You have likely heard of turmeric benefits and its cancer-preventing and disease-inhibiting property curcumin, at least if you have eyes to read or ears to hear. It is now the most-studied spice on the planet. It has a long history of use in traditional medicine and increasingly is being recognized in western circles.
We are here to tell you that as you get into turmeric benefits and curcumin, it’s an addiction that cannot be stopped. If you don’t want to find yourself experimenting with very-orange cauliflower, a bright orange face mask, orange paste in your refrigerator, or orange teeth, then you probably need to hit the “back button” right now and RUN!!!
Run, mija, run!
To tempt your taste buds just a bit, I’ll throw out some highlights with references to peer review journal articles. Find the journal articles at the end of the post and explore at your will tomorrow as you allow your orange face mask to dry….
Turmeric has a long history of use in traditional medicine, particularly in the Indian culture. This root may bring relief to many common problems.
Turmeric is contraindicated in people with bile duct obstruction, gallstones, hyperacidity, and stomach ulcers. If this applies to you, learn more about turmeric before using it beyond as an ingredient in your weekly curry. Younger women should know that there is some link between turmeric and infertility and would probably want to avoid supplementation usage.
Traditional chai tea recipes were really onto something because they combined turmeric with black pepper and it turns out that the piperine in black pepper enhances the bioavailability of the curcumin (Shoba et al. 1998).
How much black pepper is that? I can’t say it’s really clear. Studies are using isolated curcumin and piperine and it may be some time before we are given a recommendation close to “definitive,” but keep in mind that these studies focus on enhancing the use of curcumin as a supplement. They have found curcumin fairly ineffective as a supplement in isolation — it needs the piperine to make it into our bloodstream where it can do its job. In the context of eating turmeric (which is about 4% curcumin), we often already eat pepper along with it. It turns out that the ratios of the two used in these studies are in line with the way most of us probably eat anyway. It really does not take a lot of pepper — one study used something like an ounce of peppercorns to a pound of turmeric, just a sprinkle of pepper on your curry.
What does this mean for our eating? Most dishes use pepper anyway. Double check yours. Add an extra sprinkle or two. More pepper isn’t going to hurt unless it makes the dish inedible to your palate (then you’ve defeated the purpose). Definitely look at your drink recipes. I don’t see it as obvious at all to add pepper to a turmeric milk or tea drink. I try to remind myself to do so and I still forget to add it at times. Perhaps more consumption of turmeric will sharpen my brain just a bit more in that department.
It’s worth the effort to find fresh turmeric if it’s possible. If you have an Indian grocery store near you, that may be your best bet. A more general Asian grocery store may carry it (though those near us do not). Increasingly you can find it at stores like Whole Foods and other independent health food stores. You can even buy it online, for example from our affiliate partner here. Buying it local in person will be better because you make sure it is fresh. In fact, I would not buy turmeric online during warm months. It would not travel well by mail. You will also want a stash of powdered turmeric for additional flexibility and ease of use. You can find it at any of the stores above.
For some of the ideas above, here are starting points on some of the processes you may use:
Deserving a category of its own, you will basically seep turmeric in honey and then use the honey as a shot or to make a tea. Check out this power-packed idea here from Attainable-Sustainable.com.
Ahuja, K. D., Kunde, D. A., Ball, M. J., & Geraghty, D. P. (2006). Effects of capsaicin, dihydrocapsaicin, and curcumin on copper-induced oxidation of human serum lipids. Journal of agricultural and food chemistry, 54(17), 6436-6439.
Asai, A. and Miyazawa, T. (2001) Dietary curcuminoids prevent high-fat diet-induced lipid accumulation in rat liver and epididymal adipose tissue. J Nutr 131(11), 2932-2935.
