maxresdefaultTurmeric has been used for over 4,000 years to treat a variety of conditions. Studies show that turmeric may help fight infections and some cancers, reduce inflammation, and treat digestive problems.


1. Turmeric improves liver function

Turmeric has always been considered a liver tonic. It improves liver function even in situations where significant degeneration has already occurred. A South Korean study demonstrated this in people who had moderately high levels of alanine aminotransferase (ALT), which is a marker of impaired liver function. After a 12 week period of turmeric administration, their liver function improved and markers of liver damage were lowered.

Turmeric has a protective action against liver cancer, and may even help treat existing tumors.

While studies noting turmeric’s effectiveness against cancer are in the early stages, various lab and animal studies have yielded promising results. Researchers at the American Cancer Society note that curcumin, a prevalent compound in turmeric: “interferes with several important molecular pathways involved in cancer development, growth and spread.”

In another study published by the US National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, researchers again note curcumin’s cancer-fighting properties. The study further details various “pathways” that curcumin counteracts to achieve such properties.

In their summation, researchers of the study emphasized the cancer-fighting properties of curcumin in a resounding fashion:

“The activity of curcumin reported against leukemia and lymphoma, gastrointestinal cancers, genitourinary cancers, breast cancer, ovarian cancer, head and neck squamous cell carcinoma, lung cancer, melanoma, neurological cancers, and sarcoma reflects its ability to affect multiple targets. Thus, an “old-age” disease such as cancer requires an “age-old” treatment.

Partially since turmeric is such a powerful anti-inflammatory, the substance is also effective at improving digestion and reducing some symptoms of digestive disorders.

A study performed at the University of Maryland Medical Center notes a variety of different conditions in which turmeric may be helpful, including indigestion and ulcerative colitis.  Here are some of the study’s key findings:

– Curcumin, a component of turmeric, stimulates bile production in the gallbladder, which is believed to help improve digestion.

– Turmeric serves as a potential safeguard against remission in those with ulcerative colitis, a chronic disease of the digestive tract with intermittent symptoms.

One noteworthy exception to the above benefits of turmeric is stomach ulcers. The researchers did not find any evidence of alleviation to this condition. In fact, turmeric is advised against for the condition, since it may increase the production of stomach acid.

4. Turmeric improves immunity

Turmeric helps you fight colds and other seasonal infections. Turmeric in milk is often given to children during cold and flu season to increase their resistance to diseases. Antimicrobial properties of turmeric against viruses, bacteria and fungi may be a reason for the protective effect, but its immune boosting action is just as potent.


Curcumin in turmeric also aids with ensuring a healthy heart. In the same study by the University of Maryland, scientists came to this conclusion by observing curcumin’s effective plaque-removal properties. Plaque buildup in the arteries can lead to a heart attack or stroke – a condition known as atherosclerosis.

Curcumin is also effective in reducing bad cholesterol known as LDL and preventing blood clots. One important note to the latter, turmeric may interact with certain blood-clot medications – make sure to seek a doctor’s advice before supplementing turmeric in this case.

6. Turmeric has high antioxidant activity

Normal metabolic activities within our cells result in the formation of highly reactive free radicals that can do damage to the tissues and organs. They are a common cause of chronic inflammation. Free radicals can even cause DNA damage that triggers abnormal cell growth. Environmental pollutants, exposure to UV radiation, and the many toxins that enter our body through processed foods add to the problem.

Antioxidant molecules that neutralize free radicals are always in high demand and turmeric happens to have high antioxidant activity like many other spices do. Taking turmeric regularly as part of your diet ensures a regular supply of antioxidants.

7. Turmeric helps with cholesterol control

Cholesterol is essential for our body, but we all know excess cholesterol in the blood can clog the arteries and cause atherosclerosis, one of the major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Turmeric has cholesterol-regulating properties that have been studied extensively. It acts in several different pathways to reduce blood cholesterol, especially the bad kind called low-density lipoprotein (LDL).

When LDL circulating in the blood gets oxidized, it tends to form atherosclerotic plaques that result in the narrowing of arteries. Turmeric has been found to reduce the amount of circulating cholesterol as well as prevent its oxidation. The reduction in blood LDL levels is achieved by increasing liver metabolism, which in turn increases cholesterol uptake from the blood.

Macrophages or blood cells that are meant to clean up the blood often gorge on cholesterol, which renders them useless. The curcumin in turmeric prevents this by suppressing the cholesterol receptors in these macrophages. This prevents them from ingesting cholesterol molecules and turning into macrophage foam cells that further clog the arteries.


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