While studies concerning the health benefits of turmeric are still premature, early evidence has linked turmeric to a slew of health benefits, most of which are based on its most active component, curcumin, the compound that also gives turmeric its yellow-orange color. Turmeric is full of powerful antioxidants, including curcumin, which are known to fight cancer-causing free radicals. Most research done on the health benefits of turmeric have been done using curcumin, not the whole turmeric root. While the studies are promising, more research, especially those using human subjects, need to be done.Anti-inflammatory – Turmeric is mainly promoted for its anti-inflammatory properties. This property has made turmeric popular with those suffering from arthritis or joint issues. A 2006 University of Arizona study found that this root was able to treat and inhibit the onset of rheumatoid arthritis in rats. Applying a paste of turmeric to the skin can also help ease skin inflammation. It has also been found to be an effective treatment for inflammatory bowel disease.
Pain Reliever and Antiseptic – Turmeric is a pain reliever that also has natural antiseptic and antibacterial properties. Turmeric is believed to boost the immune system and, when applied to wounds, can ease pain and kill germs.
Cancer prevention - In the lab, curcumin has been shown to slow down or
inhibit the progression of many types of cancer and also help the body destroy mutated cancer cells. In many animals, it has been shown to slow the growth
and spread of some cancers. In a UCLA study, curcumin was shown to block the enzyme that causes the growth of head and neck cancer. Studies have also linked turmeric to lower rates of breast, prostate, colon, and lung cancer.
Brain health support - There is some evidence that turmeric can support brain healthand help in avoiding Alzheimer's disease. There is a low incidence of Alzheimer's in elderly populations in India, where consumption of turmeric is very high. Research with mice has also shown that curcumin can slow the progression of Alzheimer's disease. It is thought that curcumin my play a role in disrupting a key protein in the formation of Alzheimer's.
Liver Detoxification – Turmeric is also believed to detoxify the liver. One study showed that rats fed turmeric had increased levels of enzymes necessary for liver detoxification.