Turmeric: Sacred Spice, Scientifically-Proven Healer

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Turmeric grows wild in the forests of South and Southeast Asia and has been used in healing for 2,500 years. Aside from the holistic health community, Western medical practitioners have only recently come on board with a host of scientific studies that recognize the benefits of turmeric.

healing, health, India

Ancient Indians understood turmeric to be the physical essence of the Divine Mother. Modern science now confirms that it has therapeutic properties relevant to well over 500 health conditions, and may bestow on those who take it protection from many common causes of suffering. Photo: Amada’s Big World Adventure

Science Confirms Turmeric As Effective As 14 Drugs

By Sayer Ji, Published in GreenMedInfo

Turmeric is one the most thoroughly researched plants in existence today. Its medicinal properties and components (primarily curcumin) have been the subject of over 5,600 peer-reviewed and published biomedical studies. In fact, our five-year long research  project on this sacred plant has revealed over 600 potential preventive and therapeutic applications, as well as 175 distinct beneficial physiological effects.

Turmeric has played an important role in both Buddhist and Hindu spiritualism. Because of its yellow-orange coloring, turmeric was associated with the sun or Vishnu in the mythology of Hinduism. Yellow is the color of the solar plexus chakra, which in traditional Indian medicine is the energy center relating to the metabolic and digestive systems. Orange is the color of the sacral chakra, and tied to the reproductive system.

Given the sheer density of research performed on this remarkable spice, it is no wonder that a growing number of studies have concluded that it compares favorably to a variety of conventional medications, including:

  • Lipitor/Atorvastatin(cholesterol medication): A 2008 study published in the journal Drugs in R & D found that a standardized preparation of curcuminoids from Turmeric compared favorably to the drug atorvastatin (trade name Lipitor) on endothelial dysfunction, the underlying  pathology of the blood vessels that drives atherosclerosis, in association with  reductions in inflammation and oxidative stress in type 2 diabetic patients. [i]   [For addition curcumin and 'high cholesterol' research – 8 abstracts]
  • Corticosteroids (steroid medications): A 1999 study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research found that the primary  polyphenol in turmeric, the saffron colored pigment known as curcumin, compared favorably to steroids in the management of chronic anterior uveitis, an inflammatory eye disease.[ii] A 2008 study published in Critical Care Medicine found that curcumin compared favorably to the corticosteroid drug dexamethasone in the animal model  as an alternative therapy for protecting lung transplantation-associated injury by down-regulating inflammatory genes.[iii] An earlier 2003 study published in Cancer Letters found the same drug also compared favorably to dexamethasone in a lung ischaemia-repurfusion injury model.[iv] [for additional curcumin and  inflammation research – 52 abstracts]
  • Prozac/Fluoxetine & Imipramine (antidepressants): A 2011 study published in the journal Acta Poloniae Pharmaceutica found that curcumin compared favorably to both drugs in reducing depressive behavior  in an animal model.[v] [for additional curcumin and depression research – 5 abstracts]
  • Aspirin (blood thinner): A 1986 in vitro and ex vivo study published in the journal Arzneimittelforschung found that curcumin has anti-platelet and prostacyclin modulating effects compared to aspirin, indicating it may have value in patients prone to vascular thrombosis and  requiring anti-arthritis therapy.[vi]  [for additional curcumin and anti-platelet research]
  • Anti-inflammatory Drugs: A 2004 study published in the  journal Oncogene found that curcumin (as well as resveratrol) were  effective alternatives to the drugs aspirin, ibuprofen, sulindac,  phenylbutazone, naproxen, indomethacin, diclofenac, dexamethasone, celecoxib,  and tamoxifen in exerting anti-inflammatory and anti-proliferative  activity against tumor cells.[vii] [for additional curcumin and  anti-proliferative research – 15 abstracts]
  • Oxaliplatin (chemotherapy drug): A 2007 study published in  the International Journal of Cancer found that curcumin compares  favorably with oxaliplatin as an antiproliferative agenet in colorectal cell lines.[viii] [for additional curcumin and colorectal  cancer research – 52 abstracts]
  • Metformin (diabetes drug): A 2009 study published in the  journal Biochemitry and Biophysical Research Community explored how  curcumin might be valuable in treating diabetes, finding that it activates AMPK  (which increases glucose uptake) and suppresses gluconeogenic gene  expression  (which suppresses glucose production in the liver) in hepatoma  cells. Interestingly, they found curcumin to be 500 times to 100,000 times (in  the form known as tetrahydrocurcuminoids(THC)) more potent than metformin in  activating AMPK and its downstream target acetyl-CoA carboxylase (ACC). [ix]

In many North Indian traditional wedding ceremonies, haldi (turmeric) is applied to the groom and the bride, not only to make them look good with fresh glowing skin, but to ward off the evil eye. It is considered by the Hindus as a symbol of prosperity and as a cleansing herb for the whole body. Pieces of crushed roots mixed with seawater are sprinkled to remove the negative influences from places, persons, and things during ceremonies.  — MedIndia

Turmeric, spiritual uses, Hinduism, healing

Haldi (Turmeric) is also the name of a pre-wedding ceremony, where the bride and the groom are adorned with turmeric paste and then bathed in milk. Turmeric is associated with purity, fertility and auspicious beginnings in Hindu culture. Photo from Hindu Human Rights.

Another way in which turmeric and its components reveal their remarkable therapeutic properties is in research on drug resistant- and multi-drug resistant cancers. We have two sections on our site dedicated to researching natural and integrative therapies on these topics, and while there are dozens of substances with demonstrable efficacy against these chemotherapy- and radiation-resistant cancers, curcumin tops both lists:

When combined with cauliflower, Turmeric has shown to prevent prostate cancer and stop the growth of existing prostate cancer. It may prevent and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by removing amyloyd plaque buildup in the brain. It is a potent natural anti-inflammatory that works as well as many anti-inflammatory drugs but without the side effects. May help in the treatment of psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions. — Eat This!

We have found no less than 54 studies indicating that curcumin can induce cell death or sensitize drug-resistant cancer cell lines to conventional treatment.[x]

We have identified 27 studies on curcumin’s ability to either induce cell death  or sensitize multi-drug resistant cancer cell lines to conventional treatment.[xi]

Considering how strong a track record turmeric (curcumin) has, having been used as both food and medicine in a wide range of cultures, for thousands of  years, a strong argument can be made for using curcumin as a drug alternative or  adjuvant in cancer treatment.

Or, better yet, use certified organic (non-irradiated) turmeric in lower culinary doses on a daily basis so that heroic doses won’t be necessary later in life after a serious disease sets in. Nourishing yourself, rather than self-medicating with “nutraceuticals,” should be the goal of a healthy diet.

Sayer Ji is the founder and chair of GreenMedInfo.com. His writings have been published in the Wellbeing Journal, the Journal of Gluten Sensitivity, and have been featured on numerous websites.

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Source: RealFarmacy

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