Turmeric is the primary anti-inflammatory herb of Ayurvedic medicine. Its principal chemical component, curcumin, fights;
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Cirrhosis of the Liver
Halitosis and Periodontal Disease
HIV / AIDS
through its potent antioxidant action. Curcumin also protects the liver, stimulates the gallbladder, and scavenges free radicals.
Curcumin is an excellent herbal remedy for situations in which high concentrations of antioxidants are required. The Whole herb turmeric contains lower concentrations of curcumin, and is used when healing requires the application of volatile oils.
Benefits of turmeric for specific health conditions include the following:
Arthirtis, eczema, endometriosis, pain, and tendinitis. Clinical studies have confirmed that the volatile oil in turmeric can ease acute pain caused by a number of mechanisims. Its effectiveness is equal to that of steroid preparations such as hydrocortisone and phenylbutazone, but without their side effects.
Altherosclerosis. Curcumin fights atherosclerosis by deactivating platelet-activating factor (PAF). This compound of the blood seals leaks in blood vessels, in part by stimulating the production of fibrous tissue. This tissue can serve as a platform on which cholesterol can accumulate into plaques. Curcumin helps prevent atherosclerosis in people with diabetes, and offers the additional benefits of stopping the loss of protein through the kidneys.
Bursitis and carpal tunnel syndrome. Curcumin relieves the discomfort of these conditions by deactivating immune cells that may cause inflammation, without harming other parts of the immune system essential to fighting infection.
Cancer. Curcumin causes the death of cancer cells arising from several different types of tissue. In the laboratory, this compound kills cultures of human leukemia cells. It reduces the development of chemically induced mouth and tongue cancers by as much as 90 percent. It affects skin cancers by counteracting the carcinogenic effects of ultraviolet light when applied to the skin before exposure, and by stopping chemically induced skin cancers.
Cataracts. Curcumin quenches cell-damaging free radicals more actively than vitamin E, a noted free-radical scavenger. This prevents cross-linking of proteins in the lens that leads, over a period of many years, to the formation of cataracts.
Cirrhosis of the liver. Curcumin helps reverse liver damage caused by excessive iron consumption. It also keeps alcohol and other toxins from being converted to a harmful form within the liver, and accelerates the detoxification process.
Gallstones. Curcumin increases the production of enzymes that digest sugar and fat, and stops cholesterol from crystallizing into gallstones. Liberal use of turmeric in the diet has a similar, although less pronounced, effect.
Halitosis and periodontal disease. Turmeric acts against gum inflammation by halting the action of gene that creates gum-irritating chemicals. This robs bacteria of a site for growth, and helps prevent both bad breath and periodontal disease. If relying on dietary turmeric to prevent bad breath, it is important to avoid use of curries combining turmeric with the herbs that cause bad breath, such as garlic.
Heart attack. Curcumin helps to relax blood vessels to lower blood pressure. It lessens the risk of heart attack during treatment with steroids and reduces tissue damage during an attack.
HIV / AIDS. Curcumin can help prevent HIV infection from progressing to full-blown AIDS by acting as a protease inhibitor that is, an agent that stops HIV from dividing its genetic material into strings needed to form new viruses. Curcumin also counteracts integrase, an enzyme HIV needs to attach itself to human DNA, and reduces some of the tissue destruction seen in HIV / AIDS by selectively deactivating rumor necrosis factor (TNF).
Indigestion. Turmeric has been used for thousands of years to stop stomach irritation. Although its exact mechanism of action is not known, it is likely that it sequesters free radicals that would other wise trigger the release of inflammation-causing histamine.