Turmeric : Medicinal and Healing Qualities

Turmeric : Medicinal and Healing Qualities


Turmeric, a plant steeped in a rich medicinal legacy spanning almost 4000 years, holds a significant place in Southeast Asia. Beyond its role as a key spice, it features prominently in religious rituals due to its vibrant yellow hue, earning it the moniker “Indian saffron.” Recently, modern medicine has increasingly acknowledged its value, evident in the surge of over 3000 publications about turmeric in the past 25 years.

Turmeric : Medicinal and Healing Qualities

This prized spice hails from the Curcuma longa plant, a perennial herbaceous member of the ginger family native to tropical South Asia. Thriving in temperatures ranging from 20°C to 30°C and requiring substantial annual rainfall, these plants grow up to a meter in height, sporting elongated leaves.

Harvested annually for their rhizomes, which are later replanted, turmeric’s source is a tuberous structure characterized by a rough, segmented exterior. Maturing beneath the plant’s foliage in the ground, these rhizomes boast a yellowish-brown hue with a dull orange interior. The primary rhizome, typically measuring 2.5–7.0 cm in length and 2.5 cm in diameter, features smaller offshoots branching from it.

When dried, the turmeric rhizome transforms into a yellow powder renowned for its slightly bitter, acrid, yet subtly sweet taste. Lets dive into the amazing qualities of turmeric.

Read about – 7 Essential Spices during Winter – https://cherrishlife.net/7-essential-spices-you-need-now-in-winter/

Importance of Turmeric

Beyond its culinary uses, turmeric has a rich history in herbal medicine. It’s been employed for a range of ailments including arthritis, skin conditions, digestive issues, and even certain cancers. With documented anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and digestive properties, turmeric has found its place in traditional remedies across various cultures.

Some traditional practices recommend doses ranging from 8 to 60 grams of fresh turmeric root for arthritis and smaller amounts for digestive complaints. Interestingly, there are no known significant drug interactions reported with turmeric according to the German regulatory authority.

Turmeric’s versatility isn’t just confined to the kitchen—it’s a multifaceted herb cherished for both its culinary and medicinal prowess across diverse cultures.

Traditional Qualities of Turmeric

Throughout history, turmeric has been a staple in folk medicine across various cultures, offering a spectrum of therapeutic benefits. In Ayurvedic practices, it’s revered for its multitude of medicinal properties, believed to enhance overall energy, aid digestion, regulate menstruation, dissolve gallstones, and alleviate arthritis. Across South Asia, it’s used for its antiseptic and antibacterial properties to treat cuts, burns, and bruises.

In different regions, turmeric holds diverse roles: in Pakistan and Afghanistan, it’s applied to wounds to aid recovery; in India, it’s employed for blood purification and skincare. Additionally, turmeric finds its place in ceremonial practices, like pre-marriage rituals, believed to enhance skin radiance and ward off harmful bacteria.

This versatile herb extends its reach beyond traditional medicine, featuring in modern products such as sunscreens and face creams. In various medicinal traditions like Ayurveda, Chinese medicine, and Unani practices, turmeric remains a go-to remedy for respiratory issues, liver disorders, digestive troubles, and even as a natural anti-inflammatory agent.

Known for its bitterness and carminative properties, turmeric aids digestion and reduces bloating. It stimulates bile production, aiding fat digestion, and is consumed in various forms, mixed with milk or water, to address intestinal issues, colds, and sore throats.

In-vitro Studies on Turmeric

In regions across the Orient, turmeric has long been utilized both as a preventive measure and a treatment for various ailments. Recent laboratory studies conducted in vitro have revealed turmeric’s remarkable properties as a potent antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimutagenic, antimicrobial, and anticancer agent (Table 13.3).

Turmeric, a common ingredient in cooking and home remedies, exhibits significant antioxidant capabilities at multiple levels. Research indicates that the consumption of turmeric through dishes like curries can provide substantial antioxidant protection within the body. For instance, turmeric extracts have been observed to effectively neutralize free radicals, enhance antioxidant enzymes, and prevent lipid peroxidation.

In laboratory settings, turmeric demonstrated its ability to inhibit lipid peroxidation in renal cells when exposed to hydrogen peroxide-induced injury over a 3-hour period. Moreover, studies using Salmonella typhimurium strains demonstrated turmeric’s capacity to hinder mutagenicity induced by certain mutagens, including N-methyl N’-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine and sodium azide. Additionally, turmeric extracts were found to suppress microsomal activation-dependent mutagenicity caused by substances like 2-acetamidofluorene.

There’s compelling evidence showcasing turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties. For instance, organic extracts effectively suppressed the production of inflammatory compounds like tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and prostaglandin E2 from certain cells. Notably, specific fractions containing turmeric oils were more potent than curcuminoids in inhibiting the production of prostaglandin E2. Moreover, turmeric extracts have shown promise in impeding the activation of human dendritic cells in response to inflammatory triggers.

