Turmeric (curcuma) is a plant with yellow flowers that belongs to ginger family, and it grows in Indonesia, China, India and other tropical areas. Dried stem that looks like a root is grinded into powder. The active ingredient of turmeric is yellow curcumin, and this plant contains an oil. It has been shown to have beneficial effects on many health problems.
It is used in culinary, but also as a preservative and it gives flavor and color to many types of food, including fried food, seasoned winter and meat products.
How does it work?
Turmeric has an antioxidant effect similar to vitamin C and E. This means that it strongly protects against damage to cells caused by unstable oxygen molecules – free radicals. The active ingredient of turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties when applied locally as a warm coating or orally. Laboratory tests have shown that this plant may have remarkably anti-inflammatory activity, and animal studies indicate that it may also act to lower cholesterol levels in the blood. Since it has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and increases bile excretion and the production of liver enzymes, it is clear that it protects the liver from the onset of toxins.
MAIN USEFUL EFFECTS: if taken orally, the main effects of these plants are related to the effect of turmeric. It reduces the release of anti-inflammatory substances in the tissues. It is also believed that this substance promotes the production of cortisol from the adrenal gland, which indirectly stimulates the healing process.
Animal studies have shown that, in acute inflammation, turmeric has properties similar to those of cortisone and phenylbutazone, but without toxic side effects. (The effect is weaker in chronic inflammatory conditions.) In India, turmeric is often applied locally to relieve pain and inflammation of the muscles and joints. Laboratory research shows that this plant not only hampers early cancer cell development, but also stops the further course of the disease; it also stimulates the antioxidant system of the organism. Even in small doses, it prevents atherosclerosis by reducing blood cholesterol levels and hinders blood clotting.
Today, the justification for the traditional use of this plant in liver protection has been proven – namely, it has an anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effect and increases bile excretion. Initial research results suggest that turmeric may be useful in poor digestion. The beneficial effect on the gastrointestinal system manifests itself in preventing the formation of gases and, if they occur, facilitating their discharge; it also relieves cramps in the intestines.
ADDITIONAL USEFUL EFFECTS: in one study, a portion of patients with rheumatoid arthritis received 1200 mg of turmeric per day, while the second group of people with the same illness took the usual 300 mg of phenylbutazone. The results were similar in both groups, but people who took turmeric had no side effects.
How to take it?
DOSAGE: the recommended dose of turmeric is 500 to 1000 mg of dry standardized extract (containing 95% of turmeric) per day. For anti-inflammatory action: take 300 mg of turmeric with food, to three times a day.
USE GUIDELINES: if you mix turmertic preparations with bromelain enzyme to improve absorption, you should take them between meals.
Possible side effects
It appears that, at recommended doses, turmeric is very safe. Since this plant stimulates the excretion of the bile, some doctors say that people gallstones should not take it because it can interfere with the flow of this secretion.
IMPORTANT: do not take doses larger than recommended. Larger doses can cause gastrointestinal problems, and even ulcers.