TURMERIC (Curcuma longa)
PART USED: Root
PROPERTIES: Hepatic (stimulates secretion of bile), Antioxidant, Antibacterial, Tonic (cardiovascular), Anti-inflammatory, Antilithic
SYSTEMS AFFECTED: Digestive (bile ducts and gastrointestinal), Cardiovascular
POSSIBLE USES: gallstones, irritable bowel syndrome, Crohn’s disease, liver disorders, inflammation
Turmeric, native to India and used there in both cooking and healing for all of recorded history, has experienced a tremendous surge of popularity in the United States in recent years—and it probably is as good an herb as its press makes it out to be. There have been thousands of studies conducted and articles published showing the benefits of Turmeric and its most renowned healing compound, curcumin.
I came across a reference to the University Medical Center so I went directly to their site to check it out. The rest of this section on Turmeric is taken directly from information on the University of Maryland site.
Turmeric has been used for 4,000 years to treat a variety of conditions. Studies show that Turmeric may help fight infections and some cancers, reduce inflammation, and treat digestive problems. Curcumin, the active ingredient in Turmeric, lowers the levels of two enzymes in the body that cause inflammation. It also stops platelets from clumping together to form blood clots.
Turmeric stimulates the gallbladder to produce bile. One double-blind, placebo-controlled study found that Turmeric reduced symptoms of bloating and gas in people suffering from indigestion. Turmeric may also help people with ulcerative colitis; in one study those who took curcumin had a significantly reduced rate of relapse than those who took the placebo. Stomach ulcers, osteoarthritis, and heart disease were also studied. (These studies were conducted using extracted curcumin. In my experience, the herb—before laboratories mess with it—is even more effective and has far fewer, if any, side effects.)
There is much more information on this site about studies and possible uses for Turmeric. The site is also quick to point out that most of these studies were conducted either in petri dishes or with animals. There is, however, ample anecdotal evidence from the last few years to establish Turmeric’s place in the herbal world as an amazing and effective healer.
The following paragraph is taken directly from the University of Maryland Medical Center website:
“There has been a great deal of research on Turmeric’s anti-cancer properties, but results are still very preliminary. Evidence from test tube and animal studies suggests that curcumin may help prevent or treat several types of cancers, including prostate, breast, skin, and colon cancer. . .”
In a separate article, the University of Maryland site lists Turmeric (along with Slippery Elm, Marshmallow, Cat’s Claw, and Boswellia) as possible herbal treatments for Crohn’s disease.
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