Bush, J.A., Cheung, K.J.Jr. and Li, G. (2001) Curcumin induces apoptosis in human melanoma cells through a Fas receptor/caspase-8 pathway independent of p53. Exp Cell Res 271(2), 305-314
Chandran, B., & Goel, A. (2012). A randomized, pilot study to assess the efficacy and safety of curcumin in patients with active rheumatoid arthritis. Phytotherapy Research, 26(11), 1719-1725.
Choudhuri, T., Pal, S., Agwarwal, M.L., Das, T. and Sa, G. (2002) Curcumin induces apoptosis in human breast cancer cells through p53-dependent Bax induction. FEBS Lett 512(1-3), 334-340.
Deodhar, S.D., Sethi, R. and Srimal, R.C. (1980) Preliminary study on antirheumatic activity of curcumin (diferuloyl methane). Indian J Med Res 71, 632-634.
Dikshit, M., Rastogi, L., Shukla, R. and Srimal, R.C. (1995) Prevention of ischaemia-induced biochemical changes by curcumin & quinidine in the cat heart. Indian J Med Res 101, 31-35.
Hanif, R., Qiao, L., Shiff, S.J. and Rigas, B. (1997) Curcumin, a natural plant phenolic food additive, inhibits cell proliferation and induces cell cycle changes in colon adenocarcinoma cell lines by a prostaglan-din-independent pathway. J Lab Clin Med 130(6), 576-584.
Hussain, M.S. and Chandrasekhara, N. (1994) Biliary proteins from hepatic bile of rats fed curcumin or capsaicin inhibit cholesterol crystal nucleation in supersaturated model bile. Indian J Biochem Biophys 31(5), 407-412.
Jee, S.H., Shen, S.C., Tseng, C.R., Chiu, H.C. and Kuo, M.L. (1998) Curcumin induces a p53-dependent apoptosis in human basal cell carcinoma cells. J Invest Dermatol 111(4), 656-661.
Liacini, A., Sylvester, J., Li, W.Q. and Zafarullah, M. (2002) Inhibition of interleukin-1-stimulated MAP kinases, activating protein-1 (AP-1) and nuclear factor kappa B (NF-kappaB) transcription factors down-regulates matrix metalloproteinase gene expression in articular chondrocytes. Matrix Biol 21(3), 251-262.
Mani, H., Sidhu, G.S., Kumari ,R., Gaddipati ,J.P., Seth, P. and Maheshwari, R.K. (2002) Curcumin differentially regulates TGF-beta1, its receptors and nitric oxide synthase during impaired wound healing. Biofactors 16(1-2), 29-43.
Mehta, K., Pantazis, P., McQueen, T. and Aggarwal, B.B. (1997) Antiproliferative effect of curcumin (difer- uloylmethane) against human breast tumor cell lines. Anticancer Drugs 8(5), 470-81.
Mukhopadhyay, A., Bueso-Ramos, C., Chatterjee, D., Pantazis, P. and Aggarwal, B.B. (2001) Curcumin downregulates cell survival mechanisms in human prostate cancer cell lines. Oncogene 20(52): 7597-7609.
Naidu, K.A. and Thippeswamy, N.B. (2002) Inhibition of human low density lipoprotein oxidation by active principles from spices. Mol Cell Biochem 229(1-2), 19-23,.
Nirmala, C., Anand, S. and Puvanakrishnan, R. (1999) Curcumin treatment modulates collagen metabolism in isoproterenol induced myocardial necrosis in rats. Mol Cell Biochem 197(1-2): 31-37.
Park, S.D., Jung, J.H., Lee, H.W., Kwon, Y.M., Chung, K.H., Kim, M.G. and Kim, C.H. (2005) Zedoariae rhizoma and curcumin inhibits platelet-derived growth factor-induced proliferation of human hepatic myofibroblasts. Int Immunopharmacol 5(3), 555-569.
Phan, T.T., Sun, L., Bay, B.H., Chan, S.Y. and Lee, S.T. (2003) Dietary compounds inhibit proliferation and contraction of keloid and hypertrophic scar-derived fibroblasts in vitro: therapeutic implication for excessive scarring. J Trauma 54(6), 1212-1224.
