Tyra Burgess, Dipl. ABT (NCCAOM)


Turmeric is a prevalent and powerful herb, with a long history of medicinal and culinary uses dating back at least 4000 years.  Rhizoma curcumae longae, is a member of the Zingiberaceae/Ginger family, that is packed with curcumin which gives the root its deep golden yellow color and lead to the name “Indian saffron”.  In Auyruvedic medicine turmeric is called haldi,  and in Traditional Chinese Medicine, Jiang Huang.  There are over 130 species of turmeric and India produces nearly 80% of all turmeric, and many of us know it as a one of the spices, along with coriander and cumin, that make up the loved seasoning curry, but this herb has wonderful medicinal properties that make it well worth having in your cupboard.

Turmeric’s healing properties

Turmeric has a peppery, acrid, warm, and bitter flavor.  Turmeric is helpful to almost every system in the body, and has been researched and used by every modality on the planet. In Eastern medicine, the herb is indicated in the stagnation of blood and Qi. TCM uses it for conditions such as amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, tumors, and traumatic injury where there is pain and swelling from stagnation.  Ayurvedically, turmeric is used to treat a wide variety of conditions ranging from arthritis to ulcers, gas, hepatitis, diabetes, menstrual issues and to prevent and treat intestinal parasites.


With the help of Western Science, it has been determined that there are over 100 isolated components in this miracle plant that are helpful in medicine and powerful in Pharmacology. In Western Herbology, this plant is used as an anti-Inflammatory, antiarthritic, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-septic, antioxidant, topical antibacterial and antifungal, antifertility, hypotensive, anti-atherosclerotic, it has tumor preventing activity, choleretic, stimulates digestive enzymes, a carminative, a hepatoprotective, a nephroprotective, radioprotective, and a cardioprotective.  In current practice it is used for swelling/edema, Heart disease, Liver disease, Rheumatoid Arthritis, wounds, and as an Anti-Cancer treatment.

The volatile oils in turmeric have demonstrated significant anti-inflammatory activity in a variety of experimental models. In studies, cucumin’s anti-inflammatory effects have been shown to be comparable to the potent drugs like, hydrocortisone and phenylbutazone, as well as over the counter drugs like Motrin.  Many of the modern drugs used to treat inflammation have a damaging effect on our bodies filter, the liver. Turmeric, however, has no known or documented side effects. Curcumin produces no toxicity. In the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, curcumin greatly reduced the thickening of the intestinal wall, and the infiltration of inflammatory cells. While science is not totally sure how curcumin works on inflammation they believe it is  a result of its antioxidant activity, but also the inhibition of a major cellular inflammatory agent called NF kappa B.


As an antioxidant, curcumin nuetralizes free radicals, which are chemicals that can roam through our bodies causing great amounts of damage to our healthy cells. Free radicals are responsible for the pain associated with Rhuematoid Arthritis and other chronic pain conditions. Turmeric’s combination of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties have been associated with shortened duration of morning stiffness, lengthened walking time and greatly reduced joint inflammation.

 Turmeric protects the Liver

It is clear by the long list of indications above that turmeric has many health benefits, but one of its most noteable benefits are the roots ability to heal and protect the Liver. The Liver is a critical organ that is required to store excess nutrients, manufacture blood proteins, remove toxic substances, store blood glucose and produce cholesterol. Turmeric has been found in many studies to reduce ATL and GGT, two enzymes that are elevated with liver damage.  80 studies, over the last 2 decades, have also confirmed that the curcumin found in turmeric, act as a Liver protector from a wide range of chemical and drug exposures. The Journal Medical Association of Thailand revealed the potential of Turmeric to regenerate the Liver.  The Greenmedinfo.com has 26 preclinical studies showing that Turmeric kills liver cancer cells and tumors. Cirrhosis is a serious condition of the liver where healthy tissues get replaced by scarred tissue therefore preventing normal function of the Liver. How can Turmeric help here? The answer again lies in the curcumin, a polyphenol that could assuage liver damage, because it slows down the way toxins and alcohol gets converted to harmful substances to the liver.


