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Turmeric: its benefits

by La Boite à Grains 05 Jun 2024
Curcuma: ses bienfaits - La Boite à Grains

Introduction to the history of turmeric

Would you like to dig into the soil of history with your bare hands? To risk discovering a secret that could save your life? What we're interested in, growing in the East, is turmeric, whose roots can be traced back 4,000 feet underground, to 4,000 BC. Those who feed on this spice, which has a particularly peppery, pungent taste, have also developed health benefits.

A cultural origin

An undisputed asset to Indian Ayurvedic medicine and a component of religious ceremonies in Asia, Buddhist monks use turmeric to color their robes. Today, it is this same superfood that is being studied by Western researchers to halt the first symptoms of Alzheimer's disease.

Medicinal benefits of turmeric

The bright yellow or orange rhizome (root) of turmeric is used in curries, soups and tajines; it colors rice, potatoes, mustard and other dishes to make them more appetizing. In contact with other, more pungent foods, it corrects their acidity, but its benefits are only just beginning:

  1. Treats skin disorders (eczema, acne, psoriasis) with a poultice;
  2. Aids digestion, upset stomach, nausea, irritable bowel syndrome;
  3. Regulates intestinal flora, protects the liver against ulcers;
  4. Prevents formation of gallstones by increasing choleretic and cholagogue secretion of bile;
  5. Anti-inflammatory, turmeric is a powerful antioxidant thanks to its curcumin, which acts against chronic aches and pains;
  6. Attacks free radicals before they trigger oxidative stress in human cells;
  7. Beneficial for diabetics, as it lowers bad cholesterol and simplifies digestion of fats and sugar.

Link between turmeric, cancer and Alzheimer's

If you equate turmeric with curcumin, an antioxidant that acts as an anti-inflammatory, thus preventing aging and the appearance of free radicals that often lead to cancer, it seems obvious.

Since the late 80s, comparisons have been made between people in the West and East who consume turmeric (about 2 grams a day) at the same age:

- Indians have 8 times less lung cancer than Westerners;
- 9 times less colon cancer;
- 5 times less breast cancer;
- 10 times less kidney cancer.

Environmental conditions and exposure to other carcinogenic elements are also important factors. Take, for example, the much greater pollution of air and water in India than in the United States or European metropolises, a reminder of how useful turmeric has been from generation to generation for these southern populations.

The figures for Alzheimer's are also encouraging, thanks to the daily consumption of turmeric by Indians, who between the ages of 70 and 79 suffer 4.4 times less from this disease than Americans of the same age.

Consumption of curcumin appears to prevent the degeneration of intellectual acuity, by destroying the protein plaques responsible for scrambling the transmission of information in the brain, and may even stem the process once the disease has set in. Scientists on both continents still have a great deal of analysis to do before arriving at an effective solution for Alzheimer's disease.

Posology and consumption of turmeric

  • Powder: One teaspoon of turmeric powder per day. Preferably buy the whole rhizome, peel it and grate it at the last minute;
  • Infusion: One teaspoon in 150 ml boiling water for 10 to 12 minutes. 2 cups a day;
  • Tincture: 10 ml per day;
  • Cataplasm for skin disorders: mix a little powder with water, avoiding the face as the color is unsightly.

* It is essential to consult a health professional before starting any treatment.

Particular effect for people undergoing chemotherapy: 8 grams a day improves tolerance and increases positive yield when taken with the following drugs (gemcitabine, paclitaxel, docetaxel and oxaliplatin). On the other hand, avoid taking it two days before and after treatment with (camptothecin, doxorubicin, mechlorethamine, cyclophosphamide and vincristine), as it will partially inhibit results.

Bioavailability and drug interactions

To enhance curcumin absorption, you can add black pepper (piperine) or ginger, but the following should be highlighted in red: the effect of turmeric will be increased by a factor of 2,000 and will distort the dosages of other drugs. So be careful with the curcumin + pepper duo if you're taking medication. It seems that taking curcumin supplements greatly facilitates healing without too many side effects. Note, however, that it is not recommended for pregnant women, people taking anticoagulants or those with gallstones.

Conclusion on turmeric's potential

In the light of all this information, we can only conclude that turmeric, India's favourite spice, could become the fountain of youth, curing us of the earth's ills... because the deeper we dig, the more light we find - the light of ancestral knowledge that could very well help us solve our modern health problems.

REFERENCES :

Murray, Michael T., ND Theracurmin, Mind publishing, Canada, 2014, 50 pages

Journal of Food Composition and Analysis, Volume 20, Issues 3-4, May 2007, Pages 346-351, Effect of heat processing of spices on the concentrations of their bioactive principles: Turmeric (Curcuma longa), red pepper (Capsicum annuum) and black pepper (Piper nigrum) by D. Suresh, H. Manjunatha, Krishnapura Srinivasan

Memorias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz vol.96 no.5, page 723-728, Rio de Janeiro July 2001, Biological Activities of Curcuma longa L. de Araújo, LL Leon. Laboratório de Biologia de Tripanosomatídeos *Departamento de Imunologia, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz

Planta Med 1991; 57(1), pages 1-7, Pharmacology of Curcuma longa, by Hermann P. T. Ammon, Martin A. Wahl, Department of Pharmacology, Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Eberhard-Karls-Universität Tübingen, Auf der Morgenstelle 8, D-7400 Tübingen, Federal Republic of Germany

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