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Natural home remedy - Curcuma longa/domestica (Turmeric)

Turmeric health benefits and home remedies
Turmeric Powder

Of the various varieties of turmeric, the three main species of the genus Curcuma are the Curcuma aromatica, the Curcuma longa or domestica and the Curcuma zedoaria. The most commonly produced is the Curcuma longa which is called turmeric, and is bright yellow in colour. It is used widely in curries and is also a source of dyes. It belongs to the ginger family Zingiberaceae. It is an aromatic ginger with stout underground rhizomes. The rhizome of the plant is boiled cleaned and dried before making it into a powder.

Botanical Name - Curcuma longa
Sanskrit - Harita
Tamil - Manjal
Hindi - Haldi

Health benefits of Curcuma longa

It has been used for thousands of years in Indian and chinese medicine, as an anti-inflammatory and for the treatment of flatulence, jaundice, menstrual difficulties, hematuria, hemorrhage, and colic. Turmeric is also applied locally in poultices to relieve pain and inflammation. In India, Curcuma Longa has been used as a home remedy to treat a wide variety of ailments including stomach ache, skin problems, muscular problems and arthritis. The chinese use turmeric as a topical analgesic, for colic, hepatitis, ringworm and chest pain.

Anti-inflammatory health benefits of turmeric

Turmeric possesses curcumin which exhibits anti-inflammatory effects. Studies done on animals show, that oral administration of Curcuma longa, significantly reduced inflammatory swelling. It is used to treat gastrointestinal and upper respiratory problems. Turmeric has also been shown to inhibit ulcer formation caused by stress and alcohol. Curcumin may also be applied topically to counteract inflammation and irritation associated with inflammatory skin conditions and allergies.

Anti-cancer health benefits of turmeric

Turmeric has been used in herbal medicine to prevent and treat cancer. It is thought to help in the removal of cell accumalation and tumors. Animal studies involving rats and mice, as well as in vitro studies utilizing human cell lines, have shown curcumin’s ability to inhibit carcinogenesis at three stages: tumor promotion, angiogenesis, and tumor growth. In two studies of colon and prostate cancer, curcumin inhibited cell proliferation and tumor growth.

Turmeric health benefits for cardiovascular diseases

Turmeric is said to help reduce both cholesterol and triglyceride levels. It removes excessive lipids from the blood and reduces aggregation of platelets. Turmeric extract’s effect on cholesterol levels may be due to decreased cholesterol uptake in the intestines and increased conversion of cholesterol to bile acids in the liver.

A powerful antioxidant

Curcumin is a also known as a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants help to protect the body from free radicals. The curcumin component of turmeric exhibits strong antioxidant activity, comparable to vitamins like C and E. One animal study showed that incubation (18 hours) with curcumin resulted in enhanced cellular resistance to oxidative damage. Turmeric’s hepatoprotective effect (ability to prevent damage to the liver) is mainly a result of its antioxidant properties, as well as its ability to decrease the formation of proinflammatory cytokines. In another study on rats, with induced liver injury, curcumin administration significantly decreased the liver injury in test animals.

Turmeric health benefits for Alzheimer's

The yellow pigment curcumin has both anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties and can suppress oxidative damage, inflammation, cognitive deficits, and amyloid (certain proteins that are deposited in organs) accumulation. Growing evidence suggests that turmeric may afford protection against neurodegenerative diseases. Studies show that in Indian populations, where the diet includes quite a bit of turmeric, levels of neurological diseases such as Alzheimer's are very low in elderly people. Experimental research conducted recently found that curcumin does appear to slow the progression of Alzheimer's in mice.

Turmeric health benefits for arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis, is a condition in which the body's immune system attacks the joints, causing pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of function. The herb turmeric has been used for centuries in Ayurvedic medicine as a treatment for inflammatory disorders like rheumatoid arthritis. Turmeric helps individuals suffering from osteoarthritis, acting as a painkiller, by increasing mobility in the joint and reducing stiffness. As an antioxidant, curcumin is able to neutralize free radicals, 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. Since turmeric has a combination of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, people with joint disease find relief when they consume turmeric.

Natural remedy for skin ailments

Turmeric helps to purify and nourish the blood and skin. External application of turmeric stops pain and swelling, heals wounds rapidly, and treats many skin diseases ranging from acne to leprosy. The classic way to apply turmeric is as a blend of turmeric, chick-pea flour (besan), almond oil, a little fresh cream and honey. This helps to clear up skin blemishes, and increase the natural glow of the skin.

Home remedies with turmeric