Apart from its anti-inflammatory prowess, turmeric boasts robust antimicrobial abilities. Studies reveal its capacity to hinder the growth of bacteria linked to histamine production, as well as its effectiveness against various pathogens like Vibrio parahaemolyticus and Helicobacter pylori. Turmeric extracts have exhibited significant antifungal activity against several strains of fungi and dermatophytes.

In the realm of cancer research, turmeric displays anticancer effects by inhibiting cell growth and inducing apoptosis in cancer cells. Compounds derived from turmeric have been observed to trigger programmed cell death in certain leukemia cells. Additionally, turmeric extracts show potential in suppressing the production and release of hepatitis B surface antigen from specific cells by modulating protein activities associated with cellular mechanisms. These findings underscore turmeric’s multifaceted therapeutic potential against inflammation, infections, and even in the context of cancer research.

In-vivo Studies on Turmeric

Turmeric has shown promise in combating various cancers, including skin, breast, oral, and stomach cancers. It intervenes at multiple stages, inhibiting mutations, detoxifying carcinogens, curbing cell proliferation, and triggering the programmed death of tumor cells.

In animal studies, turmeric extract exhibited significant impact against Dalton’s lymphoma-induced tumors. Mice treated with turmeric extract showed a remarkable reduction of up to 80% in tumor formation compared to untreated mice. Additionally, a substantial percentage of animals survived after treatment, highlighting the potential of turmeric in enhancing survival rates.

In another model of carcinogenesis using hamster buccal pouches induced by 7,12-dimethylbenz(a)anthracene (DMBA), dietary turmeric intake decreased tumor burden and frequency while prolonging the onset of tumors.

The application of turmeric topically reduced the frequency and onset of skin tumors. In animal studies, dietary intake of turmeric extract inhibited the onset of mammary and oral tumors induced by specific substances. Turmeric also demonstrated a preventive effect against bone marrow micronuclei formation and forestomach tumors induced by certain carcinogens.

Moreover, when combined with other dietary agents like tomato and garlic extract, turmeric showcased a reduction in the formation of DNA adducts, potentially mediated by its antioxidant properties. Studies indicate that turmeric consumption, whether in the diet or locally applied, significantly decreased DNA adducts at the site of action, leading to fewer tumors and reduced tumor burden in animals.

Turmeric’s influence on inhibiting chemical carcinogenesis extends to enhancing detoxifying enzymes in the liver tissue of animals fed with turmeric. Enzymes involved in detoxification, such as uridine diphosphate (UDP), glucuronyl transferase, and glutathione-S-transferase, exhibited significant elevation in animals consuming turmeric compared to control groups. These findings highlight turmeric’s potential in preventing tumor development and its role in supporting the body’s detoxification mechanisms.

Research on Turmeric Oil

Turmeric owes its medicinal properties to its bioactive elements, and one crucial component is its volatile oil. This oil demonstrates various benefits across in vitro, animal, and human studies. For instance, turmeric oil effectively inhibits Trichophyton-induced skin infections in guinea pigs. Interestingly, while curcumin—a compound in turmeric—didn’t show inhibitory effects, turmeric oil displayed significant inhibitory action against different isolates of dermatophytes.

Additionally, research on the antiviral properties of zedoary turmeric oil spray showcased its ability to moderately inhibit certain respiratory viruses like influenza, parainfluenza, respiratory syncytial virus, and adenoviruses, with notable effectiveness against parainfluenza virus II.

Moreover, curcuma oil demonstrates promise in reducing neurological deficits induced by ischemia in rats. It curbs the production of nitric oxide, associated with ischemic injuries, leading to improved neuron survival rates. Its neuroprotective qualities stem from its antioxidant effects, notably attenuating neuronal death through a caspase-dependent pathway. This suggests that curcuma oil holds potential not only in treating cerebral stroke but also in managing conditions linked to oxidative stress.

Furthermore, ingestion of turmeric oleoresin and essential oil has shown promise in inhibiting the increase of blood glucose levels and abdominal fat mass in obese, diabetic rats. These findings suggest a wide spectrum of potential therapeutic applications for turmeric oil in addressing various health conditions.

Turmeric volatile oil shows promise in addressing respiratory issues by aiding in sputum removal, easing cough, and potentially preventing asthma. Additionally, this oil serves as a repellent against mosquitoes, effectively deterring both day and night biters.


The positive impacts of turmeric often stem from its regular consumption, even in small amounts, over extended periods. To better leverage turmeric for treating human diseases, a detailed understanding of its effective dosage, safety profile, and mode of action is essential. Further clinical investigations are necessary to harness turmeric’s potential for enhancing human health and well-being.

Turmeric exhibits a wide array of activities, ranging from antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties to its potential in fighting tumors, serving as an antioxidant, and offering benefits for the heart, liver, kidneys, and digestive system. A thorough analysis of turmeric’s compounds, such as curcumin, volatile oil, and curcuminoids, has uncovered their potent pharmacological effects, underlining the diverse therapeutic potential of this natural remedy.

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