Turmeric - Na­ture’s WON­DER DRUG!

Scottish Daily Mail - - Coffeebrea­k -

OUNCE for ounce, herbs and spices have more an­tiox­i­dants than any other food group. This means they can help pre­vent the ini­tial trig­ger­ing of mu­ta­tions in your DNA that could lead to can­cer or other dis­eases. So tak­ing a mo­ment to spice up your life can have far-reach­ing con­se­quences. And the truly amaz­ing prop­er­ties of turmeric make it some­thing we should sprin­kle on our food ev­ery sin­gle day.


WhAT if some­one could in­vent a magic pill that pro­tected us from some of the worst dis­eases on the planet? Imag­ine the joy of the phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pa­nies — and what they’d charge us to buy it.

Well, I have news that Big Pharma doesn’t par­tic­u­larly want to hear. The in­gre­di­ents for that pill are prob­a­bly al­ready right there on your kitchen shelves: in a packet or bot­tle la­belled turmeric.

Since the turn of the cen­tury, more than 50 clin­i­cal tri­als have tested cur­cumin — the pig­ment in turmeric that gives it that bright yel­low colour — against a va­ri­ety of dis­eases.

Th­ese show that the spice may play a sig­nif­i­cant role in pre­vent­ing or treat­ing lung dis­ease, brain dis­ease and a va­ri­ety of can­cers — in­clud­ing mul­ti­ple myeloma, colon can­cer and pan­cre­atic can­cer.

Cur­cumin has also been shown to help speed re­cov­ery af­ter surgery and ef­fec­tively treat rheuma­toid arthri­tis bet­ter than the lead­ing drug of choice. It may also be ef­fec­tive i n treat­ing os­teoarthri­tis and other in­flam­ma­tory con­di­tions, s uch as l upus and in­flam­ma­tory bowel dis­ease.

In the lat­est trial for ul­cer­a­tive col­i­tis, a ran­domised, dou­ble-blind study found more than 50 per cent of pa­tients achieved re­mis­sion within a month on cur­cumin — com­pared with none of the pa­tients who re­ceived the placebo. And con­sum­ing turmeric with soya may of­fer a dou­ble ben­e­fit for os­teoarthri­tis suf­fer­ers.

So how much do you eat — and how do you eat it?

Turmeric is po­tent stuff. If I gave you an eighth of a tea­spoon of turmeric to eat once a day for a week, then ex­posed your blood to an ox­i­dis­ing (bad) chem­i­cal, the num­ber of cells with DNA dam­age could be cut in half. All be­cause you had a lit­tle bit of turmeric on­board.

Be­cause this spice can have such pow­er­ful drug-like ef­fects, I’d ad­vise ev­ery­one — in­clud­ing preg­nant women — to take just a quar­ter of a tea­spoon a day.

Ul­tra­sound stud­ies show that even this small amount causes the gall­blad­der to con­tract, squeez­ing out half its con­tents. In do­ing this, it may help to stop gall­stones from form­ing. But be warned: if you al­ready have a gall­stone, that turmeric-in­duced squeeze could be painful.

And here’s a good tip. Try to have your quar­ter-tea­spoon with black pep­per.

About five per cent of black pep­per i s com­posed of a com­pound called piper­ine. And one of the things this does is to pre­vent your liver from ac­tively work­ing to get rid of the cur­cumin you’ve just eaten.

Even the tini­est pinch of pep­per can sig­nif­i­cantly boost cur­cumin lev­els in your blood.

You can buy turmeric from any su­per­mar­ket — or get it raw from Asian shops and grate a quar­ter of an inch of the root into your food. There’s ev­i­dence to sug­gest raw turmeric may have greater anti-in­flam­ma­tory ef­fects, while cooked turmeric of­fers bet­ter DNA pro­tec­tion.

I find that turmeric of any kind goes par­tic­u­larly well with brown rice, lentil dishes and roasted cau­li­flower.

But wouldn’t it be eas­ier to take a cur­cumin sup­ple­ment?

No — be­cause cur­cumin is not equiv­a­lent to turmeric — it’s just one of its in­gre­di­ents. The few stud­ies that have com­pared turmeric with cur­cumin have sug­gested turmeric may work even bet­ter.

Against breast can­cer, f or in­stance, cur­cumin kicked butt, but turmeric kicked even more butt. The same was true against pan­cre­atic can­cer, colon can­cer, mul­ti­ple myeloma, chronic myeloid leukaemia and oth­ers.


STUD­IES show that about 20 sprigs of co­rian­der eaten daily for two months re­duced in­flam­ma­tion lev­els in arthri­tis suf­fer­ers. The same dose also cut uric acid lev­els in half, sug­gest­ing that eat­ing lots of co­rian­der may be use­ful for peo­ple suf­fer­ing from gout.


WhAT hap­pens if you rub cap­saicin — the burn­ing part of hot pep­pers — in­side your nos­trils? As med­i­cal stu­dents re­cruited for a trial dis­cov­ered, it makes you sneeze and causes a burn­ing pain (level eight or nine on a scale of 10).

But, as the days went on, each ap­pli­ca­tion of cap­saicin hurt less. By day five, it hardly hurt, and their noses were no longer run­ning.

What was prob­a­bly hap­pen­ing is the pain fi­bres in their noses — the nerves that carry pain sen­sa­tion — had ex­hausted their stores of pain neu­ro­trans­mit­ter. Mean­while, the nerves had to make more neuro- trans­mit­ter from scratch, which takes a cou­ple of weeks.

So how can this be ex­ploited for med­i­cal pur­poses?

Well, there’s a type of headache called ‘clus­ter headache’, de­scribed as one of the worst pains hu­mans can ex­pe­ri­ence. So re­searchers de­cided to try the daily cap­saicin ex­per­i­ment with peo­ple who suf­fered from th­ese headaches.

By day five, half the pa­tients were ap­par­ently com­pletely cured.

Cap­saicin is also use­ful for treat­ing ir­ri­ta­ble bowel syn­drome: en­teric- coated cap­sules of red­pep­per pow­der were able to de­crease sig­nif­i­cantly the in­ten­sity of ab­dom­i­nal pain and bloat­ing.

And peo­ple with chronic in­di­ges­tion found their stom­ach pains and nau­sea im­proved af­ter a month of tak­ing about one and a half tea­spoons of cayenne pep­per a day.


SCI­EN­TISTS c on­ducted a dou­ble- blind clin­i­cal trial to mea­sure how well ginger treated mi­graine headaches com­pared with suma­trip­tan, one of the topselling drugs in the world.

Amaz­ingly, they found one-eighth of a tea­spoon of pow­dered ginger worked as fast and as well as the drug. The same ap­plied when ginger was pit­ted against ibupro­fen.

Ginger also helps with men­strual cramps, which plague up to 90 per cent of younger women.

Just one-eighth of a tea­spoon of pow­dered ginger, three times a day, was found to drop pain lev­els from an eight to a six on a scale of 1-10. In the se­cond month, the lev­els dropped to three.

And if you start tak­ing ginger a week be­fore your pe­riod, you may ex­pe­ri­ence a ben­e­fi­cial change in your pre­men­strual mood.

Ginger also re­duces nau­sea dur­ing mo­tion sick­ness, preg­nancy, chemo­ther­apy, ra­di­a­tion, and af­ter surgery. (The max­i­mum daily dose of fresh ginger for preg­nant women is 20g)


OrEGANO is such an an­tiox­i­dantrich herb that re­searchers de­cided to see if it could re­duce the DNA­dam­ag­ing ef­fects of ra­di­a­tion.

For their tests, they used ra­dioac­tive io­dine, which leaves pa­tients so ra­dioac­tive that they’re ad­vised not to kiss any­one. To their sur­prise, they found chro­mo­some dam­age — which can cause fur­ther can­cers — was re­duced by 70 per cent if the pa­tient ate oregano.


I N LAB stud­ies, mar­jo­ram ap­pears sig­nif­i­cantly to in­hibit the spread of breast can­cer cells.

For an­other sci­en­tific trial, women with poly­cys­tic ovary syn­drome were in­structed to drink two cups of mar­jo­ram tea on an empty stom­ach ev­ery day for a month. At the end of the study, re­searchers noted that the tea had a ben­e­fi­cial ef­fect on the women’s hor­mone lev­els.


rE­SEArChErS at Penn­syl­va­nia State Univer­sity com­pared the ef­fects of a high-fat chicken meal with and with­out a mix­ture of nine herbs and spices.

The peo­ple who ate added spice ex­pe­ri­enced a dou­bling of the an­tiox­i­dant power in their blood­streams, com­pared with the spice­free group. But that wasn’t all.

The spice group ended up with 30 per cent less fat in their blood and im­proved in­sulin sen­si­tiv­ity. So if you must eat fried chicken, have it with spices.


SOME­ONE weigh­ing about 11 stone should prob­a­bly eat no more than 5 ta­ble­spoons of raw poppy seeds at a time.

