Turmeric Benefits Aren’t Limited to Curcumin
Most of us know about the documented benefits of curcumin, the antioxidant plant chemical found in turmeric, but how many of us know all about turmeric benefits? It turns out that turmeric is more than just its famous chemical constituent. Here are 10 things you need to know about the benefits of turmeric, especially when it is combined with curcumin.
1. Turmeric Contains Phytonutrients that Give Your Body a Health Boost.
Turmeric is the spice derived from the root of the turmeric plant, which is a member of the Ginger Family. Curcumin is the reddish-orange pigment that makes curry powder red and that makes up about 3% of the weight of the turmeric root.
Curcumin is a plant chemical, and turmeric is a plant.
Turmeric benefits can positively affect the entire body. Curcumin is only one of the powerful properties of the plant. The turmeric plant also contains other healing phytonutrients such as calebin-A.
You can get the anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer turmeric benefits without the curcumin if you get calebin-A.
In addition, calebin-A adds to the anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects of curcumin. Like curcumin, it has been tested and shown to be non-toxic. Clinical trials suggest (but haven’t yet proved) that it’s the combination of curcumin and calebin-A that reduces inflammation in arthritis.
Other Phytonutrients Worth Mentioning
The list of turmeric benefits is so long because the plant contains so many phytonutrients. There are over 90!
For starters, turmeric has Vitamins A, C, E, B1, B2, and B3. In addition, many essential minerals are found in turmeric. Iron, calcium, chromium, phosphorous, potassium, manganese, zinc, and selenium are all active constituents in the turmeric plant.
Furthermore, turmeric also contains carotenes, carotenoids, and xanthophylls. They give some of the yellow and orange color to the turmeric root, and they may also help prevent heart disease by naturally combatting free radicals in the body. In addition, they may help your immune system.
The list of phytonutrients in the turmeric root is too long to list completely. But one thing is for certain – each of the phytonutrients have unique health benefits, and when combined they have an even more powerful effect on the body.
Therefore, It’s no wonder the list of turmeric benefits is so extensive. Over 90 active constituents work together synergistically within this one little root.
So remember this when you are taking your daily turmeric. There is a lot of healing power packed into every capsule.
2. Mixing the Whole Herb Turmeric with Curcumin Helps Your Body Absorb Both.
Curcumin has dozens of health applications, but there’s a serious problem with curcumin supplements. The body absorbs only a small part of the curcumin in a capsule unless it gets some help.
Fortunately there is an easy fix. When black pepper is combined with curcumin, it helps the body naturally absorb the curcumin better.
Therefore, black pepper is a crucial factor in fully enjoying turmeric benefits. That’s why for thousands of years Ayurvedic physicians have told their patients to combine turmeric with black pepper.
Piperine Makes Curcumin More Absorbable
Black pepper contains a chemical called piperine that makes curcumin more absorbable. Many products use this ancient principle (which is backed up by modern clinical research) when they put curcumin and a modern, patented chemical called BioPerine® in the same product.
But that’s not all that can be done to make curcumin, calebin-A, and other turmeric chemicals more absorbable.
It’s not just the BioPerine® that helps your body absorb curcumin. It’s also the “matrix” of curcuminoids in the whole plant that are left out if the only ingredient in the product is curcumin.
Recent clinical trials have found that a “completely natural” formulation of turmeric with curcumin is better absorbed than a phytosome or even some chemically modified forms of curcumin like Longivda (which is treated so it bypasses an enzymatic step in the liver and can be absorbed by the brain).
Why You Want the Whole Herb
The whole herb contains volatile oils that make the product more easily absorbed. Curcumin by itself doesn’t contain these volatile oils. And it’s the whole herb that provides a second potent antioxidant called calebin-A, in addition to curcumin.
3. Turmeric Revitalizes Sun-Aged Skin.
Turmeric benefits your skin in multiple ways. On one level, turmeric helps you skin look younger. If you use cosmetics, chances are that you get the best results when you use a flesh-toned foundation layer of makeup.
