Turmeric: A Proven Winner

What is Tumeric?

Turmeric Has Proven Benefits Against Depression

Curcumin and Alzheimer’s Disease

Studies Show Curcumin Benefits  The Male Reproductive System And Erectile Dysfunction

Can Turmeric Help You Lose Weight?

Turmeric and Cancer

Can Turmeric Hurt You?

Is Turmeric Bad for Your Liver?

How Much Turmeric Can You Take a day?

Can you take Turmeric on an Empty Stomach? How is turmeric best absorbed?

How to Make Tumeric Tea? Making Tumeric Ginger Tea

What is Tumeric?

Turmeric is a powerful spice and it is used in mainly used in Indian and Asian cultures but found its way into many European cultures as well. Turmeric is mildly pungent and has an earthy peppery and slightly bitter flavor.  It can be used in place of saffron which is extremely expensive.  Turmeric is an essential ingredient in curry.   

Tumeric has been around for thousands of years and it is also considered an element in holistic, Chinese, and Ayurvedic medicine. Turmeric can be used to suppress scratchy coughs by adding a ¼ teaspoon to warm milk and honey along with a pinch of black pepper. 

Turmeric is primarily grown in India and Vietnam.  its color makes it popular for use in cosmetics as well. Turmeric is the spice that gives curry its golden yellow color. It is often added to mustard to improve the color. 

Turmeric can turn everything in your home yellow so be careful.  It’s best to use it in glass mixing bowls and glass bakeware.  You can stain your countertops as well if you are not careful.  

If you use fresh turmeric in cooking and the recipe calls for dried you will need about four times as much fresh.  

Turmeric seems to be everywhere these days as it grows in popularity as herbal medicine.  It can be found in everything from baked goods to lattes. 

The family of compounds contained in turmeric is called curcuminoids. Curcumin is the active medicinal ingredient in turmeric. Curcumin is derived from the rhizome of curcuma longa.  Curcumins are thought to stop an enzyme that may be responsible for turning environmental toxins into carcinogens in your body.  Turmeric typically contains just over 3% curcumin so many people have turned to supplements to get an adequate medicinal dose.

Turmeric can be used in many ways including adding it to scrambles, rice, and soups, tossing it with roasted vegetables, including it with smoothies, and even making a turmeric tea. Turmeric can be added to almond milk or cashew milk to help you boost your daily intake of curcumin. 

Turmeric Has Proven Benefits Against Depression

60 people suffering from major depressive disorder without suicidal thoughts were divided into three groups one taking Prozac the second group taking Prozac and turmeric and the third group just turmeric. Each group benefited, however, the group that took Prozac and turmeric together benefited the most on the Hamilton depressive rating scale. Interestingly the group solely taking turmeric had a 62 .5% Improvement and the combination group had a 77.8% Improvement. 

The study lasted for six weeks  and it was observed that all the patients tolerated turmeric well 

While I am not a scientist, it seems that turmeric can be a major factor in the alleviation of depression. Many people tout turmeric, along with a vitamin D3 supplement, light therapy, and some exercise as a way to beat Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a disease millions of people suffer from during the reduced light winter months.  

Curcumin and Alzheimer’s Disease

Many studies have reported that curcumin has beneficial properties such as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-tumor. Inflammation and oxidative damage play a significant role in Alzheimer’s disease. Curcumin can cross the blood-brain barrier and may lead to improvements in the progression of Alzheimer’s Disease

Curcumin has a proven beneficial effect on both to the point that curcumin may be one of the most promising compounds for the development of therapies for Alzheimer’s disease.  However, there is little in the way of human studies to prove this and the best advice that the scientific community can give right now is prevention is the most important aspect. The Cleveland Clinic reports that turmeric given in 2 doses per day of 90 mg had shown improvements in memory loss in people without dementia.  

