Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Alternative Cancer Cures - Turmeric As an Anti-Cancer Agent - Part 1

Having been used for over 4,000 years to help treat an array of different illnesses, turmeric (curcuma longa) seems to have found its way into the spotlight again. "So what is it all about?" - "Let us take a closer look at this popular India curry spice."
What is Turmeric?
It is a perennial plant (a plant that lives for more than two years) of between 5 - 6 feet high (at maturity) bearing lightly scented dull yellow trumpet-shaped flowers, found growing in the tropical regions of South Asia, and is a close relative to the ginger family.
Its bulb like roots produce rhizomes (the ability to re-produce roots and shoots from its nodes [nodes hold buds]), and although found predominately in tropical regions, the majority of turmeric is grown in India, due to it being a main ingredient for curry.
How is Turmeric Used?
It is used in both Ayurvedic medicine (a form of traditional/alternative medicine native to the Indian subcontinent) and Chinese medicine, and has been used for many years to treat: digestive problems, liver problems, skin diseases, and certain types of wounds, due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Turmeric's active ingredient is curcumin, which contains both anti-cancer and anti-oxidant properties. The anti-oxidant properties help to neutralize the free radicals (particles that damage cells) that are found in the body, by helping to prevent some of the damage they cause.
Also, curcumin helps to lower the level of two of the body's enzymes (large biological molecules responsible for the thousands of metabolic processes that sustain life) that cause inflammation, together with helping to stop platelets (cells that do not have a nucleus) from grouping together to form blood clots.
Although turmeric contains many anti-cancer properties, it is still unclear as to their full ability to fight cancer. And although both test tube and animals studies have been taken, results are still far from being conclusive.
However, recent studies do point to the fact that curcumin may help prevent, or treat certain cancer types, such as: breast cancer, colon cancer, prostate cancer, and skin cancer, due in main to turmeric being a strong anti-oxidant.
Is Turmeric Used for Other Conditions?
(a) Bacterial and Viral Infections - Early studies taken on animals indicate turmeric may kill both bacteria and viruses.
(b) Heart Disease - Early studies indicate that turmeric may help prevent the build-up of plaque that tends to block the arteries (atherosclerosis), and lower blood cholesterol levels by stopping the platelets from grouping together and clotting. Although one study did show that doses of 4 grams per day offered little or no benefit.
(c) Dyspepsia - A functional gastrointestinal disorder, benefited from turmeric by helping to stimulate the gallbladder to produce bile.
(d) Osteoarthritis - Also known as degenerative arthritis, or degenerative joint disease (abnormalities involving degradation of joints, articular cartilage, and subchondral bone) has shown a positive reaction to turmeric by reducing inflammation.
(e) Stomach Ulcers - Mixed studies have shown both positive, and detrimental effects to curing ulcers where turmeric has been used, with the latter offering evidence of an increased production of stomach acid causing the condition to become worse.
(f) Ulcerative Colitis - Studies have indicated that when curcumin has been administered alongside conventional treatments, a lower rate of relapse was recorded (tests were taken on ulcerative colitis sufferers who were in remission).
(g) Uveitis - The condition that causes the eye's iris to become inflamed, was recently studied and showed that curcumin acted with the same amount of success as the conventional medicine Corticosteroids (usually recommended as a treatment).
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