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The Healing Power of Tumeric

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NewRealities feels to keep up wiht the atest reseach on alternative healining. Two articles have recently been on the internet about the healing power of the root Tumeric, comon in all Indian cooking.  It is this yellow orange root that gives curry its color.

The first from ScienceDaily (Apr. 21, 2009) http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/04/090420123051.htm
Turmeric: India's 'Holy Powder' Finally Reveals Its Centuries-old Secret

Scientists in Michigan are reporting discovery of the secret behind the fabled healing power of the main ingredient in turmeric — a spice revered in India as "holy powder."

In the study, Ayyalusamy Ramamoorthy and colleagues point out that turmeric has been used for centuries in folk medicine to treat wounds, infections, and other health problems. Although modern scientific research on the spice has burgeoned in recent years, scientists until now did not know exactly how curcumin works inside the body.
Using a high-tech instrument termed solid-state NMR spectroscopy, the scientists discovered that molecules of curcumin act like a biochemical disciplinarian. They insert themselves into cell membranes and make the membranes more stable and orderly in a way that increases cells' resistance to infection by disease-causing microbes.

The second from Dr. Mercola's article on Super-Spice-Secrets Dr. Mercola's article on Super-Spice-Secrets

Super Spice Secrets: Can This Miracle Spice Stop Cancer, Alzheimer's and Arthritis?  By Dr. Mercola

For more than 5,000 years, turmeric has been an important part of Eastern cultural traditions, including traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda. Valued for its medicinal properties and warm, peppery flavor, this yellow-orange spice has more recently earned a name for itself in Western medicine as well.

Turmeric comes from the root of the Curcuma longa plant, which is native to Indonesia and southern India, and is widely used as an ingredient in curry dishes and yellow mustard. As research into this powerful spice has increased, it has emerged as one of nature’s most powerful potential healers.

Dr. David Frawely, founder and director of the American Institute for Vedic Studies in Santa Fe, New Mexico:
“If I had only one single herb to depend upon for  all possible health and dietary needs, I would without much hesitation choose  the Indian spice Turmeric. There is little it cannot do in the realm of  healing and much that no other herb is able to accomplish."
 
Turmeric has a broad spectrum of actions, mild but  certain effects, and is beneficial for long term and daily usage. Though it is  a common spice, few people, including herbalists know of its great value and  are using it to the extent possible. It is an herb that one should get to know  and live with.”

Turmeric’s Beneficial Effects in a Nutshell
Strengthens and improves digestion 
Reduces gas and bloating  
Assists in the digestion of protein and with rice and  bean dishes  
Improves your body's ability to digest  fats  
Promotes proper metabolism, correcting both excesses  and deficiencies  
Maintains and improves intestinal flora  
Improves elimination of wastes and toxins
 Supports healthy liver function and  detox

Turmeric helps increase bile flow making it a liver  cleanser that can rejuvenate your liver cells and recharge their capability to  break down toxins  
Helps to prevent alcohol and other toxins from being  converted into compounds that may be harmful to your liver  
Supports formation of healthy tissue
 Purifies your blood
Stimulates formation of new blood tissue  
Anti-inflammatory: Helps to reduce irritation to  tissues characterized by pain, redness, swelling and heat
 

Contains curcuminoids that fight cancer,  arthritis, and Alzheimer’s

Curcuminoids are potent phytonutrients (plant-based  nutrients) that contain powerful antioxidant properties  
Counteract the damaging effects of free radicals in  your body  
Relieve arthritis pain and stiffness,  anti-inflammatory agent  
Anti-carcinogenic: “Curcumin has been shown to prevent  a large of number of cancers in animal studies. Laboratory data indicate that  curcumin can inhibit tumor initiation, promotion, invasion, angiogenesis and  metastasis.”[1]  
Supports treatment of Alzheimer’s disease: “Because  Alzheimer's disease is caused in part by amyloid-induced inflammation,  curcumin has been shown to be effective against Alzheimer's. Clinical trials  are in progress at UCLA with curcumin for Alzheimer's.”[2]
Curcumin: Turmeric’s Active Anti-Inflammatory “Ingredient”

Most notably turmeric is known for its potent anti-inflammatory properties, which come from curcumin -- the pigment that gives turmeric its yellow-orange color, and which is thought to be responsible for many of its medicinal effects. There are an estimated three to five grams of curcumin in 100 grams of turmeric.

