Sunday, February 12, 2006

Out Of The Spice Box, Into The Lab

The goddess of turmeric brings color in life
It is the ornament of married woman
And any woman who puts turmeric in her purse,
Her purse will never be empty

An old Indian folk song praises turmeric, the golden spice from the East, for its power to bring beauty, good health and good luck to those who use and carry it.

But in Indian medical lore, the pungent, woody-tasting powder is more precious still.

Modern medicine is starting to sit up and pay attention. Scientists are taking a closer look at this Asian wonder spice, teasing out active ingredients and testing its age-old cultural and medicinal uses in 21st century laboratories. The National Institutes of Health has funded at least eight studies investigating turmeric. The spice and a chemical it contains — curcumin — are being probed for their potential to prevent and treat a broad range of diseases: cancer, cystic fibrosis, Alzheimer's and arthritis.

The uses of turmeric, some described in ancient Indian medical texts, are indeed numerous. Full Story

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