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Healing powers of turmeric uncovered

June 8, 2009 8:43:57 AM PDT
Medical researchers say they've uncovered the mystery behind the healing powers of turmeric, a spice that's regarded as a holy powder in India. Turmeric has been used for centuries to treat wounds, infections and other ailments. Experts say curcumin, the main ingredient in turmeric, is the reason behind the spice's healing powers.

Curcumin molecules insert themselves into cell membranes, making them more stable. That stability helps boost the cell's resistance to infection by disease-causing microbes.

The National Institutes for Health's National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine says turmeric is used for conditions such as heartburn, stomach ulcers, and gallstones. It is also used to reduce inflammation, as well as to prevent and treat cancer.

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