Curcumin is also believed to be able to protect the bile duct, this improves the bile flow, therefore acting as a liver cleanser, and rejuvenating liver cells. The research suggests that turmeric is also able to inhibit liver cirrhosis due to its anti-inflammatory, anti-tumorigenic and anti-oxidative effects, with no documented side effects when used as treatment. It is also a blood detoxifying herb with a chemical action similiar to that of NDGA (nordihydroquaiaretic acid), found in the North American herb, chapparal. Dimethylbenzyl alcohol, another component of Turmeric, benefits the cardiovascular system by normalizing cholesterol, first by reducing it in our blood and then by removing its accumulation in the liver. It removes arterial plaque, and effectively treats anemia. Turmeric is perhaps the best herb to use in the treatment of all liver and gallbladder dis-ease because of its abilities to lower hepatic enzymes, and increase bile production by 100%.


Turmeric protects against cancer

As I have said, and will keep saying, Turmeric is a powerful antioxidant. Being regarded as more potent than either Vitamin C or E, turmeric is useful in the treatment of all stages of cancers. One estimate based on statistical research is that as little as .5tsp. of turmeric a day can prevent the DNA damage associated with ALL cancers. In the fight to learn how to heal cancer, turmeric plays a very important role. All of this herbs indications help in the fight and the healing associated with cancer. It reduces inflammation, aids in eating and digestive function, it protects the colon and aids in elimination. It moves stagnant blood and qi (tumors), it is a natural antibiotic. It protects the Liver, the Kidneys and the Heart, and it shields the body from the damage of chemotherapy and radiation. However, turmerics most profound, most studied, most helpful feature in its aid in survival is how it effects cancer cells. Turmeric and its 100 components, prevent chemical carcinogens at various steps. It inhibits the cells in our body from mutating. This single feature stops the first cell from becoming Cancer! Turmeric detoxifies cells individually and decreases a mutated cells ability to proliferate. The final aspect is that Turmeric has been known to cause apoptosis of cancer cells, or in lamens terms, it kills the cancer cells, and prevents their ability to reproduce. Turmeric causes a decrease in tumorigenisis and is associated with the inhibition of DNA adduct formation. In the treatment of leukemia Ar-tumerone induced apoptosis.   As a treatment in the disease of cancer, turmeric is a major player in preventing, treating and healing cancer, and perhaps its most redeeming quality is that it is a true cancer killer, with absolutely no side effects, and no toxicity to the body, in fact it aids in healing and regenerating our liver, kidneys and heart, the organs while killing its attacker at the same time.  Read more on the effects in the treatment of cancer, can be read at undergroundhealthreporter.


Turmeric is a vasorelaxant, it decreases the  atherongic properties of cholesterol and decreases blood pressure. It is a promising agent in the treatment of cerebral strokes and disorders of oxidative stress. Turmeric inhibits platelet aggregation and prevents catatacts. One family tradition in India is to take .25tsp.-.50tsp of turmeric root powder daily with triphala. Triphala is used to help maintain intestinal regularity, while turmeric is an antibiotic and antiviral for the prevention of infectious diseases. Turmeric, coriander and cumin seeds make a potent digestive combination. This combination, 1 tsp mixed with local honey is also one of the most effective treatments for all respiratory diseases, from bronchitis to asthma. A common way to take turmeric is called Golden milk.


Currently in the United States, for the FDA to see a drug as viable, it must have two, known side effects. For every one action of good, it must exhibit two side effects on the body. Turmeric has been used for thousands of years in the treatment and cure of hundreds of diseases. In our current culture, Turmeric treats our most tenatious killers: Cancer, Liver disease, Heart disease, Kidney disease, Diseases of Chronic Inflammation like IBS and Rhuematoid. Current science and Pharmacology have taken apart and studied all aspects of this miracle plant, and have found it to have over 100 medicinally helpful properties. The quality that Turmeric has, that no other drug does, is that it is completely harmless to the human body. With more research, I look forward to turmerics application in the joining of  pharmacology and traditional herbal treatment for the more healthy human, and in the mean time a small daily dose of turmeric only does our bodies good!


Check out these great recipes:

Golden Milk

Turmeric Smoothie