & fingers and nothing has helped the pain. I started taking Tart Cherry with Turmeric (also has some ginger, cayenne pepper & quercertin in it) a few months ago – the pain is probably 90% gone!! I LOVE this!!!

  • Lulupc

    Am interested in an answer to Dkshaw question

  • Zoila Kanikapila

    I’ve felt a big difference since I’ve used it I had high cholesterol and sugar and knee problems with inflammation after getting a shot of kenelog. But know I feel like a 100%better taking a natural supplement that’s organic powder turmeric

  • Zoila Kanikapila

    Amen


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