What’s So Great About Turmeric?

What’s So Great About Turmeric?

Turmeric, an essential ingredient in curry powder, hails from the ginger family, and could easily be mistaken for ginger root until you cut it open. What’s revealed once sliced is turmeric’s unmistakable colour. The polyphenol, curcumin, is what gives turmeric its orange tint and what lends it the reputation of the super-spice.

The list of ailments that can be prevented, cured, alleviated or eradicated by turmeric varies depending on whom you ask. While traditional ayurvedic medicine has relied upon turmeric for thousands of years to treat dozens of ailments, modern science (unsurprisingly) is still investigating the claims. Without a doubt, however, turmeric has caught our attention.



According to Canadian cancer researcher Dr. Richard Beliveau there have been over 4000 scientific studies involving turmeric and curcumin. The reason for this? Turmeric is a known powerful antioxidant and anti- inflammatory. Just how powerful? According to Dr. Beliveau, “Indians, the largest consumers of turmeric, are much less frequently diagnosed (up to 20 times less) by many types of cancer (prostate, colon, breast).”

This alone would justify adding turmeric to your diet, but there’s more. Studies have examined turmeric consumption and have observed reduced symptoms relating to arthritis and joint pain, Inflammatory Bowl Disease and Cystic Fibrosis to name but a few. The website whfoods.org suggests that turmeric could also be implicated in the reduced rates of childhood leukemia in Asian countries as compared to North America, which has seen childhood leukemia rates rise by 50% since the 1950’s. The website cites the work of Prof. Moolky Nagabhushan from the Loyola University Medical Centre in Chicago who states, “Some of the known risk factors that contribute to the high incidence of childhood leukemia are the interaction of many lifestyle and environmental factors. These include prenatal or postnatal exposure to radiation, benzene, environmental pollutants and alkylating chemotherapeutic drugs. Our studies show that turmeric and its colouring principle, curcumin, in the diet mitigate the effects of some of these risk factors.”

No wonder there’s been so many studies. But let’s not forget the several thousands of years of ayurvedic medicine that relies heavily on this orange root to treat all manner of illness. I visited dozens of websites with countless health claims ranging from treating eczema to insanity. Okay, so maybe the anti-insanity claim is tad laughable.  But no matter what the source, whether it be scientific studies, dietitians, health food purveyors, proponents of ayurvidic medicine, PhDs, M.D.s – the message is clear:  we should be eating more turmeric.

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1 Comment

  1. Fariba Heidari
    August 03, 11:16 Reply

    Every night I drink turmeric tea with black pepper, I sleep like a baby ,and in morning , when I wake up I am full of energy.

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