Turmeric is the bright yellow of the spice rainbow and a powerful medicine that has long been used in the Chinese and Indian medicine as an anti-inflammatory agent to treat a wide variety of conditions, including bacterial infections, flatulence, jaundice,
menstrual difficulties, bloody urine, haemorrhage, toothache, bruises, chest pain and colic. It can provide an inexpensive, well-tolerated, and effective treatment for inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) such as Crohn's,
prostate cancer, arthritis, neurological disorders, liver disorders and ulcerative colitis.
Curcumin, the major constituent of turmeric that gives the spice its yellow colour, can correct the most common expression of the genetic defect that is responsible for cystic fibrosis.
Curcumin has very powerful antioxidant effects and regular consumption of turmeric leads to lower rates of breast, colon, lung and prostate cancer. Even when breast cancer is already present, curcumin can help slow the
spread of breast cancer cells to the lungs. Prostate cancer is a rare occurrence among men in India, whose low risk is attributed to a diet rich in brassica family vegetables (cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, kale, kohlrabi and turnips) and the curry spice, turmeric. Both phenethyl isothiocyanate and curcumin greatly retarded the growth of human prostate cancer cells. The combination of cruciferous vegetables and curcumin could be an effective therapy not only to prevent prostate
cancer, but to inhibit the spread of established prostate cancers.
As an antioxidant, curcumin can neutralise free radicals that are chemicals that can travel through the body and cause great damage to healthy cells and cell membranes. This is important in many diseases, such as arthritis, where free radicals are responsible for the painful joint inflammation and eventual damage to the joints. Turmeric's combination of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects explains why many people with joint disease find relief
when they use the spice regularly.
Turmeric is also beneficial in the treatment of measles and has also been scientifically proven to be more effective at treating depression than many common anti-depressant drugs.
Treatment of brain cells, called astrocytes, with turmeric has been found to increase expression of the glutathione and protect neurons exposed to oxidant stress. Increasing turmeric in the diet can increase the levels of the amino acid glutathione in the body which can be beneficial for a huge range of diseases and disorders as it is present in every cell of
the body and has an important antioxidant role.
White turmeric root (Curcuma zedoaria), bulrush tubers and Chinese rhubarb root are used in Chinese medicine to reduce flatulence and remove uterine
fibroids. This can also be used to treat bladder and kidney stones, coronary heart disease, ectopic pregnancy, hemiplegia after a stroke, malignant tumours, pelvic inflammatory disease and thrombosis.