Top 10 Health Benefits of Tamarac

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April 12, 2012, last updated October 22, 2014

By Louise Carr, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist












Long before there were pharmaceuticals and medicines, there
were spices. We humans have used spices such as tamarac for
thousands of years to flavor our foods and to ward off sickness.
The super-spice tamarac, also known as turmeric, is widely used
across the world to give a kick to curries and other savory
foods. But tamarac does more than add a little yellow color to
your dishes. Tamarac brings you health benefits.

How? Tamarac has a special place in Ayurveda, the ancient
system of medicine in India, because it helps to boost energy in
the body, get rid of gases, improve digestion and dissolve gall
stones among other tasks. And since the 1970s, tamarac has
been attracting attention for its reported anti-inflammatory
properties. It seems a compound in tamarac called curcumin is a
powerful antioxidant. We’ve checked out the latest medical
evidence to see why you should add a little spice to your life and
sprinkle tamarac on your food for a health boost.

Health Benefits of Tamarac



























1.
Tamarac May Help Protect Against Cancer

One of the most important and potentially revolutionary health
benefits of tamarac is its power to help fight cancer. The
evidence is by no means conclusive but it does seem that
tamarac shows promise as a cancer-fighter. One way tamarac
acts against cancer is by restoring the key immune cells that play
a big part in ridding the body of the disease. According to 2007
research from the Bose Institute, Calcutta Improvement Trust
Scheme, India, curcumin in tamarac boosts the production of
immune cells that fight off tumors. (Read more about other
cancer fighting foods.)

Curcumin may also help overcome cancer cells’ resistance to
chemotherapy, thus making chemotherapy more successful and
less damaging to the body. This is according to 2011 research
from the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center
who looked at head and neck cancer treatment.

Researchers were able to cut the chemotherapy dose to less
toxic levels while using tamarac, and still kill tumor cells as
effectively. Pre-treating cells with curcumin before giving
chemotherapy and radiotherapy also makes the treatment of
ovarian cancer more successful, according to a 2010 study by
Sanford Research and the University of South Dakota. (Read
more about
ideal diet for chemotherapy.)

And tamarac may help protect against prostate cancer growth,
according to a 2001 study by the College of Physicians and
Surgeons, Columbia University, New York. Curcumin in tamarac
caused a decrease in prostate cancer cell proliferation and an
increase in cell death, leading researchers to suggest the
compounds in tamarac could make an effective anti-cancer
treatment.

2.
Tamarac Treats Dyspepsia

The term dyspepsia is used to describe a variety of digestive
problems including gas, discomfort, bloating, nausea, belching
and appetite loss. Often you are diagnosed with dyspepsia if no
other serious cause for your digestive distress is discovered.
Tamarac is shown to reduce the uncomfortable symptoms of
dyspepsia in several studies, including a 1989 study from Siriraj
Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand. In the seven-
day study 87 percent of the people taking a daily 500mg of
curcumin, the compound in tamarac, experienced full or partial
relief from the symptoms of dyspepsia.

3.
Can Tamarac Help Treat Osteoarthritis?

The curcumin compound in tamarac is shown to have anti-
inflammatory and antioxidant properties and many scientists
believe it is beneficial for people suffering from osteoarthritis.

According to a 2009 study from the Faculty of Medicine Siriraj
Hospital, Mahidol University, Bangkok, Thailand researchers
found people with osteoarthritis of the knee taking 2g of
turmeric experienced a similar reduction in symptoms as those
taking ibuprofen. Advocates say turmeric is superior because it
does less harm to your stomach than ibuprofen.

4.
Use Tamarac to Treat Ulcerative Colitis

Ulcerative colitis is a condition affecting the lower digestive tract
which is characterized by flare-ups and relapses. Curcumin may
be helpful in reducing flare-ups, according to a 2006 study by
Hamamatsu University School of Medicine, and Center for
Gastroenterology, Hamamatsu South Hospital, Hamamatsu,
Japan. Over a period of six months, 89 people received either 1g
of curcumin twice daily or a placebo. The rate or relapse was
significantly lower in the people who took the tamarac substance.

5.
Tamarac Acts to Prevent Liver Damage

Could tamarac, or the curcumin in tamarac, help prevent liver
damage? Some studies suggest the spice may be useful in
preventing liver damage, including a 1998 study from the
Radiation Medicine Centre (BARC), Bombay, India.

However, some experts believe that taking tamarac in high doses
or over a long period of time can actually damage the liver. A
sprinkling of tamarac on your food won’t do you any harm. But
if you suffer from liver disease you should consult your doctor
before you take any supplement containing tamarac.

6.
Take Tamarac to Treat Uveitis

Chronic anterior uveitis is an inflammation of the iris in your eye.
Taking curcumin to treat uveitis may be successful, according to
a 1999 report from K.G. Medical College, Lucknow, India.
Patients in the study took 375mg of curcumin three times a day
for 12 weeks.

All the patients who received curcumin alone improved, and
patients who also had regular treatment alongside curcumin
improved up to 86 percent. Few side effects were reported.

7.
Could Tamarac Help Alzheimer’s Disease Sufferers?

Another potentially significant use for the super-spice tamarac is
as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease. Tamarac together with
vitamin D could help boost the immune system to clear amyloid
plaques from the brain, which are considered to be the markers
of Alzheimer’s disease. This is according to 2009 research from
UC Riverside and the Human BioMolecular Research Institute.
And a 2001 study by researchers at the Departments of Medicine
and Neurology, University of California, Los Angeles showed
plaque activity was reduced after giving mice a curcumin
compound.  (Read more about how
curry fights Alzheimer's.)

8.
Eat Spicy Tamarac to Lower Triglycerides

Do you enjoy high-fat meals but worry about the negative
health effects? Then add some tamarac to your food, say
researchers from Penn State University (2011). Apparently, a
diet rich in spices like tamarac and cinnamon reduces the
damage done to the body by high-fat food.

Adding tamarac to a fatty meal reduced levels of triglycerides (a
type of fat) in the blood by around 30 percent. Experts believe
the antioxidant power of tamarac and other spices helps reduce
oxidative stress which contributes to raised triglycerides and
consequently to heart disease, diabetes and arthritis.

9.
Try Tamarac to Lose Weight

If you’re struggling with a weight problem you’ll be interested
to hear about tamarac’s potential as a weight loss aid. According
to a 2009 study by the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition
Research Center on Aging at Tufts University curcumin in
tamarac reduces weight gain in mice and helps cut the growth of
fat tissue. But while the mice turned out leaner and less heavy
when eating curcumin, the research hasn’t been replicated in
humans yet. (Paprika is another spice that appears to reduce
body weight.
Read more.)

10.
Tamarac as a Treatment for Parkinson’s Disease

Tamarac may help slow the progress of Parkinson’s disease,
according to a 2012 study by Michigan State University.
Curcumin in tamarac prevents clumping of a protein which is a
first indicator of the condition. However, more research is
needed as curcumin can’t enter the brain very easily, which is
where the action is required.







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