I have been taking a few herbal supplements daily for a couple of months now. No, I do not spend a lot in supplements. I research for companies that sell quality yet low-cost dried, powdered herbs such as garlic, graviola (guyabano), mangosteen and turmeric and then take a different herb each month. (By the way, you will not find good prices among MLM/Networking supplement businesses as their prices have to be jacked up in order to fund the ludicrously high compensation packages for their members, particularly the uplines.)
Turmeric powder in capsule form is one herb I take daily. I tried taking turmeric tea but I cannot keep the habit daily as the taste is not really something I relish. Besides, turmeric tea drinking stains the teeth a funny yellow. And so I decided to take turmeric powder in capsule form. This is not an extract but rather whole turmeric roots that are pulverized and dessicated. Whole foods are much safer than extracts, experts say.
The active ingredient in turmeric is the polyphenolic antioxidant curcumin which has been found to compare favorably with no less than 14 standard drugs. Turmeric gives the following drugs a run for their money:
Cholesterol medication (Lipitor/Atorvastatin)
A study conducted in 2008 and published in the journal Drugs in R&D documented that a standardized preparation of curcuminoids source from turmeric performed as well as the drug Atorvastatin in terms of managing endothelial dsyfunction which underlies the development of atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries. Furthermore, curcuminoids also reduced inflammation and oxidative stress in type 2 diabetic patients.
Steroid medications (Corticosteroids)
A 2003 study published in Cancer Letters showed curcumin as comparable to the drug dexamethasone in the management of lung ischemia. Curcumin also compared favorably to steroids in the clinical management of an inflammatory eye disease called chronic anterior uveitis. This was the finding of a 2009 study which was published in the journal Phytotherapy Research.
Antidepressants (Prozac/Fluoxetine and Imipramine)
The journal Acta Poloniae Pharmaceutica published the findings of a 2011 study which showed curcumin as comparing favorably to two antidepressant drugs in terms of reducing depressive behavior in animal models.
Blood Thinners (Aspirin)
A 1986 in vitro (in test tubes) and ex vivo (using tissues) study showed curcumin as comparable to aspirin in terms of blood thinning activity.
Anti-inflammatory drugs (Ibuprofen, aspirin, sulindac, naproxen, phenylbutazone, diclofenac, indomethacin, celecoxib and tamoxifen)
The journal Oncogene published a 2004 study which showed curcumin and resveratrol as having anti-inflammatory activities that are comparable to those of standard anti-inflammatory drugs.
Chemotherapy drug (Oxaliplatin)
The International Journal of Cancer published a 2007 study which documented the anti-proliferative activity of curcumin in colorectal cell line as being comparable to that of oxiplatin.
Diabetes drug (Metformin)
Published in the journal Biochemistry and Biophysical Research Community was a 2009 study which showed that curcumin increased glucose uptake by cells (thus lowering sugar levels circulating in the bloodstream) and suppressing glucose production in the liver. A striking finding was that curcumin was found to be 500 to 100,000 times more powerful than metformin in decreasing sugar levels by way of activating AMPK and Acetyl CoA-carboxylase.
So back to the question: Why do I take turmeric daily? Because turmeric performs the functions of several drugs minus the risks of side effects associated with synthetic drugs . Turmeric lowers cholesterol and blood sugar, calms inflammation, thins the blood, prevents depression and fights cancer. What’s more, it is abundant and cheap here in my country. As for the fear of overdosage, a capsule of turmeric powder a day is certainly far less than what the average Indian national consumes in a day in the form of curried dishes.
But hey, don’t take my word for it. Here are my references:
For dosage, precautions and possible drug interactions, read this article from the University of Maryland Medical Center.
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