I recently discovered Turmeric! Not as a super miracle healing supplement but as a big huge smokey and pungent flavor to explore. I had some turmeric on my speice rack so online I found a reciepie for Turmeric Chicken and Rice Recipe – Edward Lee | Food & Wine and I became a fan. A couple of years ago my doctors told me I need to be on low salt diet so I have been searching for spices with big huge flavor profiles to take the place of salt in my life. I now use it rather regularly to spice things up.
BUT I would question if it was good for anything healthwise. I think much of the hype surrounding Turmeric being good for losing weight, preventing Alzheimer’s, treating diabetes, preventing baldness, treating cancer and more (although to the best of my recollection I have never heard the anti-inflammatory claim before) is marketing hype to sell turmeric and sell it as a supplement instead of just as a spice and that hype and marketing certainly works.
I don’t recall now where I read it and I don’t know how much science there is behind this but like I said I read that if you really really want to take turmeric for it specific health benefits you are better off cooking with it because fats or oils from your food enhance the absolution of the active critical component in turmeric called curcumin.
Turmeric has done the full circle: from ancient remedy to hipster Western drink. Even today, Indians readily apply it on fresh wounds, chicken-pox scabs, and insect bites. Medical professionals prescribe it for urological diseases, worm infections, and even cancer. Such has been the hype that the yellow-golden spice is widely touted as a validation of traditional medicine.
…the hype that the yellow-golden spice is widely touted as a validation of traditional medicine.
Scientists have now had enough. Turmeric’s gains have been ascribed to a chemical contained in it called curcumin. But, though there have been thousands of research papers and 120 clinical trials, curcumin hasn’t yet resulted in a drug….
….Most drugs are screened based on their ability to interact with certain proteins. It turns out curcumin’s chemical structure makes it produce “false hits”—that is, even though the compound doesn’t interact with the protein, the results of studies show that it does. Such false hits are then taken to clinical trials, where, after spending huge amounts of money, it eventually fails.
A correspondent asked me to look into the science behind the health claims for turmeric. He had encountered medical professionals “trying to pass turmeric as some sort of magical herb to cure us from the ‘post-industrial chemical apocalypse.'” It is recommended by the usual promoters of CAM: Oz, Weil, Mercola, and the Health Ranger (who conveniently sells his own superior product, Turmeric…
Dr. Harriet Hall, the author of this article is one of my favorite critical thinking public educators and exposers of writes about pseudoscience and questionable medical practices. In this article she writes:
Turmeric (Cucurma longa) is a plant in the ginger family that is native to southeast India. It is also known as curcumin. The rhizomes are ground into an orange-yellow powder that is used as a spice in Indian cuisine. It has traditionally been used in folk medicine for various indications; and it has now become popular in alternative medicine circles, where it is claimed to be effective in treating a broad spectrum of diseases including cancer, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, and diabetes. One website claims science has proven it to be as effective as 14 drugs, including statins like Lipitor, corticosteroids, antidepressants like Prozac, anti-inflammatories like aspirin and ibuprofen, the chemotherapy drug oxaliplatin, and the diabetes drug metformin. I wish those claims were true, because turmeric is far less expensive and probably much safer than prescription drugs. It clearly has some interesting properties, but the claims go far beyond the actual evidence.
She details and links to some of the reasearch that has been done on turmeric.
smithsonianmag.com Over the last few years, all kinds of claims have popped up surrounding the supposed health benefits of turmeric-from losing weight and preventing baldness to treating cancer. But, as with most things, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
Over the last few years, all kinds of claims have popped up surrounding the supposed health benefits of turmeric—from losing weight and preventing baldness to treating cancer. But, as with most things, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is.
These miracle claims are nothing new: the spice has long been a home remedy in parts of the world. Even today, some people in India apply the spice to fresh wounds and scabs in the hopes that it will spark a speedy recovery, Akshat Rathi reports for Quartz. But while thousands of studies and millions of dollars have gone into figuring out whether it has any potential to be used in drugs. All efforts so far have turned up short.
Now, a new study published in the Journal of Medicinal Chemistry suggests research into turmeric’s medicinal properties will likely never work—because it doesn’t have any. And to make it worse curcumin, the chemical often cited as the source of turmeric’s benefits, commonly tricks drug screens into providing false positives, Monya Baker reports for Nature.
A few days ago, a friend gushed about the amazing curative properties of turmeric. If you’ve ever eaten Indian cuisine, you’ve most likely eaten turmeric. It’s a yellowish-brown spice that comes from (not surprisingly) the turmeric plant – more precisely from the rhizome of the turmeric plant, the thick root-like portion of the stem that remains underground.
Futher reading on Turmeric…
Tumeric (Curcuma longa) is a spice from the same family (Zingiberaceae) as ginger that originated from Southern Asia. As such, it is a popular choice in related cuisine, giving it a pleasant golden-yellow color (commonly associated with curry), but it is also used for dyeing.
- Turmeric/Curcumin: The “Natural Remedy of the Century” or a Waste of Money? – CSI
- Turmeric: What is it Good For? | Skeptoid
- Snake Oil Du Jour: Turmeric | The Skeptical Cardiologist
- Curcumin Will Waste Your Time | In the Pipeline
- Curcumin Hype vs Reality | NeuroLogica Blog
- Evidence Update: Biologic Plausibility of Curcumin (Turmeric) Very Low | The SkeptVet
- Boosters say turmeric is as a wonder drug that can help skin, fight depression and even cancer. Here’s what the science says. – The Washington Post
- Ask Well: Does Turmeric Have Proven Health Benefits? – The New York Times