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This Spice Is More Effective Than 16 Drugs

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Doctors are often quick to prescribe medications for health issues like diabetes, high cholesterol, and inflammation, but what if it was possible to cure these issues with side effects? According to recent studies, the Indian spice turmeric is more effective than 16 prescription medications. Found out which below.

Turmeric is the current “superfood” of the past few years. Turmeric is a tiny yellowish root that has surprisingly effective healing powers. The root of the turmeric plant was used traditionally as a spice in Indian cuisine. The root powder is what gives curries and other Indian dishes their distinct yellow color.

Researchers uncovered a few years ago that turmeric hides a hidden healing agent that can cure numerous diseases and health conditions. Turmeric is the most studied herbal remedy in the world today. There have been over 6000 published and peer-reviewed studies on the powerful healing effects of turmeric and curcumin.

According to these studies, there are over 600 medical benefits and 175 physiological effects of turmeric powder. The most powerful ingredient in turmeric is the ingredient curcumin, which is cited as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and a stress reliever.

What is Turmeric?

Turmeric or Curcuma longa belongs in the ginger family. It is a perennial plant native to South Asia and known for its rhizome which has a long history in food preparation and traditional medicine.

Although fresh rhizome is the most common form in which turmeric is used as food and medicine, turmeric powder is also used as dye and food coloring because of its deep orange-yellow color.

The culinary uses of turmeric extend beyond simply serving as a food additive to impact its bright orange-yellow color, it also serves as a spice in curries and as a condiment.

The most popular bioactive compound in turmeric is curcumin. This is the compound responsible for the bright color of the herb and as a food additive, it is known as E100. Curcumin is also responsible for most of the medicinal properties of turmeric.

Major Constituents of Turmeric
  • Curcuminoids such as curcumin and desmethoxycurcumin
  • Essential oils such as cineole, turmerone, and cymene
  • Soluble and insoluble dietary fiber
  • Minerals such as manganese, iron, potassium, copper, zinc, and magnesium
  • Vitamins B3, B6, C, E, and K

Turmeric has been used for centuries in both Ayurveda and Chinese traditional systems of medicine. This spice is used as a herbal remedy in the treatment of colic, jaundice, hemorrhage, toothache, chest pain, and blood urine.

What is Curcumin?

Curcumin is one of the active ingredients in turmeric powder. Curcumin is cited for a variety of health benefits. According to studies, curcumin has many healing properties. The main effects of the ingredient include antioxidant properties, anti-inflammatory properties, and anti-stress properties.

Interest in curcumin first originated when it was discovered that India had one of the lowest Alzheimer’s rates in the world. Researchers first examined turmeric powder and curcumin for the benefits that it could provide for memory, but what they uncovered was so much more than a simple memory aid.

Turmeric Research

Since there has been so much interest in turmeric, it makes sense that there are so many studies about the root. However, unlike many herbs that are examined closely, turmeric was found to be even more beneficial than when the investigations started. Thanks to thousands of research papers and studies, turmeric was found to be a remedy more effective than these following 16 drugs:


Do you have high cholesterol? You don’t have to take the conventional treatment option for high cholesterol. A study from 2008 conducted by the Nizam's Institute of Medical Sciences found that a preparation of curcuminoids was more effective at treating high cholesterol than the drug Lipitor in patients with oxidative stress and inflammation from type 2 diabetes.


Corticosteroids are commonly used to reduce inflammation in a variety of conditions. A study from 1999 published in the journal “Phytotherapy Research” found that curcumin was more effective at treating eye inflammation than corticosteroids in patients with eye disease. In 2008, researchers found that curcumin was more effective than corticosteroids in treating lung transplantation-associated injuries by controlling inflammation.

Prozac and Imipramine

Turmeric is mostly lauded for its ability to fight inflammation, but in these studies, curcumin was shown to benefit individuals with depression. According to a 2011 study conducted by Government Medical College in India, it was found that giving turmeric supplements to depressed rats was just as effective as giving the rats Prozac or imipramine.

Anti-inflammatory Drugs

Numerous studies have found that when used to fight inflammation, turmeric and curcumin are just as effective as standard anti-inflammatory drugs. A 204 study conducted by The University of Texas found that curcumin is an effective remedy for inflammation as 10 other anti-inflammatory drugs (tamoxifen, aspirin, ibuprofen, dexamethasone, celecoxib, sulindac, phenylbutazone, indomethacin, diclofenac, and naproxen). Even as far back as 1986 studies have shown that curcumin is as effective as aspirin- not only as an anti-inflammatory but also as a blood thinner.


