Turmeric and turmeric powder

You may have been hearing a lot about the spice ‘turmeric’ lately, popular for its new found health benefits.  Turmeric (Curcuma longa) has been around for centuries used as both a spice and medicine but in light of recent research, has recently been brought into the spotlight for its superfood powers.

Turmeric has over 300 active constituents which researchers have been able to establish that the curcuminoids (curcumin) are the more significant constituent providing the main actions of turmeric.

The health benefits of tumeric

Studies have shown that turmeric, as well as curcumin, has significant antioxidant activity and also acts as a powerful anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial agent.  These studies tell us that turmeric has the potential to assist with many health conditions including the following:

  • Diabetes – turmeric may slow progression of insulin resistance into diabetes via the anti-inflammatory actions shown in trials to improve the release of insulin from the pancreatic beta cells.
  • High cholesterol and blood triglycerides – increases HDL cholesterol and decreases total serum cholesterol, possibly via the protective effects exerted on the liver.
  • Inflammatory bowel disease and irritable bowel – researchers observed a decreased prevalence of abdominal pain and discomfort and reduction in C-reactive protein and other inflammatory markers in the blood.
  • Arthritis – supplementation of 1200mg of curcumin in a study at Deakin University showed a 50 percent pain reduction and increased hand strength in a short time frame.
  • Wound healing – curcumin has demonstrated an increased proliferation of the particular cells needed to repair wounds and boost collagen.
  • Psoriasis – topical curcumin reduced severity of active untreated psoriasis in an observational study of 10 patients, reducing the proliferation of inflammatory cells.
  • Cancer support – curcumin enhanced the cytotoxicity of chemotherapeutic agents in prostate cancer cells by suppressing tumour cell activation in a 2002 study, whilst another trial showed that curcumin significantly increased total white blood cell count and antibodies needed to fight cancer cells in the body. Curcumin appeared to be a well tolerated adjunctive therapy in pancreatic cancer also.
  • Cardiovascular health – curcumin has been shown to inhibit platelet aggregation reducing risk of thrombosis and cardiovascular events.

Please note that curcumin is considered very safe at normal dietary or therapeutic dosages but high doses are not recommended in pregnancy or those wanting to conceive.  It is also cautioned in people with bile duct obstruction and gall stones.

To learn more, or a full health evaluation and individualised treatment plan, call 03 95977 7488 and book a Nutrition Consultation or Naturopath appointment today.


References – Braun, L & Cohen M 2010,’Herbs and Natural Supplements, an evidence-based guide’, 3rd edn, p.897