You probably have noticed the explosion of turmeric products and supplements on the market, and the headline-grabbing attention it has received even amongst mainstream media and literature. Native to Indonesia and Southern India, turmeric has been harvested for over 5000 years and been used not only as a healing remedy but also as a textile dye and condiment in curries.
So why all the fuss now? Well, recent research has confirmed the healing power of its active compound: curcumin, even more, powerful than some drugs. This phytonutrient is an extremely potent anti-inflammatory, meaning it can help reduce the symptoms of chronic disease where systemic inflammation plays a role.
Up until the past decade, turmeric was mainly used to add color to curries and as a natural remedy in Ayurvedic medicine. In recent years, this spice has been enjoying an immense surge in popularity that some experts have likened to a “gold rush”.
The cause? Cancer. More specifically, the crowning achievement that put turmeric on the global natural health map is its ability to fight cancer effectively without the negative side effects of chemotherapy. In fact, curcumin has more evidence-based research supporting it as a treatment for cancer than any other nutrient!
Specifically, the active compound in turmeric, curcumin, stops precancerous changes within DNA and interferes with enzymes necessary for cancer progression. Thousands of peer-reviewed studies have researched curcumin and have found that not only does it promote the death of cancer cells, it stops the spread of cancer cells, and prevents cancer cell regrowth.
Turmeric For Your Skin
Very few store-bought cosmetics can claim that they target multiple skin conditions. If you’ve been looking for that all-in-one solution that treats everything from acne, eczema, redness, inflammation, dark circles, and unwanted facial hair, turmeric might just be your golden ticket. In fact, Indian brides have long used turmeric face masks to purify, cleanse, and brighten their skin right before their weddings. What’s more, its topical application has even proven to be effective for serious conditions such as psoriasis and skin cancer.
When applying turmeric to the skin for the first time, take care to wear clothes you don’t mind getting stained and cover any furniture around you. Additionally, although turmeric is mild in taste, it is still a spice and can burn your eyes. Be careful!
Turmeric For Glowing Skin
There’s a good reason South Asian brides apply turmeric all over their skin before the big day! Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric helps clear the skin of any redness, puffiness and bumps. What’s more, curcumin actually inhibits secretion of excess melanin in the skin (this is what gives skin its dark colour)! This helps to brighten the skin and can fade tans as well.
For Treating Acne
Not only is turmeric excellent at reducing the inflammation that comes with acne, but it is also an exceptional antibacterial and antiseptic, making it great for getting to the root of skin infections and breakouts.
Unlike pimples, psoriasis is an enduring skin condition that doesn’t have a full cure, and treatment is more complex. However, numerous studies have looked at the effect of turmeric in treating this autoimmune skin condition, and all of them point to the compound curcumin as an effective agent for inhibiting and controlling the spread of psoriasis
For Balancing Your Blood Sugar
Just like in the previous sections, studies looking at turmeric have found that the compound that gives turmeric its yellow color, curcumin, is the key player in the regulation of blood sugar. In fact, a study published in the journal Diabetes Care found that curcumin was 100% effective at preventing pre-diabetic patients from developing Type 2 Diabetes
But what about those who already have diabetes? Well, you’re in luck. A study published in the journal Biochemistry and Biophysical Research Community found that curcumin was 400 to 100,000 times more potent than Metformin, one of the leading drugs for treating diabetes.
Given that at least 40% of the US population ages 40 to 74 are believed to have prediabetes, according to CDC statistics, this information is a huge breakthrough for advocates of alternative health.
For Mental Health
Research has found that curcumin has a neuroprotective action and is helpful for multiple disorders of the brain like Alzheimer’s, major depression, epilepsy, tardive dyskinesia, and more. While the exact mechanism is still being researched, scientists are predicting it is largely due to the anti-inflammatory and high antioxidant properties of curcumin.
When depression impairs your ability to function at work or affects your daily life, treating it is important. Typical treatments for depression often involve speaking with a doctor and taking medication. While medication can be helpful in severe cases, it has been shown to be ineffective in mild cases of depression
And even if it is helpful, the fact is that antidepressants are riddled with side effects, from daily feelings of numbness to increasing suicidal thoughts (slightly counterproductive, don’t you think?
This is where turmeric comes into play. A recent study showed that turmeric was even more effective than Prozac, perhaps the most well-known drug for depression, for major depressive disorder.
For Improved Memory
A study of working adults over the age of 60 found that turmeric was an effective supplement in treating the memory loss symptoms connected with prediabetes
For Pain and Inflammation:
This is probably the most popular use for turmeric! Curcumin is well-known for its ability to fight inflammation and the pain that comes with it. Perhaps that’s why so many people turn to curcumin for relief from arthritic pain, inflamed lungs and even menstrual cramps.
For Menstrual Cramps
If you experience painful menstrual cramps each month, you’ll know that Ibuprofen can be a life-saver! Why use something that damages your stomach lining when research has shown that curcumin is just as effective? Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, curcumin is able to reduce the pain from cramping and muscle spasms.
For Treating Cough and Colds
Turmeric works to treat coughs and colds in two ways. First, it contains compounds which inhibit inflammation-causing cytokines. Second, its antibacterial and antiviral powers allow it to target the infection directly. Turmeric is most effective when treating a dry cough (coughs that don’t produce any phlegm).
The more your dry cough continues, the more irritated and inflamed your lungs and the respiratory tract will become. Unlike over-the-counter drugs for dry coughs, which trick the brain into not coughing, try this turmeric gargle that actually reduces the inflammation