Oxaliplatin is used during chemotherapy to act as an antiproliferative agent to block the growth of cancer cells. In 2007, researchers from the University of Leicester in the UK found that curcumin was just as effective at blocking the growth and spread of cancer cells as the official medication. A variety of other studies have shown that turmeric can have a blocking effect on cancer cells as well. According to the National Institute of Health, over 54 studies have looked at the benefits of curcumin in reducing the spread of cancer cells. 27 studies have shown that curcumin is effective against cancers resistant to standard medications and drug therapies.


A few studies have looked at the role of turmeric in diabetes. According to a 2009 study conducted by Auburn University, curcumin was able to activate AMPK and suppress gluconeogenic gene expression. AMPK increases glucose intake, and gluconeogenic gene expression suppresses glucose production in the liver. According to the study, curcumin was up to 100,000 times more effective than the current medication used for the same purpose- Metformin.

The Benefits of Turmeric

As the above studies show, turmeric can have amazingly powerful benefits for the body. The main benefits of turmeric are used to fight cancer, promote healthy cholesterol levels, prevent diabetes, ease inflammation, and stop inflammation.

Research into the therapeutic properties of the phytochemicals in turmeric has been growing in recent years. As of 2012, over 70 clinical trials have been registered with the U.S. National Institutes of Health investigating the health benefits of curcumin and turmeric.

These new studies show that the phytochemicals in turmeric have potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric also has antibacterial and antiviral activities.

These medicinal properties are useful in the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease, cystic fibrosis, and rheumatoid arthritis.

However, one of the major areas of turmeric research involves the usage of the herb in the prevention and treatment of certain cancers. Preliminary studies indicate that turmeric can reduce the risks of prostate, breast, colon, and lung cancers.

Also, turmeric is useful in the management of Alzheimer’s disease. Curcumin readily crosses the blood-brain barrier and it can speed up the clearance of amyloid protein plaques.

In addition to these health benefits, studies also show that turmeric is useful for detoxifying the body. To do this, turmeric improves the expression of at least 2 important liver enzymes.

However, the effects of turmeric on the liver extend beyond mere detoxification. Turmeric increases the population of receptors for LDL (low-density lipoprotein or “bad”) cholesterol in the liver. This effect directly increases the breakdown of LDL cholesterol and the reduction of blood cholesterol levels.

Additionally, the antioxidant effect of turmeric inhibits lipid peroxidation and prevents the oxidation of LDL cholesterol.

This is important for cardiovascular health because oxidized LDL cholesterol is responsible for the clogging and thickening of the arteries.

Lastly, turmeric can also improve cardiovascular health through its antiplatelet action. By preventing platelets from sticking together, turmeric prevents blood clot formation and can, therefore, reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.

Studies on Turmeric and Cholesterol

Most of the studies investigating the effects of turmeric or curcumin on cholesterol levels involve animal models. There are still very few studies done to determine whether the positive results seen in animal studies extend to humans.

Turmeric and Cholesterol

One of the main benefits of turmeric is its ability to reduce cholesterol levels. How does turmeric do this? Turmeric works as an anti-inflammatory in the bloodstream. Under normal circumstances, cholesterol is a healing element. Cholesterol is used in the production of all new cells. Cholesterol is necessary for creating new cells and promoting the overall health of the body.

The reason that cholesterol can cause problems is due to chronic inflammation in the body. Over time, the foods that you eat can contribute to excessive levels of inflammation in the bloodstream. You can find a list of inflaming foods below:

Common Inflaming Foods
  • Vegetable oils
  • Sugar
  • Hydrogenated oils
  • Processed grains

When your body enters a state of chronic inflammation, the amount of cholesterol in your blood rises. This is done to encourage the healing of your body and to reduce inflammation, but when inflaming triggers continue, your cholesterol continues to rise.

Eventually, you will have high levels of LDL cholesterol in your bloodstream. LDL cholesterol is small-particle cholesterol which can get trapped in the walls of the bloodstream, leading to plaque build-up and an increased risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. Adding curcumin to the diet can help control cholesterol levels in the blood.

Other Forms of Natural Cholesterol Support

If you are serious about controlling your cholesterol levels and avoiding the use of cholesterol medication, simply adding turmeric to your diet may not be enough. Additionally, you will want to reduce your consumption of inflaming foods so you can control your cholesterol levels from the outside in. A few other supplements are also helpful in reducing bad cholesterol levels, including:

Garlic: According to a 2004 study from Monash University in Australia, supplementing with garlic for 12 weeks was able to significantly reduce LDL and total cholesterol levels in participants.

Vitamin E and C: A 2003 study conducted by the University of Kuopio in Finland found that supplementing with vitamin E and C for six years was able to slow atherosclerotic progression (thickening artery walls) in study participants.

