For most of us (of a certain age) growing up here in Berks county, Turmeric was only known (if it was known) as what turned our processed mustard yellow. Yet, on the other side of the world, an ancient Indian medicine practice (still popular today), called Ayurveda, has long made use of turmeric to improve immune health, help relieve pain, aid in digestion, as well as protect against the biggies like diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and yes, even cancer.
As with all cancer-curing claims, the rise in popularity has prompted the question: can modern (western) medicine substantiate the ancient wisdom?
The short, somewhat unsatisfying answer, is “yes and no”. However, at Wild Sage, we’re all about satiating appetites, so we dug a bit deeper.
To answer (part of) the question it is necessary to understand two points: First, inflammation is known to be involved in many major diseases such as Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and cancer (though, it is uncertain the exact role it plays).
Second, the main medicinal constituent present in turmeric is called curcumin, which contains very effective anti-inflammatory properties (as effective as many leading anti-inflammatory drugs on the market, according to certain studies). Most of the medical studies have focused on this component by extracting it and studying its effectiveness. Hence, the claims for using turmeric (via curcumin) to aid in prevention or curing these common killers.
Without boring you dear readers with the details of the research (unless you like that sort of thing, in which case, check out the links at the bottom!), the main takeaway is this: curcumin is found to have healing properties that help support our health and our bodies’ ability to fight disease (yay!). However, more research is needed before any substantive claims can be made (yay?). Furthermore, most of the research has been conducted in labs (not on humans) and on a single component (curcumin) of turmeric, of which there is only 3% in the spice (not-so yay, but begs the question: what other components might be contributing to its healing properties?)
Meanwhile, over here in our little corner of the world, we are not going to discount the mental health boost that comes along with taking the time to enjoy a warming drink, either for some alone time, or as a vehicle to bond with friends. As we continue to wait out the winter (more and more impatiently as the warm temperatures are beginning to peep through], our Golden lattes offer a nice comfort, especially during this particularly active flu season in 2018. [Or, if you’re just hungry, check out our ginger-turmeric grain bowl!]
On Turmeric and its medicinal properties:
On Ayurveda Medicine:
On the role inflammation plays in Alzheimer’s: