Turmeric (curcuma longa) is a culinary spice that’s been used for millennia—it is a major ingredient in Indian curries, and it makes commercial mustard yellow. Studies conducted by respected ethnobotanist James A. Duke, Ph.D., show that turmeric, because of its anti-inflammatory properties, is a promising disease-preventive agent. Turmeric blocks the formation of beta-amyloid—the protein found in Alzheimer’s disease, reduces joint inflammation and improves arthritis symptoms. In animals, turmeric inhibits cancers of the colon, breast, prostate, liver, esophagus and mouth. In humans, a randomized placebo-controlled trial in 2014 reported that turmeric slowed prostate cancer in men on active surveillance for their cancer. A recent review by Duke suggested that the effectiveness of turmeric against these cancers compared favorably with that reported for prescription drugs.
There are many ways to use turmeric to benefit one’s health. Turmeric extracts in tablet and capsule form are available in health food stores; aim for supercritical extracts in dosages of 400 to 600 mg, and take three times daily or as directed on the product. Another option is turmeric tea. An enjoyable way to eat turmeric is to include more curried dishes, either in restaurants or at home. Adding black pepper, which contains piperine, will increase absorption of the healthy compounds in turmeric. Whether one uses tablets or capsules, teas or food, adding turmeric to the diet is another way to optimize one’s health.
Source: Matt McCurdy, M.D., Ph.D., integrative oncologist. For more information, visit AustinCancerCenters.com.