Curcumin has been shown to influence more than 700 genes, and it can inhibit both the activity and the synthesis of cyclooxygenase-2 (COX2) and 5-lipooxygenase (5-LOX), as well as other enzymes that have been implicated in inflammation.[3]

Turmeric’s Cancer-Fighting Properties
In India where turmeric is widely used, the prevalence of four common U.S. cancers -- colon, breast, prostate and lung -- is 10 times lower. In fact, prostate cancer, which is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in U.S. men, is rare in India and this is attributed, in part, to turmeric.

Numerous studies have looked into this potential cancer-fighting link, with promising results. For instance, curcumin has been found to:

Inhibit the proliferation of tumor cells  
Inhibit the transformation of cells from normal to  tumor  
Help your body destroy mutated cancer cells so they  cannot spread throughout your body  
Decrease inflammation  
Enhance liver function  
Inhibit the synthesis of a protein thought to be  instrumental in tumor formation  
Prevent the development of additional blood supply  necessary for cancer cell growth
As for the results of research studies, a study in Biochemical Pharmacology found that curcumin can slow the spread of breast cancer cells to the lungs in mice.[4]

 

"Curcumin acts against transcription factors, which  are like a master switch," said lead researcher, Bharat Aggarwal.  "Transcription factors regulate all the genes needed for tumors to form. When  we turn them off, we shut down some genes that are involved in the growth and  invasion of cancer cells."

A second study in Biochemical Pharmacology also found that curcumin inhibits the activation of NF-kappaB, a regulatory molecule that signals genes to produce a slew of inflammatory molecules (including TNF, COX-2 and IL-6) that promote cancer cell growth.[5]

Turmeric’s Essential Role for Your Liver

Your liver’s primary role is to process and remove toxins carried in your bloodstream. When functioning at its peak, it can filter up to two liters of blood per minute and easily break apart toxic molecules to reduce their toxicity. Your liver is also a crucial part of vitamin, mineral, protein, fat, carbohydrate and hormonal metabolism.

However, poor diet, allergens, pollution and stress can cause your liver to become sluggish, and this can impair its vital functions. This is where turmeric can be a very useful part of your liver support system. Studies have shown that it:

May increase important detoxification enzymes in your  liver  
Induces the formation of a primary liver  detoxification enzyme, glutathione S-transferase (GST) enzymes
Turmeric is also a natural cholagogue, a medicinal agent that promotes the discharge of bile from your system. Increased bile flow is important to help your liver detoxify and to help your body digest fats.

Turmeric for Your Heart, Brain and Overall Health

Turmeric inhibits free radical damage of fats, including cholesterol. When cholesterol is damaged in this way, or oxidized, it can then damage your blood vessels and lead to a heart attack or stroke. Therefore, research suggests that turmeric’s ability to prevent the oxidation of cholesterol may be beneficial for your heart. It’s also rich in vitamin B6, high intakes of which are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.

Meanwhile, turmeric appears to be highly protective against neurodegenerative diseases. In fact, in India levels of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s are very low, and studies have shown that curcumin can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s in mice. The compound has also proven capable of blocking the progression of multiple sclerosis.

