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Wonders of Turmeric
By  Dr Shekhar Annambhotla

Botanically known as Curcuma longa, in Ayurveda, turmeric is called Haridra. It is a perennial plant, which grows 60 to 90 cm. in height and has tufted leaves. It is cultivated in India, China, Indonesia and other tropical countries. From ancient times, Ayurvedic practitioners used turmeric to treat several health problems.

An analysis of turmeric shows that it consists of moisture 13.1 percent, protein 6.3 percent, fat 5.1 percent, sugars (28 percent glucose, 12 percent fructose, 1 percent arabinose) minerals 3.5 percent, fiber 2.6 percent and carbohydrates 69.4 percent, calcium 150 mg percent, phosphorus 282 mg percent, carotene 30 mg percent, thiamin 0.03 mg percent and niacin 2.3 mg percent its calorific value is 349. Turmeric contains 0.3 – 5.4 percent curcumin, 4 – 14 percent of an orange-yellow volatile oil that is composed mainly of turmerone, atlantone, and zingiberone, resins, protein, vitamins, minerals and an essential oil.

Ayurvedic perspective:

Turmeric is bitter, pungent and astringent in taste, light, dry, heating, Kapha pacifying and Pitta & Vata aggravating in excess use. It has a pungent post digestion effect, enters into the blood, spleen, stomach and liver, and works on all tissue elements (dhatus) in the body. Its main effects are on the digestive, circulatory and respiratory systems. It is stimulant, carminative, and antibacterial. Commonly used for indigestion, flatulence, poor circulation, cough, amenorrhea, pharyngitis, toothache, chest pain, blood urine, hemorrhage, skin disorders, diabetes, arthritis, anemia, wounds, bruises, to strengthen the stomach and promote its action, and also as a tonic and blood purifier. Turmeric poultices are often applied locally to relieve inflammation and pain. Turmeric acts on the imbalanced processes of digestion, metabolism and nutrition (Jatarangi Level) and restores the normal function of the gastro intestinal system. It is also considered to have excellent natural antibiotic and antibacterial actions. It not only purifies the blood (Rakta dhatu shuddhi), but also warms it and stimulates formation of new blood tissue (Rakta dhatu vardhaka). The recommended dosage is 400 to 600 mg three times daily, according to the condition of the individual. Turmeric will not give suggested therapeutic values and dosage levels in the body as used in the normal cooking process.

Precautions and contraindications:

Acute jaundice, hepatitis, obstructive jaundice, gallstones, excessive Pitta, pregnancy.

Clinical application:

1) Curcuma lowers cholesterol levels.
2) Turmeric is a powerful anti-inflammatory and antiseptic, useful for bronchial asthma, chronic cough.
3) Curcuma is more strongly antioxidant than Vitamins A & E. 4) Turmeric has an anti-coagulant action, keeping the blood thin.
5) Turmeric enhances the flow of bile and protective action on intestinal flora.
6) Applied topically, turmeric is also useful in treating skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, fungal infections and athlete’s foot.
7) Turmeric prevents platelets from clumping within blood vessels, making it effective in the prevention of atherosclerosis and its complications.
8) Turmeric is useful in cancers, especially bowel and colon cancer.
9) Curcuma is beneficial in Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis.
10) Turmeric is beneficial in the prevention of gallstones.
11) Curcuma can prevent prostate cancer.
12) Turmeric is considered an effective remedy for expelling worms.
13) As a rich source of iron, turmeric is valuable for anemia.
14) Turmeric is beneficial in the treatment of measles.
15) External application of turmeric is beneficial for sprains and swellings.
16) Turmeric is effective for cleansing the chakras (nadi-shodhana), purifying the channels of the subtle body.
17) Turmeric helps stretch the ligaments, and thus is useful for regular hatha yoga practitioners.
18) Turmeric prevents the formation of gas, particularly when it is added to a high protein meal.
19) Turmeric relieves inflammation of the tonsils and congestion in the throat.
20) In vitro and in vivo studies show curcuminoids can help with HIV in a number of ways, including acting as biological response modifiers, resulting in significant increases in CD-4 and CD-8 counts.

References:

a) http://www.natures-best.biz/treatment.html
By E. J. Mundell NEW YORK (Reuters Health)
b) http://www.natures-best.biz/clinical.html
c) http://www.natures-best.biz/Curcumin2.html
Curcuminoids - Clinical Trials, Curcumin, derived from turmeric.
d) http://www.natures-best.biz/vivomeric.html
Vivomeric Antioxidant Formula
e) http://www.natures-best.biz/Vivo2.html
f) http://www.natures-best.biz/curcumin.html

Disclaimer:

All information in this article is presented for educational purposes only. No statements regarding turmeric’s properties have been evaluated by the FDA. The information in this article is not intended to prevent, treat, cure, or diagnose any diseases. As with any herbal food supplement, if you are considering using turmeric as a dietary supplement, consult your family physician first.

About the author:

Dr. Shekhar Annambhotla, B.A.M.S., M.D., in Ayurveda has been an Ayurvedic practitioner, consultant and educator for over 16 years. He began his eight-year course of study in Ayurvedic medicine at the age of 17, first at Nagarjuna University and then at Gujarat Ayurved University in India, where he earned his Doctor of Medicine in Ayurveda. He traveled extensively throughout Europe, Latin America and North America for seven years, practicing and teaching Ayurveda. He could be reached at shekhar@ojas.us or you can visit his website at http://www.ojas.us.

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