Should You Use Turmeric Root or Turmeric Essential Oil

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Plenty of our readers already know about the potential health benefits of Turmeric. We get lots of questions about turmeric and just as many comments about how well turmeric works for a variety of purposes. One of the most common questions we receive is “Should I eat turmeric root or use turmeric essential oil?” As with many similar questions, there is no one answer for every given purpose. So let’s quickly discuss why one might want to use turmeric root or turmeric essential oil, or both!

Turmeric Root

Turmeric Root is different from the essential oils derived from it. Turmeric root is used in many different practices in Ayurvedic medicine. Turmeric root has been described as an all-around health tonic, and seems to have some efficacy for many of its traditional purposes.

We won’t get into the specific health claims of turmeric root’s biggest fans. Instead, let’s talk about when it’s what you want instead of its essential oils.

Turmeric root is a vegetable. Like all vegetables, it has culinary potential, and indeed it’s an essential ingredient in many Indian curries and other favorite dishes. Turmeric root has numerous chemicals and compounds within in. Not all of these are extracted into turmeric essential oil. Turmeric root also has fiber, which can aid in digestion. The fiber makes it tough enough to cook with, and there is some evidence that it can help absorption of turmeric’s nutrients because of the way it makes the vegetable “hold up” within the digestive system.

If you are looking for generalized benefits from turmeric, especially those related to the digestive and respiratory systems, you may wish to use the root. Make it a regular part of your diet, and you’ll slowly derive the benefits you hope for.

Another benefit of turmeric root is its price relative to turmeric essential oil. Turmeric can be had at most healthy food grocery stores. You can typically buy it fresh, in bulk, by weight. You won’t spend more than a few dollars for a huge handful of turmeric root. All you have to do is take it home, take off its skin, and use it in with a smoothie or as part of your meal preparation. Turmeric oil will cost you much more.

Turmeric Essential Oil

Turmeric essential oils may be more expensive than turmeric root, but this doesn’t mean it doesn’t have applications that make it better suited for some things compared to others. For the most part, turmeric oil will be used for external applications, like salves and aromatherapy. A little goes a long way, and turmeric oil’s concentrated properties can have a very powerful effect when used these ways.

Turmeric oil may also be used in certain tonics and beverages. It’s usually not recommended to heat turmeric oil, as this can neutralize its properties. Keep it cool and primarily use it outside the body, and you’ll get the most out of your turmeric oil, in many ways that turmeric root would not be efficacious.

Turmeric oil and other essential oils are available from Curamed, Xymogen, and Plant Therapy.

People have all kinds of experiences and opinions about turmeric. Do your own research and try turmeric root and turmeric oil out for yourself. You may find that these things give you great results, sometimes better than over the counter medicines. Of course, turmeric isn’t a replacement for sound medical advice, but its use for millennia in traditional medicine surely means it has a place in our lives today.

If you want to give turmeric a try, start small. Get some root or oil, use daily, and take careful note of your observed results. You could learn some techniques that are very useful!

What to Learn During Testicular Cancer Awareness Month

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If you have testicles (or if you know someone who does), Testicular Cancer Awareness Month was created with you in mind. If your life has never been affected by testicular cancer, you probably don’t know much about it, but you should. Testicular cancer is different than many other forms of cancer, particularly in who it affects and when.

Obviously, testicular cancer affects only men, but it tends to strike a younger demographic than many other forms of cancer. More than 50% of testicular cancer cases are found in men between the ages of 15 and 35. We often think of cancer as something affecting mostly older men, but this often isn’t the case with TC (note: testicular cancer can affect men of any age).

Fortunately, there is some good news. Testicular cancer is pretty rare. It accounts for only about 1% of all cancer found in males. It’s also usually curable. Caught early, up to 100% of testicular cancers are curable. Well… curable in the sense that the cancer is removed from the body. Unfortunately, the affected testicle is almost always surgically removed along with the tumor.

While no man wants to lose a ball, our bodies evolved in such a way to prepare ourselves for situations just like this. Several of our bodies’ most important organs come in pairs: the eyes, the kidneys, the testicles, and more. Our bodies developed this way so that we wouldn’t die if something happened to one half of each pair. We can all live with one lung, one eye, and one testicle.

This is not to say that testicular cancer isn’t a big deal. Testicular cancer can spread to other parts of the body if not caught early. It first tends to spread to the lymph nodes, and from there it can metastasize throughout the body. If you discover the signs of testicular cancer in your own body, it’s time to talk to a doctor immediately. But what are those signs, and how do we check for them?

