While Ayurveda has been reiterating time and again on the importance of including turmeric in our daily diet, and the immense health benefits of this wonder spice, there have been several researches carried out in research institutions across the world to support this fact.Although the anti-cancer properties of turmeric are well-known, the mechanism by which the bright yellow organic compound cures cancer remained a mystery.
Now, the latest news reveal that researchers from Pondicherry University and University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute have proven that curcumin, a bioactive ingredient found in turmeric, can prevent and cure bowel cancer (colorectal cancer). They discovered the mechanism by which curcumin kills hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer cells and documented their findings in the March 2016 edition.Curcumin is said to selectively destroy bowel cancer cells sparing normal cells by increasing the level of protein called GADD45a. However, the compound does not increase the same protein in normal cells, and spares them. The study will be beneficial in the on-going clinical investigations on this ‘potential cancer chemo-preventive agent’.
In India, the incidence of bowel cancer is low in comparison to western countries. Researchers attribute this low incidence of bowel cancer to the common use of turmeric in Indian households. However, with recent changes in food and lifestyle habits among people in India, they are also at an increased risk. Bowel cancer is said to be the third most prevalent cancer in the world.
Turmeric, taken internally or used externally, is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic, and anthelmintic. It is useful for bronchial asthma and chronic cough. A less known fact is that even cataract, which is one of the main causes of eye diseases, is due to oxidation of lens. One way to stop oxidation, which gets accelerated with aging, leading to several other major diseases like atherosclerosis and cancer is to include Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and turmeric into our diet.
Ayurveda specifically recommends turmeric for prevention and treatment of cancers of female reproductive system, particularly breast and uterine cancer, apart from prostate cancer and now, colon cancer, apart from treating benign tumors as well.
Turmeric is also beneficial in prevention of gallstone, is a rich source of iron, helps treat inflammation, stretches ligaments, prevents flatulence, and is the most important herb in ayurvedic treatment for diabetes. Ayurveda believes that turmeric lowers blood sugar levels, increases glucose metabolism, and increases insulin activity three-fold.
Turmeric helps the lungs to expel kapha, treats urinary disorders, lactation problems and ulcers, helps in liver detoxification, boosts immunity, improves complexion, stimulates digestion, and treats the whole gastro-intestinal system.
Turmeric is a single herb to depend on for all possible health and dietary needs. With its broad spectrum of actions and mild, but certain effects, it is beneficial for long-term and daily use. Turmeric is without-doubt, the herb that one should live with.