Quiles, J.L., Aguilera, C., Mesa, M.D., Ramirez-Tortosa, M.C., Baro, L. and Gil, A. (1998) An ethanolic-aque- ous extract of Curcuma longa decreases the susceptibility of liver microsomes and mitochondria to lipid peroxidation in atherosclerotic rabbits. Biofactors 8(1-2), 51-57.
Ramachandran, C. and You, W. (1999) Differential sensitivity of human mammary epithelial and breast carcinoma cell lines to curcumin. Breast Cancer Res Treat 54(3), 269-278.
Ramirez-Tortosa, M.C., Mesa, M.D., Aguilera, M.C., Quiles, J.L., Baro, L., Ramirez-Tortosa, C.L., Martinez-Vic- toria, E. and Gil, A. (1999) Oral administration of a turmeric extract inhibits LDL oxidation and has hypocholesterolemic effects in rabbits with experimental atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis 147(2), 371-378.
Ringman, J. M., Frautschy, S. A., Cole, G. M., Masterman, D. L., & Cummings, J. L. (2005). A potential role of the curry spice curcumin in Alzheimer’s disease. Current Alzheimer Research, 2(2), 131.
Salh, B., Assi, K., Templeman, V., Parhar, K., Owen, D., Gomez-Munoz, A. and Jacobson, K. (2003) Curcumin attenuates DNB-induced murine colitis. Am J Physiol Gastrointest Liver Physiol 285(1), G235-243.
Sanmukhani, J., Satodia, V., Trivedi, J., Patel, T., Tiwari, D., Panchal, B., Goel, A. & Tripathi, C. B. (2013). Efficacy and safety of curcumin in major depressive disorder: a randomized controlled trial. Phytotherapy Research.
Shoba, G., Joy, D., Joseph, T., Majeed, M., Rajendran, R., & Srinivas, P. S. S. R. (1998). Influence of piperine on the pharmacokinetics of curcumin in animals and human volunteers. Planta medica, 64(04), 353-356.
Shubha, M. C., Reddy, R. R., & Srinivasan, K. (2011). Antilithogenic influence of dietary capsaicin and curcumin during experimental induction of cholesterol gallstone in mice. Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, 36(2), 201-209.
Sidhu, G.S., Singh, A.K., Thaloor, D., Banaudha, K.K., Patnaik, G.K., Srimal, R.C. and Maheshwari, R.K (1998) Enhancement of wound healing by curcumin in animals. Wound Repair Regen 6(2), 167-177.
Simon, A., Allais, D.P., Duroux, J.L., Basly, J.P., Durand-Fontanier, S. and Delage, C. (1998) Inhibitory effect of curcuminoids on MCF-7 cell proliferation and structure-activity relationships. Cancer Lett 129(1), 111-116.
Soudamini, K.K., Unnikrishnan, M.C., Soni, K.B. and Kuttan, R. (1992) Inhibition of lipid peroxidation and cholesterol levels in mice by curcumin. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol 36(4), 239-243.
Thaloor, D., Miller, K.J., Gephart, J., Mitchell, P.O. and Pavlath, G.K. (1999) Systemic administration of the NF-kappaB inhibitor curcumin stimulates muscle regeneration after traumatic injury. Am J Physiol 277(2 Pt 1), C320-329.
Ukil, A., Maity, S., Karmakar, S., Datta, N., Vedasiromoni, J.R. and Das, P.K. (2003) Curcumin, the major component of food flavour turmeric, reduces mucosal injury in trinitrobenzene sulphonic acid-induced colitis. Br J Pharmacol 139(2), 209-218.
Verma, S.P., Salamone, E. and Goldin, B. (1997) Curcumin and genistein, plant natural products, show synergistic inhibitory effects on the growth of human breast cancer MCF-7 cells induced by estrogenic pesticides. Biochem Biophys Res Commun 233(3), 692-6.