Turmeric is a powerful medicine that has been used in Chinese and Indian systems of medicine for hundreds of years.
The best thing about Turmeric is the active ingredient, Curcumin, a powerful anti-oxidant which has significant anti-inflammatory effects, comparable to potent anti-inflammatory drugs such as hydrocortisone and phenylbutazone but without all the risks and side effects such as of ulcer formation, decreased white blood cell count and intestinal bleeding. In several studies supplementing with 10g/daily doses of curcumin over many months produced no adverse side effects.
In addition to this, Curcumin can help protect against cancers, especially colon cancer but has also been shown to reduce the risk of childhood leukemia and prostate cancer.
It protects against cancers due to it's powerful antioxidant properties which protects cells from damage by free radicals. Free radicals can lead to cancer by damaging cell's DNA, which can then cause cells to mutate uncontrollably. Curcumin may also inhibit the synthesis of a protein thought to be instrumental in tumor formation.[http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3025067/]
Epidemiological studies have linked the frequent use of turmeric to lower rates of breast, prostate, lung and colon cancer and lab experiments have shown curcumin can prevent tumors from forming. Research conducted at the University of Texas suggests that even when breast cancer is already present, curcumin can help slow the spread of breast cancer cells to the lungs.[http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16243823]
Curcumin has been shown to Alzheimer's Disease - epidemiological studies show that in elderly Indian populations, whose consume turmeric on a near-daily basis, levels of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's are very low. And based on findings from lab studies "curcumin will lead to a promising treatment for Alzheimer's disease"[http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2781139/].
It can also help lower cholesterol[http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19151449].
In fact, Turmeric is so good, in 1995 the University of Mississippi Medical Center managed to secure a patent from the US patent office for the "Use of Turmeric in Wound Healing". This made India very unhappy, as they have been using Turmeric medicinally for centuries - but thankfully India fought back and the patent was annulled so turmeric remains inexpensive for everyone.
Due to Turmeric being a natural commodity, and not something that can be patented and "owned", there is not a lot of funding going into research it's many benefits, as any discoveries wouldn't be able to be protected and exploited for profit by pharmaceutical companies. However this does mean this amazing natural medicine is available cheaply pretty much everywhere in the world.
You can easily enjoy the benefits of Turmeric by adding this spice to curries, lentils, rice or salad dressings!
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