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Turmeric: How This Cousin of Ginger Benefits Health

If youíve never heard or used turmeric, it is a tropical root that has powerful health benefits. Native to India, it is very similar to its cousin ginger. It has been used in Indian and Chinese cultures for centuries. What medicinal properties does turmeric contain?

To begin with, its main compound, curcumin, has the power to prevent cancer; and improve heart health. Used primarily in curry mixes, curcumin, which is a plant pigment, is responsible for turmericís yellowish color. Derived from the 

Latin, it means earth-merit. Interesting! Turmeric has large leaves, similar to ginger. The stems of turmeric are spicy, and the extract taken and processed is where its properties incur the most benefits.

Turmeric is widely known as an antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal herb, which also lowers cholesterol. Helpful in the treatment of jaundice, the extract also has been known to benefit the liver. In fact, historically, this extract was utilized in treating liver and gallbladder disorders by helping in the flow of bile from the liver. 

Another benefit in using turmeric is the recommendation for use in skin care which, by the way, has been utilized for delivering positive and effective glowing skin for centuries. As a possible treatment against cancer, turmeric is being studied for this and other potential treatments as well. One study reports that turmeric shuts down a protein active in the spread of breast cancer. It should also be mentioned that another study revealed that the incidence of leukemia is very low in countries where the people consume a lot of turmeric in their daily diet. 

Because curcumin is an anti-inflammatory agent, it is said to relieve the aches and pains associated with arthritis; improves cardiovascular conditions; has shown to decrease symptoms of skin cancers and reduced the incidence of chemically caused breast cancer in lab animals; and its oil functions as an external antibiotic, preventing bacterial infection in wounds. Curcumin also reduces an active number of genes which is linked to heart disease, colon cancer and Alzheimer's.

Occasionally shredded and used fresh, turmeric is more often dried and powdered for use. Turmeric extract and turmeric have been used by humans as a food for a very long time, and is believed to have little or no toxicity at all when taken in moderate doses. If consumed in recommended amounts, turmeric extract is generally safe. It has been used in large quantities as a condiment and cooking ingredient with no side effects. 

Physicians discourage the consumption of Turmeric Extract during pregnancy or breastfeeding as it might cause uterine contraction. Turmeric Extract should not be used by people with gallstones or obstruction of bile passages without consulting their doctor. 

As always, consult your physician before taking turmeric or any dietary supplement. 


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