Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a plant that has been used medicinally for centuries—dating back even as far as 4000 years to Vedic culture in India, Ayurvedic medicine and as a staple in South Asian and Middle Eastern cuisine.
Bright yellow in color, it is sometimes referred to as Indian saffron. Turmeric a member of the ginger family and is native to South Asia. To be used, the turmeric tuber is dug up, boiled, dried and ground into the yellow powder you’ve seen in the store.
With no known drug interactions, little side effects and highly anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric is used for a wide variety of illnesses ranging from digestive disorders to autoimmune disorders to respiratory disorders. (Source) There have been over 3000 publications dealing with turmeric that came out within the last 25 years!
We’ll dive into some of those diseases as well as why turmeric can be effective in treating them in this article.
What makes turmeric a disease-fighting herb?
Turmeric gets its bright yellow color from one of its main components—compounds called curcuminoids. The second main component in turmeric is volatile (or essential) oils.
The powerhouse agent that has the most healing effects is curcumin, a polyphenol derived from turmeric. Many, many studies have exhibited its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-cancer properties.
There are several reasons why curcumin is so effective in preventing and treating disease. It can inhibit cell signaling pathways, affect certain cellular enzymes, modify the immune system, and affect the development of new blood cells! (Source) Wow!
Bioavailability of Curcumin
One thing to note about curcumin, however, is that is has low system bioavailability. That simply means that it is not easy for our bodies to put its healing properties to use without extra help.
While more studies are needed to examine ways to increase the bioavailability of curcumin, we have some evidence to work with already. Here are a few examples of ways to consume curcumin that are being studied so our bodies can better use it (Source):
- Consuming curcumin as an essential oil
- Combined with piperine (found in black pepper)
- Joined with a peptide carrier (facilitates cellular intake/uptake)
- Broken down into the nanoparticles, liposomes, phytosomes, polymeric micelles, and cyclodextrins
- Taken as a curcumin-phospholipid complex (Source)
Now let’s jump into some of the main disease categories turmeric and curcumin have shown to help alleviate.
While it isn’t totally clear why curcumin has the effect it does on cancer, curcumin’s ability to affect gene transcription (the first step in gene expression) and to induce apoptosis (cell death) in preclinical models is promising for its ability to treat cancer. (Source)
Research has shown lower rates of certain cancers in countries where people eat more curcumin. (Source) There are several studies on cancer cells have shown that curcumin has anti cancer effects. (Source) It seems to be able to kill cancer cells and prevent more from growing. It has the best effects on breast cancer, bowel cancer, stomach cancer and skin cancer cells.
Curcumin has shown results in treating many digestive disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease, inflammatory bowel syndrome and leaky gut.
In one double-blind, placebo-controlled study, curcumin had better clinical efficacy over placebo in the prevention of relapse of IBD! (Source) In one small pilot study of patients with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, all patients experienced improvement of symptoms.
Since curcumin has known anti-inflammatory properties, it makes sense that it would be helpful in treating autoimmune disease since inflammation triggers autoimmune flare ups.
“Recent studies have shown that curcumin helps alleviate multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, and inflammatory bowel disease in human or animal models. Curcumin inhibits these autoimmune diseases by regulating inflammatory cytokines.” Source
For example, one study tested curcumin’s effects on rheumatoid arthritis patients and found significant improvement with no adverse effects. (Source) It was even more effective than diclofenac sodium, which is commonly used to treat RA.
Curcumin has shown an ability to improve mood as well. This is exciting since most pharmaceuticals created to treat clinical depression can have severe side effects.
In a randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, 56 individuals with major depressive disorder were treated with curcumin (500 mg twice daily) or placebo for 8 weeks. (Source) For the second half of the study, curcumin showed significant improvements in mood-related symptoms.
My Favorite Turmeric Supplement
I have a personal testimony that I’d love to share with you regarding an awesome turmeric product called Turmero from Apex Energetics. A few years ago, I decided to rip out the extremely old Rosemary bushes around my Wellness Center. It actually took me two days of very hard labor to do it but it really needed to go. As I worked hard to unearth the knotty, old roots, I realized that if I didn’t intervene with an anti-inflammatory supplement, I was going to be really, really sore. So every 2-3 hours I ran inside and took 5ml of liquid Turmero. Lo and behold, it worked! After 2 days of intense labor, I had ZERO soreness and needless to say, I have been recommending it to my clients now for years.
If you would like to try this amazing product, you can access my online Apex portal here. Be sure to put in the ID: Cornerstone and then you will have complete access to all of the Apex Energetics products. I think you’ll love the results! Oh, and the Turmero tastes yummy too!
As you can see, there’s a reason behind the turmeric hype. I encourage you to do your own research and bring it up as a treatment option to your healthcare provider!