Performing a Testicular Cancer Self Check

In an effort to catch testicular cancer early (if you have the misfortune of developing it), let’s learn how to do a testicular cancer self check.

Firstly, you’ll want to conduct your test somewhere private. Because testicular cancer self checks require you to touch your balls, it’s usually recommended to do this check while in the shower. You’re likely already in the nude, and you’ll be able to wash your hands after.

The main idea is to check both testicles individually. Use both hands, and gently feel around the entire surface of each testicle (the interior testicle, not the scrotum). The surface of the testicle should feel soft and smooth. There are various vessels attached to each testicle, which is totally normal. There are some things you might feel, however, which are dangerous and abnormal:

  • The enlargement of one testicle. Some people naturally have one ball that’s bigger than the other. However, if one testicle expands in size noticeably, you likely have a problem.
  • A decrease in size in one of the testicles. Again, the size difference isn’t in itself a sign of cancer, it’s a change in size that tips you off.
  • A “heavy” feeling in your scrotum. Our bodies are accustomed to feeling a certain way. If you have testicular cancer, you may have a feeling that something in your scrotum is not normal.
  • Aching in your groin, lower belly, or lower back.
  • Fluid retention within the scrotum.
  • Pain in one or both of your testicles.
  • Enlarged or painful breasts.

If you discover any of these issues, get yourself to a doctor. Perform a self check every month. It could mean the difference between a 2 hour surgery and weeks of chemotherapy cleaning up testicular cancer that has spread because it wasn’t caught early.

Why Do We Have an Alcohol Awareness Month?

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It’s been said many times that if alcohol was discovered today, it would be illegal. However, unlike other dangerous drugs like heroin or cocaine, alcohol can be made in your kitchen. The natural product of yeast fermentation of sugars, alcohol is part of the natural world. What’s more, it has an important culinary component. Used to preserve grapes and grains, alcohol is also an ingredient in countless classic dishes. It’s also a component of many delicious beverages.

In short, alcohol isn’t going away anytime soon, no matter how much of a problem it is for lots of people. That’s what Alcohol Awareness Month is all about. An estimated 20 million people in the United States are living sober lives in alcohol addiction recovery. Likely many more have an “alcohol problem”, though one that hasn’t progressed to the point of social or health crisis. Alcohol Awareness Month is about bringing this common addiction to light, removing the stigma from alcohol dependency, and extending resources to people who would like to change their relationship with alcohol for the better.

In this effort, let’s take a look at the issue of alcohol abuse in the United States. No one’s saying you can’t enjoy alcoholic beverages in moderation, and that this regimen may serve you well throughout life. But there are many people for whom healthy consumption is not an option. A reported 41% of 18-25 years old report regular binge drinking. If these are behaviors that are left behind in adulthood, that may be fine, but 25-34 year olds drink scarcely less (and more in some regions). In fact, at least 10% of the population reports regular binge drinking in all but the 65 and over group.

Binge drinking may not be a problem for everyone, in itself. Many of us have been there. You drink with your friends, things get weird, and you wake up with a mounting hangover. But even though you recover from the subjective symptoms of a hangover, these events take a toll on our bodies, particularly the liver, immune system, skin, and many other organs.

It’s important to note that damage (especially to the liver) can begin long before outward symptoms develop. Alcohol is tough on the liver in any quantity, so habitual consumption generally has an effect, even if it doesn’t necessarily become life-threatening for many. Secondary health concerns like psoriasis, depression, and susceptibility to seasonal colds and allergies (due to an impeded immune response) may be more immediately problematic.

Social problems may be an even greater issue worth considering. Many people find themselves embarrassed by their own behavior upon waking after a night of drinking. Think about it…how many times have you ever woken up and thought “Wow, I sure am glad I got drunk last night!” Loss of inhibitions, a compromised speech filter, and impeded judgment can threaten friendships and social boundaries. The decision to drive while drunk is another big problem, one that has the potential to affect people you don’t even know for many years to come.

Maybe alcohol isn’t a problem for you in this way. Maybe it’s a social enhancer that produces jollification and good memories. If that’s alcohol for you, we’re glad that you’ve found a friend in this popular social drug. If, on the other hand, you or someone you know struggle to find the right balance with alcohol, maybe it’s time to start stepping away from it. Alcohol Awareness Month is a good occasion to make the first step. It can be difficult to walk away from a class of beverages so integrated with the way our society functions, but if 20 million Americans can do it, so can you. Your liver, your future self, and (perhaps) many of your family and friends will thank you.