How Does Turmeric Work?

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How Does Turmeric Work?
How Does Turmeric Work? (Image: http://www.wilsonart.com/design/images/statement/Jan07/colmain.jpg)

What is Turmeric

Turmeric is a naturally occurring spice that has also been experimented with as a treatment for a variety of disorders, including cancer. The spice is normally found in curry as a coloring agent. Turmeric has been believed to be able to treat a multitude of health issues from depression to cancer, but has only been validated to be used for blood clotting, treatment of inflammation, and in some areas, cancer.

Treatment of Cancer

One of the most exciting uses for turmeric has been in cancer research. Turmeric has been found to be a source of angiogenesis for those suffering from tumor growth. Angiogenesis inhibition is the process of creating an internal environment in which new blood vessels are unable to grow. Cancer tumors rely on a constant blood flow to their cells to be able to grow and spread. If the cancer cells are unable to grow blood vessels to feed the tumor, the tumor will cease to continue growing. Turmeric is still in the research process for use in this way and until more research can be done, it is still unknown exactly how effective the spice is on cancer cells.

Anti-Inflammatory

Turmeric has also shown a possibility of use as an anti-inflammatory, or a way to reduce swelling in the body's tissues and joints. The greatest possible uses for this are for the relief of arthritis and heart disease. Turmeric is believed to have chemical properties that inhibit inflammatory enzymes from being released into the bloodstream, reducing swelling and the associated discomfort.

Blood Clots

Turmeric may also have compounds that help prevent blooding clotting. Turmeric works in this manner by helping to prevent platelet aggregation. Platelet aggregation occurs when blood platelets stick together in the blood stream causing internal clots. These clots can get stuck in the blood stream, causing blood flow problems, or they can dislodge themselves and travel to the brain or heart. A single traveling blood clot can cause a fatal heart attack or stroke.

Side Effects

When used in normal food preparations, turmeric has no side effects. However, when used at medical dosage levels, turmeric may cause a few undesirable effects. These may include nausea and diarrhea, if used by those already affected by bleeding disorders, gallbladder problems, or those who have ever had an allergic reaction to curry powder. For additional information on precautions and side effects, please visit the link provided in the additional resources section at the end of this article.

Possible Dangers

As turmeric is not approved by the FDA to treat an health disorder, it is important to talk to your health provider before using it for any other reason than to season your food. As with most medically used substances, turmeric can be overdosed on at high dosage levels. Though not fatal, an overdose may cause your blood to be too thin, which could cause serious problems if you were to cut your skin or have any type of internal bleeding.

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