jueves, 3 de marzo de 2016

The amazing health benefits of turmeric

From clearing infections to reducing inflammation, this spice has healing properties.

Turmeric, an orange-colored spice imported from India, is part the ginger family and has been a staple in Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian cooking for thousands of years.
In addition, ayurvedic and Chinese medicines utilize turmeric to clear infections and inflammations on the inside and outside of the body. But beyond the holistic health community, Western medical practitioners have only recently come on board in recognizing the health benefits of turmeric.

Here are some of the ways turmeric may benefit your body.

Blocking cancer
Doctors at UCLA found that curcumin, the main component in turmeric, appeared to block an enzyme that promotes the growth of head and neck cancer.
In that study, 21 subjects with head and neck cancers chewed two tablets containing 1,000 milligrams of curcumin. An independent lab in Maryland evaluated the results and found that the cancer-promoting enzymes in the patients’ mouths were inhibited by the curcumin and thus prevented from advancing the spread of the malignant cells.
Powerful antioxidant
The University of Maryland’s Medical Center also states that turmeric’s powerful antioxidant properties fight cancer-causing free radicals, reducing or preventing some of the damage they can cause.
While more research is necessary, early studies have indicated that curcumin may help prevent or treat several types of cancer including prostate, skin and colon.
Potent anti-inflammatory
Dr. Randy J. Horwitz, the medical director of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine and an assistant professor of clinical medicine at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson, wrote a paper for the American Academy of Pain Management in which he discussed the health benefits of turmeric.
“Turmeric is one of the most potent natural anti-inflammatories available,” Horwitz states in the paper.
He went on to cite a 2006 University of Arizona study that examined the effect of turmeric on rats with injected rheumatoid arthritis. According to Horwitz, pretreatment with turmeric completely inhibited the onset of rheumatoid arthritis in the rats. In addition, the study found that using turmeric for pre-existing rheumatoid arthritis resulted in a significant reduction of symptoms.
Some research shows that curcumin might ease symptoms of uveitis — long-term inflammation in the middle layer of the eye. Other research shows that taking turmeric daily for several months may improve kidney function for people with kidney inflammation.

Turmeric comes from the curcuma longa plant. (Photo: Skyprayer2005/Shutterstock)

Osteoarthritis pain relief
Turmeric may also be helpful with another type of arthritis. Some research has shown that taking turmeric extract can ease the pain of osteoarthritis. In one study, reports WebMD, turmeric worked about as well as ibuprofen for relieving osteoarthritis pain.
Indigestion and heartburn aid
Curcumin works with the gallbladder, stimulating it to make bile, which may help with digestion. In Germany, turmeric can be prescribed for digestive problems. Some research shows that turmeric may help upset stomach, bloating and gas. Turmeric may also help reduce the occurrence of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in people who are otherwise healthy.
Heart disease
Studies have suggested curcumin may help prevent the buildup of plaque that can clog arteries and lead to heart attacks and strokes.
Impact on diabetes
Early studies suggest that taking turmeric daily can cut down the number of people with prediabetes who develop diabetes.
“Raw is best”
Natalie Kling, a Los Angeles-based nutritionist, says she first learned about the benefits of turmeric while getting her degree from the Natural Healing Institute of Neuropathy. “As an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antiseptic, it’s a very powerful plant,” she says.
Kling recommends it to clients for joint pain and says that when taken as a supplement, it helps quickly. She advises adding turmeric to food whenever possible and offers these easy tips. “Raw is best,” she said. “Sprinkling it on vegetables or mixing it into dressings is quick and effective.”
If you do cook it, make sure to use a small amount of healthy fat like healthy coconut oil to maximize flavor. Kling also recommends rubbing turmeric on meat and putting it into curries and soups.
“It’s inexpensive, mild in taste, and benefits every system in the body,” Kling says. "Adding this powerful plant to your diet is one of the best things you can do for long term health.”

This story first appeared on MNN in January 2012. It has been updated to reflect more current information.

domingo, 28 de febrero de 2016


We may never know what, if any Ancient texts on Reusi Dat Ton may have existed and were lost when the invading Burmese armies destroyed the old Thai capital of Ayutthaya in 1767. Today, the closest thing to an original source text on Reusi Dat Ton is an 1838 manuscript commissioned by Rama III entitled The Book of Eighty Rishis Performing Posture Exercises to Cure Various Ailments. Like other manuscripts of the time, this text was printed on accordion like folded black paper, known in Thai as “Khoi.” This text, popularly known as the Samut Thai Kao features line drawings of the 80 Wat Po Reusi Dat Ton statues along with their accompanying poems. In the introduction, it states that Reusi Dat Ton is a “…system of posture exercises invented by experts to cure ailments and make them vanish away.” (Griswold, 321) This text is housed in the National Library in Bangkok. There are also other editions of this text housed in museums and private collections as well.

The Samut Thai Kao seems to follow an old tradition also found in ancient Indian, Nepali and Tibetan Yoga manuscripts that list 80 to 84 different techniques. The Samut Thai Kao is, however, only a partial collection of all the various Reusi Dat Ton techniques. A 1958 Wat Po publication, The Book of Medicine includes a section on Reusi Dat Ton. While it contains verses based upon the poems at Wat Po, many of the accompanying illustrations depict completely different techniques.

