... what's so special about this spice, turmeric (Curcuma longa) which has been used for centuries in India and is now being hailed as a great health supplement. Is it really a "wonder" spice and cancer preventative? Turmeric is becoming widely accepted elsewhere for its claimed healing and preventative medicinal properties against diseases such as arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, inflammation, multiple myeloma (a form of cancer), lupus, skin cancer, IBS, heart disease, and altzheimer's disease.
What are medical benefits of Turmeric
There are currently many clinical trials, especially with regard to the benefits of turmeric / curcumin (updated Nov 2017) preventing certain cancers. Major benefits seem to be its ability to detoxify the liver, benefit pain control as well as previously mentioned anti cancer properties, are at the top of a long list.
How much should I take for overall good health
Here is an excerpt from the University of Maryland trials for daily dosages of Turmeric
Cut root: 1.5 - 3 g per day
Dried, powdered root: 1 - 3 g per day
Standardized powder (curcumin): 400 - 600 mg, 3 times per day
Fluid extract (1:1) 30 - 90 drops a day
Tincture (1:2): 15 - 30 drops, 4 times per day
Turmeric in your Diet
If you prefer not to take daily supplements here are a few simple ways to add this spice (in powder form) into your daily meals:
- Use it in your favourite homemade vegetable juice such as Carrot
- Learn to cook Indian dishes with turmeric such as Yellow Dal (an Indian lentil side dish which can be served on rice)
- Sprinkle two teaspoons on scrambled eggs (six eggs with sautéed vegetables). This is our variation of Egg Bhurji (pronounced "poor-gee")
- Add one of two teaspoons to curries, soups or stir fry – in combination with curry or cumin spice
- Use in home-made pickles and making mustard
- Sprinkle on pan-fried sole or oven roasted vegetables such as potatoes
- Use a small amount in potato or egg salad or devilled eggs
- A new family favourite - try as a tea
We are currently experimenting to make our own tea which is based solely on personal taste and using various combinations of the following ingredients :
- 4 cups of boiling water
- 1 to 3 teaspoons turmeric powder
- 1 Teaspoon of fresh grated ginger
- Honey to taste and perhaps a splash of fresh squeezed lemon juice
Simply bring first three ingredients to the boil for 5 to 10 minutes and strain and then add a teaspoon of honey and / or lemon per cup, to suit your taste.
Remember if you have a medical condition, when changing your diet or including supplements always consult your physician. For example, "because turmeric may act like a blood-thinner, you should stop taking it at least two weeks before surgery and tell your doctor and surgeon that you have taken turmeric."
When it comes to cancer two words jump to mind ~ proactive and preventative. In summary, it would seem at this stage that this spice can only improve your health so why not use it in your daily meal preparation. Turmeric could be part of the solution.
October 4, 2012 updated news links on international research
- Trial in Sydney, Australia for dementia / Alzheimer's
- Trial in England for bowel and colon cancer
- University of Leicester original trial information May 2012
- Research in USA for rebuilding human brain after a stroke
- Cedars-Sinai news release on trial (2011)
Links & References
- Curcumin may help cancer prevention and treat several types of cancers. From University of Maryland studies
- Long list of clinical trials on curcumin by U.S government
- See Precautions and Interactions in U of M overview