Turmeric, a spice most often associated with curry and Indian cooking, is known to have many medicinal qualities. Indeed, it could be called the "wonder spice" for its many benefits to the body.
Turmeric, a spice derived from the root of the Curcuma longa plant, has been used in traditional Indian medicine for centuries to cure a range of illnesses. Curcumin is an anti-inflammatory, can help with digestion, reduce heart disease, aid in painful menstruation, treat burns and bruises, and may even help fight cancer.
Researchers have found links between the frequent use of turmeric and lower rates of prostate, lung, colon and breast cancer. Curcumin has been shown in laboratory experiments to prevent tumors from forming, and to slow the spread of breast cancer cells.
Curcumin may be able to prevent the build-up of plaque in the arteries, a key risk factor for heart disease or stroke. Turmeric is also a good source of Vitamin B6, which is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease.
A recent study found that curcumin can aid in weight loss by inhibiting new blood vessel growth and thereby stalling the spread of fat tissue. The mice tested in the study also had lower levels of blood glucose, triglycerides, fatty acids and liver fat. Researchers now plan to run tests to determine whether curcumin could be effective in reducing weight in humans.
In India, turmeric is often used to improve the condition of the skin. It is said to help cure burns, lighten dark skin, treat acne and cleanse skin.