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Turmeric - Curcuma Longa overview

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Tumeric - natures antioxidant

Curcuma longa

Family: Zingiberaceae

aka: Indian-saffron, Curcuma, Haldi, Haridra, Safran des Indes, Gelbwurzel , Kurkuma, Ukon, Ulgeum, açafroeira, Gengibre-dourada, Azafrán de la India, Gurkmeja

Turmeric (Curcuma longa) [1] , a member of the Ginger family, has long been a staple of Indian cuisine. Without it, Indian curries would lack their distinctive flavour and characteristic yellow colour.

Turmeric has featured prominently in Ayurvedic (Traditional Indian) and Chinese systems of medicine[2].

The major active constituent in Turmeric is curcumin which has been shown to have a wide range of potent antioxidant and other therapeutic actions (alterative, analgesic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antitumor, anti-allergic, antioxidant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, stomachic, astringent, cardiotonic, carmitive, cholagogue, digestive, diuretic, stimulant and vulnerary to name a few).

What does this powerful antioxidant do?

Oxidation can be compared to rust on an automobile, where an antioxidant can be likened to the paint that protects the vehicle from rust damage. In the body, oxidation causes free radicals to form and free radicals damage cells and form toxic cells which can lead to disease. Many researchers attribute much of the ageing process to the incessant damage caused by free radicals and the subsequent decline in the body's ability to effectively regenerate damaged cells. Antioxidant nutrients protect cells from free radical damage.

The most publicised antioxidants are vitamins C and E, beta carotene and zinc. However, new research is uncovering herbal antioxidants that have the same, if not more, power. Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is one of those powerful, antioxidant herbs and has been found to be over five times more potent than Vitamin E at quenching a wide range of free radicals.

Anti inflammatory for pain and arthritis

Tumeric tubers - a favourite ingredient in Thai cuisine


It also reduces inflammation by lowering histamine levels and possibly by increasing production of natural cortisone by the adrenal glands. In human studies Turmeric has been found to equal and in many cases exceed, the benefits associated with both cortisone and phenylbutazone treatment. Additionally, clinical trials of persons suffering from rheumatoid arthritis showed a signific improvement after six weeks at a dosage of 1200mg per day. It may also benefit people with osteoarthritis.

Turmeric has been shown to reduce pain in post herpetic neuralgia and arthritis, as it blocks the formation of Substance P, a neurotransmitter of pain.

Tumeric is over five times more potent than Vitamin E

Reduces fluoride's neurotoxicity

Other studies have focused on Turmeric's benefits to the cardiovascular system, it has been shown to reduce blood platelets clumping together, which in turn improves circulation and helps prevent atherosclerosis. Turmeric appears to lower cholesterol. It may also help defend against blood clots that trigger heart attacks and some strokes.

Cardiovascular help

A live trial[3] (using mice) has demonstrated that curcumin significantly reduced the degerneration of brain cells caused by exposure to fluoride.

Digestion and fat absorption

Researchers showed Turmeric protects the liver from a number of toxic compounds and enhances gall bladder function. They concluded that one of Turmeric's medicinal effects is to induce contraction of the gall bladder, helping it to expel beneficial bile into the duodenum (small intestine), activating certain enzymes, aiding metabolism of fats and the absorption of fat soluble vitamins A, D and K. Studies have also found Turmeric to be helpful for people with indigestion.

Protection against Type II Diabetes

In various clinical trials, patients with dietary problems and risks of getting type II diabetes were treated with high concentrations of curcumin. Amazingly, these patients showed less propensity for developing type II diabetes than patients in control groups. Even better than that, patients in curcumin-treated groups were proven to have a better overall function of β-cells, which can help prevent the development of conditions such as type II diabetes.[4]


Tumeric flowers
powerful immune system booster

Boost for the immune system

Preliminary studies indicate Turmeric could be useful to AIDS patients. Specifically, it may reduce the HIV viral load. In fact, curcumin appears to be active against acutely and chronically HIV infected cells.

According to researchers at Leicester University Turmeric may stop cancer tumours forming. Curcumin the active ingredient is thought to interfere with certain enzymes that help trigger uncontrolled cell division.

Turmeric Extract Superior to Prozac for Depression

A study[5] published in the journal Phytotherapy Research[6] has confirmed for the first time in a randomized, controlled clinical trial that the primary polyphenol in turmeric known as curcumin is both safe and effective in treating serious states of depression.

Perhaps more significant is that the study is the first which shows that curcumin may be used as an effective and safe modality for treatment in patients with Major Depressive Disorder without concurrent suicidal ideation or other psychotic disorders such as are linked to prozac and other pharmaceutical antidepressants.

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 [#]SourceTitle and link to resource if available
[1]  WikipediaTurmeric
[2]  Dr Christophers Herbal LegacyHistory of Turmeric
[3]  Pharmacognosy MagazineCurcumin attenuates neurotoxicity induced by fluoride: An in vivo evidence
[4]  manyeats.comThe Health Effects of Turmeric and Curcumin
[5]  NCBIEfficacy and Safety of Curcumin in Major Depressive Disorder: A Randomized Controlled Trial.
[6]  Wiley Online LibraryJournal of Phytotherapy Research
[7]  ClinicalTrials.govSearch results: 76 studies found for curcumin
[8]  The Australian Naturopathic NetworkCurcuma longa (Turmeric)
[9]  curcumalonga.comcurcuma longa
[10]  Current Science (Indian Academy of Sciences)Turmeric and curcumin: Biological actions and medicinal applications
[11]  Annals of Indian Academy of NeurologyThe effect of curcumin (turmeric) on Alzheimer's disease: An overview
[12]  Functional Foods in Health and DiseaseFunctional foods in the treatment of type 2 diabetes: olive leaf extract, turmeric and fenugreek, a qualitative review
[13]  BBCCurry chemical's ability to fight cancer put to the test
[14]  BBCCurry spice 'kills cancer cells'
[15]  BBCSpice drug fights stroke damage
[16]  BBCWeekly curry 'may fight dementia'
[17]  NYDaily NewsCurry compound could fight cancer; Curcumin may kill bowel cancer cells
[18]  The NationalTurmeric
[19]  Med IndiaTurmeric
[20]  Eat This!20 Health Benefits of Turmeric
[21]  UMMCTurmeric
[22]  UCLA Brain Research InstituteOut of the spice box, into the lab
[23]  turmeric.co.inTurmeric Medicinal Use
[24]  OM OrganicsTurmeric: The Ayurvedic Spice of Life
[25]  www.shutterstock.comgrated rhizomes and powder image
[26]  NCCAMHerbs at a glance: Turmeric
[27]  Jim Duke’s Farmacy - USDAPhytochemical and Ethnobotanical Databases
[28]  www.kew.orgCurcuma longa (Turmeric) - botanical drawing image
[29]  english.cri.cnturmeric powder offering on Somavati Amavasya image
[30]  Plant CulturesTurmeric - history
[31]  TumericALIVETurmeric in Ayurvedic Tradition
[32]  www.firstpost.comTurmeric harvest at Tamil Pongal festival image
[33]  NPGS/GRINCurcuma longa information
[34]  Global Healing CenterTips for Growing Turmeric
[35]  Green Harvest Organic GardeningTurmeric Growing Information
[36]  greenmedinfo.comScience Confirms Turmeric As Effective As 14 Drugs
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