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Turmeric, the yellow spice that colors curry and American mustard, is a potent natural anti-inflammatory agent. Both in the diet and in supplement form, it has shown promise in the treatment of arthritis, tendonitis and autoimmune disorders.
The latest word on turmeric’s health benefits comes from Thailand. Researchers there found that adding a turmeric extract to traditional drug treatment given to heart bypass patients before surgery reduced the danger of heart attack afterward by 65 percent.
One group of about half of 121 patients in the study received one-gram curcumin capsules four times a day starting three days before their operations and continuing for five days afterward. The other half were given the same number of placebo capsules. After surgery, while the patients were still in the hospital, 13 of those in the curcumin group had heart attacks compared to 30 in the placebo group.
The findings from this small study must be confirmed by larger ones. The researchers also noted that the doses used in the study were substantial and cautioned that the side effects of taking that much curcumin aren’t known.