Turmeric has been used for at least 5,000 years as an anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant. Evidence suggests that it may also be an effective anticancer agent. However, the most well-known benefits of turmeric are those that it delivers to the liver.
The liver is one of three major organs of detoxification (the others being the colon and the kidneys.) As such, one of its primary functions is to cleanse the blood of toxins. The active ingredient of turmeric, curcumin, works as an antioxidant within the body. Antioxidants are very important because they neutralize molecules known as free radicals. Free radicals are atoms that are missing an electron. They are always seeking other atoms to bond to, which invariably causes them to stick to cells in human tissue. Antioxidants like curcumin attract these free radicals and keep them from bonding to our organs. Many health conditions can be minimized, if not outright prevented, by neutralization process.
This is also good for the liver because it purifies the blood, to some extent, prior to its every reaching the liver. The liver does not have to work as hard as a result and is therefore less likely to become overloaded.
However, this antioxidant quality is only one benefit of turmeric. Curcumin also has a direct, positive effect on the liver itself. It actually speeds up detoxification and, to a certain extent, works to protect the liver. For example, we all know that heavy consumption of alcohol can contribute to cirrhosis of the liver. This is because the liver attempts to change the alcohol into harmless substances. When there is too much alcohol, some of this is actually transformed into substances that eventually harm the liver. Curcumin blocks this transformation of alcohol into harmful agents and helps keep liver cells healthy, lively, and in optimal working level. For this reason, many people use turmeric as an herbal remedy for liver cirrhosis.
Turmeric also stimulates the production of bile in the liver. The importance of this cannot be understated. Bile is instrumental in the elimination of toxins, rejuvenation of liver cells, and is a powerful aid to the digestion process. This is why ancient Chinese and Indian doctors used turmeric as a remedy for digestive disorders as well as liver disorders, because the two are connected. By keeping the liver health and detoxified, the benefits of turmeric extend to other organs and systems of the body.