The Health Benefits of Turmeric

April 1, 2008


Turmeric powder is made from the Curcuma longa shrub by fist drying and then crushing the stalk of the plant.

Turmeric was used in ancient times on the Indian subcontinent to treat various illnesses such as rheumatism, body ache, skin diseases, intestinal worms, diarrhoea, intermittent fevers, hepatic disorders, biliousness, urinary discharges, dyspepsia, inflammations, constipation, leukoderma, amenorrhea, and colic.

The health benefits of turmeric include possible cancer prevention, promising Alzheimer’s treatment, and powerful anti inflammatory properties.


Health Benefits of Turmeric

  • Cancer Prevention
    A growing body of research suggests that curcumin, the major active constituent of the dietary spice turmeric, has potential for the prevention and therapy of cancer.

    Animal and in vitro studies have demonstrated that curcumin has the potential to fight tumors occurring from prostate cancer, breast cancer, skin cancer, colon cancer, stomach cancer and liver cancer.
    In a search for alternative and preventive therapies for prostate cancer, a laboratory study was conducted on the ways in which curcumin could interfere with the growth factor signaling pathways in prostate cancer cells. The results indicated that curcumin might be a novel modality by which one can interfere with the growth pathways of the prostate cancer cell and prevent it from progressing.

    In a human study involving chronic smokers ingesting turmeric over a period of thirty days, results showed a significant drop in the cancer causing compounds of tobacco smoke.

    All these studies suggest that curcumin has enormous potential in the prevention of cancer.

  • Alzheimer’s
    Preliminary studies suggest that turmeric has a potential role in the treatment of Alzheimer’s, and further studies are underway in this regard.

    Alzheimer’s involves amyloid beta (Abeta) accumulation, oxidative damage, and inflammation, and risk is arguably reduced with increased antioxidant and anti-inflammatory consumption. Turmeric’s phenolic pigment curcumin has potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities and can suppress oxidative damage, inflammation, cognitive deficits, and amyloid accumulation. When fed to aged mice with advanced amyloid accumulation, curcumin labeled plaques and reduced amyloid levels and plaque burden. This data suggests that low dose curcumin effectively disaggregates Abeta as well as prevents fibril and oligomer formation, supporting the rationale for curcumin use in clinical trials preventing or treating Alzheimer’s.

    Using blood samples from Alzheimer’s patients, researchers have found that bisdemethoxycurcumin, the active ingredient of curcuminoids found in turmeric root boosted immune cells called macrophages to clear amyloid beta.

    In-vitro studies have found curcuminoids (a mixture of curcumin, bisdemethoxycurcumin and demethoxycurcumin) found in turmeric, to possess acetylcholinesterase (Alzheimer’s has been linked to a deficiency in the brain neurotransmitter acetylcholine) inhibitory and memory enhancing activities, demonstrating that curcuminoids mixture might be better than curcumin as a treatment for Alzheimer’s.

  • Anti-inflammotory
    Studies have shown that curcumin also possesses powerful anti-inflammatory properties, by inhibiting levels of cyclooxygenase-2, an enzyme instrumental in the creation of molecules that causes inflammation.
  • Arthritis
    In vivo studies have demonstrated the possibility of turmeric in the treatment of arthritis, but further studies are required to establish effectiveness.
Nutrient Values of Turmeric per 100g


Energy Value

Total Fat



Dietary Fiber
Vitamin C
Vitamin E
Vit. B3 (Niacin)
Vitamin B6
Vit. B1 (Thiamine)
Vit. B2 (Riboflavin)
The consumption of supplemental doses of turmeric can significantly increase urinary oxalate levels, thereby increasing risk of kidney stone formation in susceptible individuals.

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2. Benders’ Dictionary of Nutrition and Food Technology.
3. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference
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11. Ahmed T, Gilani AH. Inhibitory effect of curcuminoids on acetylcholinesterase activity and attenuation of scopolamine-induced amnesia may explain medicinal use of turmeric in Alzheimer’s disease. Pharmacol Biochem Behav. 2008 Oct 1. PMID: 18930076.
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13. Milan Fiala, et al. Scientists Isolate Chemical In Curry That May Help Immune System Clear Plaques. University of California. 2007.

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