Turmeric happens to have powerful anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and antibiotic properties [source: Monda]. It can be made into a paste and applied directly to the skin to help heal sprains, open wounds and other injuries. As a result of its anti-inflammatory properties, it has been used for years to treat patients with many different types of arthritis. And some contend that it not only prevents heart failure but also can repair damage that has already been done. On top of all that, people use it to treat acne as well as other skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema.
Curcumin, the main component in turmeric, has been known to help "clean" the liver, which in turn improves liver function. As a result, the liver is able to get rid of more LDL cholesterol. And yes, that's the bad kind [source: WHFoods]. The same principles applied here could mean that turmeric can be helpful with treating digestive illnesses. Furthermore, many believe its ability to speed up metabolism can assist with weight loss.
Surprisingly, turmeric can also provide relief from diarrhea and it reportedly cures bladder infections. Research regarding its affect on cancer is ongoing; it's shown promise in the area of slowing the spread of cancerous cells. Indian men who ingest turmeric regularly rarely develop colon cancer. New studies are also showing that turmeric may be able to prevent Alzheimer's and slow down the disease's progression in patients who already have it [source: WHFoods]. Studies are currently underway to determine whether or not turmeric can also be used in the fight against HIV and cystic fibrosis. Is there anything this spice can't do?
The number of health benefits linked to turmeric is truly extraordinary. We'll talk about some of them more in depth a little later. For now, let's focus on the side effects.