Vitamin B5: Vitamin B5 (also known as pantothenic acid), is highly effective at controlling cholesterol levels. A study from the National Academy of Sciences in 2001 found that rats given vitamin B5 had lower LDL cholesterol levels.

Gum Guggul: A study from 1994 by the Medical Hospital and Research Centre found that supplementing with gum guggul for 24 weeks was able to reduce overall cholesterol levels and LDL cholesterol levels.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids and Policosanol: A mix of policosanol and omega 3 fatty acids were able to reduce cholesterol levels by around 24 percent in a 2005 study from the Surgical Medical Research Center in Cuba.

Turmeric as A Cholesterol Drug

As the above studies show, turmeric and curcumin are as effective as 6 types of medications currently used to treat conditions like cholesterol, diabetes, cancer, and inflammation. One of the biggest areas of success for turmeric is in fighting cholesterol levels. You can use turmeric in place of cholesterol drugs along with eating a healthy diet. Add turmeric to your diet in supplement form daily and cook with it wherever possible.

In general, low doses of herbal “medicines” taken over time are more effective than super doses of the herb when a health problem arises. By taking preventive supplements and eating a healthy diet, you can prevent issues like high cholesterol from ever occurring. However, if you already have high cholesterol, the same steps will work to reduce your total cholesterol and improve your health in multiple ways.

Studies on Turmeric and Cholesterol

Most of the studies investigating the effects of turmeric or curcumin on cholesterol levels involve animal models. There are still very few studies done to determine whether the positive results seen in animal studies extend to humans.

Can Turmeric Lower Blood Cholesterol?

A 1996 study published in the Indian Journal of Pharmacology detailed the hypolipidemic effects of turmeric extract in mice fed on a high-cholesterol diet.

The researchers fed the mice on this diet for 60 days and observed that serum and liver cholesterol levels were significantly increased by the 15th day of the study. This increase continued as the mice continued on the high-cholesterol diet.

After giving these mice 5% turmeric extract, the researchers observed a significant reduction in serum and liver cholesterol levels as well as triglyceride levels.

Giving the mice 10% turmeric extract lowered the cholesterol and triglyceride levels to normal values.

This study proves that turmeric can indeed lower blood cholesterol levels at least in mice. Also, it shows that the hypocholesterolemic effect of turmeric is dose-dependent.

A 2008 study published in the Journal of Bangladesh Pharmacological Society also demonstrated the cholesterol-lowering benefits of turmeric.

For the study, the researchers fed 20 male guinea pigs on a free-range diet for 30 days before separating them into 4 groups. The first group received no supplementation while the other 3 groups were given turmeric, garlic, and turmeric plus garlic.

The results of the study showed that both turmeric and garlic (whether used alone or in combination) lowered blood cholesterol levels.

This study not only demonstrated the hypocholesterolemic benefits of turmeric but also indicated that garlic can be safely added to turmeric to improve this lipid-lowering property.

Curcumin, Bile Acids, and Cholesterol

In a 2005 study published in Medical Science Monitor: International Medical Journal of Experimental and Clinical Research, a group of researchers investigated the hypolipidemic and antioxidant benefits of curcumin in rats.

The researchers induced hypercholesterolemia in the rats by feeding them a high-cholesterol diet for 7 days. Thereafter, they added 0.5% curcumin to the animals’ diet.

The study result showed that curcumin

  • Reduced serum total cholesterol by 21%
  • Reduced serum LDL cholesterol by 42.5%
  • Increased serum HDL (high-density lipoprotein or “good”) cholesterol by 50%

The researchers confirmed that curcumin is the turmeric phytochemical responsible for reducing cholesterol levels. Also, they determined that curcumin reduced lipid levels by interfering with the absorption, metabolism, and excretion of cholesterol rather than by antioxidant mechanisms.

A much earlier study published in the Journal of Nutrition in 1970 reached similar conclusions.

In that study, the researchers demonstrated that curcumin lowered serum and liver cholesterol by 33% - 50% in a group of rats induced with hypercholesterolemia.

The researchers determined that the cholesterol-lowering effect of curcumin was caused by the increased fecal excretion of bile acids and cholesterol.

Curcumin and Hepatic Metabolism of Cholesterol

In another study done on rats, the researchers identified another mechanism by which curcumin reduces cholesterol levels. This study was published in the journal, Molecular and Cellular Biochemistry, in 1997.

After inducing diabetes in the rats with the drug, streptozotocin, the researchers divided them into 2 groups. The first group was placed on a high-cholesterol diet while the second group received a control diet. Both groups were given 0.5% curcumin.

