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Few, if any, plants have been revered as thoroughly -- by the religious and scientific community alike -- as a healer of the human body, mind and soul, as beautiful turmeric.
It could be written off as an overly imaginative cultural oddity that ancient Indians understood turmeric to be the physical essence of the Divine Mother -- a botanical embodiment of compassion and healing. After all, nothing in the known biochemistry of this common spice plant lends itself to so gratuitous a characterization, does it?
It turns out that even modern science now confirm that this 'curry' spice has therapeutic properties relevant to well over 600 different health conditions, and may therefore bestow on those who take it significant protection from many common causes of human suffering. Some of the more amazing examples are its ability to reverse aspects of dementia (Alzheimer's disease), replace Prozac, prevent type 2 diabetes, produce cardiovascular benefits as significant as exercise, including preventing post-bypass heart attack by 56%, heal the diabetic liver, kill lethal pancreatic cancer, and help kick painkillers to the curb for osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis, while giving at least a dozen more pharmaceuticals a run for their money.
While these examples are not proof of 'divine' benevolence, they certainly raise some interesting questions, not the least of which is how any substance could be so well suited for improving human physical and mental health with such a depth and breadth of effectiveness.
The author has personally reviewed the majority of the biomedical abstracts on turmeric and its primary polyphenol curcumin, available to view on the National Library of Medicine's bibliographic reference database known as MEDLINE (and searchable through engines like Pubmed.gov), and has been awed by how diverse and powerful this spice is for addressing the broad range of diseases and/or disease symptoms that commonly afflict our species.
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One of the novel findings that emerged in the author's comprehensive review of turmeric is that it can beneficially modulate over 175 distinct physiological actions, many of which operate upon traditional pharmacological pathways, e.g. interleukin-6 down-regulator, apoptotic, cyclooxygenase inhibitor, etc. During the indexing process the image emerged of a many-armed Indian Goddess, due to how diverse, intelligent and simultaneous are this spice's healing gifts.
In fact, from the perspective of monochemical-oriented pharmacology, a drug with more than 10 simultaneously therapeutic actions, and without the vast array of adverse, unintended side effects commonly associated with novel, patentable chemicals, turmeric would represent an impossible, miraculous entity, which if patentable, would generate more revenue than all the blockbuster drugs on the market put together. Instead, sadly, most pharmaceuticals have dozens of side effects that are often more powerful than the purported therapeutic properties they possess.