And too much nut­meg can also be a prob­lem — a toxic dose is just two to three tea­spoons.

I’d al­ways as­sumed no one would ever come close to that amount, un­til a mar­ried cou­ple were hos­pi­talised af­ter eat­ing pasta. The hus­band had ac­ci­den­tally added 4 tsp of nut­meg to the meal while cook­ing.

An­other spice to be wary of is cin­na­mon. Most of the stuff we buy is the ‘cas­sia’ type, which con­tains a com­pound called coumarin.

Even a quar­ter of a tea­spoon a few times a week may be too much for small chil­dren. And a daily tea­spoon would ex­ceed the up­per safety limit for adults.

The more ex­pen­sive Cey­lon cin­na­mon, on the other hand, is both in­of­fen­sive and packed with an­tiox­i­dants. DAILY REC­OM­MEN­DA­TION: ¼ tsp of turmeric, and any other (salt­free) herbs and spices you en­joy!

AdApTed from How Not To die: dis­cover The Foods Sci­en­tif­i­cally proven To pre­vent And Re­verse dis­ease by dr Michael Greger and Gene Stone (Macmil­lan, £14.99). To buy a copy for £11.24, visit mail­book­shop.co.uk or call 0808 272 0808. Of­fer un­til March 5, p&p is free on or­ders over £12.

have since risen by more than 400 per cent, ac­cord­ing to Pub­lic Health Eng­land. It strikes rapidly and af­fects teenagers in par­tic­u­lar — partly be­cause they are more mo­bile and en­counter more types of bac­te­ria.

Hor­monal changes may also make them more sus­cep­ti­ble (al­though it was Menin­gi­tis W that re­cently nearly claimed the life of rugby star Matt Daw­son’s two-year-old son Sami). WHO GETS THE NHS VAC­CINE? There are two (de­ac­ti­vated) vac­cines, Ni­men­rix and Men­veo, which cover four groups of menin­gi­tis: A,C, W and Y (the vac­cine is given in a sin­gle injection). A na­tional vac­ci­na­tion pro­gramme us­ing the ACWY vac­cine was in­tro­duced last Au­gust for teenagers aged 17 and 18. First-year stu­dents, who are a high-risk group, un­der the age of 25 are also el­i­gi­ble.

From spring 2016 the Men ACWY jab will re­place Men C, which is cur­rently of­fered to Year Nine or Year Ten pupils (13 to 15-year-olds); this will also pro­vide a catch-up to in­clude pupils in Year 11 (15 and 16-year-olds). SHOULD I PAY FOR IT PRI­VATELY? Dr Scurr thinks that par­ents should se­ri­ously con­sider get­ting pri­vate treat­ment for teenagers who miss the cur­rent cut-off for vac­ci­na­tion. The jab is avail­able from travel health cen­tres as it is manda­tory for any­one vis­it­ing Saudi Ara­bia at the time of the Hajj pil­grim­age and also for travel to sub-Sa­ha­ran Africa. COST: Less than £100.


THE flu jab saves lives ev­ery year, says John Ox­ford, pro­fes­sor emer­i­tus at Queen Mary Univer­sity of Lon­don. ‘It can help pre­vent in­fec­tion in the first place, but it also re­duces sever­ity of symp­toms in those who do catch it.’

The jab con­tains three dif­fer­ent types of de­ac­ti­vated flu virus. Th­ese change each year. ‘The flu bug mu­tates very rapidly and there are a con­stant stream of new strains which we have to try and se­cond-guess,’ ex­plains Pro­fes­sor Ox­ford.

‘Most of the time the suc­cess rate is pretty high, but there are years when a new mu­ta­tion comes along which we had not ex­pected.’ WHO GETS THE NHS VAC­CINE? The jab is of­fered ev­ery year to adults who are more vul­ner­a­ble if they catch flu, in­clud­ing any­one aged over 65, preg­nant women, and chil­dren and adults with un­der­ly­ing health con­di­tions such as asthma or weak­ened im­mune sys­tems.

And all healthy chil­dren aged two, three and four years, plus chil­dren in Year One and Year Two at school, are given a nasal spray vac­cine, known as Fluenz Te­tra. This is also used for any child up to the age of 17 who’s at risk be­cause of an­other con­di­tion. SHOULD I PAY FOR IT PRI­VATELY? ‘Con­sid­er­ing this in­fec­tion can be se­vere, I would se­ri­ously con­sider pay­ing for a flu jab as an adult or a

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