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Updated: February 16, 2013 2:47 pm

Turmeric has been used for over 2500 years in India. So in India, you can’t think about a curry without turmeric in it. However, it’s only now that people are realising that turmeric has some amazing powers and is more than a spice which cannot be relegated to a shelf on your kitchen. Turmeric is packed with loads of benefits and today, scientists are also substantiating this fact with research to prove it. Curcumin is the principal curcuminoid of turmeric, which is a member of the ginger family. Turmeric’s other two curcuminoids are desmethoxycurcumin and bis-desmethoxycurcumin. The curcuminoids are natural phenols that are responsible for the yellow colour of turmeric.

Turmeric is a wonder product that has gained fame in recent times although in India, people have been using it since ancient times. At present, turmeric is one spice which is always found in every Indian kitchen and is used to add flavour to curries. Long known for its anti-inflammatory properties, recent research has revealed that turmeric is a natural wonder, proving beneficial in the treatment of many different health problems.

The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin, which makes up to five per cent of the spice. Curcumin is a polyphenol with powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Polyphenols have the ability to stabilise free radicals, which can damage the body’s cells. Diets rich in polyphenols can help support brain health and delay cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. In India, where turmeric is regularly used in foods, the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease is one-fourth that of the United States among those in the 70 to 79 year age range. Curcumin also seems to have anti-rheumatic and anti-arthritic effects, possibly through down-regulation of inflammatory cytokines.


■      It is a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent, useful in disinfecting cuts and burns.

■      When combined with cauliflower, it 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.

■      Turmeric prevents melanoma and cause existing melanoma cells to commit suicide.

■      It reduces the risk of childhood leukemia.

■      Turmeric is a natural liver detoxifier.

■      It may prevent metastases from occurring in many different forms of cancer.

■      It is a potent natural anti-inflammatory that works as well as many anti-inflammatory drugs but without the side effects.

■      Turmeric has shown promise in slowing the progression of multiple sclerosis in mice.

■      It is a natural painkiller and cox-2 inhibitor.

■      Turmeric may aid in fat metabolism and help in weight management.

■      It speeds up wound healing and assists in remodeling of damaged skin.

■      It may help in the treatment of psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions.

■      Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, it is a natural treatment for arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

■      Turmeric boosts the effects of chemo drug paclitaxel and reduces its side effects.

■      Promising studies are underway on the effects of turmeric on pancreatic cancer.

■      It improves skin conditions (i.e. eczema).

■      It is a natural blood purifier.

 By Uday India Bureau

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