Turmeric is a 5,000 year-old spice from India that is primarily known for its use in curry dishes. Other benefits of turmeric (also known as tumeric or curcumin) have been known for centuries and have always been an important part of traditional folklore and Ayurvedic medicine of India. Turmeric, a cousin of ginger, has come under the scientific spotlight these days for many reputed health benefits, including exciting and promising research on the relationship between turmeric and its possible help in prevention of various cancers. It appears to be one of the most promising anti-Alzheimer’s foods yet found. And, as with cancer, it looks as though turmeric and the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil are close competitors when it comes to brain health.

Turmeric has been used historically as a condiment, healing remedy and textile dye. It is also used as a flavoring and coloring for many food stuffs; as a food adjunct in many vegetables, meat and fish preparations; and, in curry powder. The brilliant golden-yellow color derives from the curcumin chemical, the part that provides turmeric with curcuminoids, which contain health properties such as antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory qualities. It is one of the strongest antiseptics known to man. Be sure to check the Find a Natural Cure section of the Natural Cures website for the various ways turmeric is recommended for headaches, swelling, sports injuries, carpal tunnel syndrome, cuts, and more.

New research of this tropical root now delivers a smorgasbord of powerful health benefits which show that turmeric and its main bioactive compound, curcumin, has the power to block inflammation, stop cancer, kill infectious microbes, and improve heart health. This hard-working spice shows promise as a potential treatment for multiple sclerosis; a means to ameliorate the damaging effect of long-term diabetes; as a topical treatment to speed diabetic wound healing; and, as a way to decrease the incidence of Alzheimer’s. It inhibits the progression of chemically-induced colon and skin cancers; apparently has the ability to improve cardiovascular health, due to its powerful antioxidant activity; and, raises HDL (good) cholesterol levels, even as it reduces LDL levels.

This colorful, humble root is also known for its beauty aids and uses in preparing natural and herbal creams, lotions and hair dye. A pinch of turmeric powder mixed with one teaspoon of coriander juice is an effective remedy for pimples, blackheads, and dry skin. Mixed with honey in equal proportions, and taken twice a week, works wonders for reducing body weight, by cleansing the toxins and water retention, making the body look slimmer and toned. A paste of turmeric and fresh cream makes for an excellent rejuvenating cream, especially for dry, discolored or ageing skin. The turmeric gives a glow to the skin, while cream keeps it soft. From kitchen, to research labs, to cosmetic counters, turmeric is no longer one of the best kept secrets of ancient Indian knowledge. If we say you should try some “curry on the brain,” it doesn’t mean we’re advocating the bizarre culinary behavior of movie villain, Hannibal “the cannibal” Lecter.