The benefits of Turmeric / Curcumin
Turmeric – is the primary ingredient found in the curry powders that are used to season the foods of Middle Eastern, Asian, and Indian cuisines. Accumulating evidence also reveals that this brightly colored relative of ginger is a powerful disease preventive as well as an effective cancer-fighting agent.
Curcumin is the most active constituent of turmeric. It is anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-microbial, and anti-carcinogenic and has been shown to reverse the tendency for bad genes to express themselves. It is a promoter of apoptosis (cancer cell death), it can reduce the inflammatory cancer micro-environment, it has the ability to block estrogen mimicking chemicals, it can stop angiogenesis (which is the development of new blood supply for cancerous tumors), and it can increase overall immunity of the body. One of the powerful things that curcumin has the ability to do that chemotherapy and radiation can’t is to specifically target cancer stem cells,… and that is where all cancer begins.
One of the most comprehensive summaries of turmeric studies to date was published by the respected ethnobotanist James A. Duke, PhD., in the October, 2007 issue of Alternative & Complementary Therapies. In reviewing some 700 studies, Duke concluded that turmeric appears to outperform many pharmaceuticals in its effects against several chronic, debilitating diseases, with virtually no adverse side effects.
Some of the diseases that turmeric has been found to prevent or alleviate:
- Alzheimer’s disease: Duke found more than 50 studies on turmeric’s effects in addressing Alzheimer’s disease. The reports indicate that extracts of turmeric contain a number of natural agents that block the formation of beta-amyloid, the substance responsible for the plaques that slowly obstruct cerebral function in Alzheimer’s disease.
- Arthritis: Turmeric contains more than two dozen anti-inflammatory compounds, including six different COX-2-inhibitors (the COX-2 enzyme promotes pain, swelling and inflammation; inhibitors selectively block that enzyme). By itself, writes Duke, curcumin – the component in turmeric most often cited for its healthful effects – is a multifaceted anti-inflammatory agent, and studies of the efficacy of curcumin have demonstrated positive changes in arthritic symptoms.
- Cancer: Duke found more than 200 citations for turmeric and cancer and more than 700 for curcumin and cancer. He noted that in the handbook Phytochemicals: Mechanisms of Action, curcumin and/or turmeric were effective in animal models in prevention and/or treatment of colon cancer, mammary cancer, prostate cancer, murine hepatocarcinogenesis (liver cancer in rats), esophageal cancer, and oral cancer. Duke said that the effectiveness of the herb against these cancers compared favorably with that reported for pharmaceuticals.
Studies regarding curcumin and cancer
- In 2001, scientists discovered that turmeric dampens the inflammation cascade that can occur within the body, thereby stopping the proliferation of cancer in its tracks.
- In 2002, scientists began unraveling how turmeric selectively worked against cancer cells. They found that cancer cells produce “transcription factors” which protect them against cell death. Turmeric’s active ingredients include a host of compounds known as curcuminoids. Collectively, they attack the cancer’s transcription factor, and restore the cells’ natural ability to commit suicide (apoptosis) . Unlike conventional treatments, turmeric strengthens healthy cells, while removing cancerous ones with laser-like precision.
- Early in the 1990s, the University of Texas’s M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, in Houston, reported that the anticancer effects of turmeric were found to be “staggering.” After sprinkling a pinch of the spice on cancer cells in the lab, researchers found that it blocked a crucial pathway required for the development of skin cancer, prostate tumors, as well as other cancers.
- Further studies at the University of Wisconsin reported that turmeric blocks a type of cancer fertilizer known as VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor). Without this growth factor, cancer cells are unable to thrive and eventually commit cell suicide.
- Epidemiology studies reveal that populations who consume the most turmeric also have the lowest rates of prostate cancers. India has twenty-five times less incidence prostate cancers than men in the United States. The average intake of turmeric in the Indian population is 2-2.5 g/day, providing about 60-200 mg of curcumin.
Studies show that a standard dose for curcumin is 400 to 600 milligrams daily. But when dealing with cancer or other chronic illness, this doses can go as high as 4, 6,or 8 grams daily. As reported, “phase I clinical trials, using massive doses of curcumin (up to 8 g/day for four months) in human volunteers, “did not result in discernible toxicities.”
Unfortunately many supplemental formulations of curcumin are unable to cross from the digestive tract into the bloodstream, so when purchasing look for “bioavailable curcumin” which allows for higher absorption rates (up to 96%) into the bloodstream. Link to the source article.
As an Anti-Cancer Supplemental Protocol
Cancer cells are obligate glucose metabolizers. They have 10 to 20 times more insulin receptors than normal healthy cells which allows them to gobble up glucose and use it for growth and spread. The following protocols exploit this dependence on glucose by using honey as a carrier in order to kill the microbes that exist inside of the cancer cells.
