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Herb of the Week - Turmeric


This week's herb is Turmeric . Turmeric has a very wide amount of medicinal actions, and is an anti-oxidant, hypo-glycemic, antimicrobial, vulnerary, carminative, anti-inflammatory, anti-arthritic, cholagogue, anti-carcinogenic, anti-mutagenic, and stomachic.
 
Midnight Garden Apothecary offers Turmeric in both Powdered and Tinctured forms.
 
Latin Name
Curcuma longa
 
Description
Turmeric grows wild in the forests of South and Southeast Asia. It is one of the key ingredients in many Asian dishes (it is what gives yellow curry it's color).
 
Ayurveda (traditional Indian medicine) recommends turmeric in food for its potential medicinal value.
 
Most turmeric that is used is in the form of rhizome powder, in some regions (especially in Maharashtra, Goa, Konkan and Kanara), turmeric leaves are used to wrap and cook food. This use of turmeric leaves usually takes place in areas where turmeric is grown locally, since the leaves used are freshly picked. Turmeric leaves impart a distinctive flavor.
 
Ailments
 
Indigestion or Dyspepsia
Curcumin stimulates the gallbladder to produce bile, which some people think may help improve digestion. The German Commission E, which determines which herbs can be safely prescribed in Germany, has approved turmeric for digestive problems. And one double-blind, placebo-controlled study found that turmeric reduced symptoms of bloating and gas in people suffering from indigestion.
 
Ulcerative colitis
Turmeric may help people with ulcerative colitis stay in remission. Ulcerative colitis is a chronic disease of the digestive tract where symptoms tend to come and go. In one double-blind, placebo-controlled study, people whose ulcerative colitis was in remission took either curcumin or placebo, along with conventional medical treatment, for 6 months. Those who took curcumin had a relapse rate much lower than those who took placebo.
 
Osteoarthritis
Because of its ability to reduce inflammation, researchers have wondered if turmeric may help relieve osteoarthritis pain. One study found that people using an Ayurvedic formula of herbs and minerals with turmeric, winter cherry (Withinia somnifera), boswellia (Boswellia serrata), and zinc had less pain and disability. But it' s impossible to know whether it was turmeric or one of the other supplements -- or all of them together -- that was responsible.
 
Heart Disease
Early studies suggested that turmeric may help prevent atherosclerosis, the buildup of plaque that can block arteries and lead to heart attack or stroke. In animal studies, an extract of turmeric lowered cholesterol levels and kept LDL "bad" cholesterol from building up in blood vessels. Because it stops platelets from clumping together, turmeric may also prevent blood clots from building up along the walls of arteries. But a double-blind, placebo-controlled study found that taking curcumin, the active ingredient in turrmeric, at a dose of up to 4 g per day did not improve cholesterol levels.
 
Cancer
There has been a great deal of research on turmeric's anti-cancer properties, but results are still very early. Evidence from test tube and animal studies suggests that curcumin may help prevent or treat several types of cancers, including prostate, breast, skin, and colon cancer. Its preventive effects may be because it is a strong antioxidant, protecting cells from damage. More research is needed. Cancer should be treated with conventional medications. Don' t use alternative therapies alone to treat cancer. If you choose to use complementary therapies along with your cancer treatment, make sure you tell all your doctors.
 
Bacterial and Viral Infections
Test tube and animal studies suggest turmeric may kill bacteria and viruses. But researchers don' t know whether it would work in people.
 
Cautionary and Possible Side Effects
The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, can trigger side effects and may interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, you should take herbs with care, under the supervision of a health care provider.
 
Turmeric and curcumin supplements are considered safe when taken at the recommended doses. However, taking large amounts of turmeric for long periods of time may cause stomach upset and, in extreme cases, ulcers. People who have gallstones or obstruction of the bile passages should talk to their doctor before taking turmeric.
 
If you have diabetes, talk to your doctor before taking turmeric supplements. Turmeric may lower blood sugar levels, and when combined with medications for diabetes could cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
 
Although it is safe to eat foods with turmeric, pregnant and breastfeeding women should not take turmeric supplements.
 
Because turmeric may act like a blood-thinner, you should stop taking it at least 2 weeks before surgery. Tell your doctor and surgeon that you have been taking turmeric.
 
Links
Wikipedia - Turmeric
 
University of Maryland Medical Center - Turmeric
 
Recipes
Turmeric Face Mask
 
Ingredients:
  • 1 tbsp. of honey
  • 1 cup of chickpea powder
  • 1/4 of a tsp. of turmeric powder
  • 2/3 of a cup of milk
  • more milk or water if needed
Steps:
1. Fill a bowl with a little bit more than a cup of chickpea powder.
2. Pour in 1 tbsp. of honey.
3. Put in 1/4 of a tsp. of turmeric powder.
4. Add in 2/3 of a cup of whole milk.
5. Mix well. Make sure you get all of the powder stuck at the bottom out and mixed in. It is best to use a somewhat deep bowl so it does not spill.If this is too thick, put in more milk or put some water in.
6. Wait 15 minutes.
7. Apply a medium thick layer of the pack onto your face and neck. Make sure to get your nostrils and under your eyes. Use the rest elsewhere on your body.

 

For more details and pictures of the process, please see the link below:
Wikihow - How to Make a Rejuvenating Turmeric Face Mask

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