Turmeric is not only a spice that adds color and flavor to curries but also holds medicinal benefits.
Learn how this plant extract can help to treat several health problems, especially your prostate.
A quick browse through your grocery cupboard would reveal many spices to you. You already use the spices in your everyday dishes. Some of them can actually be helpful for your health.
Spices may help to treat pain and even soothe your stomach. There are other medicinal uses for some spices too.
Turmeric is just one example of a spice that may seem simple but has quite an impressive number of uses (apart from cooking, of course).
If you have ever enjoyed a bowl of Indian curry, then you have eaten Turmeric before. It’s the spice that adds a yellow color to these dishes, plus it contributes to some added flavor.
This spice is good for many things… and we’ll uncover some of them in this post.
What Is Turmeric?
Turmeric is a spice – we’ve already covered this part. The spice comes from the Turmeric plant, which is sometimes also used as a food colorant. Turmeric is sometimes also called Curcuma aromatica.
The plant has many chemicals, with the most important one being Curcumin. Curcumin is what you should be interested in if you want to learn more about how Turmeric can be useful for purposes outside of the kitchen. This chemical is anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant.
It can bring down inflammation in your body and even help to protect your cells against damage. It has many other health benefits too. Some suggest that it may even protect against Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Turmeric?
For thousands of years, people in India have relied on Turmeric to treat arthritis and many other health problems.
Researchers have only recently started to look closer at the plant. Today, turmeric extract is often added to supplements. This gives you access to the benefits of Turmeric through a capsule.
Scientists explain that Turmeric is often viewed as a beneficial herbal medicine.
Even today, people still use Turmeric. This is because of the many studies that back up the claims about the spice. The study also explains that the plant seems to have the following properties:
Let’s take a closer look at the particular health benefits that Curcumin supplements may offer. These benefits focus on the curcumin compound found in Turmeric.
Turmeric Helps To Bring Down Inflammation
One of the most beneficial and powerful effects of the Turmeric plant would be its anti-inflammatory properties. Several studies have shown that the plant can reduce inflammation in the body.
A publication2 explains that the anti-inflammatory effects of Curcumin have a positive impact on several diseases. Some of these diseases include:
- Inflammatory bowel disease
- Chronic anterior uveitis
- Ulcerative colitis
The same article also describes the potential use of Curcumin and its anti-inflammatory properties in the prevention and therapy of certain cancers. In one study3, scientists analyzed the effects of curcumin extract supplements.
Patients were diagnosed with chronic anterior uveitis. The results were compared to a second group that received antitubercular therapy. The study found Curcumin is as effective as corticosteroid treatment.
The study provided evidence for the powerful anti-inflammatory effects of Curcumin. It is only one of the many studies to do so. Many other studies also show that Curcumin holds powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
One study4 explains that Turmeric seems to play a positive role in epigenetics as well. Epigenetics has a crucial role in the well-being of the body. These elements in the body have a role to play in various systems.
The study found that the use of Curcumin led to an inhibition of NF-kB activation.
This is a type of molecule that is known to affect gene expressions in the human body. To be more specific, the molecule causes certain genes that play a role in creating inflammation to be turned on. Thus, by inhibiting the activation of the molecule, these genes are not turned on.
Turmeric May Help To Prevent Cancer
The anti-inflammatory properties of Curcumin in Turmeric may also help in preventing cancer.
Studies have used Curcumin in cancer patients. There are several beneficial effects noted by such studies. It is even sometimes used to treat prostate cancer. It is considered complementary medicine. It may be used alongside chemotherapeutic agents and medicine. Curcumin or Turmeric may also form an important part of cancer prevention.
The potent effects that have been noted when Curcumin is used in cancer patients mean we should look at studies that focus on this subject here as well.
A research paper5 compiled by the Cytokine Research Laboratory in Houston explains that scientific evidence has already been presented that shows Curcumin may hold the potential to assist in the treatment, as well as the prevention, of the following cancers:
- Breast cancer
- Genitourinary Cancers
- Neck squamous cell carcinoma
- Ovarian cancer
- Head squamous cell carcinoma
- Neurological cancers
- Lung cancer
- Gastrointestinal Cancers
There are various ways in which Curcumin seems to interact with the body in order to produce such positive effects, particularly when it comes to cancers. This includes interference with the following signaling pathways in the human body:
- Cell cycle (Cyclin D1, Cyclin E)
- Proliferation (HER-2, AP-1, EGFR)
- Cellular survival (PI3K pathway, AKT pathway)
- Metastasis (CXCR-4)
- Inflammation (COX-2, 5-LOX, IL-1, IL-6, TNF, NF-kappaB)
- Invasion (adhesion molecules, MMP-9)
Turmeric Could Help You Cope With Arthritis Pain
There are many different types of arthritis, and all of these diseases are known to cause painful symptoms in the patient.
The particular ways that Curcumin interacts with the human body also makes it an ideal candidate for helping to relieve the symptoms experienced by patients who had been diagnosed with arthritis.
Researchers at the Nirmala Medical Centre in India compared the effects of curcumin supplements to a popular pharmaceutical drug used to treat arthritis6. All patients in the study had been diagnosed with Rheumatoid arthritis. There were three groups of patients, divided as follow:
- Group 1: 500mg of Curcumin per day
- Group 2: 50mg of Diclofenac sodium per day
- Group 3: 500mg of Curcumin + 50mg of Diclofenac sodium per day
To the surprise of the researchers, those patients who only took the supplement that contained Curcumin had the most significant reduction in their pain and inflammation symptoms.
