Turmeric Tea, a Liver Detoxifier

Liver Tonic, Turmeric
Turmeric Tea, as Served on Okinawa

A Possible Weight-Loss Aid and Other Benefits of  Turmeric

In elegant survival, elegant survival health, Elegant Survival Kitchen Essentials, Elegant Survival Living on a Shoestring, Elegant Survival Recommendations, Elegant Survival tactics, Elegant Survival: Stylish Living on a Shoestring, Health, Health Concerns, Health Food on 24/04/2009 at 10:26 am

Researchers have determined that laboratory mice given a diet supplemented with curcumin experience a reduction in the formation of fat-tissue, and a lowered number of blood-vessels that feed fat. Curcumin is the active ingredient and major polyphenol in the bright yellow spice from India known as turmeric.

The growth and expansion of fat-tissues requires new blood vessels, a process known as angiogenesis. In fat-tissue, this process is mediated by the secretion of adipokines, such as leptin, adiponectin, resistin, interleukin-6 and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). The researchers first investigated the effect of curcumin in cultured human cells to which adipokines had been added to stimulate angiogenesis. They found that the ability of curcumin to inhibit angiogenesis was partly due to the reduced expression of VEGF. Subsequently, the mice were fed a high-fat diet supplemented with 500 milligrams curcumin per kilogram of food, for three months. Weight-gain was reduced in the mice who were given curcumin. The curcumin-supplemented mice had lower weight and reduced total-body fat. They also had lower liver-weights, and experienced a reduction in VEGF (vascular endothelial growth factor), indicating reduced risk for angiogenesis.

Also called “curcumin”, turmeric is a mustard-yellow spice from India. Indians use it more for its healing properties than for taste. Turmeric has an innocuous flavor, and adds colour to foods.

In India, turmeric has been revered for its healing properties, and thus is used as a daily dietary supplement.  In the Ayurvedic system of health, turmeric has medicinal properties and is an anti-inflammatory agent to treat a wide variety of conditions, including flatulence, jaundice, menstrual difficulties, bloody urine, hemorrhage, toothache, bruises, chest pain, and colic. Because of its effects on enzymes related to inflammation, turmeric may have the same mode of action as anti-inflammatory drugs, without the side-effects. Curcumin is used for cuts and burns and is known as an antiseptic/antibacterial. It is also used to remedy stomach-ulcers.

The U.S. National Institues of Health has four clinical trials in progress, involving curcumin as a treatment for pancreatic cancer, multiple myeloma, Alzheimer’s, and colorectal cancer. According to a 2005 article in the Wall Street Journal titled, “Common Indian Spice Stirs Hope,” research activity into curcumin, turmeric’s active ingredient, is burgeoning. Two-hundred and fifty-six curcumin-study papers were published in 2005, according to a search of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

 M-J de M., 2009

 

Lee Swanson’s Health Reports: Curcumin and Resveratrol

Lee Swanson’s Health Reports
Research Suggests Basis for Red Wine Heart Benefits
Red wine polyphenols may protect omega-3 fatty acids from breaking down in the body, offering a possible mechanism for the heart benefits of red wine. Click to Continue...
Anti-Inflammatory Curry Extract May Help Reduce Tendinitis
Anti-Inflammatory curcumin extract may be able to suppress biological mechanisms that spark inflammation in tendon diseases, according to new research. Click to Continue...
Resveratrol Shows Promise as Anti-Aging Compound 
Resveratrol may be a possible anti-aging and disease-preventive compound, possessing an ability to help slow some of the conditions associated with aging. Click to Continue...

Turmeric as a Healing Spice, from the Okinawa Program

This 2001 book, The Okinawa Program by Bradley J. Willcox, M.D., D. Craig Willcox, Ph. D., and Makoto Suzuki, M.D., is based upon the 25-year-long Okinawa Centenarian Study. It is one of my favorite diet and health books.

Turmeric has recently garnered respect and much publicity as a medicinal plant from the ginger family. The qualities of turmeric are not news to the famously long-living people of Okinawa, as related on page 149:

Excerpt:

Ucchin, or Turmeric M-J’s pronunciation note: TER-mer-ick

(Curcuma longa, Jiang Huang, Curcuma, Indian saffron, Ukon, Valerian)

Ucchin, commonly known in North America as turmeric,  is one of the Okinawans’ favorite herbs (as it is in India), and claims a multitude of health benefits. It’s known as ukon to the Japanese….

Folkloric Claims

Turmeric is from the ginger family. The stalk of the plant is the part most commonly used in both herbal and traditional medicine, and is the part that provides the distinctive yellow-orange powder that adds flavor and color to curry. It was probably brought to Okinawa centuries ago from India, which had active trade relations with the Ryukyu Kingdom (as Okinawa was formerly known). In Ayurvedic medicine…turmeric is thought to strengthen the immune system, relieve inflammatory conditions such as arthritis, improve digestion, relieve gas, killl parasites and worms, alleviate menstrual problems, dissolve gallstones, and relieve other ailments. The Okinawans are in full accord with these claims, and highly prize their turmeric.

Excerpt, page 150

Turmeric possesses significant antioxidant properties, comparable to that of vitamins E or C, which is probably why it proves powerful against cancer. The American Institute for Cancer Research has reported some degree of inhibition for cancers of the GI tract, including oral, esophageal, stomach, and colon cancers. And, there is further evidence for its effectiveness against breast and skin cancers.

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