In the Southern Thai town of Songkhla, on the temple grounds of Wat Machimawat is a pavilion known as the “Sala Reusi Dat Ton.” High up on the inside walls of this pavilion is a mural which depicts 40 of the Reusi Dat Ton techniques along with the accompanying poems from the Samut Thai Kao. 
There is a special section devoted to Thai Medical history at the Mahidol University’s Siriraj Medical Museum on the Bangkok Noi campus in Bangkok. There one can view a Reusi Dat Ton display featuring small painted wood Reusi figures that depict over 60 different Reusi Dat Ton techniques. This display is based upon the 1958 Wat Po text The Book of Medicine. 

In Nonthaburi, on the Ministry of Public Health Campus at the Institute of Thai Traditional Medicine, there is the Thai Traditional Medicine Museum. Inside the museum is a small display of Reusi Dat Ton statues. Outside the museum is an artificial mountain upon which have been placed various Reusi statues demonstrating Reusi Dat Ton techniques. Within the mountain is the “Hermit’s Cave” which houses numerous small Reusi statues also depicting Reusi Dat Ton techniques. These statues depict techniques from both the Samut Thai Kao and The Book of Medicine. 
On the outskirts of Bangkok, in the town of Samut Prakan, is the cultural park, the Ancient City or “Muang Boran.” One of the many attractions is a “Sala of 80 Yogi” which features 80 life- sized Reusi statues illustrating various Reusi Dat Ton techniques. There are even depictions of
Reusi Dat Ton techniques not found in either of the two Wat Po texts. While most of these statues are fairly accurate depictions of Reusi Dat Ton techniques, a few actually show Indian Hatha Yoga techniques, which are not part of the Reusi Dat Ton system.

Students of Reusi Dat Ton should bear in mind that while some of the Reusi Dat Don statues, drawings, paintings and poems are beautiful works of art, they were created by artists who were not necessarily all practitioners of Reusi Dat Ton. In fact, a number of images do not illustrate the actual techniques entirely accurately. Even in 1836, there was some uncertainty as to which technique produced which effect and some poems were used for more than one technique. Therefore, students of Reusi Dat Ton should also seek out living teachers who have learned from authentic sources such as actual Reusis, who can teach the techniques in their authentic form.

There are also additional Reusi Dat Ton techniques practiced by Reusis today, which are not found in any text, nor depicted in any sculpture or paintings. These are also traditional techniques, which have been passed down from teacher to student over the centuries. There are close to 300 different exercises and poses, including variations, in the entire Reusi Dat Ton system.


In both the Samut Thai Kao and The Book of Medicine, the texts not only describe the techniques, but also ascribe a therapeutic benefit to each pose or exercise. Some poems describe specific ailments while others use Sanskrit Ayurvedic medical terminology.
Some of the ailments mentioned include; abdominal discomfort and pain, arm discomfort, back pain, bleeding, blurred vision, chest congestion, chest discomfort and pain, chin trouble, chronic disease, chronic muscular discomfort, congestion, convulsions, dizziness and vertigo, dyspepsia, facial paralysis, fainting, foot cramps, pain and numbness, gas pain, generalized weakness, generalized sharp pain, headache and migraine, hand discomfort, cramps and numbness, heel and ankle joint pain, hemorrhoids, hip joint problems, joint pain, knee pain and weakness, lack of alertness, leg discomfort, pain and weakness, lockjaw, low back pain, lumbar pain, muscular
cramps and stiffness, nasal bleeding, nausea, neck pain, numbness, pelvic pain, penis and urethra problems, scrotal distention, secretion in throat, shoulder and scapula discomfort and pain, stiff neck, thigh discomfort, throat problems, tongue trouble, uvula spasm, vertigo, waist trouble, wrist trouble, vomiting, and waist discomfort.
Some of the Ayurvedic disorders described in the texts include; Wata (Vata in Sanskrit) in the head causing problems in meditation, severe Wata disease, Wata in the hands and feet, Wata in the head, nose and shoulder, Wata in the thigh, Wata in the scrotum, Wata in the urethra, Wata causing knee, leg and chest spasms, Wata causing blurred vision, Sannipat (a very serious and difficult to treat condition due to the simultaneous imbalance of Water, Fire and Wind Elements which may also involve a toxic fever) an excess of Water Dhatu (possibly plasma or lymph fluids,) and “Wind” in the stomach. Other benefits described in the old texts include; increased longevity and opening all of the “Sen” (There are various types of “Sen” or channels in Traditional Thai Medicine. There are Gross Earth Physical “Sen” such as Blood Vessels. There are also more Subtle “Sen” such as channels of Bioenergy flow within the Subtle Body, known as “Nadis” in Sanskrit. In addition, there are also “Sen” as channels of the Mind.)
In recent years, the Thai Ministry of Public Health has published several books on Reusi Dat Ton. According these modern texts, some of the benefits of Reusi Dat Ton practice include; improved agility and muscle coordination, increased joint mobility, greater range of motion, better circulation, improved respiration improved digestion, assimilation and elimination, detoxification, stronger immunity, reduced stress and anxiety, greater relaxation, improved concentration and meditation, oxygen therapy to the cells, pain relief, slowing of degenerative disease and greater longevity. (Subcharoen, 5-7)
A recent study at Naresuan University in Phitsanulok, Thailand, found that after one month of regular Reusi Dat Ton practice there was an improvement in anaerobic exercise performance in sedentary females. (Weerapong et al, 205)