This led to the conclusion that Curcumin may be a highly effective option for treating these conditions – and the compound does not cause some of the serious side-effects that have been associated with pharmaceutical interventions like Diclofenac sodium.
Turmeric For Enlarged Prostate
The anti-inflammatory effects of Turmeric may help men with an enlarged prostate too.
Apart from the anti-inflammatory effects, the antioxidant properties of the spice are of interest here too. This is why you may notice a few Turmeric prostate supplements on the market.
There are several studies that have provided evidence on this subject.
One study describes the relation between dihydrotestosterone and an enlarged prostate. The study claims that dihydrotestosterone is one of the main contributing factors. It is found in high levels among patients with benign prostatic hyperplasia.
In this study7, the effects of Turmeric were compared to finasteride. This is a medication often used in the treatment of an enlarged prostate. Study participants included a group of laboratory rats.
Male Wistar rats were used. They were divided into a total of four groups. Animal studies yield a need for further research. Still, the study provided evidence that turmeric root could be helpful. It offers natural anti-inflammatory properties.
Only one group received a daily dose of Curcumin. The purpose was to see the effects of Curcumin on the prostate gland. It was found that Curcumin has an inhibitory effect on the dihydrotestosterone that affects the prostate. Serum and prostate tissue were analyzed among all rats in the fourth week of the study.
The protective effects of Curcumin were similar to that of finasteride. The study concluded that Turmeric and Curcumin might assist in reducing the risk of benign prostatic hyperplasia.
In another study8, researchers looked at how dietary polyphenols would act on the prostate gland. The goal was to see if these polyphenols would have any therapeutic effect on the enlarged prostate. Curcuminoids were one of the polyphenols that the researchers looked at in the study.
Curcuminoids are part of the Curcumin found in Turmeric. It is actually one of the more potent chemicals found in the spice. The curcuminoids are believed to contribute significantly to the antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties of Turmeric.
The researchers analyzed several studies and clinical trials that were previously conducted.
The paper explains Curcumin does seem to hold positive effects for the prostate gland. It was found that Curcumin has a cytoprotective effect in the prostate gland. The anti-inflammatory effects can also help to inhibit inflammation that affects the prostate gland.
The antioxidant activity of Curcumin was also considered an important element in the study.
The paper considered Curcumin along with catechins and resveratrol. The goal was to find alternative treatment options for benign prostatic hyperplasia.
While Curcumin was considered a beneficial therapeutic agent, concern was raised too. There are mentioned of Curcumin affecting certain enzymes that are involved in drug metabolism.
Long-term use of Curcumin could have an adverse effect on the body’s ability to effectively metabolize certain drugs.
In yet another scientific paper9, researchers refer to Curcumin as a golden nutraceutical. The paper focuses on providing a deeper overview of the benefits associated with Curcumin. While the study does not only focus on the prostate, it does mention some benefits that are associated with prostate health in men.
The paper refers to one study that showed a decrease in serum PSA levels among men who took Curcumin. PSA levels are often a test conducted to determine if a man has an enlarged prostate. Additionally, PSA levels are also used to determine the risk of prostate cancer cells.
The anti-inflammatory effects might also be useful for conditions like chronic nonbacterial prostatitis.
How Is Turmeric Used?
We know by now that Turmeric is a spice. Certain cheeses and butter also contain Turmeric. There are also some types of mustard that are made with Turmeric Spice. It also forms part of other plant-based foods families.
The root of the Turmeric plan has been used as a medicinal plant for thousands of years.
Turmeric is also used in certain cosmetic products. You will also find that the compound is sometimes used in yellow food coloring products.
If you are looking to experience the benefits we have looked at, however, you’ll most likely be interested in turmeric supplements.
These supplements will usually contain Curcumin. This is the chemical in the Turmeric plant. It has all of the powerful medicinal properties that we talked about.
Side-Effects Of Turmeric
A great feature noted among many scientific studies that have looked at the use of Turmeric and Curcumin supplements would be the safety profile of the compound.
Several studies have looked at whether the supplement would be safe to use in patients – and the results are usually the same.
One review paper10 examines multiple studies that have been conducted in the past – with some studies provided the patients with as much as eight grams of Curcumin on a daily basis. No signs of toxicity were noted, and there were no serious side-effects reported among the subjects’ part of these studies.
This is quite beneficial, especially since some studies have shown that Curcumin may be even more potent in treating certain conditions compared to pharmaceutical drugs. With this in mind, symptoms can be effectively relieved, without harming the patient – as many drugs are known to cause adverse events to take place in the human body.
Turmeric is a spice that you may already have in the kitchen, but there is a good chance that you didn’t know it could actually do more than just add color and flavor to your food.
The spice contains a chemical called Curcumin. This chemical can help you protect your body against oxidative stress.
It can also help to reduce inflammation and may even be helpful to stop the pain if you have arthritis or a similar condition. It could help with benign prostatic hyperplasia and possibly even assist in preventing prostate cancer. Generally, the supplement seems to be great for prostate health among men.