Turmeric is warm, fragrant spice related to the ginger family. It is an important ingredient of curry powder, but most of us know it from the yellow in ball park mustard! An excellent spice for lentils and salads, it is delicious on broiled or steamed fish. Turmeric may be the most effective nutritional supplement in existence. Turmeric contains curcumin, powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that make it beneficial for any diet. It is an excellent source of manganese and iron and a good source of vitamin B6, fiber, copper and potassium.
Turmeric has been used in India as a spice and medicinal herb for thousands of years. Recently, many studies have been conducted that support it's use.
Indigestion (Dyspepsia). The curcumin in tumeric helps the gallbladder to produce bile, which plays an important role in digestion and absorption of fats and fat-soluble vitamins in our small intestine.
Ulcerative colitis. Turmeric may help people with ulcerative colitis stay in remission. In a double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 89 people with quiescent ulcerative colitis were given either placebo or curcumin along with their standard treatment. After six-months the relapse rate was significantly lower in the group that received curcumin than in the placebo group. Those who received curcumin had a 5% relapse rate compared to 20% for the placebo group. In addition, according to both the symptom rating scale and the endoscopy findings, curcumin-treated participants (on average) experienced reduced disease symptoms compared to placebo-treated participants.
Osteoarthritis. In a study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 107 participants with osteoarthritis of the knee received either turmeric or ibuprofen daily for six weeks. Researchers found that those who took turmeric found that their pain when climbing stairs improved more than those who received ibuprofen.
Heart Disease. Tumeric is believed to help prevent the buildup of plaque that can block arteries and lead to heart attack or stroke. In an animal study published in Journal of Clinical Investigation curcumin from turmeric appears to prevent and reverse abnormal enlargement of the heart.
Cancer. Information gathered from from test tube and animal studies suggests that curcumin may help prevent or treat several types of cancers, including prostate, breast, skin, and colon cancer byidentifying potential cancer cells and inducing self-destruction of such harmful cells. More research is currently being conducted to verify these findings.
More research is needed, but results so far are very positive. In the meantime, do yourself a favor -- add some peppery warmth to you meals with a healthy dose of tumeric!