This amazing guest post was written by Dr. Aram Nalbandyan! You should check out his website here!
Turmeric is a potent spice that has been used for thousands of years in India. In addition, Turmeric has been used in Ayurvedic Medicine and TCM to treat a variety of health issues.
Although this spice has not been part of mainstream Western Medicine, recent research suggests it has definite medicinal uses, which would benefit those who wish to enhance or support their health.
Scientists believe that one of the reasons why turmeric is so effective is that it contains curcumin. There are dozens of studies into the health benefits of turmeric.
It’s been shown to improve circulation, promote digestion, and relieve pain.
What is Turmeric?
Turmeric is the rhizome of the Curcuma domestica or Curcuma longa plant, which is a perennial herb in the ginger family. Wild turmeric grows in the tropics of Southern Asia with India being one of the main producers of the world’s turmeric.
Powdered turmeric is a yellow-orange spice used in Indian cuisine and as an ingredient in many Asian dishes.
Interestingly, the United States imports a great deal of turmeric, mostly used in the production of yellow mustard. Turmeric is also used as a dye and will temporarily stain your skin on contact.
Benefits of Turmeric for Circulation
Turmeric improves circulation, so it can be used in acute injuries where improved circulation to the area is needed. It also reduces inflammation and pain, which supports the healing process. Turmeric enhances the movement of stagnant blood and reduces clots.
Turmeric can also help to balance cholesterol levels. It prevents cholesterol oxidation, which can damage blood vessels. Turmeric is said to reduce blood clotting, increase circulation, and actually decrease high blood pressure.
Since turmeric is known to stimulate blood flow, it has been used in natural remedies for menstrual cramps and amenorrhea. It is believed that turmeric’s ability to improve blood circulation in the uterus can help prevent uterine masses, tumors, cysts, and even endometriosis.
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The curcumin in turmeric may even help reverse the steps in the heart disease process by improving the function of the endothelium. The endothelium, which is the lining of the blood vessels, is vital for regulating blood pressure and clotting blood.
Curcumin helps improve endothelial function and it may even be as effective as exercise. Curcumin also reduces inflammation and oxidation, which are also necessary for heart health.
Benefits of Turmeric for Digestion
Turmeric promotes promotes digestion. It can help relieve gas and soothe any inflammation in the digestive tract. Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties are beneficial to those who have digestive problems. Turmeric is an effective antioxidant.
By using turmeric regularly, it can help the liver efficiently process metabolic wastes and toxins. Turmeric also acts as an antispasmodic to smooth muscles, so it helps reduce digestive cramping.
Turmeric’s astringent characteristics tone the digestive tract. As such, it can be used for people who have stomach ulcers because it tones the surface of the ulceration, decreases inflammation, stops bleeding, and helps prevent infection.
Turmeric has been used both internally and externally, but it will stain whatever it touches yellow.
Curcumin in turmeric is also able to stimulate the gallbladder and make it release bile, which in turn improves liver function. Turmeric protects the bile ducts by improving bile flow, which cleanses the liver.
It rejuvenates liver cells and helps liver function by preventing toxins and alcohol from being converted to harmful compounds that damage the liver.
Bile supports digestion in many ways:
- It contains bile acids essential for the digestion and absorption of fats and fat-soluble vitamins. In addition, it supports the digestion of proteins and starches.
- It regulates the level of friendly microflora in the intestines, which keep the human body healthy and strong.
- It kills harmful organisms as they invade the body.
- It encourages peristaltic action in the intestines to help regulate your bowels and remove waste.
- It is a vital part of the body’s detoxification process. Your liver uses bile as a way to get rid of all kinds of waste products through the secretion of bile. Your body then eliminates both bile and waste products, helping your liver cleanse.
Benefits of Turmeric for Pain Relief
Turmeric as a pain remedy has been compared to over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications, but without the severe side effects. Besides reducing inflammation, it also depletes nerve endings of the substance that communicates pain to the brain.
Besides being taken internally, turmeric has also been used directly on sore joints and sprains. Even though it temporarily stains the skin yellow, it is worth it to get its benefits. In order to use it effectively for chronic pain and inflammation, turmeric needs to be used daily.
Turmeric/curcumin supplements are often used by people who want to reduce their arthritis pain. It can be purchased online or from various stores where other vitamins and supplements are purchased.
The ideal turmeric supplement contains piperine or bioperine (another name for piperine), which is the substance found in black pepper that enhances the absorption of curcumin and makes smaller doses of curcumin more effective.
Without the piperine, most of the curcumin would just pass through the digestive tract.
The most researched component of turmeric is curcumin, which is mainly responsible for turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties. However, most herbalists feel turmeric is better for pain relief if it is used in its entirety than only as curcumin alone.
Turmeric used in cooking is probably safe for most everyone. However, there are some considerations if turmeric is used in therapeutic doses.
Sometime, too much turmeric can cause nausea and dizziness. In general, it is best to use the smallest recommended dose of turmeric and build up to the larger recommended doses.
It is suggested that the following people should avoid turmeric in therapeutic doses:
- people who are currently on blood thinners or blood pressure medication
- people with blood clotting disorders
- people with gallstones
- women who are pregnant or breastfeeding
Still not sure if you should be using turmeric? Speak with your doctor or a licensed herbalist. Better safe than sorry!
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