Medicines derived from plants that have biological or pharmacological activity have played a fundamental role in both ancient and modern medicine. Commonly known as turmeric, this close relative of ginger is a brilliantly colored phytopolyphenol compound isolated from the rhizomes of the Curcuma longa plant. In addition to its culinary uses, turmeric is known to contain a broad spectrum of synergistic pharmacological properties, most notably powerful antioxidant activity, impressive inhibitory effects on proinflammatory cytokines, and the ability to prevent blood platelets from forming clots. For over 4,000 years, turmeric has been utilized in Traditional Ayurvedic medicine as a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease.
Utilized for both prevention and therapy, turmeric is well-documented as an Ayurvedic treatment for inflammatory skin and bowel conditions and respiratory, gastrointestinal, and hepatic disorders. More than 100 components have been isolated from turmeric, including turmerone, a volatile oil, and flavonoid curcuminoids, which are found to be natural antioxidants comparable to vitamins C and E. Turmeric has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimutagenic, antidiabetic, antibacterial, and anti-tumor properties, as well as cardio and hepatoprotective pharmacological activities.
The use of turmeric as both a spice and a remedy is known to be safe and non-toxic. The FDA’s own clinical trials determined that turmeric and its active component curcumin is generally recognized as safe (GRAS). While studies are ongoing as to efficacy of curcumin compounds in western medicine, from its centuries-long history we can conclude that turmeric has a host of potential benefits for both daily and long term medicinal usage. A comprehensive review of over 700 studies on turmeric’s health benefits published by ethnobotanist James A. Duke, PhD., concluded that turmeric appeared to outperform many pharmaceuticals in its effects against several chronic debilitating diseases with virtually no adverse side effects.
Research suggests that turmeric may be helpful to prevent or alleviate the following:
Osteoarthritis: Studies on the efficacy of curcumin have demonstrated improved function, as well as reduced pain and swelling in arthritic conditions. As a multifaceted anti-inflammatory agent, turmeric contains more than two dozen anti-inflammatory compounds, including six COX-2-inhibitors, which block the COX-2 enzyme that promotes pain, swelling, and inflammation.
Neurodegenerative conditions: More than 50 studies have shown that turmeric extracts contain multiple natural agents that block the formation of beta-amyloid, the substance believed to be responsible for the plaques that slowly obstruct cerebral function in Alzheimer’s disease. Turmeric’s powerful antioxidant, circulatory and anti-inflammatory effects may be useful in the prevention or treatment of Parkinson’s and other conditions. Curcumin may also boost levels of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a brain hormone that increases growth of new neurons and fights degenerative processes in the brain.
Cardiovascular disease: Early studies have shown that turmeric may be helpful in the prevention of atherosclerosis, the buildup of plaque in the arteries. Its anti-clotting compounds may also prevent blood clots from building up on arterial walls. The inner lining of the blood vessels, or the endothelium, is vulnerable to oxidative stress, and endothelium dysfunction can lead to cardiovascular events. Studies suggest that curcumin’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties may improve endothelial function, thereby supporting proper regulation of blood pressure, blood clotting and other functions.
Indigestion: Turmeric stimulates the gallbladder to produce the bile necessary for digestion and has been shown to reduce gas and bloating. The German Commission E, charged with determining which herbs can be safely prescribed, has approved turmeric for digestive problems.
Ulcerative colitis: Those in remission from ulcerative colitis who supplement with curcumin have been shown to be significantly less likely to have a flare up of symptoms as opposed to those who don’t supplement.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, have a medical condition, or are taking blood thinning, diabetic, or acid reducing medications, please consult your healthcare provider before beginning any supplementation program.
Professional Supplement Center carries these and other high quality formulations in support of overall heath:
Ayur-Curcumin (Turmeric) by Douglas Laboratories: One capsule provides 300 mg of curcuma longa standardized to 90% curcumin in support of joint and tissue function. Gluten, wheat, yeast, soy, dairy, sugar and artificial ingredient free.
Curcumin 500 with Bioperine® by Pure Encapsulations®: One capsule provides 500 mg of curcuma longa standardized to contain 95% curcuminoids in support of healthy liver, colon, and musculoskeletal function and a healthy inflammatory response. The addition of Bioperine® black pepper extract helps to enhance the bioavailability and absorption of curcumin. Gluten and soy free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.
C3 Curcumin Complex® by Designs for Health: C3 Curcumin Complex provides a unique patented composition of three bioactive, health promoting curcuminoids in support of the body’s natural processes. Gluten, wheat, dairy, egg, and artificial ingredient free, Non-GMO vegetarian formulation.
Liposomal Curcumin by DaVinci Laboratories of Vermont: This C3 Complex® with liposomal delivery has been clinically shown to provide antioxidant, brain, cardiovascular, digestive and immune support. Non-GMO formulation.
Curcumin Topical Cream by Neurobiologix: This topical cream applied directly to the skin helps to reduce inflammation, provides free radical protection and supports arterial and whole body health.
Turmeric, the Golden Spice. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK92752/
Pharmacological Activities of Turmeric (Curcuma longa linn): A Review. https://www.omicsgroup.org/journals/pharmacological-activities-of-turmeric-curcuma-longa-linn-a-review-2167-1206.1000133.php?aid=18775
3 Reasons to Eat Turmeric. https://www.drweil.com/diet-nutrition/nutrition/3-reasons-to-eat-turmeric/
Medicinal and pharmacological properties of Turmeric (Curcuma longa): A review. http://www.academia.edu/10986107/Medicinal_and_pharmacological_properties_of_Turmeric_Curcuma_longa_A_review
Turmeric Overview. http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/turmeric
Endothelial Dysfunctions: Cardiovascular Risk Factors, Therapy, and Outcome. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1993955/