As a copious amount of studies would suggest, the spice turmeric is one of the most healing foods in existence. From eradicating cancer cells to dulling pain, it has a wide range of health benefits. One of the most recent studies on the benefits of turmeric was published in the journal Phytotherapy Research in 2012. For this study, researchers found turmeric to be both safe and effective in treating rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a painful inflammatory condition.
The study involved 45 people diagnosed with RA, separating them into three groups. One group received treatment of 500 mg of curcumin (the active component in turmeric) while the other received a prescription treatment—50 mg of diclofenac sodium, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) sold under numerous brand names. A third group received a combination of the two.
The results were nothing short of remarkable. The group who received curcumin only showed the highest percentage of improvement. These improvement scores were calculated by evaluating tenderness and joint swelling. In addition to offering better results than either group who received the prescription drug, the curcumin group had no side effects.
“Our study provides the first evidence for the safety and superiority of curcumin treatment in patients with active RA, and highlights the need for future large-scale trials to validate these findings in patients with RA and other arthritic conditions,” noted the researchers.
But this is far from the first study to link turmeric with remarkable health benefits.
Also published in Phytotherapy Research, another study found turmeric to be as effective at treating depression as commonly prescribed medications. But because the turmeric doesn’t have side effects, it’s benefits go beyond these Big Pharma solutions.
Other research has demonstrated turmeric as an anti-cancer powerhouse, potentially reducing tumor size by up to 81%. In regions where turmeric consumption is highest, cancer rates are considerably lower. Curcumin has been shown to help stop cancer cells from growing and spreading.
It’s abilities to fight inflammation and oxidation are believed to give curcumin its potent and widespread benefits.
If you’re eager to reap the health benefits of turmeric, try adding it to oil-based salad dressings and curries. Remember it is fat-soluble, so mix it with coconut oil or another healthy-fat to ensure your body can make the most of it. The bright yellow root with a rich history promises to similarly have a rich future, so long as we keep its potent benefits at the forefront of our attention.