If you are an herb hobbyist, you will be happy to know that adding a small amount of turmeric to a moisturizer or wrinkle cream helps bring out the tones that make skin look natural.
You can make your own cosmetics by juicing turmeric you pick up at the market. However, it’s best to rely on the products you can get from the cosmetics counter because it can be a lot of work to make your own.
Look for a product that provides the herb, a small amount of curcumin, and other skin-identical and skin-friendly ingredients that add depth, color, and suppleness to your skin. All of this takes hours and hours, of course. And cosmetics are expensive. There is a simpler way to get the same effect.
Curcumin is not like carrots. The curcumin in your supplement does not circulate to your skin to dye it orange or red. Curcumin works as an antioxidant in your skin, which allows your skin to make its own natural pigments.
You get more of your natural skin tones, whatever they may be. In addition, moderate sun exposure, at least 20 minutes a day in the morning or late evening without sunscreen, will help the product work even better. Plus this kind of daily sun exposure will make you feel better naturally.
4. Turmeric Relieves Pain and Itching Caused by Skin Diseases.
On another level, clinical studies hint that the curcumin in turmeric reverses some of the ravages of aging.
One clinical study tested a 1% curcumin cream as a skin remedy for actinic keratosis, basal cell carcinoma, and external genital warts in 62 volunteers. In about 70% of cases the curcumin cream stopped any oozing and itching. It usually reduced skin pain as well.
There was one person in the trial who turned out to be allergic to turmeric, however, so it is probably a good idea to do a test patch to make sure there are no allergies to the product first. Just put a dab of the cream on the underside of your forearm and wait 24 hours, without washing your arm, to see whether you break out.
If you are not allergic, then we would certainly suggest seeing if turmeric benefits your skin by taking a daily turmeric supplement.
5. Turmeric Prevents Infections.
Turmeric (the extract of the whole herb, not just curcumin) stops bacteria from forming a sticky biofilm that helps them cling to the tissue they infect. This property has been laboratory tested in fighting antibiotic-resistant infections such as Klebsiella.
Why is this important?
Bacteria that form biofilms protect themselves against the immune system. The immune system has to work through a “wall” of bacteria to reach the tissues under attack.
Bacteria that form biofilms tend to survive for weeks, months, and even years. Random genetic mutations protect a few individual bacteria from antibiotics.
Additionally, bacteria can pass these mutant genes for antibiotic resistance directly to their neighbors. The biofilm makes it easier for bacteria to reach their neighbors to pass on the antibiotic resistance genes.
And bacteria that form biofilms make wide, gaping wounds that the body cannot easily close. This is especially a problem for diabetics.
Furthermore, bacteria that make biofilms can occupy wounds in the feet and lower legs that just don’t heal—unless they are treated aggressively with a combination of medical and natural methods, ideally including curcumin.
Many people use turmeric as a natural alternative to fight all types of infections because of its antiviral, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties. In addition, traditional Ayurvedic medicine often uses turmeric as a disinfectant. Ayurvedic medicine has known about all of the turmeric benefits for generations.
So far, we are only scratching the surface of what turmeric has to offer.
6. Turmeric is a Natural Sleep Aid.
Do you ever feel full, relaxed, and at peace with the world after eating a bowl of curry? That could be due to the turmeric in the curry powder, and more specifically due to the essential oils in the turmeric in the curry.
Nigerian scientists have found that the essential oils of curry, more specifically, the essential oils of turmeric, reduce anxiety and aid sleep.
To get these benefits, you need to take a turmeric supplement, not just a curcumin supplement. The essential oils that soothe anxiety and aid sleep are found in the whole herb.
They are best preserved in a capsule, even better than using the whole herb to make a curry—which isn’t really a practical thing to do every night before you go to bed.
