Turmeric root, popularly used in Asian curries, soups and stews, is more than just a flavorful spice. The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) states that traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine has long used turmeric root as a digestive aid, to improve liver function, to regulate menstruation and to relieve pain associated with arthritis. NCCAM also reports that turmeric root has been purported to treat various medical conditions ranging from inflammation and cancer to stomach ulcers. Curcumin, turmeric root's active ingredient, is a powerful antioxidant and has been clinically studied in regard to its health benefits.
Turmeric root provides significant anti-inflammatory health benefits. A clinical review published in a February 2008 edition of "Biochemical Pharmacology," explained that curcumin found in turmeric helps to regulate biochemical processes responsible for the expression of inflammatory enzymes. An additional study published in a 2006 publication of the "Journal of Natural Products" found that turmeric extracts containing three different types curcuminoids (derivatives of curcumin) prevented anti-arthritic effects such as joint inflammation.
Knowing that turmeric has been used for centuries as an anti-inflammatory in certain societies and that inflammation plays a role in cancer development, researchers at the Department of Experimental Therapeutics, MD Anderson Cancer Center at the University of Texas decided to study the effects it would have on cancer cells. Their research revealed that curcumin, a component of turmeric, suppressed the spread of breast cancer cells to the lungs in mice.
In one study published by the National Institutes of Health, researchers at the Columbia University Medical Center Diabetes and Endocrinology Research Center found that curcumin treatment of obese mice reduced inflammation and diabetes.
Deepak Chopra, in "The Chopra Center Herbal Handbook," recommends that anyone with adult-onset diabetes include turmeric in his daily diet.
Botanical Name: curcuma longa
Notes: Kosher. Non-irradiated.
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Medicinal Benefits of Turmeric Root eHow.com
Journal of Natural Products: Turmeric Extracts Containing Curcuminoids Prevent Experimental Rheumatoid Arthritis
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