Studies Show Curcumin Benefits  The Male Reproductive System And Erectile Dysfunction

Move over Viagra and Cialis when it comes to treating erectile dysfunction! New studies in animals demonstrate curcumin derivatives actually work better than these popular drugs. Curcumin induces an enzyme that is involved in elevating chemicals involved in obtaining an erection.  

Can Turmeric Help You Lose Weight?

Tumeric has been found to have anti-inflammatory benefits which may help overweight people who have inflammatory issues.   Tumeric has shown some promise in dealing with metabolic problems but it is not a plan for weight loss. 

In a 2009 study, (Tufts University) found that turmeric did show weight loss benefits in rats but as far as we know no serious studies have been done on humans.  

Many websites have sensationalized the weight loss effects of turmeric and while there is some potential we do not recommend turmeric to be central to any weight loss plan.   

Turmeric and Cancer

Some studies in men with colorectal cancer have shown that adding curcumin to the treatment had a positive effect on treatment outcomes.  According to a report on Webmd turmeric has shown some benefit in lowering the proteins that encourage prostate cancer.  

There also have been studies that show that turmeric has decreased the effectiveness of some patients receiving breast cancer chemotherapy.  

Can Turmeric Hurt You?

Generally no.  Turmeric is thought to be safe by most health experts.  There are some potential side effects for people who may be allergic to turmeric. 

Pregnant women, and people with conditions such as diabetes, iron deficiency, gall bladder, bleeding, and acid reflux (GERD) should not take therapeutic doses of turmeric according to Web MD.   

Is Turmeric Bad for Your Liver?

Generally, turmeric seems to be safe to consume but there are some cases where turmeric may be responsible for some liver issues.  Autoimmune hepatitis was reported in one case I reviewed.  It appears that the use of black pepper with turmeric allows greater absorption of the active ingredient in turmeric and may in some people cause liver toxicity.  

How Much Turmeric Can You Take a day?

My research through trusted websites shows that turmeric should be safe to take in doses of 100 mg to 2000 mg.  Common doses are 500 mg for itchy skin and 700 mg for high cholesterol.  If your supplement contains piperine (an extract of black pepper) your dosage should be quite a bit lower as piperine can substantially boost the effects of turmeric.  It is important that you talk to a doctor or nutrition specialist if you think you need to take large doses of this potent supplement.  

Can you take Turmeric on an Empty Stomach? How is turmeric best absorbed?

Most of the research I did found that you should take turmeric with a fat such as avocado, nuts, seeds, or oil. The simplest way to take turmeric is with a meal.  You can also include it as a spice in many of your meals as well.  Consider adding it to roasted veggies, in soups, on rice,  and in smoothies.    

How to Make Tumeric Tea? Making Tumeric Ginger Tea

While there are many sites on the internet making claims that turmeric tea helps reduce belly fat and ultimately helps you to lose weight I’m skeptical of the claims. You may find that it does help and if so let me know in the comments section but I would drink turmeric tea as an adjunct to improve the other health benefits that I’ve mentioned in this article.   

Here is a recipe for turmeric-ginger tea

1 one cup of boiling water

½ teaspoon of turmeric

½ teaspoon of finely chopped ginger

Optional ingredients:

Honey (makes the tea not vegan) 

1 teaspoon lemon juice

Pinch of finely ground black pepper

Put a small amount of water with the turmeric and blend to a slurry that has no lumps

Add the ginger and the rest of the water

Add the optional ingredients as you wish

Enjoy!

Summary

Turmeric is one herb that has received some serious study from the mainstream medical community.  It has the potential to treat and prevent some cancers. 

Turmeric has anti-inflammatory properties which can help with arthritis and knee pain. There is evidence that it can assist in reducing the protein that is linked to Alzheimer’s disease in animal tests so it may have some beneficial effects for humans. A proven use of turmeric (active ingredient curcumin) is to assist in reducing the effects of depression.  

Overall turmeric seems to have some good reasons to include it in your diet regime.   And as always if you have any medical condition or you want to start taking turmeric in therapeutic size doses you should speak to your doctor first.