Combining Turmeric/curcumin with a delivery system such as honey- regarding this protocol using turmeric for cancer, CancerTutor.com says: “cancer microbes reside inside of all cancer cells. Honey is one product which can transfer microbe-killing nutrients inside of cancer cells. While honey by itself has been known to cure cancer, honey combined with another microbe-killing substances such as curcumin should be even more effective.”
Honey/turmeric Protocol– Honey and turmeric: mix 1 tsp of honey with 1 tbsp of freshly ground turmeric root, 1 tsp of turmeric paste (recipe below), or 2 capsules of bio-available curcumin. Open the capsules and mix the powder with the raw honey.
- Try mixing the ingredients together in a shot glass and then scrape out what you can with a spoon for your dosage. Then add some warm tea or warm water to the shot glass so you can scrape down the glass again and drink the remainder, that way nothing gets wasted.
- Take this mixture at least 3 times per day. This dose can be increased as needed, but do not exceed 6 tsp of honey per day.
In regards to the quality of the honey that you use: The honey will act as a carrier to help get the curcumin into the cells where it is needed. If you are going to do a honey protocol, then please use a quality honey as well. Look for a raw organic honey in your area or you can find Raw Organic Honey in health food stores that is unpasteurized and unprocessed so it has all the natural vitamins, enzymes, phytonutrients, and other nutritional elements still intact. It is rich in minerals such as iron, copper, manganese, silicon, chlorine, calcium, potassium, sodium, phosphorus, and magnesium and is a good source of vitamins A,B’s, C, and bee pollen and bee propolis. It is said that the darker the honey, the more nutrients that it contains. Raw Manuka Honey comes from New Zealand and is taken from the bees that pollinate Manuka trees. It is considered to be the queen of honeys and is reputed to have the highest anti-microbial activity of all honey. It has also been reported that hospitals and clinics in New Zealand and Australia have used this honey to treat MRSA (antibiotic resistant bacteria) that can infect surgical wounds, and has been clinically proven to heal diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome.
There are two ways to make turmeric more bio-available when cooking- one is to add black pepper and the other is mix it with a fat…..So why not do both!
Common uses for turmeric in cooking:
- As an ingredient in Indian recipes.
- Blend turmeric with melted butter and drizzle over lightly steamed vegetables.
- Lightly saute your vegetables in coconut oil and turmeric.
- An addition to any dish that features lentils.
- Is an addition to chutneys, pickles, and relishes.
- Make yellow rice by adding turmeric to the water as it cooks.
Recipe for turmeric paste:
- ½ cup turmeric powder
- 1 cup spring water
- 1.5 tsp ground black pepper
- 5 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil
- Mix 1 cup water with the turmeric powder in a pan and slowly heat it up and stir for 6-10 minutes until you get a thick paste. You can add additional water if it is too thick.
- Stir constantly to prevent scorching.
- Add black pepper and oil and continue stirring until all the ingredients are fully mixed in together.
- Allow the paste to cool.
- Store in a glass jar the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.
- You can use this paste for making golden milk (recipe below), or by adding a tsp into your smoothies or to flavor your favorite recipes.
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 cup pineapple or mango chunks
- 1 banana
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon turmeric or open 2 capsules of curcumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ceylon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ginger
- 1 teaspoon chia seeds
- Process in your blender until smooth.
- Bring 2 C water to a low boil
- Add 1 tsp of ground turmeric and 1 tsp of ground or shaved ginger root.
- Lower the heat and gently simmer the tea for 10 minutes
- Add honey and a splash of almond milk.
- You can also add a pinch of black pepper, cinnamon or nutmeg for more flavor at the same time that you add the turmeric. Combining turmeric with black pepper increases the absorption and bio-availability of the nutrients.
Recipe for Golden Milk
■ 2 tsp Turmeric Paste
■ 2 cups organic milk, almond or coconut milk
■ (optional) 1 tbsp black strap molasses, honey, or maple syrup, only if you prefer a natural sweetener
■ 1 tsp coconut oil, Coconut Manna, or cold pressed sesame oil which is a finishing oil that can be added at the end of cooking.
Heat up the first 3 ingredients in a sauce pan for about 2 minutes while stirring constantly, add the oil after removing the pan from the heat.
How to make turmeric paste and golden milk.
How to make Turmeric Bombs
If you have trouble incorporating all the cancer fighting herbs and spices into your daily diet, this recipe may help.
and any other powdered ingredient that you want to get a daily dose of and mix together with raw, local honey
Mix all powders together and then slowly add raw organic honey and some unrefined coconut oil to make a soft dough. Form into balls or capsules and keep in the fridge in an airtight container.
Contraindications- curcumin may cause mild gastrointestinal distress in some individuals, so taking the supplements with food should help to minimize this. Check with your doctor if you are on chemotherapy, are taking blood thinners, or are pregnant or nursing. Precautions should be observed if you are suffering from blood clotting disorders, obstructive jaundice, acute bilious colic, hepatitis or have gallbladder obstructions.
Combine this therapy with a healing diet