Turmeric is a spice that is gotten from the turmeric plant. It belongs to the ginger family. The plant is a native of Asia and the root is mostly used for cooking. Aside it being an active ingredients in curry powder, it also has medicinal values. Curcumin which is present in turmeric is used as a medicine for various health issues. Some of which are; digestive problems, pain, inflammation, high cholesterol etc. In general, turmeric has a healing power. This article is going to focus on the general health and skin benefits of turmeric and the side effects, as well as precautions that should be put into consideration when using turmeric.
Benefits of Turmeric
The benefits of turmeric are numerous and they will be discussed below;
1). Anti-inflammatory property
The components curcumin that is present in turmeric makes it very effective for treating inflammation. When taken in the right dosage, turmeric can be extremely effective in treating diseases like arthritis, pancreatitis and bowel disease.
2). Antioxidant property
The antioxidant property of turmeric makes it effective in protecting the body against damages from free radicals. Too much exposure to free radicals can lead to diseases like; cancer, arthritis, heart disease etc.
3). Treatment of viral diseases
Research done in the lab suggests that curcumin which is a component that is in turmeric may help fight against viral infections like; flu and herpes. One major issue is that, the body does not absorb curcumin well enough. Therefore, drinking turmeric tea is not a guarantee way of treating viral infections, but it could help relief the symptoms.
4). Protection against heart disease
The curcumin in turmeric may help improve the health of the thin membrane that shields the interior of the heart and blood vessels. This membrane is important for regulating blood pressure. A reduced function of this membrane is associated with aging and an increase in heart disease. Therefore, turmeric may be able to protect the heart against diseases.
5). Relief to premenstrual syndrome
Studies showed that curcumin supplements could help ease the cramps from premenstrual syndrome. More studies carried out on rats and guinea pigs also suggest that curcumin can ease menstrual cramps too.
6). Antimicrobial property
Another great benefits of turmeric is it’s ability to treat skin infection because of it’s antimicrobial property. Turmeric may be able to treat diseases like; eczema, photo-aging, acne etc.
7). Alzheimer’s disease
Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory property and people with Alzheimer’s disease suffer from chronic inflammation, so turmeric may be able to fight the disease but there are no concrete scientific evidence to support that claim yet.
8). Anti-aging supplements
Although there are no evidence to support the claim that turmeric directly increases lifespan, it’s anti-inflammatory properties suggest otherwise because it protects the body against free radicals and potentially delay age-related diseases.
9). Treatment for headaches
Despite the fact that there are no scientific evidence to support this, people claim that turmeric, just like ginger, treats and prevent headaches, especially migraines.
Curcumin has the potential of relieving joint pain, stiffness and inflammation, but further research is needed before we can conclude that turmeric can treat arthritis.
11). Prevention and treatment of cancer
The anti-inflammatory property in curcumin may play an effective role in treating and preventing the spread and growth of tumor cells.
12). May treat diabetes
Studies carried out on animals has shown that curcumin may help to treat and prevent diabetes and it’s associated disorders like diabetic kidney disease which mostly affect people with type 1 and 2 diabetes. The anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties of curcumin makes it effective for improving factors like insulin resistance and high blood sugar that contribute to diabetes.
13). Treatment for depression
Due to turmeric’s ability to increase levels of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), it shows promise as an effective treatment against depression. A study carried out on humans showed that there were improvements after curcumin medication was administered over a period of time. However, scientist still need to carry out further research before they can fully understand how the curcumin impacted the treatment and then draw their conclusions on it.
Side Effects of Turmeric
As good as turmeric may seem, excessive usage of its can have some negative effects. These effects will be discussed below;
1). Ingesting turmeric
Turmeric is considered safe when ingested in the right dosage over a short period of time. Products that contain about 8 grams of curcumin seem safe when taken daily for a period of two months. Nevertheless, turmeric might cause minor effects such as nausea, stomach upset, diarrhoea and dizziness when taken in higher doses over a longer period of time.
2). Turmeric on the skin
When applied to the skin, turmeric is considered safe but then it is necessary to run a skin patch test before using any products be it organic or otherwise. To carry out the test, take the product you intend to use and apply a small portion of it to a small part of your arm. Watch it for a day to observe any itching, irritation or redness. If none of those symptoms are noticed then that product is safe for your skin and you can go ahead to use it.
3). For pregnancy and breastfeeding
Tumeric is considered safe when ingested through food during pregnancy or breastfeeding. However, it is likely unsafe when taken in medicine amount during pregnancy. It has the potential of inducing menstruation or stimulating the uterus and that can put the pregnancy in danger. So avoid taking medicine amounts of tumeric during pregnancy. There is currently no concrete information about the effect of medicine amounts during breastfeeding but it is safer to avoid it altogether.
4). Bleeding disorder
Turmeric might reduce the rate of blood clotting and this can increase the risk of bleeding and bruising in people with bleeding problems.
Curcumin may reduce blood sugar level in people with diabetes, so extra caution should be taken when using turmeric to avoid making the blood sugar too low.
Do not use turmeric if you are suffering from gallstones or bile duct obstruction because tumeric can make the issue worse.
7). Stomach disorder
Turmeric might cause stomach upset when taken in high-dosage. People with gastro esophageal reflux disease should stop taking turmeric if it makes the symptoms worse.
Testosterone levels and movement of sperm can both be reduced when turmeric is ingested by men and this might lower fertility level. Ensure to be cautious when taking turmeric, especially if you’re planning on having a baby.
Since turmeric reduces the rate of blood clotting, it might cause excess bleeding during and after surgery. If you are scheduled for surgery, please avoid taking turmeric at least two weeks before the scheduled date.
Turmeric has no negative effect on the skin inside the mouth when it was used as mouth wash.
As can be seen above, the benefits and the side effects of turmeric are numerous. Most of it’s research work does not have scientific testing on humans, so exercise caution when you use turmeric and do not expect miraculous results.