Think, Read, Cook

Because no single way of eating works for everybody.

“May”, “Might”, and “Can”


This is turmeric.

It seems that, in addition to being a tasty spice for curries, turmeric has a number of health benefits. I’m always curious about things that have health benefits, so I decided to look up turmeric today and see what they were.

My researches disclosed a classic example of “May”, “Might”, and “Can”.

You’ve probably seen it yourself: one website loudly proclaims, “WonderHerbThingy can cure baldness!” in big bold letters. You investigate further, and find another site that says, “WonderHerbThingy may help induce hair growth.” A third site will tell you that “WonderHerbThingy is being studied in connection with possible effects on hair growth,” and a fourth one – usually a government site – will say something like “Claims that WonderHerbThingy induces hair growth have not been proven.”

If you looked only at this webpage, you’d get the impression that turmeric can cure almost anything, from cancer and Alzheimer’s to depression and obesity. And this webpage seems to indicate the opposite – that there are studies going on for all kinds of medical turmeric uses, but none of them have been proven.

The turmeric fact page from the US National Library of Medicine says that turmeric might do an upset stomach some good, and actually can reduce the pain and inflammation of knee arthritis almost as well as Ibuprofen can. The fact page also says that science hasn’t studied the other claims enough to prove them.

I think of those unproven, unstudied claims as “May” claims. Turmeric may halt the progress of cancer. It may reverse Alzheimer’s Disease, may help slow the process of cirrhosis of the liver, may stop the growth of new blood vessels in tumors, may slow the progress of multiple sclerosis.

And hey, maybe it does; and that would be great! But really, I could tell you that eating fish-head pie and cucumber rinds may help prevent ingrown toenails; and if I did, could you prove me wrong?  🙂

Meanwhile… my friends from India use turmeric on cuts and burns, and they say it seems to help them heal faster. I think I’ll try that, and do my own little study on it, to find out whether it’s a May, a Might, or a Can.


3 comments on ““May”, “Might”, and “Can”

  1. Claudia
    April 9, 2013

    Women in India also rub it into their skin sometimes to give them a sort of golden glow…perhaps it has cosmetic uses as well?

  2. judy
    April 10, 2013

    I have a horrible sore on the side of my tongue. It’s been there for about 6 months and a biopsy was taken for a check. Meanwhile this thing hurts alot and a jewish-indian-iraqi friend told me to try tumeric. I haven’t as, as soon as i will put my tongue back into my mouth it’s bye-bye tuneric. If you’re curious about my friends ethnicity pls feel free to ask.


    • thinkreadcook
      April 10, 2013

      Hope the biopsy is negative and you won’t have to worry!

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