The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin. Tumeric has been used for over 2500 years in India, where it was most likely first used as a dye. Curcumin is also a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants scavenge molecules in the body known as free radicals, which damage cell membranes, tamper with DNA, and even cause cell death. Antioxidants can fight free radicals and may reduce or even help prevent some of the damage they cause including cancer.

In addition, curcumin lowers the levels of two enzymes in the body that cause inflammation. It also stops platelets from clumping together to form blood clots.

The medicinal properties of this spice have been slowly revealing themselves over the centuries.
Turmeric (Curcuma longa) is a culinary spice, a major ingredient in Indian curries, and the source of American mustard’s bright yellow color. Used as both medicine and food for centuries, accumulating evidence suggests that this relative of ginger is a promising preventive agent for a wide range of diseases, probably due largely to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Scientists recently determined that curcumin, the active compound found in turmeric and that produces the spice’s characteristic yellow color, can help support the healthy functioning of the “innate” immune system, which fights off foreign bacteria, viruses, and fungi when they first enter the body.
Curcumin has been reported in medical literature to help people with autoimmune disease like Fibromyalgia, Lupus & MS. In our research we found that the synergistic combination of Curcumin, resveratol, Co Q10, Omega 3 fatty acids along with Biofeedback has helped our clients with auto immune disease.
The National Institutes of Health lists 24 current studies on the effects of turmeric and its chief active component, curcumin. Such studies raise the question of which is better to take: whole turmeric, generally used as a powdered spice with food; or curcumin, which is usually taken as a supplement? Each has been shown to have health benefits, but unless you have a specific condition such as inflammatory bowel disease, I favor using turmeric (especially in cooking) rather than taking curcumin pills. This reflects my general belief that, until proven otherwise in head to head studies. On the other hand, curcumin appears to have a more rapid and dramatic effect, and may be the better choice as a therapeutic (rather than a preventative) preparation.
Other Published benefits of Curcumin/Tumeric:
Turmeric has been used most in medicine as an anti-inflammatory. This is because of both the amount of volatile oils contained in it as well as curcumin, which helps lessen inflammation in the arteries and joints.
Antioxidant: Turmeric also has antioxidant properties. This means it helps prevent damage caused by free radicals in the body.
Cancer:because of its antioxidant properties, turmeric helps to prevent many types of cancer. This is because cancer often occurs when DNA is harmed. Turmeric prevents this from happening, thus decreasing a person’s chance of developing cancer.
Liver Function: The curcumin in turmeric also helps to enhance liver function by assisting the body in filtering out wastes much more efficiently.
One of the ways curcumin works with the liver is to increase the production of messenger proteins that focus on LDL (bad) cholesterol. The more messenger proteins there are, the more LDL will be processed and eliminated from the body, thus lowering cholesterol.
Epidemiologists have hypothesized that the turmeric that is part of daily curries eaten in India may help explain the low rate of Alzheimer’s disease in that country. Among people aged 70 to 79, the rate is less than one-quarter that of the United States.
In the Diet
If you are looking to get more turmeric into your diet, try eating a curry dish once per week. You can also add mustard to your sandwiches more often or simply purchase turmeric extract and consume it that way.
Curcumin carries out this role by ramping up the expression of a protein called cathelicidin antimicrobial peptide, or CAMP for short, that plays a key part in innate immune system activity. CAMP is the only known antimicrobial peptide of its kind in humans, according to the scientists.
A member of the ginger family, turmeric has been used in India both as a spice and in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for centuries, perhaps millennia.
In accord, Western medicine is increasingly finding evidence that supports the health benefits of curcumin, which heretofore have largely been attributed to the compound’s antioxidant properties. The newest finding that curcumin can support healthy immune system functioning may help explain some of curcumin’s other potential benefits. “It’s possible that sustained consumption over time may be healthy,” said Adrian Gombart, PhD, an associate professor of biochemistry and biophysics at the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University and one of the authors of the current study.
Dr. Gombart and his colleagues at Oregon State University collaborated with scientists from the University of Copenhagen in Denmark on the current study, which was published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry. The researchers tested to see whether curcumin and omega-3 fatty acids could increase expression of the CAMP gene, ultimately leading to increased CAMP protein levels. Whereas the omega-3s had no effect on CAMP gene expression, curcumin caused the levels of the gene to almost triple.
Research previously established that CAMP levels could be boosted by vitamin D. Although curcumin’s effects on CAMP are not as potent as that of vitamin D, the findings “point to a new avenue for regulating CAMP gene expression,” said Dr. Gombart. “It’s interesting and somewhat surprising that curcumin can do that, and could provide another tool to develop medical therapies.”
An overview published in Advanced Experimental Medical Biology in 2007 states that, “Curcumin has been shown to exhibit antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anticancer activities and thus has a potential against various malignant diseases, diabetes, allergies, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease and other chronic illnesses.”
Published medical literature shows that Curcumin/Turmeric showed:
Prevented breast cancer from spreading to the lungs in mice.
May prevent melanoma and cause existing melanoma cells to commit suicide.
Reduces the risk of childhood leukemia.
May prevent metastases from occurring in many different forms of cancer.
Has shown promise in slowing the progression of multiple sclerosis in mice.
Is a natural painkiller and cox-2 inhibitor with less side effect that Celebrix.
May aid in fat metabolism and help in weight management.
Has long been used in Chinese medicine as a treatment for depression.
It is a natural treatment for arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis & MS.
Boosts the effects of chemo drug paclitaxel and reduces its side effects.
Studies are ongoing in the positive effects of turmeric on multiple myeloma & pancreatic cancer.
Speeds up wound healing and assists in remodeling of damaged skin.
May help in the treatment of psoriasis and other inflammatory skin conditions.
Are you adding Spice in Your Life?

Author's Bio: 

Dr George Grant, Ph.D., I.M.D.
Canada’s Pioneer in Neutraceutical and Quantum Integrative Medicine, world-class professional speaker, corporate trainer, and author. Dr. Grant conduct regular Lunch & Learn Seminars for his fortune 500 clients worldwide. He also helps Non Profit Organizations and private clients worldwide through our mobile clinics. Prof. Dr. George Grant is considered by his peers as Canada’s Wellness Ambassador & Champion. Founder & CEO of Academy of Wellness in 1983. Dr Grant enjoys a stellar academic background as well as a fascinating career in research. He is an Integrative Medical Doctor, Scientist, Professor, Analytical Chemist, Toxicologist, Pharmacologist, Microbiologist, Nutritionist, Biofeedback, Stress Management & Pain Specialist, and Indoor Air Quality Specialist. Dr. Grant is an Analytical Chemist, Toxicologist, Microbiologist, Nutritionist, Biofeedback, Stress Management, Pain Management, Anti Aging and Indoor Air Quality Specialist.