THE HERBAL CORNER
* Turmeric (Curcuma longa)
TURMERIC herb (curry) used as health support to:
* combat heart disease
* aid digestion
* relieve arthritis pain
* treat dysentery and protect the liver
* ward off ulcers and fight certain cancers
TURMERIC is a recent addition to many American spice racks, but it has been a mainstay in Indian curries for thousands of years. Turmeric's healing benefits are still largely unknown in North America, but a great deal of scientific research - almost all of it Indian - shows that Turmeric may help in the prevention of heart disease, may fight intestinal parasites, is effective as a digestive aid, may protect the liver, and may one day play a role in the treatment of cancer. The Turmeric plant is recognized by spongy, orange bulbs and yellow, trumpet-shaped flowers. Only its root is used for medicinal purposes.
A relative of the Ginger herb, Turmeric has held a longstanding place of honor in India's traditional Ayurvedic medicine. The Chinese also adopted this versatile herb and used it as a treatment for digestive problems, fever, wounds, infections, dysentery, arthritis, jaundice and other liver problems. Turmeric stimulates the flow of bile which means it helps digest fats confirming its traditional use as a digestive aid.
Several medical studies now suggest that Turmeric may also help prevent heart disease by lowering cholesterol and preventing the formation of internal blood clots that trigger heart attack and many strokes. These findings come from studies done with laboratory animals and cannot necessarily be applied to people. However, Turmeric is a tasty spice that does no harm, and these studies suggest that it might do some real good.
The latest studies show that Turmeric also protects the stomach lining and helps prevent ulcers. Its active chemical curcumin possesses anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, lending credence to the herb's traditional use in treating arthritis and fighting protozoa - intestinal microbes that cause dysentery and a multitude of other human ills.
Recently, curcumin has also been shown to have some anti-cancer activity. A report published in "Cancer Letters" says it inhibits the growth of lymphoma tumor cells. Also, research at Rutgers University shows curcumin helps prevent tumor development in animals. Turmeric also contains a volatile oil that functions as an external antibiotic or antiseptic, preventing bacterial infections in wounds.
Turmeric is available as powdered root, capsules, and liquid extract. It is considered safe but may cause heartburn or upset stomach at higher doses. If you are pregnant or have a blood clotting disorder, you should consult your doctor before using Turmeric.
Please note: the information contained herein has been compiled from various sources. The above statements have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. We make no claims, either expressed or implied, that any treatments mentioned in this newsletter will cure disease, replace prescription medication, or supersede sound medical advice.
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