What looks like ginger root, is in the same family and is called the '"Queen of Spices"? It's curcumalonga commonly called turmeric. It differs from ginger by its rich orangey- yellow color when broken and has a pepper like aroma. In fact, turmeric's active ingredient, curcumen, gives mustard its yellow color and acrid taste. Turmeric is cultivated on Dominica in the rich volcanic soil and proves to be one of nature's new researched miracles.

As usual there has been a general lack of interest in this herb by conventional medical practitioners. However, there is a robust body of published research on the cardio- protective properties of turmeric. The American Journal of Cardiology found turmeric extract reduces post by-pass heart attack risk 56%. This is truly significant!

Earlier research shows turmeric may help with inflammation of the eye, inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis), multiple sclerosis, cuts, wounds and boils. Preliminary studies show turmeric may help reduce severity of bacterial and viral infections since it stimulates the immune system by its antibacterial, antiviral and anti fungal properties.

And the research continues. Animal studies show curcumen helps lower cholesterol and prevents build up of LDL (bad cholesterol) in blood vessels. Again, animal research has shown turmeric causes a drop in blood sugar levels which can assist diabetic sufferers and hence, increases the effectiveness in helping reduce insulin resistance.

Cancer researcher Ralph W. Moss believes in the natural anti- inflammatory properties of turmeric since he has witnessed turmeric inhibiting the growth of new blood vessels in tumors. Author and nutritionist Jonny Bowdem states there are at least 30 studies showing curcumin may have an anti- tumor effect. A 2006 study shows curcumin inhibited the growth of human colon cancer.

Curcumin stimulates the gall bladder and produces bile, hence helping to control weight. One study found it treats indigestion, reducing symptoms of bloating and gas. And finally, turmeric is a powerful anti-oxidant along with its anti- inflammatory abilities which may ward off Alzheimer's disease. Use the root by grating a 2 inch long piece or more into a large pot of boiling water. Boil 5 minutes. Cool. Drink as a tea 1-3 times a day after straining out the pieces or sprinkle the fresh powder over any food from popcorn to egg to pasta to salads. Adults require 1-2 grams per day or put 1 tsp. of powder into a glass of warm milk for asthma.

If taking capsules from your health food store, 500 mg to 1000mg is recommended for people with osteoarthritis. CAUTION …pregnant women, those on blood thinners including aspirin, those with gall stones or bile instructions should NOT take turmeric.

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