Turmeric- The well-known wonder herb with enormous potential. Since ages, turmeric is considered as a golden spice and coloring agent used in food preparations. Our ancestors considered it as a natural medicament because of its holistic approach to rid of wide range of disease factors. Since 4000 years back, Vedic culture in India used turmeric used as a kitchen ingredient and for some cultural events. In 1280, Marco Polo described this spice as a saffron-colored vegetable.
Ayurvedic and Unani systems, as well as Sanskrit medical thesis, had mentioned the long history of the medicinal application of turmeric in South Asia. In 250 BC, Susruta’s Ayurvedic Compendium also recommended turmeric paste to relieve the poisoning effects of food.
Scientifically, turmeric is named as Curcuma longa. Curcumin is the principal bioactive phytochemicals present in turmeric. Apart from this, some important bioactive phytonutrients present in turmeric are carbohydrate, protein, fat, minerals, vitamins and water. The minerals and vitamins present are calcium, zinc, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and Vitamin B1, B2, B3 and Vitamin C. The addition of these phytonutrients with curcumin gives a synergistic antioxidant activity. Some essential oil such as Sesquiterpenes, zingiberene, α-phellandrene, sabinene, cineol, and borneol are also responsible for health benefits.
There are several properties that explain turmeric benefits in cancer. Curcumin has the ability to restrain the instigation, advancement, and metastasis of multiple tumors. These anti-cancer effects are primarily intervening due to its down-regulating effect on various growth factors, transcription factors, protein kinases, inflammatory cytokines, and other oncogenic molecules. It also abrogates cancer cell proliferation by arresting them at different cell cycle-specific phases and/or by initiating their apoptosis.
Researchers found that curcumin present in turmeric improves DHA synthesis in liver and brain tissues and elevates the level of DHA in the brain. The enhancement of DHA provides improved memory and learning capacity during growing age. In addition, it also prevents age-related degenerative cognitive diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease.
Turmeric and curcumin selectively block cyclooxygenase-2 (COX2) activities and inhibits arachidonic acid pathway. The inhibition of the arachidonic acid pathway leads to a decrease in the production of prostaglandin and related inflammation and pain symptoms. This mechanism of action provides analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects.
Elevation of monoamine oxidase (MAO 1 and MAO 2) enzyme activity leads to depression, as MAO responsible for the degradation of mood-elevating neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin neurotransmitters. Researchers found that curcumin, the active ingredient of turmeric is able to inhibit both MAO 1 and MAO 2 activity and thus increases the level of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin neurotransmitters in the brain. 
There are several turmeric benefits for health including use in cancer, diabetes, gout, digestion, heart health, etc.
Turmeric benefits in cancer
The topical application of curcumin in external cancerous lesion has shown significant symptomatic relief, administration of which includes reduction of itching, the size of the lesion, and pain. Several past studies provided evidence that curcumin, either alone or in combination with other agents, can potentially active against breast cancer, pancreatic cancer, colorectal cancer, prostate cancer, oral cancer, lung cancer, multiple myelomas, and head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. 
Turmeric benefits digestion and IBD
Inflammation of intestine is the basic characteristic of inflammatory bowel disease. Ulcerative colitis and Crohn disease are the two most common types of inflammatory bowel disease. Mild to moderate form of ulcerative colitis and Crohn disease can be improved by daily use of curcumin, but with different dose. The possible mechanism of action is curcumin’s ability to suppress mitogen-activated protein kinase, interleukin and matrix metalloproteinase-3 in the intestine to reduce the inflammation. A regular dose of curcumin is also responsible for symptomatic relief from IBD.
Turmeric benefits joints and gout
Curcumin administration in arthritis condition can produce improvement in joint swelling, morning stiffness and walking time, and its anti-rheumatic potentiality is similar to phenylbutazone. The laboratory test result showed that curcumin can reduce the level of C-reactive protein level. Moreover, regular therapy with curcumin can suppress the different serum inflammatory biomarkers interleukin, soluble CD40 ligand, soluble vascular cell adhesion molecule-1, and erythrocyte sedimentation rate and provide beneficial effect against the management of osteoarthritis. 
Destruction of melanocytes (skin pigment-producing cells) causes white patches on the skin and this skin condition is termed as vitiligo, which may occur due to oxidative stress. Topical application of Tetrahydro curcuminoid, a derivative of curcumin showed a better outcome in the treatment of vitiligo in combination with Narrowband UVB, because of its antioxidant property.
Dejerine-Sottas disease is a neurodegenerative disorder, in which generalized weakness, loss of sensation, bending of the spine, and sometimes mild loss of hearing occur. Oral administration of curcumin may improve the quality of life of the affected patients due to a slight increase of foot strength, though further detail research is required to understand the precise result.
Idiopathic orbital inflammatory pseudotumor (IOIP) is a persistent neoplasm-like inflammatory effect, typically affects the orbital tissues of both eyes and orbit. A short-term clinical trial showed that curcumin can able to control the swelling, though large-scale study requires establishing this efficacy.
Turmeric benefits cholesterol profile, as Low dose curcumin is highly effective in lowering total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (bad cholesterol) level in patients and on the contrary, it increases HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol). However, a high dose of curcumin is unable to show these benefits. The improvement of the lipid profile also has a preventive effect against Atherosclerosis (the plaque formation of the arterial wall).
Curcumin is effective to lower the blood sugar level in diabetic patients. It is also found that curcumin is a good choice to prevent diabetes in the risk population, as it is effective to improve overall β cell functioning, insulin resistance, and also showed C-peptide levels lowering effect. Curcumin increases adiponectin (anti-inflammatory cytokine) level and provides clinical benefits to pre-diabetic patients. 
Curcumin has no direct effect against AIDS, as it unable to decrease the HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) load. But, after the continuation of the administration of curcumin, the patient reported that they felt better. The exact cause of this betterment is unknown, but it has been found that curcumin can slightly increase the CD4 cells count in its higher dose. 
Oral supplementation in form turmeric milk or turmeric water can be used. The curcumin in combination with lactoferrin has potential immunologic effects against recurrent respiratory tract infections ((RRTIs), specifically in children. This combined therapy possesses immune-modulatory effects in children and reduces the predominance of RRTIs.
Excessive doses of turmeric can cause nausea, vomiting or other gastrointestinal problems. A combination of turmeric containing curcumin and another herbal active ingredient piperine can interact with other medications.