The results showed that the levels of LDL cholesterol and VLDL (very low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol fell significantly with curcumin supplementation.

Additionally, curcumin lowered triglyceride and phospholipid levels.

The cholesterol-lowering effect was higher among the rats fed on the high-cholesterol diet than those fed on the control diet.

To determine how curcumin lowers blood cholesterol, the researchers measured the activities of 2 liver enzymes: HMG-CoA reductase and cholesterol-7-alpha-hydroxylase. They found that the activity of the second enzyme was raised in the livers of the rats fed curcumin.

Therefore, this study shows that one of the mechanisms by which curcumin lowers cholesterol levels is by increasing the breakdown of cholesterol in the liver.

Curcumin and LDL Receptors

A 2006 study published in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry investigated the effects of curcumin on the human liver cell line.

This in vitro study was designed to closely investigate the mechanisms by which curcumin reduced cholesterol levels. The researchers demonstrated that the effect of curcumin on cholesterol metabolism extends deep to the genetic levels.

By treating the human liver cells with curcumin, the researchers showed that the turmeric phytochemical raised LDL-receptor mRNA seven-folds.

This finding shows that curcumin increases the uptake of cholesterol by the liver and its removal from the plasma. By increasing the population of LDL receptors in the liver, curcumin accelerates the breakdown of LDL cholesterol.

Besides the LDL receptors, the study also showed that curcumin increases the population of other receptors, such as liver X receptor and retinoic acid receptor, involved in lipid breakdown.

The researchers also affirmed that curcumin was not toxic to liver cells and that these cholesterol-lowering mechanisms were triggered at low doses easily attained by oral turmeric supplementation.

Effect of Cooking on the Cholesterol-lowering Benefit of Turmeric

A 2008 study published in the African Journal of Food Science investigated the differences between the hypocholesterolemic effects of raw and cooked turmeric and red pepper.

The researchers induced hypercholesterolemia in a group of rats by feeding them a high-cholesterol diet for 8 weeks. During this period, the researchers gave different groups of experimental rats dietary and heat-processed turmeric and red pepper.

This study is important because cooking heat has been shown to reduce the major phytochemicals in spices. Therefore, heat-processed turmeric contained a lower amount of curcumin than raw turmeric. There was also a significant loss of capsaicin from the cooked red pepper.

The results of this study showed that both raw and cooked turmeric and red pepper significantly lowered cholesterol levels.

The differences between the hypocholesterolemic effects of raw and cooked forms of the spices were negligible.

The results showed that turmeric (and red pepper) reduced total serum cholesterol as well as LDL cholesterol levels.

Also, the spices increased serum vitamin E concentration. The improved antioxidant protection significantly reduced lipid peroxidation in the liver.

Cardiovascular Benefits of Turmeric Supplementation

A 1999 study published in the journal, Atherosclerosis, investigated the effect of turmeric extract on lipid oxidation and atherosclerosis in a small group of rabbits.

After feeding 18 rabbits with a cholesterol-rich diet for 7 weeks, the researchers divided them into 3 groups. One group received 1.66 mg/kg of turmeric extract while another group received double the dose. The rabbits in the third group were not given turmeric extract and they served as control.

The study results showed that only the low dose of turmeric extract reduced the peroxidation of LDL cholesterol even though both doses of herb reduced the level of total plasma cholesterol.

Also, the lower dose of turmeric extract produced a bigger reduction in cholesterol, triglyceride, and phospholipid levels than the high dose.

The researchers concluded that the appropriate dose of turmeric can reduce the risk of atherosclerosis and improve cardiovascular health. Therefore, turmeric supplementation should be considered for this purpose in humans.

A study similar to the above was published in the Journal of Atherosclerosis and Thrombosis in 2002.

In that study, the researchers obtained serum LDL samples from human volunteers and exposed them to 4 antioxidants (curcumin, tetrahydrocurcumin, probucol, and alpha-tocopherol).

The results showed that probucol was the most effective of these antioxidants for inhibiting the oxidative modification of LDL cholesterol. Tetrahydrocurcumin was second to probucol and curcumin was the least effective antioxidant of the set.

Thereafter, the researchers tested tetrahydrocurcumin on a group of rabbits fed a high-cholesterol diet.

Compared to the results obtained from the control group, tetrahydrocurcumin reduced oxidative stress in the liver and kidneys and also reduced the severity of atherosclerotic lesions.

The researchers concluded that the curcuminoids in turmeric can reduce the risk of atherosclerosis by their antioxidant effects.

The results of this study also suggest that other turmeric curcuminoids besides curcumin can provide cardiovascular and cholesterol-lowering benefits.





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