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Use This, Heal That: Mother Nature Put the Cure in Curcumin


Written by Josh Gitalis.

Ever wondered what gives curries their brilliant yellow color? It’s turmeric!

This spice has been consumed for thousands of years and has been used medicinally to treat all sorts of health issues.  The main therapeutic properties are found in a specific component of turmeric called curcumin. It is the part that gives turmeric that striking yellow color.

I first discovered turmeric when I was reading about common carcinogens (chemicals that cause cancer). The book described the following.  When you cook meet on a barbeque the fat oozes out and lands on the coals or element. The heat then vaporizes the fat and turns it into smoke. We’ve all seen the smoke billow out of a barbeque when the cook opens the top. This smoke is loaded with carcinogenic substances called benzopyrenes.

The book then went on to say that curcumin has the ability to neutralize benzopyrenes and render them non-harmful. This was astounding for me and made me think, “if curcumin can stop cancer, what else can it do.” I opened Pandora’s box and discovered a natural powerhouse.

  • Antioxidant: Curcumin has the ability to quench free radicals. What are these “free radical” things everyone is talking about? They are chemicals that float around your body looking to cause damage to tissues. They can also cause mutation in DNA. Not good if you want to prevent cancer.
  • Stops cancer in its tracks: The cancer-causing effects of cigarette smoke, barbequing, and smoke of any kind are suppressed by curcumin. Bring out the turmeric marinade!
  • Brings down unwanted inflammation: Curcumin’s anti-inflammatory effects are as effective as phenylbutazone and cortisone.  These drugs come with many serious side effects whereas curcumin does not. Although the oral use of curcumin is most common, turmeric can also be used topically to decrease infection and bring down inflammation.
  • Protects the liver: Curcumin has been shown to have a similar effect at protecting the liver as licorice root and milk thistle. It is also incredibly effective at increasing bile release. If you are a reading this and have gallbladder issues, write this one down.
  • Keeps the brain sharp: There have been many studies coming out lately on how curcumin greatly reduces that rate of mental decline. Do you want to remember to read Meghan’s blog everyday? Take curcumin!
  • Kills the bad guys: When curcumin is matched up in a fight against some nasty organisms such as Clostridium, Streptococcus, Entamoeba histolytica,  and several pathogenic fungi, it always comes out a winner.

I recommend that if you are using this spice for therapeutic purposes use curcumin and not turmeric. Curcumin is the concentrated active component and you would thus need 40,000 mg of turmeric to get 400 mg of curcumin. My guess is that you would not want to see anything yellow again after eating 40,000 mg of turmeric.

Remember, it doesn’t work if you don’t take it.

Question Of The Day: How do you best like to consume turmeric?

Check out Meghan's AwesomeTown Turmeric Tea recipe. It's one of the most read posts on this site!

Connect With Our Superhero Therapeutic Nutritionist 


17 Responses to “Use This, Heal That: Mother Nature Put the Cure in Curcumin”

  1. Janet said…
    Great post Josh! I drink turmeric tea, and I try to throw a bit of turmeric into recipes whenever I can. Curries are obvious, but I also add it to smoothies, scrambled eggs (it enhances the bright yellow!), soups, and even my hot spiced raw cacao lattes. I've even made a delicious spread for toast using raw honey, ginger and turmeric. Sounds crazy, but it's delicious!
    • Josh said…
      Thanks for the kind words! That spread sounds great! I like to do things crazy like that too.
  2. Jennifer said…
    I found this site yesterday and already Meghan is my hero! My mother suffers from a number of health ailments -- thanks Josh for your wonderful article! I'm going to get her some curcumin, and make Meghan's Turmeric Tea for her ASAP. :)
    • Josh said…
      Great! If you're in the area, I'm going to be showing all sorts of healing recipes, that include turmeric, in my upcoming Healing Elixirs and Herbal Medicine Workshop. They make turmeric taste delicious!
  3. Marilene said…
    Great post Josh! I just did a project for school about the protective effects of curcumin on heart disease. I always tell people that using turmeric is one of the easiest and quickest things they can do for their health right now. It's so easy to "hide" so its great for kids too!
    • Josh said…
      So true! And it gives food magnificent colours!
  4. How much #turmeric have you had this week? Any in Chunks of Energy? (Thanks @Joshgitalis for the great article
  5. @joshgitalis explains why turmeric is cancer butt kicking!
  6. @joshgitalis explains why #turmeric is much more than a pretty face #health
  7. Had some this morning! RT @meghantelpner: @joshgitalis explains why #turmeric is much more than a pretty face #health
  8. Virginia said…
    Hello, I see that Meghan is saying we should use the curcumin form in order to get the benefits. You are making tea out of this going to have much benefit if it takes 40,000 mgs of turmeric to get 400 mgs of curcumin? Also, can one purchase the curcumin powder and use it to cook with instead of the turmeric?
  9. Sally said…
    It was really interesting to read how everyone is taking it. I take it as a supplement. I am taking Optimized Curcumin which is made from a formula by Douglas Labs using Longvida Curcumin. It gets around the problem of curcumin not being easily absorbed.
  10. Laurie said…
    Hi You stated that " if you are using this spice for therapeutic purposes use curcumin and not turmeric. " Questions: I am so tired of paying for products at the health store 1. is there anyway I can separate the curcumin from the turmeric or Cayenne at home ? 2. How do companies get the curcumin out ??
    • Meghan Telpner said…
      I don't know the detailed extraction process. You can of course continue having loads of turmeric. The recommendation for the curcumin is that as the active ingredient, this is where most of the power will be.

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