Further, Professor Moolky Nagabhushan from the Loyola University Medical Center, Chicago, IL, who has been studying turmeric for the last 20 years, believes that turmeric can protect against harmful environmental chemicals, and in so doing protect against childhood leukemia. The research showed that curcumin in turmeric can:[7]

Inhibit the toxicity of polycyclic aromatic  hydrocarbons (PAHs) (cancer-causing chemicals in the environment)  
Inhibit radiation-induced chromosome damage  
Prevent the formation of harmful heterocyclic amines  and nitroso compounds, which may result in the body when eating certain  processed foods, such as processed meat products  
Irreversibly inhibit the multiplication of leukemia  cells in a cell culture
Turmeric's volatile oils also have external anti-bacterial action. As such, they may help prevent bacterial wound infections and accelerate wound healing. Johnson & Johnson even sells a curcumin-containing Band-Aid in India!

And the therapeutic potential of turmeric and curcumin do not end there. Evidence suggests the spice may also be beneficial for:

Cystic fibrosis  
Type 2 diabetes  
Crohn’s disease  
Psoriasis  
Rheumatoid arthritis
Cataracts  
Gallstones  
Muscle regeneration  
Inflammatory bowel disease
Which Type of Turmeric is Best?

For use in cooking, choose a pure turmeric powder, rather than a curry powder. At least one study has found that curry powders tend to contain very little curcumin, compared to turmeric powder. Turmeric is also available in supplement form and for many this is a more convenient method to obtain these health benefits discussed above, especially if they are from a high-quality organic source and if one doesn’t particularly enjoy the taste of curry.


[1] The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Complementary/Integrative Medicine Education Resources, “Curcumin at M.D. Anderson” (accessed January 22, 2009) <http://www.mdanderson.org/departments/cimer/display.cfm?id=b3aa8dbd-66c3-4a6e-a37c86ad3dce3ec9&amp;method=displayfull&amp;pn=915cd45e-7c37-4305-8e778e10de640e0c>

[2] The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Complementary/Integrative Medicine Education Resources, “Curcumin at M.D. Anderson” (accessed January 22, 2009) <http://www.mdanderson.org/departments/cimer/display.cfm?id=b3aa8dbd-66c3-4a6e-a37c86ad3dce3ec9&amp;method=displayfull&amp;pn=915cd45e-7c37-4305-8e778e10de640e0c>

[3] The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Complementary/Integrative Medicine Education Resources, “Curcumin at M.D. Anderson” (accessed January 22, 2009) <http://www.mdanderson.org/departments/cimer/display.cfm?id=b3aa8dbd-66c3-4a6e-a37c86ad3dce3ec9&amp;method=displayfull&amp;pn=915cd45e-7c37-4305-8e778e10de640e0c>

[4] Biochemical Pharmacology, Volume 70, Issue 5, 1 September 2005, Pages 700-713 <http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&amp;_udi=B6T4P-4GMGW6S-1&amp;_user=10&amp;_coverDate=09/01/2005&amp;_alid=856726074&amp;_rdoc=1&amp;_fmt=high&amp;_orig=search&amp;_cdi=4980&amp;_sort=d&amp;_docanchor=&amp;view=c&amp;_ct=1&amp;_acct=C00> 

[5] The World’s Healthiest Foods, Turmeric <http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&amp;dbid=78> 

 The World’s Healthiest Foods, Turmeric <http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&amp;dbid=78> 

[7] The World’s Healthiest Foods, Turmeric <http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&amp;dbid=78> 

Source

The World’s Healthiest Foods: Turmeric <http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&amp;dbid=78>


Related Links:

  New Year, Younger You -- 20 Anti-Aging Herbs and Spices to Add to Your Diet <http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2009/01/08/new-year-younger-you-20-anti-aging-herbs-and-spices-to-add-to-your-diet.aspx>

  Top Ten Spices That Defend You Against Aging <http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2008/08/21/top-ten-spices-that-defend-you-against-aging.aspx>

  The Health Benefits of Cinnamon, Nutmeg and Other Favorite Holiday Spices <http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2003/12/13/holiday-spices.aspx>


 

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