Take your turmeric or turmeric with curcumin capsules about an hour before you want to fall asleep, preferably on an empty stomach.
7. Turmeric Quells Upset Stomach.
Turmeric relieves indigestion, especially problems that are focused in the colon.
This effect is due to a combination of the curcumin found in the herb with the volatile oils that are only found in the whole herb. The curcumin extracted from turmeric “turns off” the production of certain inflammatory hormones that can cause burning, cramping, and gas.
But it’s the whole herb, the turmeric, that contains the essential oils that relieve pain.
You need both the curcumin and the whole herb to get the maximum turmeric benefits and curcumin for digestive problems such as colitis, diverticulitis, irritable bowel syndrome, and inflammatory bowel disease.
Turmeric and curcumin treat the symptoms of these diseases. They don’t cure them. But they can help you feel a lot better.
8. Turmeric May be Just What You Need to Stop a Toothache.
Turmeric powder, like the turmeric powder you can buy from the spice rack at your grocery store, can relieve a toothache. It’s not like oil of cloves, another herbal remedy for toothache, in that you don’t have to keep dabbing it on your tooth every 15 or 20 minutes to make the pain go away.
You take a turmeric with curcumin capsule every four hours during the day and two at night to relieve tooth pain. It takes about 30 minutes for the pain relief to kick in.
9. Turmeric Relieves Symptoms of PMS and Menstrual Cramps.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, turmeric was used to “warm” a woman’s body before and during her period. It provided the gentle energy she needed to stay in control of pain. It helped her process her emotions so that they did not “congeal” into fluid swelling the joints or making the skin puffy.
Traditional Chinese Medicine conceived of headaches and head colds as an invasion of “wind evil” that sought to take over the energies of the body.
These energies could enter the body more easily when there was loss of blood. Turmeric expelled the “evil” that causes headaches, neck pain, and shoulder pain. It also stimulated the energies of the “Liver” to carry off the energetic signatures of toxic emotions. Does any of this make sense in terms of modern medicine? The interesting thing is, it does.
A series of clinical studies have confirmed that turmeric stimulates the production of bile by the liver. Bile contains salts that bind to estrogen. Lowering estrogen levels reduces the symptoms of PMS and pain associated with menstruation.
When women suffer from estrogen levels that are too high, turmeric (not just curcumin) helps their bodies reestablish hormonal balance. It seems like this may be one of the lesser known turmeric benefits, however, it is certainly a powerful one.
10. Turmeric with Curcumin Supplements May Even Help Prevent Cancer.
For decades, epidemiologists were intrigued by the low rates of breast cancer in certain parts of Africa, in Pakistan, in India, and on the island of Trinidad. They could not find the common connection.
Then a scientist realized that curries made with curcumin-rich turmeric were popular in all these locations. Researchers discovered that curcumin activates the p53 gene.
This gene codes dozens of proteins that tell breast cancer cells to “switch off.” To get the benefits of curcumin in regulating p53, curries have to be consumed on a regular basis, since the products of the p53 gene are constantly being used in various cell regulatory processes.
But the same benefits are available from turmeric with curcumin supplements. Therefore, this is yet another huge reason to take a turmeric supplement everyday. To enjoy turmeric benefits to the fullest, make sure your supplement has curcumin and Bioperine®.
Turmeric Benefits Summarized
The full benefits of turmeric are obtained by taking supplements that provide both curcumin, the antioxidant found in turmeric, and the whole herb.
Curcumin supplements provide you with more curcumin than you can get in the whole herb. And the whole herb provides you with the essential oils and calebin that make turmeric even more versatile for supporting good health.
In addition, black pepper makes the curcumin more bioavailable (allows your body to more effectively absorb it).
There are many, many more turmeric benefits that we have not touched on here. And naturally, these benefits are all reasons to take a balanced turmeric supplement on a daily basis.
If you have any questions, or if there is something specific you would like us to write about, don’t hesitate to contact us and let us know. We always love hearing from you.